I purchased this deck a couple of months ago. I admit that I wasn't sure what to expect. I love mandalas, I love tarot, I love astrology. What's not to love? Well, it turns out, for the most part, it is quite lovable.
Anyway...this deck is one that I really enjoyed right off the bat, even though I didn't use it exactly in the way it's intended (but that has more to do with my personality than anything.)
At the risk of rambling on and on I'd like to divide the deck's attributes into 'things I liked' and 'things that I didn't like or were confusing to me' to make this less complicated:
Things I Liked:
*I enjoyed the concept of an astrological deck. I have a few decks which utilize astrology and since I have an interest in astrology I find this a nice added layer of meaning.
*I love the ability read the cards as left, right, upright and reversed. I particularly liked the idea of cards representing either as originating from the self or outside of the self. This makes reading court cards SO much easier, which has been a struggle for me, despite reading for nearly twelve years with the tarot on a near-daily basis.
*Despite making it harder to shuffle in a traditional sense, I like the square shape and the clean, simple artwork.
*I like the fact that you can either delve deeply into the astrological symbolism or not, depending on how you're feeling that day.
*I like that this would be good for astrology novices or advanced astrology students, alike. I'm somewhere in the middle.
*I like the somewhat unexpected meanings of the cards, which add an interesting twist to the readings I've done with the cards.
Things I found somewhat challenging:
*The square shape, which was visually appealing, was hard to shuffle, but really it wasn't a big deal to me.
*The unusual astrological meanings are difficult to learn if you're accustomed to traditional tarot meanings (which I am) and I found myself constantly struggling not to apply the 'normal' tarot meanings...however...I did come up with a system of applying both, and it actually works really well! If you are not familiar with traditional tarot card meanings then you won't struggle with this at all.
*There's a bit more of a learning curve (again, see comment above about the meanings) but I do think it's worth it.
Overall I would say this deck is now in my top 5 favorite decks, and I own more than 30, and have owned more than that (I've given away quite a few.) Appreciating tarot decks is a very individual sport. Everyone has their own personal tastes in both artwork and descriptions. I think this is a very worthwhile deck that would be a great change of pace from the tried and true but sometimes boring Rider-Waite clone.
Upon final review, I've decided to give it a full five stars, even though this deck is not 'perfect' I think it fulfills its duties and even exceeds expectations. I don't demand perfection from my decks...just personality, knowledge and a good reading, which this deck provides in spades!