Desert Wisdom Cards, Series III — An Invitation!

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Invitation – A Desert Wisdom Card

Step into my world, a world where the beauty and diversity of the desert is portrayed in photographs.

I invite you to look around. Be inspired.

Discover the desert and the incredible opportunities for sharing her wisdom.

I have selected a special set of eighteen photographs and coupled each photo with a single word for reflection, meditation, or as a journal prompt. I invite you to have a look at the Desert Wisdom Cards, Series III.

Desert Wisdom Cards Set III

Desert Wisdom Cards Set III © 2014 Bo Mackison

Announcing the Desert Wisdom Cards – Series III

After many more months of photographing the Sonoran Desert in the Southwest, choosing themes and cards that “spoke to me”, and then creating a new deck of cards and portfolio, the Desert Wisdom Cards – Series III are ready for you to enjoy.

These cards were not a part of my original creative plan, and yet, here they are.

As I wrote when I completed the second series, it was not my original plan to create a deck of only desert-focused cards. I’d planned a set of nature-based cards that included four themes – desert, shore, prairie, and mountain – plus a set of source cards the combined sets based on the template of a tarot deck.

I completed the first series of Desert Cards last October, and began to create the prairie cards. But the spark wasn’t there yet. I still have the photographs, I have the themes and concepts, but there was a strong need and desire to complete the desert set before considering a prairie set. And so I created the Desert Wisdom Cards – Second Series last March.

Still the desert called.

Today the third series of Desert Wisdom Cards is ready.  With this set, the series is complete.

Desert Wisdom Cards Set III

Desert Wisdom Cards Set III – Portfolio Shown with 4 of the 18 Cards © 2014 Bo Mackison

What are Desert Wisdom Cards?

The Desert Wisdom Cards – Series III are a set of 18 hand-made cards used for reflection and inspiration. Each card has a photograph of the awe-inspiring Sonoran Desert and a single word for contemplation, reflection, or as a prompt for journal writing.

The card set is now available in a hand crafted, limited edition of 26, numbered and signed.

How were the Desert Wisdom Cards first created?

I created all three sets of Desert Wisdom Cards for use during my morning routine, focusing on the photograph for inspiration and reflection. I also use the cards as prompts for journal writing and as a springboard for art and nature projects.

While working with my desert photographs, I discovered that the process allowed me to use my art for daily reflection,  problem solving and goal setting.

The cards became a framework to consider choices, make plans, and instigate changes in life — while providing structure for an in-depth creative practice.

Click here for more information on the Desert Wisdom Cards

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Sampling of Covers of the Limited Edition Sets ©2014 Bo Mackison

How to use Desert Wisdom Cards:

They are perfect to use as a mini-set for meditation, inspiration and contemplation. A few useful suggestions include:

  • Choose a daily card as a focus card during meditation.
  • Choose a card as a journal or art prompt.
  • Enrich your spiritual practice through contemplation of the desert and nature.
  • Inspire and nurture your creative muse.
  • Use a three card spread, similar to a Tarot spread, and consider past, present, and future.
  • Other Tarot style spreads are easily used with the Desert Wisdom Cards.
  • Use a card for writing practice, considering symbols, metaphors and other elements found in the photo and inspired by the card’s single word.

Of course, these are only suggestions. As you work with the cards you will find your own unique ways to incorporate the cards into your practice, routine, or ritual.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Desert Wisdom Cards – Series III ©2014 Bo Mackison

Set Specifications:

The Desert Wisdom Card set includes 18 cards, storage portfolio, and four page user’s guide. The cards also fit in the four flap portfolio that comes with the original set.

A desert-hued portfolio complements the cards.

This set of cards comes in a hand decorated folded portfolio, similar to the portfolio for the Second Series. Each portfolio is hand decorated with ink, acrylics and metallic paint. Designed in the color palette of the desert, the folder is unique and a mini-work of art in itself.

A four page guide is also included in the set.

This guide offers suggestions for using the cards, including activities that focus on the body, mind and spirit. Also included in the booklet is information on the evolution of the cards and additional resources for nature and art related activities.

Special thanks to James Wells who graciously shared his method of delving deeply into tarot cards using multiple activities for body, mind and spirit. What a great resource this was, as I adapted many of his activities for the Desert Wisdom Card guide-book.

The cards are 7.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Each card features a color photograph of the Sonoran Desert and a single word for reflection.

Each card is printed on a cylinder letterpress, type set by hand, and printed using a vintage (1940s) Vandercook No.3 Letterpress.

The cards come in a hand crafted, folding portfolio. Each portfolio is embellished with ink, acrylics and metallic paint. Designed in the color palette of the desert, the folder is unique and a mini-work of art in itself.

Click here for more information on the Desert Wisdom Cards

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Detail of Desert Wisdom Cards Portfolio ©2014 Bo Mackison

How to Purchase a Set of Desert Wisdom Cards?

The Desert Wisdom Cards – Set III are now available in my Etsy shop.

$55.00 for set of 18 cards, tie portfolio, and guide-book.

The Third Series completes a 56 card deck when combined with Series I and Series II.

Set II is also available on Etsy.

And a thank you!

It is indeed a privilege to share my Wisdom Cards with you. Thank you.

~~~~~~~

 

 

 

Following One’s Creative Heart – And Announcing the Desert Wisdom Cards, Series II

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

A Selection of Cards from Desert Wisdom Cards – Series II ©2014 Bo Mackison

I am so excited to announce the completion of the Second Series of the Desert Wisdom Cards!

After months of photographing the Sonoran Desert, choosing themes and cards that “spoke to me”, and then creating a new deck of cards and a new portfolio — the Desert Wisdom Cards – Series II are done.

The second series of desert cards were not actually a part of my “creative plan.”

Originally, I planned to create a set of nature based cards that included four themes – desert, shore, prairie, and mountain – plus a set of source cards, based loosely on the template of a tarot deck. I completed the Desert Cards last October, and began the prairie cards. But the spark wasn’t there. I had photographs, I had the themes and concepts, but there was no magic in the work.

I was stunned, for a long while. I love the prairie almost as much as I love the desert. In fact, it was my first love. I persisted for months, but never was able to muster the same sort of enthusiasm and magic that I felt when I would work on desert-themed projects.

And so I stored my nature set ideas in a box for future consideration, and I went back to my desert and her inspiration.

Voila! The magic was immediately back!

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Awakening – A Desert Wisdom Card ©2014 Bo Mackison

What are Desert Wisdom Cards?

The Desert Wisdom Cards – Series II are a set of 14 hand-made cards used for reflection and inspiration. Each card has a photograph of the beautiful Sonoran Desert and a single word for contemplation, reflection, or as a prompt for journal writing.

The card set is only available in a hand crafted, limited edition of 26, numbered and signed.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

A Sampling of Covers of these Limited Edition Sets ©2014 Bo Mackison

How were the Desert Wisdom Cards first created?

I created the set of Desert Wisdom Cards to use during my morning practice, focusing on the photograph for inspiration and reflection. I also use the cards as prompts for journal writing, and as a springboard for art and nature projects.

While contemplating my desert photographs during my morning meditation and journal practice, I discovered that the process not only allowed me to use my art for healing, but also provided me with a system that promoted problem solving and goal setting.

The cards became a framework to consider choices, make plans, and instigate changes in life — while providing structure for an in-depth creative practice.

To read the story of how I first created Desert Wisdom Cards, see my blog post, “Beyond — The World.

Little did I know when I began creating contemplative photo cards, it would become a catalyst to create the Desert Wisdom Cards and help me discover the great “Beyond”. And that “Beyond” became a new way of whole-hearted living, based on nature and creativity, combined with my photography.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Desert Wisdom Cards – Series II ©2014 Bo Mackison

A new portfolio complements the cards.

This set of cards comes in a completely restyled, hand decorated folded portfolio. Each portfolio is individually decorated with ink, acrylics and metallic paint. Designed in the color palette of the desert, each folder is unique and a mini-work of art in itself.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Desert Cards with Paper Portfolio ©2014 Bo Mackison

NEW! A special guide is now included in the set.

This four page pamphlet offers suggestions for using the cards, including activities for body, mind and spirit. Also included in the booklet is information on the evolution of the cards and additional resources for nature and art related activities.

And a special thanks to James Wells who graciously shared his method of delving deeply into tarot cards using multiple activities for body, mind and spirit. This was a great source when I was adapting activities for Desert Wisdom Card guide book.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Detail of Desert Wisdom Cards Portfolio ©2014 Bo Mackison

Set Specifications:

The cards are 7.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Each card includes one of my color photographs of the Sonoran Desert and a single word for reflection.

Each card is printed on a cylinder letterpress, the type set by hand and then printed using a vintage (1940s) Vandercook No.3 Letterpress.

This set of cards comes in a hand crafted, folded portfolio. Each portfolio is individually decorated with ink, acrylics and metallic paint. Designed in the color palette of the desert, each folder is unique and a mini-work of art in itself.

The Desert Wisdom Card set includes 14 cards, storage portfolio, and a four page pamphlet with suggestions for using the cards. The cards will also fit in the four flap portfolio that comes with the original set, the Desert Wisdom Cards – Series I.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Self Care – A Desert Wisdom Card ©2014 Bo Mackison

How to use the set of Desert Wisdom Cards:

They are perfect to use as a mini-set for meditation, inspiration and contemplation. A few useful suggestions include:

  • Choose a daily card as a focus card during meditation.
  • Choose a card as a journal or art prompt.
  • Enrich your spiritual practice through contemplation of the desert and nature.
  • Inspire and nurture your creative muse.

Of course, these are only suggestions. If you are guided in a different way to use the cards, by all means follow your heart.

Desert Wisdom Cards - Series II

Connection – A Desert Wisdom Card © 2014 Bo Mackison

How to Purchase a Set of Desert Wisdom Cards?

The Desert Wisdom Cards – Set II are now available in my Etsy shop.

$45.00 for the portfolio, set of 14 cards, and the guide book.

They also make a perfect complement to the original set of Desert Wisdom Cards.

Both sets of cards were also planned to combine beautifully. Although the portfolios are different in look, the card template is the same. When combining the two sets, there are 38 cards in the deck. This offers combinations and possibilities for more complex uses and spreads.

And finally, a thank you!

I thank so many of you, my supporters and friends, and especially Sherpa and my family in the Midwest, for your love and support as these cards evolved and were created.

Living and creating in the Sonoran Desert feeds and strengthens my body, mind and spirit.

It is truly a gift for me to live and work here, yet I understand that it is a sacrifice for many of my love ones. For this opportunity and for your understanding, I am truly grateful.

 

Bookmaking in the Sonoran Desert – Featuring Journey and Discovery

Flying Across the Sky

Flying Across the Sky © 2014 Bo Mackison

“Real travel is not about the highlights with which you dazzle your friends once you’re home. It’s about the loneliness, the solitude, the evenings spent by yourself, pining to be somewhere else. Those are the moments of true value. You feel half proud of them and half ashamed and you hold them to your heart.” ~ Tahir Shah

There was an afternoon when the desert floor was still and heat rose like fire.

I packed a bag with supplies and traveled to Madera Canyon, found an isolated site high in the Santa Rita Mountains, with the summit of Mt Wrightson in view, and there I spread out paper and magazines, scissors and glue. And readied to create.

I typically work quickly, intuitively.

But on this April afternoon I had a dear companion with me, and she is more meticulous, more exact in her creative pursuits. And so I slowed my pace and we worked companionably together.

My tiny accordion book, set into a pair of four-inch square canvas boards, started out simple. As I worked the layers became more complicated. I hid parts I wanted to let disappear into the past, and added features I wanted to remember.

The little book eventually told a part of my story, my Arizona-Wisconsin dichotomy.

I explored my desire to be in two places at the same time – to remain in the desert where I feel a deep, soul connection,  yet also to be with my loved ones in Wisconsin.

Impossible in life, but not impossible in my art.

Book Making in the Sonoran Desert - Flying Across the Sky

Flying Across the Sky © 2014 Bo Mackison

“…flying is like throwing your soul into the heavens and racing to catch it as it falls.” ~ Linda Howard

Dichotomy

Flying. I request a next-to-the-window seat. Always.
So I can stare into the sky, lose myself in thick cloud cover, or watch the country far below,
farmland platted in tiny squares, river snakes,
mountains rise from plains, sunlight slides across the face of the earth, then disappears.

I watch cities and towns morph into dots of lights.
Each time I board a plane, it’s as if I toss my soul towards the heavens,
then breathe with calm intention ’til I reconnect with land
and my soul again searches for desert red. And settles.

Book Making in the Sonoran Desert - Flying Across the Sky

Tree Cholla, Snowy Saguaro, Monument Valley © 2014 Bo Mackison

“Over the years, one comes to measure a place, too, not just for the beauty it may give, the balminess of its breezes, the insouciance and relaxation it encourages, the sublime pleasures it offers, but for what it teaches. The way in which it alters our perception of the human. It is not so much that you want to return to indifferent or difficult places, but that you want to not forget.” ~ Barry Lopez

There are no guarantees.
I’ll readily admit, I came to the desert Southwest for its healing sunshine,
sunlight that could flip a switch in my brain, drench it in
neurotransmitters to make smiling easier than weeping.

I continue to come for that boost, and yes, tree cholla with
golden auras gleaming in the waning sun are also beyond breathtaking.
Reflecting sunlight burrows deep into my being.

Saguaro with a freakish coat of snow are equally mystical.
Desert mountains – green with riparian water, yellow in a blaze of autumn sycamore leaves,
or black in the desert night – they are all magical.

Book Making in the Sonoran Desert - Flying Across the Sky

Calming, Influence, Aspen Smile © 2014 Bo Mackison

“To be at peace, does not mean that you are amiss of every storm, it only means that you can find a calm within the storm.”
~ Tania Elizabeth

I talk to trees. The connection is energy,
I rest my hands upon their bark, lay my cheek against their rough grain.

I have leaned the art of calming under the influence of this land –
sky islands stretch – from Lower Sonoran Desert habitat dotted with saguaros
to near alpine conditions, bald rock dotted with firs.
Akin to traveling from Northern Mexico to southern Canada.

But always. Always.
I yearn to return to the desert floor, to the spaciousness and solitude that warm my spirit.

Book Making in the Sonoran Desert - Flying Across the Sky

Map, Yellow Car, Arizona Plates © 2014 Bo Mackison

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.” ~ Reif Larsen

Moments measure time; maps measure travel.
As desert spring blasts its way into desert summer,
my time to leave the desert approaches.
Each moment becomes more precious as I cross off the remaining days.

I spread maps upon my desk and ponder routes,
choose the blue roads, the dotted roads, roads that may or may not be passable.
I’ll take that risk. Travel the small towns and villages,
stay in court motels, feast at diners with the locals.

It is my way of easing into my return.

Book Making in the Sonoran Desert - Flying Across the Sky

Journey, the Journal © 2014 Bo Mackison

“…where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.” ~ Hermann Hesse

The journey, I anticipate it even as I mourn my leaving.
Anticipation and loss held simultaneously.
I’ll hold the days of travel in my memory, scribble in my journal as the miles accumulate.
Nearly illegible, though, since I keep my focus on the road as I scrawl my notes.

These are brief notes, triggers for later transcription –
a name of a town, the population, a hand painted sign that tells a story.

The washes and dry river beds I cross.
Dead Wash. Red Wash. Car Wash. Dirty Laundry River.
Humor abounds in geographical monikers.

Washes gradually turn into meandering creeks,
then into singing streams and raging rivers.

As I travel, mapping the earth,
it is joyful, yet bittersweet.
Palpable. My heart pounds with the unexpected sights.

I am exultant and saddened, hesitant and expectant.
I want to slow and speed time concurrently.
There is much to practice, this being in the moment of traveling.

That is my journey.

Bookmaking in the Sonoran Desert – Featuring Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Book - Cover

Prickly Pear Book – Cover © 2014 Bo Mackison

Second in the series of hand crafted books, exploring the Sonoran Desert habitat. This accordion book features the Engelmann’s Prickly Pear Cactus, the most common of prickly pears in the US Deserts.

Prickly Pear Accordion Book © 2014 Bo Mackison

Prickly Pear Accordion Book © 2014 Bo Mackison

I used photographs in this book. These photos were taken in the back arroyo, and I have the pleasure of seeing cacti covered with blooming yellow flowers every May.

Prickly Pear Book - Text

Prickly Pear Book – Text © 2014 Bo Mackison

My intention with these books is to make a small collection of books focusing on the commonly seen plants, birds, and animals in the Sonoran Desert. Quick and easy, with simply done content. I used the accordion format for the first two books.

The first book in the series features the Greater Roadrunner.

Bookmaking in the Sonoran Desert – Featuring the Roadrunner

Roadrunner Book

Roadrunner Book © 2014 Bo Mackison

I’ll be doing a bookmaking project in 2014, featuring a different aspect of the Sonoran Desert each week.

My first subject ran through the back arroyo as I was enjoying my sunrise coffee. A roadrunner would make a great feature for the first book, I thought, as I watched him ducking in and out of the brush. Then I decided, instead of traveling to the wide open spaces of the desert, I’d choose a subject from my backyard, the back arroyo.

Not only would it make the study of a particular animal, plant or mineral convenient – my subject would always be available – but it would also encourage me to learn more about my backyard habitat. Perfect.

No Wonder, This Bird is a Cuckoo

No Wonder The Bird is a Cuckoo © 2014 Bo Mackison

When the roadrunner visited, I took a couple of photographs, but mostly I just observed his behavior. I was amused at his rather peculiar antics — the bobbing of his crested head and the high jump he executed in the air, even the flip-flip of his tail as if he was telling me what he thought of my coffee drinking in his neighborhood!

I did some research on the roadrunner and made a simple accordion book. Then I added content. Even though I am not an illustrator, I plan to do simple drawings for these books. I’m not going to stress about this, figuring that as I practice it will get easier.

The writing was fun, especially since I uncovered so many interesting, and humorous, facts about the roadrunner’s habits. The first page of the book is an introduction and the sketch was on the next pages.

Most Famous of Sonoran Desert Birds

He skitters across the arroyo, shaking his shaggy crest,
Gives me a flip of his tail, no wonder. The bird is a cuckoo.

Two Poems in One

Two Poems in One © 2014 Bo Mackison

I wrote words and then added type cut from magazines to make two poems in one.

I decided to incorporate a second poem into the first by highlighting specific words. The first poem reads normally; in the second poem the read only the cut out words. This poem-inside-a-poem reads a little rough, since I didn’t think to add the second poem until  the words were already written in the book. I’m looking forward to planning a bit more in the next book.

Here is the first poem, read normally.

He has the habits of a slap stick comedian, a relative of acclaimed characters in Western tall tales & Saturday morning cartoons.
I’ve seen him do a helicopter dance, land with a bird in his beak. He’ll do combat with a rattler…and win.
And yet, Mr Cavalier, when courting, he presents his intended with a twig or blade of grass,
then the chase is on — ’til she decides yea or nay.
On cool desert mornings he spreads his tail feathers, exposes dark flesh,
& warms himself with the heat of the sun. An energy conservationist.

And here is the mini poem, composed in cut out words:

Sonoran Desert. No Wonder.
Come To the West & Dance…
and With A Yea!
Desert Warms the Sun.

Bookmaking - Accordion Book featuring Greater Roadrunner

Accordion Book Featuring Greater Roadrunner © 2014 Bo Mackison

See the agave plants in the corners and the sun symbols on the end covers?

One of my favorite parts was cutting out parts of the agave plant and adding them to the corners of the front and back inside covers. The endpapers remind me of a multitude of suns, appropriate for a book about the desert.

Now it’s time to go for an evening walk in the arroyo, and see if I can spot my next subject!