Sasha Graham & Andrea Chiarvesio talk Tarot Compendium

14 February 2017



The Illuminati High Priestess will travel to your doorstep one more time. This time wearing emerald. At least: if you decide to back the latest edition in the Lo Scarabeo Tarot Encyclopedia that started with Tarot Fundaments and was followed by Tarot Experience. The closing piece: Tarot Compendium. Especially for The Queen’s Sword author & editor Sasha Graham and Lo Scarabeo marketing manager Andrea Chiarvesio loosen the tongues on the final book & all the extra’s, just before the last Kickstarter launch.

Tarot CompendiumIn what differs Compendium from Experience?

Sasha: Compendium is very different than Experience. Experience was really about getting inside the Tarot practice, discovering what you can do with the cards and the transformative nature of the cards. Experience was about the play, joy and expansion of ‘the tarot experience’. Compendium is the book in which all the esoteric and other information is compiled. Need the astrological association of the Page of Wands? Curious about how Kabbalah relates to the Tarot? Itching to take a peek at the Esoteric Functions of the cards? How are the Four Medieval Humors associated with Tarot? All of this will be inside Compendium. You’ll never have to Google that information again.

Which subjects are being tackled?

Sasha: Kabbalah, Alchemy, Elemental Dignities, Astrology, Colors, Numerology, etc.

Are future readers allowed to suggest topics for Tarot Compendium, or is the idea box full?

Andrea: We’ll be having some extra contents if we reach certain goals with the Kickstarter campaign but the book as it is it’s complete ;).

Can we expect the same authors or do you have a surprise in store for us?

Andrea: The main content will be from the same team of authors that developed the text, under the supervision of Sasha, of course. As with the first two books, however, we might have additional contents (if we do reach the stretch goals on Kickstarter) with contributions from other tarot experts from all over the world. To discover their names, however, you will have to look at the Kickstarter page on day 1 of the campaign (TSQ: Sorry guys, I tried 😉 ).

What makes the adding of Compendium the trio a complete set?

The second book, called Tarot Experience was recently delivered to backers. The third book will be green.

The second book, called Tarot Experience was recently delivered to backers.

Sasha: Compendium is a perfect Tarot book-end. Usually, to find advanced information, one needs to be in a tarot class, take a correspondence course or search for this information. Compendium is wonderful because it puts all the information at the reader’s fingertips. Should they still take a class? Yes, of course. Especially when you are working with heady, esoteric theory. But they will always have all the essential esoteric information, additional spreads, games and loads of information that didn’t fit in the first two volumes, snuggly sitting on their bookshelf. Everything tarot will be handy and accessible for when they need it.

Would you ever consider adding a 4th book and if so, what would that look like?

Andrea: As far as Lo Scarabeo is concerned, this is a complete work as it is. However, since there are always new findings, new interesting tarot decks, concept and theories, we don’t totally rule out having a 4th book at some point in the future, maybe it will only be released as an e-book. But it will also depend on Sasha… I believe after three books she feels her job is complete, at least for now!

Sasha: Yes, my work is done :).

Was this project everything you hoped for?

Andrea: As Lo Scarabeo, it is really the fulfillment of an editorial dream. The project was so ambitious that it would not have been possible to make it the way it turned out to be without crowdfunding and the support of many amazing people, including our authors. So, yes, it is.

Can you give us a funny anecdote from the whole Encyclopedia making process?

Sasha Graham, editor of Tarot Compendium.

Sasha: Ha! Yes. I was scheduled to have dinner with Andrea here in New York City. He was bringing me a copy of Tarot Fundamentals. We had never met each other in person. Only emails. Our dinner was in Tribeca. I walked down from my neighborhood in NoMad. Blocks and blocks away from the restaurant, I saw a man waiting to cross the street and knew it was Andrea (because I google everyone)! I ran up to him and think I scared him a little. Who is this crazy woman yelling my name on the sidewalk. In retrospect, very glad it was indeed Andrea and not a stranger :).

Andrea: I was a bit surprised, but not scared… I immediately figured out it was Sasha ;). Actually it was a really nice dinner at a ninja-themed sushi restaurant in Tribeca. The fake-ninja were a bit scary, on the other hand!

Andrea Chiarvesio LS

Andrea Chiarvesio LS

Can you paint us a picture of how this whole book making process went on the premises of LS…or was it a work-at-home-project?

Sasha: I live in New York City. The work on my end is done remotely from my laptop. I Skyped with Riccardo Minetti when we got down to the nitty gritty at the end. I always pined away wishing I was sitting in the same office as Ric, drinking espresso, working side by side with him on these books. Plus, Lo Scarabeo has a view of the Italian Alps from their office. Me? I get a view of New Jersey.

There were some complaints the first time around with the KS about missing decks, no mentioning in books (your editor did the same, cause I never received one of my decks and am not mentioned as a contributor). With book 2 people still weren’t satisfied with delivery times, because it arrived after Christmas for some. Is there anything you will be doing different this time as LS to make sure with number 3 everyone is satisfied?

Andrea: We learned a lot with our first Kickstarter campaign. It was not even ‘our own’ since we had to borrow River Horse’s page in order to make it happen. The second campaign, the Experience one, has seen a lot of improvement. Still, it was not without its own issues when it came to delivering everything. We tried hard to deliver to everyone by Christmas time, but for some nations it was simply impossible (Brazil, Russia). With some others we were on the edge of time, so a couple of US or Canadian backers had their decks 1-2 weeks after Christmas. We are further speeding up the editorial process, and this year’s KS campaign will be only 30 days long instead of 40 in order to save at least ten more days.

We have arranged a different and hopefully more efficient deal with Llewellyn, our partner in US and Canada, to deliver the books faster over there. But of course there is always something unpredictable that could ‘put a spanner in the works’ and cause unexpected delays. We are totally committed to make Compendium our biggest KS campaign ever, and to make everyone happy and fully satisfied with their book.

Every book so far had several large prints of Erik C Dunne’s newest deck. Will all KS buyers have a full altar Major Arcana set after this? Or will there even be more (Apokalypsis) goodies?

Andrea: Yes, with Compendium the backers will have the opportunity to finish their full Major Arcana set from Tarot Apocalypsis. And we’re of course planning extra goodies as stretch goals.

When will the new Kickstarter launch? And is there anything you’ll be adding to make it more interesting?

Lo Scarabeo celebratory historical Etteilla deck.

The box of the coming limited edition Lo Scarabeo celebratory historical Etteilla deck. This gives you an idea what the style will be. The Queen’s Sword got the first look!

Andrea: we’re currently looking at end of February/early March launch. In addition to the usual perks (extra contents, large prints, tarot bag) we’re having at least three special projects for this campaign:

1) We will print a limited edition deck, that will only be available through the Kickstarter campaign and at the exhibition in Torino that will celebrate thirty years of Lo Scarabeo. It’s going to be the reproduction of an historical Etteilla deck, printed in 1.000-1.500 copies – depending on how the KS goes – in a special commemorative box.

2) One of the stretch goals will see 32 ‘golden’ pages added only in the Kickstarter copies of the book. In other words: copies sold in bookstores, both online and offline, will have the same content but without goldening of the pages.

3) There will be some very limited pledge levels where it will be possible to get an invitation to the great opening of the Tarot Exhibition that we’ll have for three months here in Torino at the Museum of Modern Arts Ettore Fico. It will be a celebration of the story of tarot and the anniversary of the Lo Scarabeo foundation, thirty years ago.

(^^TQS: I so love it when I get the news and first ever picture first!)

So, that was all I could find out for you guys on Tarot Compendium and the coming Kickstarter campaign. If you want to stay up-to-date I advise you to follow The Queen’s Sword’s Facebook page (always more news and updates than the website even) and the Lo Scarabeo one. Am I the only one who thinks that Exhibitions sounds a-we-some?

For reviews on the previous books go to the links below:
Review Tarot Fundamentals | The Queen’s Sword
Review Tarot Experience | The Queen’s Sword

NB. All smileys are Sasha’s and Andrea’s 😀 (<—- this one is mine).

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