I first came across Ona Christie’s YouTube Channel Art of Awakening when I was doing research on vultures for my article on The Sky Burials of Tibet. Ona’s work is a rare blend of deep intuition and thorough scientific research. As the days went by and I watched more videos, my relationships with the animals that reside in the spirit realm began to deepen. They felt like long lost friends reuniting with me after a long hiatus.
Over the years, I have worked with animals in my tarot and astrology practise, but their voices often feel overshadowed by ceaseless human concerns. We may inhabit the same world, but in the modern age, it is as though we live in separate planets. But to connect with Mother Nature, is to connect will all of her creations. And in Ona Christie’s work, I strongly felt the soul of all living beings that are interwoven into Mother Nature’s tapestry.
As the Principal Consultant at Art of Awakening, Ona Christie guides and mentors those who desire true transformation through soul visioning. Soul Visioning is a unique spiritual mentoring process that uses clairvoyant energy work, spiritual coaching, and art—in partnership with Nature—to help you sharpen your spiritual vision and achieve a balanced state of awareness and connection with Spirit, Nature, and your own inner wisdom.
Welcome to another Fireside Chat at Mith Books. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Ona Christie Martin about her work with spirit animals. And on a more personal note, I was secretly delighted to discover that Ona is a fellow Piscean.
Dipa: When did you first start working with spirit animals? How has your relationship with them deepened over time?
Ona: I’ve always been fascinated with animals since I was a tiny little child so that’s where it started, I think. And I would draw them. The first thing I remember is from when I was five. I had lions under my bed. And so even at that age, I knew that weren’t really there–but I knew that they were there. I really was crazy about cats and lions and I remember pretending to be a lion. I was a super shy kid and it helped me deal with my shyness. I could pretend to be a lion and it helped me feel empowered.
Later on, I majored in art in college. I would notice that after a couple of years that I’d have life experiences–and that a painting that I had done a couple of years before–really spoke to that experience and had a lot of meaning that spoke to my life and what was going on. And sometimes even in advance. And so the animals would show up in those paintings.
Before that, I had a horse… I would imagine this horse accompanying me to school and stuff. It was an imaginary horse. He was a companion and he was really powerful and I could just feel into the power of him and sometimes I felt protected.
And then even later, I had a spiritual awakening. I think it started with when I got attuned to reiki for the first time. During the attunement, I experienced this shamanic journey. An eagle took me. He showed me this big landscape. And so when I came out of that, my reiki teacher told me that often the spirit animal would come in first when a person is awakening. And that the angelic realm might start making itself known in the future–which it did for me.
I also started working with angels a couple of years later. But the animals are still amazing–they come up for me a lot. Sometimes when I work with other people, the animals do come forward as allies to assist.
Dipa: What is a spirit animal and how does one identify their own?
Ona: Everything is energy. And so if you break everything down, there’s just different frequencies of energy. How I would identify a spirit animal–it’s the energetic frequency of the animal that resonates with us. That’s more of a fundamental definition. In layman’s term, it’s an animal that shows up in the spiritual realm.
We all have a mental body, a spiritual body, an emotional body and a physical body. We have all these fields. And so here we’re dealing with the spiritual field, which is really just the energetic field.
We exist on the spiritual realm–and so does everything else. And so we can really relate to anything. That’s why the Gurus say that everything has consciousness. So sometimes, an animal will show up in our consciousness suddenly out of the blue. Or we can decide to think of a particular animal or maybe it shows up in a dream. Or it can even show up in real life in the flesh or if you suddenly start seeing lots of images of the animal. And if that happens, and you’ll notice that you’re just suddenly noticing this animal or there’s something in that particular sighting that just strikes you as different.
And a lot of times, you can feel it. I’ve had a lot of people tell me stories that maybe one came to their door or a butterfly that flew up in their face. They just knew that there was a message or that there was something there that was beyond normal.
What I just described is more of a broad definition of a spirit animal. Every single culture identifies with spirit animals at some level. And I think every indigenous culture that I’m aware of honours and respects the spirit animal world. But you can also work with them personally. So when most people talk about a spirit animal they talk about a personal spirit guide that’s an animal. And what I’ve noticed is that–and one of the questions that I typically get is that–can you work with more than one spirit animal?
In my experience, absolutely.
For some reason, I have a connection with them and they’re coming in and out of my field a lot. But I think most people are going to have one that they really resonate with. I call it a totem animal. However, other people may have different terminology for that. And that’s an animal that can tell you a lot about you personality and you can work with really in depth.
Dipa: In your videos, you’ve spoken about balancing the prey-predator relationship between animals. Why is this significant?
Ona: Ultimately, we’re looking for balance within ourselves and find that still point within. And so when the animals show up, they’re just pointing out to us aspects of our own energy. And so if we can become aware of how that animal energy is working within us, it can help us to correct imbalances. And just as in nature, the predator-prey relationship is integral to maintaining the balance of the entire ecosystem.
So that’s what’s going on within yourself as well.
So you may find that, you may for instance, maybe you have a lot of rabbit energy coming up–they’re going to tell you something that is coming up within you. With a rabbit, it might sometimes be fear–cause they’re a prey animal. It’s not always fear–it could be telling you to be more aware. It could be a lot of things.
You have to start paying attention to that animal and figure out what it’s trying to point out within you. It’s typically going to be something that’s your blindspot. The animals are showing you your blind spot. You’re running a pattern that you’re not aware of. The subconscious can cut through those blind spots through archetypes such as the animals or other symbols.
Dipa: In your videos, you’ve talked about how some animals represent ‘the deep feminine‘ and need to be balanced out by a more masculine animal. Why is this necessary?
Ona: I would say the same about a masculine animal and how they need to be balanced with a feminine animal. Or really feel into and work with the feminine aspect of that animal. To me, the eagle has a lot of masculine energy. But of course, we have both male and female eagles. You can actually go in and work with the mother eagle. It’s really all about balance and finding that balance between masculine and feminine.
That’s when you’re really supporting the life force.