Tarot de Muerto: Tarot of the Dead. This deck is based on the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. Every November 2nd Mexicans honor those who have passed on. That is the theme of this deck. The artist, Monica Knighton first created this deck in the mid 1990’s. It is her take on the classic Rider-Waite deck, but her beautiful water color drawings are whimsical and filled with detail. All of her depictions are skeletons; with the exception of Major Arcana card #13 – Death. Death is depicted as a beautiful, robust and very much alive pregnant woman. This is the antithesis of most Tarot decks, though the meaning is the same: Change. She has also taken the four suits and altered them as well. Instead of Swords there are Pistols, Cups are shown as Coffins, Wands are Pens and Pentacles are Film Reels. I love this deck because it is so different and, I feel, not quite as rigid as the “classic” Tarot decks out there. The feel of this deck, while complex, is easy going. The first card in the Major Arcana, The Fool, is happy go lucky skeleton meandering down the road into the unknown. Every time I look at this card I think of “Truckin’” and “Goin’ Down the Road” by the Grateful Dead. The Fool represents the journey of “Every Man”. The openings of lines of “Truckin’” are:
“Truckin’, got my chips cashed in.
Truckin’, like the do-da man.
Truckin’, more or less in line,
Just keep truckin’ on.
(Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Hunter)
All of us are “everyman”, living our lives, taking what comes and we just keep truckin’ on, and eventually we would like to end up in a place “where the climate suits our clothes”. While an alternative to other decks Tarot de Muerto should not be taken lightly: though the cards are more whimsical in appearance the messages it gives are still important and should not be ignored. Ms. Knighton beautifully and whimsically weaves in the rituals and traditions of this Latino holiday through out this deck with out compromising or losing the messages that the cards have to give.
This is not a deck for the Novice reader. It is a great addition for those of you who (like me) enjoy collecting Tarot decks of all sorts. Unfortunately Ms. Knighton no longer manufactures the deck herself. It is now printed through Llewellyn and is available through Amazon.com.
If you wish to view this deck and purchase it through Amazon .com click here:
Tarot of the Dead