Santa Muerte Tarot Book of the Dead was created by artist Fabio Listrani and produced by Lo Scarabeo. This 78 card standard tarot card size deck includes a multi-lingual book filled with translations, words from the dead along with one card spread.
The box is a typical Lo Scarabeo Tarot box with removable lid and high quality sturdy box to protect your investment. I found the guidebook to be interesting, in both a good and a bad way. It’s faults are lacking further explanation of the meaning behind the depictions on the cards, the bonus being a really interesting look into the message through a colorful explanation unlike most “little white books.” Descriptors to not only make you ponder with the added bonus of ‘words from the dead’ about the message and the overall message of the card.
The loss for me is the disconnect between traditional RWS card imagery and meanings without a written bridge, so to speak, in the book to help me to better understand. We will dive into that more later. For now, in general, the deck certainly is based within the RWS system, however it really strays from this when we dive into the minor arcana.
One example of this can be seen when we look at the 10s of each suit. The artist’s interpretation of this card is that the 10s represent a completion of a task. This is the card of gaining a full understanding, manifesting and changing our lives. Hence the representation of this metamorphosis when we come to this card.
Now…listen…I get it…BUT…to me there’s a lot lost in translation here:
- 10 of Swords: Painful endings, deep wounds, loss, crisis
- 10 of Pentacles: Family, financial security, success, wealth
- 10 of Wands: Burden, hard-work, extra responsibility
- 10 of Cups: Bliss, harmony, alignment, divine love
This imagery speaks NOTHING of that to me, and as a newb if I am in a moment of having a hard time recalling information, I’m immediately at a loss and have to look up the answer. This is seen throughout the minor arcana cards ( not all, but a lot).
From what I’m understanding, this deck seems to pull more on the Numerology meanings. Traditional RWS cards use a wide variety of symbolism: Plant, animal, color, numbers, facial expressions, body poses, direction, etc. I find that most of the cards in the minor arcana in this deck that I have trouble with even have different meanings due to only be basing this translation only on numerology!
My favorite Major Arcana cards are probably some of my MOST favorite major arcana cards over any deck! The artistry of this deck is certainly like no other. SO much detail is included in every card your eye can’t help but discover new things the more you look at them. For sure, with the imagery of skeletons as the characters put almost a deeper meaning in a new look for the cards. This I appreciate…
The Aces are interesting for a few reasons. 1, they’re not “aces” they’re 1 lol Also what is slightly puzzling is the incorporation of traditional playing card imagery of the heart in cups and spades in swords which carries out throughout the suit’s theme. Whereas the pentacles and wands are left without this. The book does not elaborate on this and I am not intrigued enough to scour the realms of knowledge for an answer.
Just as with the minor arcana, I have mixed feelings about the court cards as well. I do enjoy the colored theme that carries through each suit giving conformity to the court cards and allowing them to stand out. Again, some of the cards I am able to derive direct meanings from, others not so much.
Example: The Queen of Cups, though she is a dead expressionless skeleton, she is presenting her heart to the quierent, showing she is loving and caring and nurturing….got it. Knight of Cups, I know him as the ‘Rico Suave’ of the deck, action oriented, emotional lover, instead I have a dead expressionless skeleton I don’t get that.
Now listen, do I have thoughts on how to improve it? No.
Is it a great deck overall that I would recommend if someone was interested in it: YES, most certainly.
Do I recommend this to people who consider themselves in a novice reading level? NO, just beware the pitfalls that are lost in translation.
Thank you for joining me here in the Squirrel Nest and reading through my gibber-gabber 🙂 If you would like to see the full flip through of this deck feel free to click on the link below!
Also, you can PURCHASE THE DECK HERE
Much love and have a blessed day!