The Tarot of the Deaddead10.jpg (17258 bytes)                                                                        Review by Michele Jackson    

If you would like to order the Llewellyn edition of this deck, click here.

This deck is based on the Mexican holiday, Dia los Muertos.  The cards measure 2 3/4" X 3 3/4". The suits are Pens (Wands), Coffins (Cups), Pistols (Swords), and Reels (Coins). The art consists of what appear to be pen and ink line drawings, colored with watercolors. The colors are generally light, giving the deck a soft feel despite the macabre figures. The scenes are a mixture of the traditional imagery and modern scenes. .For example, a dog skeleton accompanies the Fool, but he has a backpack, vice the sack on a stick. The Emperor looks like an executive at his desk, complete with computer. All of the figures depicted are skeletons, with one exception – the Death card is a fully fleshed pregnant woman who looks like she belongs on an Empress card, but I am guessing that because the figures are already dead and devoid of flesh, she represents their opposite. There are some whimsical touches as well. The Hermit’s lamp is a jar lit by fireflies and the Wheel of Fortune is a bicycle. The backs show two skulls in black and white and are reversible.

The Major Arcana retain the traditional names. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page per the handout. However, the cards themselves have letters in the upper left corners and the letters are K, Q, J, P. The court cards are drawn like playing cards, so that you see one half of the figure upright. The upright and reversed figures are different so that the reversed meaning is apparent upon looking at the card. The Ace through ten are pips with Pens on a blue background, Pistols on a beige background, Coffins on a green background and Reels on a yellow background.

There is no little booklet. Instead, there is a folded sheet. that contains niether introduction nor background information. Card meanings are provided, both upright and inverted. The meanings are fairly traditional. The meanings are in English on one side and Spanish on the other. The box is a bit different, having a cutout portion in front that allows the cards to show through. The card stock is thinner than average, giving the cards a flimsy feel.

This is a cute deck that would probably be quite a hit at a Halloween party or at a Day of the Dead celebration. Its light colors and playful look would probably not scare anyone. I also recommend it for collectors.

See more cards from Tarot of the Dead

Tarot of the Dead
ISBN: 0-9674345-0-5

The deck is out of print in the independently published edition, but it has been republished. If you would like to order the Llewellyn edition of this deck, click here.

Images Copyright 1999 Monica Knighton

This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson