Folks who see how many matchboxes I use for shrine making ask me, "what do you do with all the matches?" The answer to this question actually connects my beliefs about shrines to the act of shrine making and to the actual folks who ask.
In most daily matters, I believe in using all the parts of the things I work with- in the kitchen, in the garden, in the studio- and so on. Shrines included. This act of re-use ignites creativity & reduces waste. Translation: what I do with the matches is important to me.
The very first honor & duty of a chosen few matches is bringing aliveness to the matchbox. I strike a match on each box before I do anything else. This wakes up the box to the transformative powers it possesses. The potassium chlorate mixture at the tip of the wooden stick, and the abrasive surface to strike against become artists themselves, collaborating to create something dynamic. This invaluable resource that fuels our lives is instantly burning at the end of a stick between my fingers. With every swoosh of light & energy that rushes in at once as the match is lit represents, to me, possibilities. And I find it hypnotizing every time.
The next use of the matchsticks is inside the shrines. This is where they are adhered to the backs of messages and many of the images. In this job of aesthetics, they offer dimension to the scenes contained within.
These two important uses account for a tiny percent of the many matches collected in this process. Use number three is for the masses. On auspicious evenings when the ground isn't too dry, we build a fire under the moon in our backyard. Our fire often consists of burning old journal pages, fallen twigs & branches that are gathered underneath the trees that grow in our little world, and also many, many matches. I imagine the matches hold all the messages from the shrines. And as they burn down to ash, their smoke carries those messages to all places, breathed in by all people. Such simple wisdom & gracious intentions as 'Listen to Your Heart', 'We Are Wiser Together', 'The Now Is Holy', and 'When You're Brave, I Feel Brave' vibrate in the air. The ash is returned to the earth. The power of transformation is returned to all beings.
And that is what I do with all the matches.