I gaze out at the bountiful sea. In my mind’s eye, I see sailors, adventurers and explorers who risked their lives and all they knew to cross Her waters. The sound of the hushing shore coaxes me to come and play with Her unpredictable tides. I remove my shoes and leave my footprints in the soft sandy earth. Her saline waters remind me of all that I am, all that I was and all that I will be.
From the surface, all I see is a wide blue expanse. But do not be fooled. She is a different woman beneath her shimmering waters. She hides the creatures that she calls her own from human eyes. But they are there. They are a part of the unseen world that pulls at our inner tides.
Over the years, I have worked extensively with sea animals in my tarot and astrology practise. Unlike animals that live on land, I have always had the sense that working with sea animals requires us to see beyond the obvious and dive into the depths of our subconscious.
Welcome to another Fireside Chat at Mith Books. It is my pleasure to have Ona Christie Martin with me today. In our first interview, we had an enlightening conversation about The Souls of Spirit Animals. In this interview, we dive deeper and submerge ourselves in the sea as we discover the hidden treasures that await us.
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.
Join us on this incredible adventure as we explore the bountiful treasures beyond what we can perceive with our five senses.
Dipa: Air travel has now replaced sea travel as a mode of transportation. Folklore, mythology and even recent history is replete with the tales of sailors and travellers who risked their lives to cross the sea. Even today, the sea remains a mystery. If our origins do lie in the sea, why does her territory remain so elusive?
Ona: I feel this goes back to the sea as a symbol of the subconscious mind. The conscious mind can only hold on to so much. So the vast majority of our experiences and truths about ourselves and the world around us lie hidden in the subconscious or even unconscious mind– just as the surface of the sea conceals an entire world of wonders and exotic creatures beneath it.
Dipa: You’re the creator of a Spirit Animal Awareness Oracle Deck. How does one begin working with spirit animals through an oracle deck? How does the experience evolve over time?
Ona: Basically an oracle deck is a tool that functions to “prompt” your intuitive knowing, and helps you to access the deeper parts of your consciousness that are connected with universal consciousness.
There are so many ways to work with a deck. How you work with the cards will depend on your personality, level of familiarity with the animals, and how experienced you are with working intuitively.
A very simple way to start is with a one card draw. I like to start by setting the intention for the draw. What are you looking for deeper clarity on? For instance, insight into a relationship, a job situation, or the month ahead. Then, simply shuffle the deck and choose one card.
At the most basic level, you can read the meaning off the card itself, or out of the guidebook if your deck has one that explains each card. It’s surprising how often you’ll find something there that speaks to the situation. Sometimes it will be obvious, but other times you may find yourself turning the situation around in your mind to try to see how the card applies to it. Don’t worry, this is perfectly OK. What is happening is that the card is forcing you to look at the situation from different perspectives. Often, this will lead to that “a-ha” moment or a solution you never would have arrived at without help from your intuition.
Once you’re comfortable with this approach, challenge yourself to look beyond the “face value” of the cards. Next time you choose a card, gaze at it for a while before checking out the meaning in the book. Notice the colors, symbols, and scenes on the card. What emotions does it evoke? Does it trigger any associations? Allow your mind to play with the imagery, and you may uncover additional meanings, either universal or personal to you.
Finally, you can always go beyond the single card draw and combine cards in a spread. Spreads can be relatively simple, like a classic three card draw, or quite elaborate. I’ve included a few spread ideas in the guidebook of my deck, but you can always come up with your own spread ideas. Oracle reading is a creative process and ultimately as you become more comfortable with the cards you will land upon your own signature style of reading.
Dipa: We seem to have formed a closer connection with animals that live on land. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to form a relationship with sea creatures the same way we do with the animals that are part of our natural habitat. Could you tell us about some of the sea animals in your oracle deck? How could one explore a relationship with a spirit animal from the sea?
Ona: I tried to include a mix of land, sea, and sky creatures in my deck. Out of billions of animals that make their home on our beautiful planet Earth, it was not easy to pare down to just a few dozen. In the end I just had to use my intuition and go with the ones I was guided to include. These included several sea creatures: Dolphin, Blue Whale, Salmon, and Sea Lion. There is also a Turtle card; while the card addresses turtles in general, the image shows a Sea Turtle.
You can’t truly understand any animal without taking into account its environment. When we’re dealing with spirit animals, we want to take notice of the spiritual meaning of the animal’s environment as well as the animal itself. There is deep symbolic meaning associated with Water in general, and the Ocean in particular. For instance, the element of Water is associated with intuition and the deep unconscious. The Sea or Ocean often is connected with the “primal waters,” amniotic fluid, and the origins of life. Any sea animal may call attention to these associations in its interpretation.
So for example, say Blue Whale comes up. One of the meanings of this animal as I perceive it is long-distance or global communication. But because it is a water animal, there may be an overtone meaning of communication on the intuitive, spiritual, or psychic level. And if you want to take it a bit farther and consider its implications as specifically an animal of the deep ocean, you could interpret this as a kind of communication that is capable of very profound influence or impact – the kind that shakes a person or society to the core, or perhaps communication of galactic import.
It’s important to understand that context is everything. That’s why we take the animal’s environment into account, but it goes deeper than that. Two people, or even the same person at different times, could pull the Blue Whale card and get vastly different meanings. For instance, another interpretation could be very personal: perhaps the animal is calling attention to the need for better communication within the body in order to activate latent DNA, or to repair tissue at the cellular level.
In all cases when doing any kind of oracle work, you need to be really sensitive to the little “nudges” and “downloads” your intuition is always sending you. At first it may feel like you’re making things up, but once you start learning to listen to that “little voice,” you may be amazed at how on-point the guidance can be. Because they are so connected with the water/intuitive element, you may find that working with sea animals is especially helpful in opening up your intuitive capabilities.
The power of the mythic is that it is transcendent. Some of those things under the ocean’s waves are indescribably valuable treasures, but others can be pretty frightening– and this is true of the subconscious as well. There are plenty of things our egos really don’t want to look at. Diving beneath the surface can bring us face to face with some pretty scary and painful stuff. But if you want to bring up the treasures, these are things you have to face.
Dipa: Recently, I watched a video you made on the phoenix spirit animal. Many stories feature mythical sea creatures that have never personally been sighted by us. Could you share some insight on working with mythical sea creatures?
Ona: Absolutely. Mythical creatures are powerful because they are born from the collective unconscious. If it’s a sea creature you’re also going deep into the underworld or the realm of the collective unconscious. So, we’re talking deep, deep levels of being. If you are working with mythical creatures, chances are you’re dealing with major themes of human existence and spiritual evolution.