Deck Name: Santos & Signs Oracle
Creator(s): Mellissae Lucia
Publisher & Year: Indie 2021

Overview: Santos & Signs Oracle was created by Mellissae Lucia, an award winning artist, photographer, author, and oracle creator. The deck is a smash cut of religious iconography, distressed billboards, and keywords. The cards combine to create a mega deck but can easily be broken down into the three separate components that form the 136-card deck. The set of decks arrive in a drawstring pouch along with a piece of rose quartz, soil from New Mexico, and a medallion. The application for this deck depends entirely on the user and how they are called to interpret and use the cards.

Experience: Initially, my understanding of the deck was that it was based on catholic imagery and symbolism which intimidated me. I have a very limited understanding of catholicism and I was worried that my lack of knowledge might limit my experience with this deck. My doubts were put to rest as I began to play with the structure of this deck. Structure is used loosely here as there is no guidebook or suggestion for how to interpret the cards or their images. It’s truly an art piece and the images will move people differently. There is an overwhelming presence from the Madonna, Guadalupe and/or Mother Mary in the cards. As a result, I found these images to be calming, relaxing, and maternal. The first reading I used this deck for was for a friend who was in her third trimester. The images and keywords flowed together flawlessly for a clear message that left us both at peace. In subsequent readings, I was able to address fears and anxieties that are a common theme in my life.

As stated in the introduction, Santos and Signs is made up of several decks. I’ve addressed the Santos part but what about the signs? Well the “signs” is a reference to the photos of graffiti, signage, and long forgotten billboards that make up the images for the second photo component of this set. Ironically, the signs are more abstract. Many images are close up, or crop out the full picture. Instead of seeing the full images, I was forced to focus on a single point, on a logo, or a color that jumped out to me. As a result I got to spend time trying to figure out exactly what those images and “signs” meant for me personally.

The third component of this set of decks are the keywords. Mellissae calls them devotional concepts. In her description of the cards she suggests that the devotional concept cards offer perspectives or actions for best embracing the current phase of your journey. I found that these cards gave me a sense of direction when the path or the message wasn’t clear. I have a few decks that consist of just keywords and I appreciate how they can redirect focus or create a new perspective to a message you may think you already know. 

Likes and Dislikes: One of the things I really appreciate about this set of decks is the size. The cards are 2.5” x 3.5” with the devotional concept cards measuring 1.75” x 2.5”. This smaller size is perfect for a pocket deck and convenient for travel. They would make excellent altar cards and would be nice for a personal altar set up. As far as dislikes go, I have to say that I don’t know if the Santos works well with the Signs. I find the juxtaposition of the two decks to be a bit confusing and chaotic but, as I said in the intro, this is a smash cut. Smash cuts aren’t always my thing. However, the devotional cards work seamlessly with both the Santos and the Signs and work nicely on their own with other decks too. 

Real World Representation: Because the images in this deck are of religious icons and pre existing signage,  I didn’t not make an assessment of the real world representation. 

Conclusion: I find the Santos and Signs deck to be a beautiful and unusual work of art. My personal experiences with it were surprising and eye opening. It gave me the opportunity to work with something I wouldn’t typically go for and as a result has expanded the variety of my deck collection.