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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

1 Rooster Loteria.jpeg

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.

1 El Gallo
2. El Diablito Loteria.jpeg

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.

2 El Diablo
3. La Dama Loteria.jpeg

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.

3 La Dama
4. El Catrin Loteria.jpeg

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!

4 El Catrin
5. El Paraguas Loteria.jpeg

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.

5. El Paraguas (The Umbrella)
6. La Sirena Loteria.jpeg

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!

6. La Sirena (The Siren or The Mermaid)
7. La Escalera Loteria.jpeg

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.

7. La Escalera (The ladder)
8. La Botella Loteria.jpeg

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.

8. La Botella (The Bottle)
9. El Barril Loteria.jpeg

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.

9. El Barril (The Barrel)
10. El Arbol Loteria.jpeg

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.

10. El Arbol (The Tree)
11. El Melon Loteria.jpeg

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.

11. El Melon (The Melon)
12. El Valiente Loteria.jpeg

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.

12. El Valiente (The Hero)
13. El Gorrito Loteria.jpeg

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.

13. El Gorrito (The Baby Bonnet)
14. La Muerte Loteria.jpeg

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”.

14 La Muerte (Death)
15. La Pera Loteria.jpeg

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.

15. La Pera (The Pear)
16. La Bandera.jpeg

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.

16. La Bandera (The Flag)
17. El Bandolon Loteria.jpeg

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.

17. El Bandolon (The Mandolin)
18. El Violoncello Loteria.jpeg

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.

18. El Violoncello (The Cello)
19. La Garza Loteria.jpeg

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.

19. La Garza (The Heron)
20. El Pajaro Loteria.jpeg

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.

20. El Pajaro (The bird)
21. La Mano Loteria.jpeg

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.

21. La Mano (The Hand)
22. La Bota Loteria.jpeg

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.

22. La Bota (The Boot)
23. La Luna Loteria.jpeg

23. La Luna (The moon)

La farol de enamorados.

The lantern of lovers.