Divinely Inspired with Jennifer Steidley of Ferocious Ink
Divinely Inspired is designed to introduce you to my favorite creative people in the spiritual and metaphysical community and industry. As you may already know, I strongly believe that we are most in-tune with the Divine (Spirit, All, Universe, God, etc) when we are in the active state of creating, just like children at play. Unfortunately with the rise in popularity and commercialism in all things metaphysical and spiritual, now compounded by the use of artificial intelligence (AI), there is a lot of “stuff” out there that is just that, stuff that lacks any genuine Divine inspiration. My solution? Every so often, I will bring you one amazing creator whose work I believe to be Divinely inspired along with where you can find them in hopes that you follow their journey and gain inspiration for your own creative outlets. We all have the ability to create masterpieces and connect with Source while doing it, let them show you how!
While gearing up to speak at The International Divination Event (TIDE) in 2022, I came across the promo video of fellow Featured Speaker Jennifer Steidley on Instagram and knew immediately that this was someone in the spiritual and metaphysical community whose work I wanted to follow. In the video, she elaborated on her workshop and introduced herself as the author and creator of the Tarot Disassembled deck and guidebook. It took a whole one minute to go to her IG page, see Tarot Disassembled with its accompanying guidebook to know that this woman is truly a creative genius with something rather profound and unique. I was instantly determined to get my hands on both the deck and guidebook. My intent was to purchase them directly from her at the TIDE conference in just a few short weeks, but some change in plans prevented that from happening. Luckily, I saw that we were again going to share a stage at the Northwest Tarot Symposium (NWTS) as Featured Speakers a few months later so I reached out and asked her to please reserve a signed deck and guidebook for me to purchase. In reviewing the NWTS program, Jennifer’s class, Symbol Layer Cake, was one of my 3 MUST attend, and boy did she deliver; she spoke directly to my signs and symbols nerd heart. I was able to finally get my hands on Tarot Disassembled, the Guidebook, AND matching journal and altar/deck cloth! Let’s just say I became her unofficial deck pusher. Checkout this IG Live video of me discussing why. My whole hearted belief that Jennifer is Divinely inspired is more than just the geniusness of her work, I also had the pleasure to exchange tarot readings with her in a class at NWTS, and the cards spoke loud and clear, Jennifer is a conduit of Divine creation and she’s going to be one that makes waves in the industry through authenticity, Divine guidance and profound knowledge. Mark my words, she’s someone you want to keep your Eye on, and whose decks and books you will want to add to your collection!
Jennifer Steidley Short Bio
I am the creator and author of three self-published card decks including Tarot Disassembled, with 3 more decks currently in the works. I have worked as a graphic designer for over 25 years and have studied and been fascinated by Tarot my entire adult life. An avid deck collector and symbol researcher, I delight in finding the intersections between Tarot and seemingly unrelated topics. Currently, I am finishing up the artwork for the new Tarot Assembled Deck and have 2 other decks in the beginning stages. One is based on the concept of Superpowers and how they manifest and aid us in our spiritual lives. The other is based on the dual nature of poisons. I am fascinated by the science behind how certain substances can either harm or heal depending on the dosage.
Did you produce art or creative works prior to producing spiritual or metaphysical inspired pieces? If so, what did you do or do you still do?
Yes. My professional background is in graphic design, so I have always enjoyed creating digital art in my free time. The subject matter can be anything that strikes my fancy. I have some classical art training in various mediums, but I tend to only use sketching and painting to work out an initial idea. I almost always do the bulk of my creating on the computer. I also love to do old-school collage and make hand-knotted malas.
What was your first spiritual or metaphysical creation, and what inspired you to create it?
My first metaphysical creation was a deck called Botanic Whispers, an essential oil inspired affirmation deck. I have been a long-time user of essential oils and I noticed that, at the time, there seemed to be a lot of books and decks that focused on the physical and emotional benefits of these oils, but very few that focused on the spiritual energy of them. I wanted to create something that explored the spiritual guidance plants have to offer.
Do you research or spend any amount of time planning before you start working on a piece, or do you just let it flow following more of your intuitive process?
I must admit, I laughed out loud at this question. Research (and Danger) is my middle name! I am a research nerd to the core and I adore the process of researching and planning. That being said, there is usually an intuitive “hit” that initiates a particular idea for me and I tend to trust those fully and without question. I also find that once I’ve done a fair bit (or possibly obsessive) amount of research for a project, the actual creation starts to flow from a more intuitive place. Once I have structure and knowledge, the intuition takes over.
Some artists or creators work best during certain times of the day or evening, do you have a preference or notice any difference when it comes to your inspiration?
The lightbulb moments when a fresh idea pops into my brain can happen any time of day (even waking me out of sleep sometimes). But when it comes to the nitty gritty of the production and work on an idea, I tend to work best during the daytime. (Could be that the coffee is still fresh in my veins then.)
Do you follow astrological activity or even just simply lunar signs and phases for your creative process?
I do follow astrological and lunar activity… in the laziest ways possible. I’m fascinated by how those things may affect the energy of a project or phase. But I admittedly rarely put in the work to understand and interpret those things on my own. (This is why I adore Theresa Reed!) I did try to plan my last two Kickstarters around the phases of the moon though.
Do you have any special energy or spiritual practices that you do before, during, or after your creative sessions?
I would so love to say yes to this question, as it is always a goal of mine to incorporate more ritual into my creative processes. But the truth is I tend to be inconsistent with my spiritual practices in general. In some ways though, this works for me. I tend to overthink things and lean a tad bit towards perfectionism. I find I’m more in tune with Spirit when I don’t try too hard if that makes sense.
Do you feel a greater connection to the universe, spirit, God, all, etc. through being a creator or artist?
Most definitely. Call it a “higher calling” or your “true purpose” but there’s something truly magical that happens when you start to follow all those little nudges and breadcrumbs from Spirit. We all have something that pulls us in a direction that aligns with our greatest joy… that thing that lights us up. But (speaking from experience), we sometimes put up resistance to pursuing it. Being a creator and artist feels like I’m on the right path and I’m watching the road before me pave itself before my eyes. Without a doubt, it makes me feel more connected to divine source.
What is your favorite creation or piece to date and why?
I would have to say Tarot Disassembled. Not just because it’s what I’m best known for at this point, but because the process of going down the rabbit hole of researching for that deck has created a much deeper connection for me with my own Tarot practice. It has also opened new doors that I never expected and allowed me to spread my wings as a writer as well as an artist.
What advice would you give to those that say that they are not creative or artistic, and it’s just not in their capabilities?
I would advise them to give that belief a swift kick to the curb. We are all inherently creative creatures by design. Creativity manifests in so many different ways and is unique to each of us. You don’t have to be DaVinci to be an artist. Be open to the creative outlet that feels right to you, but whatever you do… honor it and give it a voice. And while you’re at it, give it tools as well. We are fortunate enough to live in an age where tutorials for just about any creative endeavor are just a click away for free on the internet. So dig in, explore and share your unique creativity with the world!
What do you like most about being a creator in the spiritual or metaphysical community?
I absolutely adore the authentic connections and friendships with other creators and spiritual folk that have come about for me from being a creator in this unique community. It has opened me up to deeper learning as well as inspiration on all fronts. There’s nothing better than meeting someone who is as excited about a subject such as Tarot or symbolism as I am. The ensuing nerdouts are the best! (Brandy, I’m looking at you.)
What do you hope your work will bring to the world as a whole, particularly those in the spiritual community or on a personal spiritual journey?
My hope is that the things I create can be useful tools to make the sometimes-tedious and often challenging work of personal spiritual development a little easier (and possibly even a little fun).
What is your ultimate personal or professional goal as a creator or artist?
Let’s see… World domination maybe? Okay, all jokes aside, I can honestly say that I’m not sure. I definitely have goals of creating more decks. There’s something about the nature of decks that just makes sense to me at my very core. Art and spirituality coinciding in a structured system… yes, please! I also want to delve more into writing. But other than that, I’m just really enjoying watching the path unfold in front of me right now, brick by brick, and seeing what magical places it leads to.
Do you have an opinion about the advent or use of AI art, particularly in the spiritual community?
I have been following the ongoing dialogue around AI art and am very curious to see how it will continue to develop. On one hand, I share the concerns of many of my friends in the art community. This technology is very new and the ethics around it have not caught up yet. I know many artists are seeing their artwork blatantly stolen without consent and being “fed” into the AI programs. This just feels blatantly wrong and points to a need for some type of legal structure to be put in place to protect artists more efficiently.
On the other hand, I have a good artist friend who began experimenting with one of the AI programs when it was new, approaching it with a sense of play and curiosity, and was intrigued by what was coming out of them. She has invited me to potentially assist her on a project inspired by these AI creations. We’ve had many in depth conversations around it and I’ve expressed that I would not be comfortable working on a project that solely used images that came straight from AI. But in this case, they are more of an inspiration and starting point. We have discussed the possibility of greatly altering the original images using Photoshop and other modalities to create something wholly new from pieces of the AI and art imagery from other sources, including her drawings. This has made me consider the possibility that AI has more potential as a tool then I first believed.
One last thing that I’ll say about AI art… energy is everything and that definitely applies here. For example, using AI to bust out a deck without putting in time, energy and thought, particularly with the intention of making a quick buck, has an energy to it. (An icky one if you ask me.) Intentionally mimicking an artist’s unique style and attempting to profit from that? Bigtime icky energy. AI is accused of being soulless. But in my mind, the soul or soullessness lies more in the user’s intention.
Want to connect with Jennifer and follow her work?
You can find and follow her as Ferocious Ink on Instagram and Facebook, and checkout her decks and books at www.FerociousInk.com
A HUGE thank you to Jennifer for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her creative wisdom with us!
© Brandy Rachelle
Uncredited images from my personal collection or stock images