Loteria cards are FIRST AND FOREMOST made for and used as a GAME. Not a divination system. Over time and on cards produced by the major suppliers (especially Don Clemente) the images have stayed more or less the same and in roughly the same order.
Order of the images means nothing. It's not like the Fool's Journey in Tarot. It's a bingo game that we're taking and re-purposing as a divination tool. The printers don't care about non-game use.
As Loteria became an established part of Mexican culture and more popular other producers made various versions of Loteria cards with certain themes. Look at the collections in the link below (and posted elsewhere in the group) and you'll see some for children with Looney Toon or Disney characters. Serious artists also take the Loteria game and make their own cards with their own numbering to reflect their own artistic vision and take on Mexican culture. Look at Teresa Villegas' Loteria as a well know, very well done, example of an artist's Loteria.
The decks we are using in our facebook group are the STANDARD Loteria deck often called a Don Clemente loteria. It will have the standard images and a standard order (although the order doesn't matter in the least!) These decks are the most widely known, most widely available. Even my fancy La Nueva Loteria uses the same images, same numbering. If you order a loteria game it's most likely the one we're using unless it mentions a specific special theme. If you're unsure show me the link to the deck and I'll let you know.
All the information provided on this page is by Garth Tardy, WDA Teacher and Mentor.
Copyright Garth Tardy 2019
Any and all definitions, translations, esoteric knowledge, material and discussions cannot be reproduced or modified in any way for commercial purposes. All material translated from the original language for use on this webpage as that produced by Garth Tardy solely belong to the owner. Use of this information for any reproduction, modification and sale are strictly prohibited
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Loteria Card Meanings
By Garth Tardy
©2019 Garth Tardy
46. El Sol (The Sun)
1.El Gallo (The Rooster)
"El que le cantó a San Pedro no le volverá a cantar"
The one who sang for San Pedro won't return to sing again.
The card's meaning is wrapped up in the image brought to mind in the saying. As all Christians know Saint Peter was told that before the rooster crowed he would deny Christ three times, he would betray Him.
That's what El Gallo is doing here for us. He's warning us of betrayal so we need to look out for it; or someone that has betrayed us (like San Pedro) won't do it again and can be trusted now. It could also mean the Rooster is giving up trying to warn and won't be back to repeat his cry. So: Listen to advice while you can because it's not going to be endlessly repeated for you. The situation and other cards will help you decide which of these interpretations is best.
2.El Diablito (The Little Devil)
Portate bien cuatito si note lleva el coloradito!
Behave yourself buddy, so the little red one doesn't take you away!
Note the diminuatives all through the title and the saying. This isn't *the* Devil, Satan himself. No, this is a little devil. The troubles he brings are more irritations and day to day bothers than any true EVIL. He rains down heck upon you.
So the saying is telling you to make sure you're doing everything right so you can stay out of trouble yourself, or that someone's making trouble for you and you want to handle it appropriately so you can avoid being swept along by his nonsense.
3. La Dama (The Lady)
La dama puliendo el paso, por todo la calle real.
The lady polishes as she steps, all along the royal street.
If you're used to reading other systems like Kipper, Gypsy, or Lenormand you might be quick to think of La Dama as a significator card. She is not. She has her own meaning aside from being just a woman.
She's walking down the street like a queen, like royalty, spreading grace and elegance and dignity as she goes. The situation calls for some of that too. Cut the drama, cut the theatrics, and handle the situation with grace and dignity.
Another way you could interpret is that she's showing off as she walks down the street. She thinks she's better than us! So maybe the card is showing where someone's showing off or being boastful. Or putting on a show for others. The situation usually makes it obvious which of these two ends is being represented.
4. El Catrin (The Dandy)
Don Ferruco en la Alameda, su baston queria tirar. Sir Ferruco in the walk, wanted to toss his cane.
Like La Dama, El Catrin could be mistaken for a significator by those practicing other card systems that include those cards. Loteria cards do not and El Catrin has his own preoccupations.
He's in nice part of town and wants to throw away his old cane. He wants to spiffy himself up, look better, fancier, richer.
This card can be saying to strive, let go of what's holding you back (the cane) and go for something better for yourself. Self improvement is what this card is about. If you're not happy with how things are working for you, break free and start fresh.
Making good impressions are part of this card as well I'd say. You know, just because you're going to the Dollar Store doesn't mean you can't put on some clean clothes that match and dazzle them with your presence!
5. El Paraguas (The Umbrella)
Para el sol y para el agua.
For the sun and for the rain.
This one's not too difficult. An umbrella offers protection from all kinds of conditions, rain or shine! Someone's offering you the same protection. It's also telling
*you* to be prepared, too, for what might come, be it good or bad. It could also indicate that with the good comes the bad. Generally though the umbrella about being prepared against the "weather" of any situation.
6. La Sirena (The Siren or The Mermaid)
Con los cantos de sirena no te vayas marear.
Don't get dizzy with the mermaid's song.
Here we have what is perhaps Loteria's *most* iconic image: La Sirena.
You've heard of the "Siren's song" that lures sailors to a watery grave? This card warns of not drowning maybe, but of not losing your head to emotions. Keep your head about you! Don't give in to temptations that seem like a good idea. Someone is probably just telling you something you want to hear as well. Best plug your ears when she sings!
7. La Escalera (The ladder)
Subeme paso a pasito. No quieras pegar brinquitos.
Ascend me step by step, don't try and skip.
The ladder is another one with an easy meaning to grasp. Take things step by step. Slow and steady wins the race. Also a ladder gets you to places you couldn't get to ordinarily so you're on the right track you just have to keep going. If you try to skip steps on a ladder you're going to break your neck so caution, orderly progression is called for.
8. La Botella (The Bottle)
La hermienta del borracho.
The tool of the drunk.
Loteria cards can be pretty blunt and this is one of those cards. The bottle is the Bottle. Booze is involved here. Could be drugs as well. Watch your intake so you don't do something you'll regret. It could explain the actions of another person in the situation as well. Looking broader it could indicate obsession or addiction to something.
9. El Barril (The Barrel)
Tanto bebio el albanil que quedo commo barril.
The builder drank so much that he was like a barrel.
The barrel continues the warnings against drinking too much. Alcohol may be involved in the situation again as in the Botella. Don't be like the builder and overindulge in things that aren't good for you. Our actions have consequences so pay attention to what you're doing? Is it healthy behavior? The card calls for moderation while it's still possible.
10. El Arbol (The Tree)
El que a buen árbol se arrima buena sombra le cobija.
He who seeks the shelter of a tree covers himself with good shade.
The tree offers you help with cooling shade. You made a good decision to go to the tree! Good decisions, good choices now yield good results. A friend can offer you help now just like the tree helps you. The Tree is also about taking shelter. Now might be a good time to step back, rest in the shade, and think about what's next or let the storm pass by.
11. El Melon (The Melon)
Me lo das me lo quitas.
I can take it or leave it.
That's pretty simple isn't it? Something is going on that really doesn't have much effect on you one way or the other. Take the action, don't take the action, it really won't matter. Your choice, do what you want.
I've found in readings and dailies that this card often comes up when what's meant is "just the usual" is going on. Nothing extraordinary, just the routine.
12. El Valiente (The Hero)
Por que le corres cobarde trayendo tan buen punal?
Why are you running like a coward when you have such a good knife?
Indeed! Why are you running away from a problem when you have just what you need to solve it? You have the skills, talents, material, etc that is needed at the moment. All you have to do is be brave like the Valiente. Don't be a coward! Don't hide behind fear, or worries, or insecurities. You have every reason to succeed.
13. El Gorrito (The Baby Bonnet)
Ponle su gorrito al nene no se nos vaya a resfriar.
Put the baby bonnet on, let's not let him catch a cold.
Gorrito is about protecting yourself or others, like taking care the baby doesn't catch a cold by putting on his bonnet. This card warns you take precautions and watch out for preventable harms coming your way that can be avoided. Take care of yourself and those around you. It can also mean making sure someone's (or your own) health is taken care of.
14 La Muerte (Death)
La Muerte sirqui siaca
Death is closer (or a closer death)
This card recalls the deep connection with the ancestors in Mexican culture. Those who have passed on are ever present in memories and celebrations and are a source of guidance, help, and comfort.
The card can be a reminder that there is help to be had in the situation, rely on those close to you, and your ancestors that have passed on, for help. Guidance is needed and available.
It’s also a card reminding you that death is always near and is a reminder of your own mortality. Enjoy your loved ones in the here and now while you have them. Don’t just live for money and status because as the saying goes “You can’t take it with you”.
15. La Pera (The Pear)
El que espera, desespera.
He who waits, despairs.
Another fairly easy one to guess. He who waits, despairs. So don't hesitate, take action. Overthinking, worrying, doubting yourself isn't going to do you any good and you'll miss out on the chance to act. Don't give up, act!
Why a pear? I think the saying was attached to the pear image because espera desespera rhyme with Pera.
16. La Bandera (The Flag)
Verde, blanco y colorado, la bandera del soldado.
Green, white, and red, the flag of the soldier.
Green, white and red are, of course, the colors of the Mexican flag the soldier defends. What will you fight to defend? What will you proudly proclaim in your life? This card tells you to stand up for what you believe. If you're unsure, get sure. There's a tendency to defensiveness as well, being a little too touchy when someone pokes at your position.
17. El Bandolon (The Mandolin)
Tocando su bandolón esta el mariachi Simón. Playing his mandolin is the mariachi Simon.
Mariachi music is of course a huge part of Mexican culture. If Simon's playing his mandolin a good time is about to be had. Enjoy yourself, let your worries float away with the music. The card can also indicate that someone else is calling the tune, someone else is calling the shots and directing the action in the situation.
18. El Violoncello (The Cello)
Creciendo se fue hasta el Cielo y como no fue violón tuvo que ser violoncello.
Growing up he went to Heaven, and because he wasn't a violin he had to be a cello.
Well that sounds odd doesn't it? Basically it's telling you "Tough luck." Face the harsh realities of life and realize you don't always get what you want. If you can't do something one was (as the violin) you'll have to try to do it a different way (Cello). This card is about meeting obstacles and finding a way around them.
19. La Garza (The Heron)
Al otro lado del rio, tengo me banco de arena, donde se sienta me chata pico de garza moreno.
On the other side of the river is the sandbar where my honey sits, beak like a brown heron.
Stop. Get the Lenormand Stork right out of your head! ;)
His honey is across the river so love is there but you might have to put in some effort to find it and grow it or even travel to find it. Look and you'll find what you're looking for, but maybe just farther away than you thought.
20. El Pajaro (The bird)
Tu me traces a puros brincos como parjaro en la rama.
You've got me jumping to it like a bird on a branch.
This saying brings to mind the nervous hopping around of a bird from branch to branch. Don't engage in pointless dithering about and actually do something constructive. Pointless activity isn't getting anything done. Nervousness on someone's part is a factor in the situation. Someone maybe making you nervous and you don't know quite what to do.
21. La Mano (The Hand)
La mano de un crimnal.
The hand of a criminal.
Watch out! Someone's being dishonest or down-right criminal in the situation and making everything worse. Be cautious in your choices and make sure you're not acting like the criminal! It also implies people don't really change and once a criminal always a criminal so don't place your trust where you've been burned before.
22. La Bota (The Boot)
Una bota es igual que la otra.
One boot is the same as the other.
One choice of action is just as good as the other. It also implies that nothings really changed despite any action you might have taken. Any change doesn't change the same basic situation. Things might look different but they aren't really.
23. La Luna (The moon)
La farol de enamorados.
The lantern of lovers.
Love and romance is around. Strong emotions may be influencing the situation so use the moon's light to see your way forward clearly.
Also be about taking time for your partner (like the lovers alone in the moonlight). It's important to just spend time together.
24. El Cotorro (The Parrot)
Cotorro, saca la pata y empiezame a platicar.
Parrot, land here and talk with me.
Parrots talk and repeat things back to you. Gossip is indicated. Someone talking behind your back. Also a need for you to talk with someone or they need to talk to you. Pleasant, light conversations are implied by the saying, just to pass the time of day.
Listen to what others have to say to you.
25. La Borracho (The Drunk)
A qué borracho tan necio ya no lo puedo aguantar.
What a stupid drunk, I can't take it anymore.
Yet more alcohol in the cards. This time it's the drunkard himself. Obvious the card is saying someone's drinking too much and needs to cut it out. Someone may just be acting out and being stupid *like* a drunk if alcohol isn't involved. Be wary of overindulging and losing your wits. Think how your actions might look to others.
26. El Negrito (Little Black Person)
El que se comio el azucar. He who ate the sugar.
This card can be problematic, especially for Americans with our continuing history and issues (usually not nice) with race. I see the name of the card and cringe.
Moving on to the meaning of the card however we see someone enjoying the sweet things in life even if times are tough. Seeing the brighter side of things. He ate the sugar so now he's a sweet, friendly, easy going person. The situation calls for this sort of attitude. See the lighter side, be friendly, don't let your troubles get you down.
Some artists in their own Loterias change this card. La Nueva Loteria substitutes in "El Cubano" for it.
It could also indicate someone's not taking the situation as seriously as they should, being too light hearted.
With the association with St. Martin of Porres issues of social justice and fairness are part of this card as well.
t could also indicate someone's not taking the situation as seriously as they should, being too light hearted.
27. El Corazon (The Heart)
No me extranes corazon que regresso en el camion.
Don't miss me, heart, because I'll return in a truck.
(I suspect the Truck is there just for the rhyme with corazon)
The Loteria cards almost always show the heart as a physical, biological heart, not the stylized valentine heart you might expect. Love is real baby. Love is present and can be counted on. This a person longing for someone or something.
Don't give up in the situation, what you're longing for will show up or return to you.
28. La Sandia (The Watermelon)
La barriga que Juan tenia ere empacho de sandia.
Juan's belly was stuffed full of watermelon.
Juan's clearly indulging in the good things in life! There's plenty for everyone so don't worry (money, love, work etc.). Shows things are going well and there's abundance to spare.
29. El Tambor (The Drum)
No te arrugues cuero viejo que te quiero pa'tambor.
Don't wrinkle old leather, because I want you for my drum.
This is about not wasting something carelessly. There's still use and value to be found and can become something with a new use or lead to a new situation. Don't burn your bridges might be a way of looking at it. Also something that might appear to have no importance really does. It could even be you that's seen in a new light by someone else. Think of someone looking for work and the company wants you for their drum!
30. El Camaron (The Shrimp)
Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva al corriente.
The shrimp that sleeps is carried away by the current.
The image even looks like a shrimp just floating along backwards, letting the current take it where ever. The card is all about paying attention and acting! He who hesitates is lost as they say. Don't be caught napping when opportunity knocks Don't let others dictate what you do or think like the shrimp in the current. Now is not the time for passivity.
31. Las Jaras (The Arrows)
Las jaras del indio Adan donde pegan dan.
The arrows of the indian Adan where they are joined together.
This is about things bound tightly together, for good or for bad. In a marriage it can be good, in a fight with someone maybe not as it implies a situation you both can't easily leave or decisively win. Obligations you must fulfill are under this card, all the "have to's" in your life. Contracts (good or bad) are an example. If you're looking for a
contract (like new work) it's good, if you're looking to get out of one, not so good as you're tightly bound to it.
32. El Musico (The Musician)
El musico trompa de hule, ya no me quiere tocar.
The musician oiled his horn, but now he doesn't want to play for me.
Despite the saying for this card, most of the images are of a man playing guitar so don't let that confuse you.
This is a card of expectations dashed. Someone promised you something and it's not happening. Something was supposed to happen and now it's not going to. Maybe a seller didn't ship your package on time. Maybe someone promised you work and then gave the job to his brother-in-law. Maybe you were going to have a picnic but it's raining. All sorts of things like that.
It can be about someone being stubborn and not acceeding to your wishes as easily as you'd hoped.
It could also be someone deceiving you, acting one way then suddenly another.
33. La Arana (The Spider)
Atarmatamela a palos, no me la dejes hegar.
Stun it with blows, just don't let her get me!
Eek! A Spider! Well, that's pretty much my reaction to a spider (I'm getting better though). This card urges you to take precautions against an enemy that means you harm. You need to act because if you wait the risk increases. It can also mean you need to take immediate action to resolve an issue.
34. El Soldado (The Soldier)
Uno, dos y tres, el soldado p'al cuartel.
One, two and three, the soldier goes to the barracks.
The Soldado is all about doing things in the right order, doing your duty, being strict and unyielding. A soldier has a job to do and does it. Someone in the situation may be too rigid and uncompromising though and make the situation impossible to
deal with. Doing what we know is what we're going to do most times. The soldier going to his barracks also implies that now may be a time of rest after finishing a tough job.
35. La Estrella (The Star)
La guia de los marineros.
The guide of sailors.
There's guidance available to you in the situation. Seek it out. Help and hope is available if you recognize it and make use of it. You need guidance in this situation and can't just rely on your own resources.
36. El Cazo (The Saucepan)
El caso que te hago es poco.
The attention I pay you is little.
(there's a play on words between cazo and caso)
If you're not paying attention you're going to miss something you need to know!
Conversely, the situation isn't worth your attention so you can ignore it. You may be feeling ignored yourself in the situation and you want or need someone else to listen to what you're saying.
37. El Mundo (The World)
Este mundo es una bola y nosotros un bolon.
The world is a sphere and we the foundation.
Like the man holding the world his shoulders you need to be strong, be the foundation in this situation. Everything depends on a good beginning so if there are problems look to the foundations of the problem. Things are interconnected and can't exist one without the other.
Someone may be feeling like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and need help easing the burden.
38. El Apache (The Apache) [Sometimes called The Thug]
Ay chihuahua! Cuanto apache con pantalon y huarache?
Ay! How many apache/thugs are there with pants and sandals?
This is another racially iffy card from the past...
The card is saying there's someone in the situation you can't trust. You're surrounded by dangers and problems and need to protect yourself. Possibly someone is encroaching on a situation they have no business being involved with.
39. El Nopal (The Cactus)
Al que todos van a ver cuando tiene que comer.
To which all go when they have to eat.
A cactus is a source of water in the desert and can be eaten as well once the thorns are removed. This card shows you there's an unexpected source of help for you in tough times. It may not be the best solution but it's the only choice you have so hold your nose and make it. You know what you have to do to get things done.
40. El Alacran (The Scorpion)
El que con la cola pica.
He that bites with his tail.
An attack is coming! Someone's about to stab you in the back, or someone you thought you could trust you really can't so watch them. General caution warning no matter the situation because something bad is coming out of left field to bite you.
41. La Rosa (The Rose)
Rosita, Rosaura ven que te ahora quiero.
Rosita, Rosaure, come, as I want you here now.
Someone in the situation desires something a lot. There's a need to be transparent and straight forward about what you want or need and you need to communicate that
outward. What's wanted is in plain sight and can't be ignored. Someone may be desiring something they can't have and is pining for it.
42. La Calavera (The Skull)
Al pasar por el panteon, me encontre una calavera.
As I passed by the cemetery, I found a skull.
Well, a cemetery is where you'd expect to find a skull. The card can be about finding something that's a bit of a shock, a bit unpleasant, but not wholly unexpected in the situation. Something in the situation is exactly where they're supposed to be. When looking at a situation you might find something you weren't really looking for so make sure you really want to go looking. It could be a sudden realization of one's own mortality.
Also, look to the ancestors for help, they love to hear from us and want to help us!
43. La Campana (The Bell)
La camapana y tu debajo.
The bell and you beneath it.
My main meaning for this card has always been: There's something hanging over your head. Something weighty and can't be ignored for long. If you're ignoring it you'll soon wake up when that bell starts ringing.
44. El Canarito (The Pitcher)
Tanto va el cantaro al agua, que se quiebra y te moja las enaguas.
The pitcher goes to the water so often that it breaks and wets your slip.
Doing the same thing over and over is going to lead to disaster. Someone is being obsessive here and not willing to change what they're doing. Carrying on despite the danger and not giving up. You need to try something new.
45. El Venado (The Deer)
El venado no ve nada.
The deer doesn't see anything.
Someone is ignoring something in the situation or they aren't telling the truth.
Wilful ignorance. Like a deer running instantly instead of investigating someone it the situation is just acting instinctively and not stopping to investigate and see what's really going on. Going through life with blinders on.
46. El Sol (The Sun)
La cobija de los pobres.
The roof of the poor.
There's always help no matter how bad things look. Look on the bright side of life. Take help where you can find it. Help those less fortunate around you.
47. La Corona (The Crown)
El sombrero de los reyes.
The hat of kings.
There's someone or something very important in this situation that needs to be paid attention to. A king can be capricious and so can this person. It can also indicate success at something and being "crowned" the winner. Authority of all kinds is represented by the crown. Either you need to assert your authority or pay attention to those who do have it.
48. La Chalupa (The Little Boat)
Rema que rema va Lupita, sentada en su chalupita.
Lupita paddles as she may, sitting in her little boat.
This one comes up a lot for me in readings and usually means take things slowly, go steady and you'll get things done. Just because her boat is small doesn't mean it isn't effective. You don't need grand gestures or lots of resources to accomplish your goals if you take things one thing at a time and go easy.
49. El Pino (The Pine)
Fresco, oloroso y en todo tiempo hermoso.
Fresh, fragrant, and in all times beautiful.
There's a positive outcome to the situation leaving you looking good. The pine looks good in all times implying a steadiness and endurance needed in the situation to keep up the status quo. Things are going well, looking good. Look to the good things in the situation.
50. El Pescado (The Fish)
El que por la boca muere aunque mudo fuere.
He who dies by the mouth, even though mute.
Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut before you cause anymore harm.
Someone in the situation is talking too much and spreading trouble. Miscommunication is going on. Gossip, backbiting, nasty rumors. Don't go after the bait someone offers you because it will just get you in trouble. Something's too good to be true.
51. La Palma (The Palm Tree)
Palmera sube a la palma y bajame un coco real.
Palm grower go up a palm and bring me a royal coconut.
Someone is working hard to please you or you're working hard in the situation to please someone else. You'll get what you desire though. Reaping the reward for the work you've put into a situation.
52. La Maceta (The Flower Pot)
El que nace pa'maceta no sale del corredor.
He who is born to a flower pot won't leave the corridor.
Circumstances are against you and you just have to accept your lot in life. Some people never change and you can't expect them to now. Someone in the situation is sticking to routine and what they've always done and aren't willing to try new things or compromise. It is what it is.
This card often comes up for me as meaning "Day to day routine. The same old same old, nothing much happening today." Especially in daily reads.
53. El Arpa (The Harp)
L'arpa vieja de mi suegra ya no sirve pa'tocar.
The old harp of my mother-in-law is no longer fit to play.
Getting rid of useless things in your life. Old ways of doing things are working anymore and you need to update and modernize. Get with the times. Don't burden yourself with what's no longer pleasing you or helping you. Somethings are best left in the past.
54 La Rana (The Frog)
Al ver a la verde rana que brinco pego tu hermana.
What a jump your sister gave as she saw the green frog.
Something might seem frighting or daunting at first sight but it's really nothing to be afraid of. You may be surprised by something in the situation that turns out to be nothing when you've calmed down. Don't overreact to things going on, keep calm.
Someone may be enjoying your discomfort as well.