Relationship – A Desert Wisdom Card

Relationship - A Desert Wisdom Card

Saguaro and Nurse Tree © 2013 Bo Mackison

All things carry the yin (femininity) while embrace the yang (masculinity).
Neutralising energy brings them into harmony.”  ~ Tao Te Ching

In the Sonoran Desert, the saguaro cactus sets seed and grows under the protection of another plant.

This larger plant is often a tree, and referred to as a nurse tree. As the saguaro slowly grows into maturity,  the tree withers and dies at its mature age. The relationship between the saguaro and the nurse tree supports continuation of life in the desert.

There are yin and yang relationships in nature, between people, and within each person. These relationships represent as paired opposites – masculinity and femininity, darkness and light, discipline and chaos. The relationships are not separate, but connected; the roots are intertwined. At times, one quality strengthens as the opposite quality wanes. A delicate balancing act, back and forth, keeps the relationship in equilibrium.

Everything is integral and interacts with everything else. This means that nothing is itself without everything else. There is a commonality, an integrity, an intimacy of the universe with itself.” ~ Thomas Berry

Life is not an absolute. Neither are characteristics of nature, relationships between people, or one’s own identity.

Situations are seldom purely black or white, good or bad. There is a seed of sadness in happiness, a seed of fear in a courageous act, a seed of opportunity in failure.

RELATIONSHIP offers questions/reflections for journal writing and art activities:

  • Do a ten minute free write on this statement. “Every person shares characteristics of both the feminine and the masculine.”
  • Create a picture using only black, white, and shades of gray.
    • Leaf through magazines or newspapers, and cut out small sections of papers that are white, black, or any shade of gray. Cut the papers into 1 inch by 1/2 inch strips.
    • Choose a simple object — a coffee cup or a chair. Using the strips, create a picture blending the blacks, whites and grays. It can be as realistic or as abstract as you like.
    • Note how the blacks, the whites and the grays interact as you create, and how the many grays contribute to the completed project.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Bo is creating a deck  of Wisdom Cards. The first set, the Desert Wisdom Cards, feature 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. This is a lovely image. The image and title tell the story, a beautiful story.

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