Like the Sacred Madrone Tree...
Justice: Balance between
Reason and Passion

by Barbara Whitney
(Seattle, WA)

For years, from young childhood, living in N. Seattle, there was always something that drew me to the Madrone.


I was a Campfire Girl, spending much of my summers either at camp on Vashon Island, or traveling to various places of inspiration around the country. As a Navy brat, it was natural to me to move from place to place every few years. Yet, a part of me always craved knowledge, arcane to be sure, but knowledge of what my time in the woods on Vashon brought to me in terms of passion and spirituality. It wasn't until years later, when I moved back here and saw my favorite tree, that I realized just what this tree had come to mean to me.

As I said, I am fascinated with the arcane in every aspect of life, philosophy, ideologue, and the "practice what you preach" reality. I was asked one night in another state to pick a card from the Tarot Deck, so of course, I did - Justice was the card I picked. My friend re-shuffled and said pick again - Justice. So of course, betting himself and me, that I couldn't pull it a 3rd time - he re-shuffled yet again, Justice appeared. He laughed and said, "can't argue with that, now can I?". We remain good friends, email often, and we still both trust one another implicitly.

A little background is necessary, my father was a Naval Commander, Lt., and very precise when it came to reasoning. He and I did not have arguments, we debated the issue at hand. If one lost one's temper - the debate was over, and you couldn't come back to it for several weeks. That's a long time for a teenager, as well as frustrating.

Admittedly, I lost a few times, lost my temper. I quickly realized how and why he was goading me deliberately. I, of course, decided two could play at that game, and life was very interesting on that level. Sometimes he altered my thinking, sometimes I altered his, and we both grew from that realization. (As a side note: I made him lose his once or twice by using his tactics against him. And I still smirk a bit when I think about it.)

So, eventually moving back here took me to the beach, and to my first truly "good look" at the Madrone tree and I realized that what I'd felt so long ago, was in fact, true and just.

This tree is an amazing portrayal in so many ways. It's a complete representative of the "Tree of Life" to me. It constantly "renews" itself. It can withstand fire, even welcome it, to some degree. It never loses its leaves, its bark begins with green, goes to a beautiful reddish-brown hue, then darkens and eventually sheds that burnt skin - to begin again. It has the ability, even without touching it, to make you "feel", to "know" its calming energy and respond. It makes me smile to see how perfectly "logical and reasonable" it is, as it prunes itself. And it has a "sacred" sense that permeates your soul.

I get a sense of awe and inspiration from the beauty of Nature, of how the Mother is in a constant state of rebirth, of how much She gives to us if we pay attention. I always have, and to me, Mother Nature is only place to be when I need to pay homage to Her and Father Sky. Knowing that the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, within my genes and hormones, my DNA, is reflected in All I see. That Balance between Passion and Reason, creates both Humility and Understanding.

It is, and has been, finely honed to allow me to speak my truth and live it, by taking full responsibility for all facets of my being. As I said, Justice is my card, and I have a sense of "duty" to live up to it. It's not always easy to do so, either, but if you stop "learning", or even think you have nothing more to "learn", you might as well drop out of life's equation. So like the Madrone tree, I start "green", learn and turn a little reddish brown, and when that "subject" is fully comprehended, I turn black, and then I renew and move forward.

I am a firm believer in Unconditional Love. Liking, on the other hand, has conditions that are justifiable. It is based upon how each of us perceives our responsibility to "give back and pay forward" to All Inhabitants on this Earth. Like the Madrone, I try to keep Balance between Reason and Passion, as that is Justice, to me.

Blessed Be.

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