Reverence – A Desert Wisdom Card

Saguaro Cactus - Saguaro National Park

Saguaro Cactus Crone © 2013 Bo Mackison

By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life, we become good, deep, and alive. ~ Albert Schweitzer

 What is reverence?

It is deep respect. It honors the presence of the sacred in everything – people, animals, plants. This includes respect for the land and for those sustained by the land.

When I look at this photograph of this aged saguaro, I see an ancient saguaro crone. There are small flower buds on the tips of her arms. She surveys the desert earth, thankful for the earth that sustains her, thankful for the flowers soon to bloom, for the bees and bats which will pollinate her flowers, for the fruit that will set, and for the birds and animals that will eat her fruits and spread the saguaro seeds, seeds of potential new life.

Reverence generates a simultaneous movement upward and downward within the interior of the subtle body, our deepest place of perception. The Upward movement brings recognition of a spiritual essence. The more mysterious Downward movement entails descent into the deep ground of Being. To inhabit both movements at once equates with reverence.
~ Karen Jaenke

The saguaro, one of the largest life forms in the desert, has wide roots in the desert earth.

Her arms stretch high into the sky; she connects the earth and the sky. We admire these plants, the connectors of earth and the heavens. Yet, we too stand rooted upon the earth. We raise our arms into the air, our fingertips touch the sky. There is no line of demarcation between the blue skies we gaze at with awe and the skies that swirl about our very beings. We, with reverence, connect earth and sky.

Always and in everything, let there be reverence. ~ Confucius

REVERENCE offers questions/reflections for journal writing, art prompts, and calls to action:

  • Imagine yourself in the pose of the ancient saguaro crone. What are you holding in reverence?
  • How can you show reverence for yourself, other people, and the plants, animals and things that are present in your ordinary life?
  • Barry Lopez, in his book, Journeys on the Threshold of Memory, writes about his history by documenting the things his hands have done in his life. How might you tell a part of your story using the same idea as a creative seed? What might you use to document the exquisite miracles that your hands have performed? Would you use written words, an oral history, still photographs, a short video, or other media?


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Bo is creating a deck of Desert Wisdom Cards for exploration and discovery, using photography and 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. It does look like a person praying. Good eye.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      So many of the saguaro cacti seem to resemble people…they have a lot of expression, and all those limbs…:-)

  2. I agree with Anita. Wonderful catch, Bo. Once again, your cards speak to me. 🙂

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