You might be wondering why I would pick up this mini version of the classic Santa Muerte Tarot in June! This is an ideal deck for Halloween and Dias de los Muertos in November, no? Well, yes it is, but it's a deck that brings to mind the hot Mexican sun and the kind of climate that only passes our way in the summer months in the UK. So, being pretty much a weather obsessed society, I thought this small version of the folk-saint book of the dead would be the perfect summer companion. But, how does it measure up?
The first difference between this version and the full size deck is the borders. The original, as you can see in the comparison photos, has these half height borders. They're fine but you have to remember that you're reading from the inside out so that you don't confuse your 6's with your 9's. The mini deck has all round white borders with the title banner at the bottom. They're super-easy to read and I find they don't interfere with reading. If you are bothered by them, they could easily be trimmed as they are replicated on the card backs.
The next thing you'll notice about the deck is the fantastic continuation of bold colours. One of the major attractions of this deck and the tales its based upon is the bright, colourful people and places it represents. The one card that looks most different is the Moon card, XVIII. The purple waters are more blue in the mini deck but just as vibrant. There is a difference in card stock from the original glossy card to a more satin finish. It enables the colour saturation to remain true and with a playing card feel to them, you can riffle shuffle even though they are tiny. Bridging is a stage too far for the small size but they overhand like a dream.
They come in a sturdy two part box with no finger holes on the sides. While flipping through the cards for the first time, I noticed something that I did not expect to find. Even though they measure a diminuitive 8 x 5cms, as they don't include the half borders, you can actually see more of the image. In cards such as the Three of Cups above, you can see more of the figures, in the Two of Cups the right arm of the figure is now visible. In many of the cards it just means you can see more flowers but it did surprise me that you can see more in the small deck than you can in the larger cards.
So, can you read with cards this small? Yes, you can. There are many busy images in this deck but they have translated very well. I think the combination of good production quality and the stunning art of Fabio Listrani lends this deck a warmth that helps facilitate easy readings.
There is a little white book in the mini deck that is in the traditional multiple languages and only the first 7 pages are in English. However, the writing is such small font, its helpfulness is limited. So I would say this isn't a great deck for new readers but would be a good option if you loved the full size version and either want to revisit the world of Santa Muerte or need a deck for on the go.