Quest – A Desert Wisdom Card

Rocks - Desert Wisdom Card

A Path of Rocks ©2013 Bo Mackison

If we are spiritual beings on a human path rather than human beings who may be on a spiritual path . . . then life is not only a journey but a pilgrimage or quest as well. When we experience sacred moments it often is not so much a matter of outer geography but of finding soulful places within ourselves.  ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen in Crossing to Avalon

The QUEST photograph is of a rocky trail in the back canyons of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

While walking this trail, I quickly lost sight of the gravel road and ramada near the trail head. It was as if I had entered a wilderness region, far away from civilization. There was evidence of footprints, but at no time did I meet or pass any other hikers. Then, without much warning, clouds gathered and skies darkened with threatening storm.

After I’d ascended one side of the mountain and then descended into the back canyon, I found a large boulder to rest upon. The rising mountains, the canyon arroyo, the cactus and other desert plants offered signs of life, but it was eerily silent in the early afternoon.

Each well-considered question can lead to a whole universe of wisdom, because one insight leads to another as the answers come.  ~ Evan T. Pritchard

It was a sacred space, a place to take in the surrounding natural world and consider my place in the grand scheme of things. In the deep silence, I listened deeply as I considered recent paths on my life journey.

A quest can include travel to a sacred place or it can be an inner experience.

It is a time to stop and listen, ask questions, discern answers.

The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

QUEST offers these questions/options for journal prompts, creative activities, and calls to action:

  • What lessons might be learned when traveling on a rocky path? What questions might be asked while on a quest?
  • While looking at the photograph, visualize climbing the first rocky step and consider a challenge you are facing.  Then while climbing the rest of the steps, think of a positive action you can take as you climb ever higher.
  • Consider planning a pilgrimage to a sacred site, a place that has personal spiritual significance. This might be a historical church or other place of worship, a shrine, a labyrinth, a historical site, a quiet garden setting. Plan an activity for the visit – take photographs, make a pencil or watercolor sketch, create a scrapbook page, write a journal entry or pen a few lines of poetry.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Bo is creating a deck of Desert Wisdom Cards to provide a focus and a framework for reflection, to encourage a connection with nature, using a Sonoran Desert theme – its myths and stories, cultures and heritage, and the desert’s remarkable natural beauty and resources.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I had many such places over the years in my love affair with the desert.

  2. Jackie Toton says:

    You so aptly described the spiritual path, and I love the picture. I’ve never been to that spot, but I’m sure I have found similar feeling places. Thank you for sharing. luv, Jackie

  3. Mmmmmm…am loving where these wisdom cards are taking you. A wonderful path..

  4. Perfect image to go with Quest. Lovely colors and textures and composition.

  5. Another one that speaks to me. For some reason, the image and your questions to go with it had a calming influence. I can imagine taking that first step on this beautiful path. Thank you, Bo. 🙂

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