This week, I have the pleasure of welcoming Ina Auderieth to these premises for an exclusive interview. Ina is a talented artist who is working on a beautiful tarot, among other things.
What is your artistic background?
I have almost none. I went to an art school for one year only. I started drawing symbolic art and Tarot mainly because I felt the necessity to have a creative way to process my studies and the information, not because I thought I „drew so very well“ then.
What are the artistic techniques you use?
All pieces are drawn by hand. I work about 20 – 50 hours on a drawing, which is why I need 1 - 2 months per image.
I use Staedtler and Copic Pigment Liner from 0.03 – 8 mm. For the colours, Stabilo pens are mostly used.
I also often work with gold leaf and silver leaf. Because there is unfortunately no sustainable extraction method for gold leaf, I now only use my remaining stocks. The gold texture is now inserted in the newer works in the reworking. In the reworking, gold tones are inserted for the print version.
I have the impression that magic is an underlying theme in your work, what place does magic occupy in your work, in your life, in your inspiration?
It means more then drawing itself actually, at least in the beginning . Like I mentioned I started drawing at the same time when I discovered occult teachings. I really wanted to learn and decided that the best way to do that is to accompany the steps on the path with a creative way to express my experiences, thoughts and visions. Alchemy, hermetic and gnostic teachings are very important to me, and my piers on this often cloudy journey. Until this day, I use classical magic very rarely. Occultism was never meant for me to call on entities and establish power like it is often painted nowadays. It is more about finding a way inward, to get to know the own self better and to discover hidden layers of the worlds within and outside of us. Matter is written in symbols and there are fixed universal laws, defined steps and a general symbolic code we all experience in a similar context. That makes it possible to talk about initiation, awakening and gnosticism in an artistic way.
How did you meet the Tarot?
The Tarot that made the first impression on me was the Thoth Tarot by Lady Frieda Harris, concepted by Aleister Crowley. My family had it at home and as a child it already spoke to me on a different level. The card of the Hierophant and the High Priestess impacted me the most then. When I started drawing, about 20 years later I didn't expect that I was capable of drawing this rich symbolism myself. But with time I dived deeper and deeper and now I can't even think about a life without this symbols in general.
You work essentially with the Tarot, what is the Tarot for you? Is it only a divination tool or does the Tarot speak to us about something else ?
I'm one of the few people who don't use the Tarot as a divination tool - I mean, I rarely do. I'm not necessarily of the opinion that the general universe speaks through the Tarot. The universe is composed of countless different currents, entities and influences and to speak to "it" unfocused will only produce chaos and coincidences in my experience. I think if one uses it as a divination tool, it is necessary to guard oneself from outside influences or to focus on a specific one for a special purpose. If properly shielded the Tarot can be a translator of the higher/inner self or the subconsciousness, which is more valuable then to speak to outside forces. The metaphysical world speak to us in symbols. These symbols are like the code, matter and (other) energy is written in. So if the translation works, it should be possible to understand the different currents that influence us and even the own purpose in life better. So I'd call it more of a communication tool. To know the future has little value to me personally, but to know myself better is the ultimate purpose.
Is there a red line in your work, a theme or a general paradigm that you express in an underlying way in all your works?
The red line would be, that my goal is to include (and experience) every symbol, current and influence in my work that there is. All these different aspects should align and form a homo-gene work - that's why it's called the “conjunction” Tarot. It should be a truthful and neutral representation of the multiverse as a whole. It shall be honest, without hiding, beautifying or worshipping of just one current. I want it to be as much positive as negative as the whole is. Also, there are many gnostic messages hidden within the drawings. So within a possibly neutral Tarot interpretation, there is always a deeper layer involved, which can be discovered and experienced. In the best case my deck should represent a variety of gateways, a pier of tradition but also a fountain of creativity. I hope I succeed in this endeavour the best I can, but perfection doesn't exist and evolution continues, so I'm sure a few years from now I will be of different opinion about some symbols I use now in a certain way. The learning never stops.
The four of Wands is also rich of symbolism, could you develop it ?
Thirty-three small circles are surrounded by seven bigger circles. A spiral upwards connects both of them in a flowing matter. In the upper area the wheel of four wands is emerging within a triangle. Above the triangle a maze is surrounding the upper area. The bigger circles represent the seven chakras within the spine, which is pieced together by 33 vertebrae (the smaller circles). The spirals which wanders around and within them are analogue to the kundalini and the currents of the nadis - Ida (left), Pingala (right) and Sushumna (middle). This pillar in which the energy floats is surrounded by random patterns. These patterns are not random in the sense of chaotic forces, but they are rather gravid with potential and constructive energy. The goal is to call these forces to order and balance them in a productive way. This process is slow and steady in the best cases and leads to development of mind, body and soul. This is represented by the triangle in the upper area. The symbol of the Jacob's ladder in western mysticism is analogue to this teachings. The assignment which this card reveals to us, is to start laying healthy roots and at the same cutting those which are rotting. This cut is neither brutal nor forceful but rather a dismissal of the forces which one can't control or order yet. The task is to let them be free again into the constructive chaos, to be re-woken once again one day, when the time has come to "be together" once more. Once one is free, the ascent into balance and order can begin. This order is a synthesis of all of that which happens naturally - it is never forced and involves only the self and never others. One cannot order or control another being, but the will to do so would reveal the negative aspect of this card. This attempt wouldn't involve the intent of establishing power over others, but rather the intention to help, where no help is needed nor necessary.
Sometimes it can be hard to take a step back and just let people be, who they are, but it is necessary for their own development. There is a danger of looking down on fellows who aren't there yet or to elevate oneself above others. This can be a time of prosperity but also separation, so make sure to keep your connection to the world when reaching this point. If the card describes oneself, it is a symbol for inner harmony and the peace between the inner forces that thrive one another. The transition into this step in life can proudly be seen as a milestone, but not the ultimate goal. Coming home or returning to the self is sacred because it is a healthy reverence to the inner core. It is now time to step back and look upon the things one has achieved, within and outside. One has reached the glade, where it's save to rest and breath deeply before wandering along. The next step will be only the beginning of a new journey, symbolized by the maze and the two circle, representing new choices to make when wandering on.
How do you develop the interpretation of the Tarot cards. Are you basing yourself on other works or on your own meditations?
In the beginning I read a lot and took notices more then I felt inside of me. With time, when I started practising, meditating and sharpened my ability to have visions I more and more preferred using just what I saw and felt as an inspiration instead of basin my work on the artistic expressions of others. Most time it's truly magical when I discover that other artists had similar visions about the same symbolism. I nowadays read absolutely nothing about a card and start sketching. Then I compare different interpretations. Very often, it fits exactly and when it doesn't, there is always a deeper meaning in this difference. My mind still uses the different interpretation of the paths from the Thoth Tarot, and the cabbalistic references, so there is a fixed template which involves the elements, planets, the zodiac, the emanations and paths of course. It's not all just creativity but also tradition, otherwise it wouldn't be Tarot. That's because I draw an own symbolic pieces from time to time to not feel too restricted.
Your work "The arbitrator" is rich in symbolism, can you tell us about it?
The basic idea was to depict Jaldabaoth, the great architect or the puppet master. Duality is represented by the different competing forces on the right and left.
The chess game in the lower area represents the world or playfield we’re trapped in but also sheltered. However, like physical mushrooms can break concrete, this symbolic one is breaking reality and matter. The idea is that with every illusion comes a key to break free.
Even if it is thought that there is only duality and that it is almighty and holy and the only law that there is. There is more then a good and a bad choice, there is something hidden in between, a way out into the depth of a third, vast realm which is neither 0 or 1, good nor bad, past nor future but something entirely different. Every choice between the one or the other divides and makes us slaves to the physic world we live in unconsciously. To discover the hidden depth of a multidimensional realm within gives the freedom to find balance as well as a more purposeful way of life. It is not necessary to break free completely, but it is recommended to look closer into this universal truth, each and everyone in the own way. There is not only the surface of the ocean we can swim onto in one or the other direction, but a depth one can only discover by diving into it.
But remember, with freedom comes responsibility. Often one discovers that the illusion is more beautiful then a higher abstract truth at first. With breaking out comes the price to pay, which is that what has been seen can never be unseen. So my Jaldabaoth is not as unconditionally bad, as gnostics paint him, but can also be viewed as a guardian of a glorious illusion full of colourful wonders. The veil is there for a reason and one should only step through if the awareness of this choice is strong and the journey is well considered.
On which network can we follow you?
my Conjunction Tarot website, where you can read all of my interpretations and follow my progress:
Nothing would make me more happy, then to inspire the readers to do some creative work on his/her own, develop an individual world view and create a unique great opus!