Tarot of the Dead (Tarot de los Muertos) by Monica Knighton
Review by Dan Pelletier 

If you would like to order this deck, click here.

The little white booklet (LWB) opens with a couple of quotes.  One is, “Everything good needs replacing” by  Dave Matthews. 

The concept behind the deck is fairly simple.  It is a deck that pays homage to la Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – then points out and plays with our ‘fear’ and denial of death.  Monica Knighton tells us, “Mortality is simply not something we want to talk about or accept.  It implies a loss of control.”

This is not a ‘dark deck.’  This is a deck that is playful and joyful, full of life, the dead kicking up their heels, more than some of the living that we know.  The artwork is skillful, and uses a limited palette with an expertise that expresses a kaleidoscope of intent.

I love the simple unillustrated pips…and the double-ended courts…I invite you to look at those court cards very carefully…they are not double ended – they are double illustrated…an advantage for those who read reversals…

At first, I was amused but a bit put off with the changing of the suits: Pistols, Pens, Coffins, and Reels (cinematic reels).  Then I sat down and read the LWB.  Twice.  Not only do I applaud the ‘change,’ it feels right: they rock.

It may take you seven minutes (504 or so heartbeats) to read this LWB, and I very highly recommend you do so.  It not only ‘opens up’ the deck, but it may just change your outlook on ‘life.’

I do have two issues with the deck.  Llewellyn’s packaging is dreadful; it consists of an oversized box that will not last long (not at all acceptable for deck storage), and a very inexpensive mesh bag.  The whole packaging feels cheap. The other issues is…as much as I like this deck – I may find that reviewing further decks will be somewhat difficult…I like it that much.

I would like to thank Llewellyn for making this deck more widely available.  I would like to thank Monica Knighton for creating it in the first place (should we meet, I owe you a hug).

With the holidays coming up, Dia de la Muertos always gets me in a festive mood.

Oh…and I almost forgot…The Tarot of the Dead features one of the most truly frightening ‘Death’ cards…ever…


You can read another review of this edition of the deck here and the original edition here.

If you would like to order this deck, click here.

Dan Pelletier lives 13 miles north of Seattle Washington with his lifemate of 19 years, Jan Welsh, his two cats, Spook and Pookha, and 31 rosebushes.  He has been reading cards for himself and others for 30+ years. Dan is also one of the owners of The Tarot Garden, a resource for tarot decks and related information on the Internet.

Images © 2004 Llewellyn Worldwide
Review © 2004 Dan Pelletier
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes