Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Deck Review: Santa Muerte Tarot

Fabio Listrani, Santa Muerte Tarot. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 2017. ISBN: 978-0738754383. (Made by Lo Scarabeo but distributed in the US by Llewellyn, so link to Llewellyn)

Genre: divination, card decks
Subgenre: Tarot, Santa Muerte
Format: 78 cards deck with  small companion booklet in small box
Source: I bought this new via that one big online retailer we all love to hate

Llewellyn's promo photo for the deck
A big reason I acquired this deck is that creator Fabio Listrani also created the Night Sun Tarot deck (link to Aeclectic), another favorite of mine I hope to review down the road. I pre-ordered the Santa Muerte Tarot when it became available, something I rarely do, but the moment I saw this coming I went ahead and got it. I am glad I did for this deck has become a favorite for me.

The deck comes in small but solid box with a top lid. Inside, you get the 78 cards deck; the deck also has an extra liner/cover card. In addition, you get a small companion book. The book is a paperback bound booklet, which is better quality than the usual little white book (LWB) you often get. The booklet is your typical Lo Scarabeo booklet with  the information in multiple languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese. I will note that it is possible the translations are not consistent. I took a look at the Spanish section, and it seems a bit less in terms of content when compared to the English version. Still, the basic information is there. Overall, the booklet is pretty basic. It contains:

  • A short biography of the author. 
  • An introduction about Santa Muerte, its cult and tradition. 
  • The Major Arcana. Meanings for every card, including "the Advice of the Dead." 
  • Minor Arcana. Meanings for every card. These are a bit shorter than the meanings in the Major Arcana. You also get "the Advice of the Dead" for every Minor Arcana card. 
  • Ouija. The Oracle of the Dead. A spread to use specifically with the deck. 
  • A small piece on drawing a card of the day. 
The book is a simple on, but I still keep it handy when I am using the deck. I particularly like the "Advice of the Dead," which I often use as additional advice or as an affirmation to go with my daily card draws.

The cards have beautiful and colorful art. All cards feature calaveras (skull) and skeleton figures. Also, the borders on the cards are small and minimal, so you can really appreciate the art. I'd say there are some elements you may recognize from Rider Waite Smith (RWS), but much of the art is the deck's own art and system. The colorful art is rich, and it has plenty of symbols and concepts. It definitely lends itself to intuitive reading. If you use meanings more, the book's meanings go well with the cards and maintain the Santa Muerte theme.

You do not have to be a Santa Muerte devotee to use the deck. I feel devotees may get a good use of it as well if they choose this deck. For me, a strength of the deck is that it has a quirky sense of humor at times. It is a deck that can provide serious messages as well, but it also makes me smile and even laugh at times. No, Death does not always have to be serious.

I've used the deck for personal readings and in readings for other people. Client response is often a bit of curiosity and overall positive. This is usually one of the four or five decks I take with me when I do public readings.

The cards measure about 4 3/4 inches by 2 3/4 inches. The cardstock is on the thin side, but it is better quality than your typical Llewellyn deck. Cards have a slight glossy finish. They do feel like durable cards. The box, on the other hand, is solid, but the paint job is a bit weak. I've not had the deck for long, and the box's art is already wearing off. Otherwise, I am very satisfied and happy with this deck. This is a deck I now keep in my regular rotation, and it is one I highly recommend.

5 out of 5 stars.

Below are some card images from the deck. These are photos I have taken personally:

The Hermit-IX. As I consider this my personal card, I always look for it on a deck.

Justice- XI. This is the other card in Tarot that is crucial for me. For me, this is a favorite depiction of Justice.

Ten of Swords. In this deck, the tens in Minor Arcana all have a butterfly or moth, symbol of transformation. A nice detail. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Loved it it's a great deck!