Image by Shamanic Shift via FlickrTo a shamanizer garbage has spirit and is spirit just as perfectly as everything else. I am challenged by the Spirit and Spirits of Garbage more and more often these days as I go about my business.
Shamanic journeys and the larger shamanic journey of my life recycle me through lower, middle, and upper realms of the non-ordinary as a matter of course. Then as I walk about this world I often find myself noticing garbage in new, re-creative ways.
Questions around what and how I throw-away or give-away whatever needs to shift onward arise daily, insistently. As a shaman-fool I have an especially intense calling to help shape-shift and reality-shift garbage, as goofy as it may sound.
Shamantic shifting garbage is practical and ecstatic - and crucial to my (and my world's) spiritual and physical health and development. And it is fun and laughter restoring powerful medicine.
Garbage and shamanic experience are connected essentially. Shamanic ways begin in ordinary reality - this everyday spacetime, matter, and energy that is often denigrated or rejected as if it were garbage in many spiritual traditions - then adventure many non-ordinary realms, dimensions, and orders through intentional dreams and active imagination, and finally and always end back in the community with transforming songs, stories, and gifts.
I, like many shamanizers, am often tempted to linger or dwell in magical and mystical states of consciousness, or in out of the way retreats such as deserts, forests, mountain tops, and forget about or detach myself from the troubles, ailments, and cares of this mundane, material, natural, cosmic, comic world. But shamans voyage to return. Shamans live as bridges, not only between the ordinary and non-ordinary, but between all kinds of the least and the greatest.
I am called to live shamanic ecstasy amid everyday situations, challenges, and events - to incarnate shamanic shifts toward better and best back in this neighborhood, on this planet. If I attempt to relate to Spirit and Spirits within the invisible and mysterious but turn away from Spirit and Spirits dwelling in people, places, scenarios, and things on earth, I am missing my mission.
One of the easiest methods of shamanic shifting garbage: I create shamanic masks and costumes from garbage, in the tradition of found art (or objet trouvé).
Sometimes I shamanic journey first on a healing or transforming intention, seeking a vision of a mask or costume that expresses my current concern, and then begin garbage collecting, guided by Spirit and Spirits. Usually I trance-dance while recycling garbage into shamanic art - such things as broken hubcaps, crushed or driven over plastic bottles, colorful bits of broken glass, discolored chunks of styrofoam, soggy or torn paper, and other mud smeared bits of 'this and that' that appear on my path.
On a visionary walk around several neighborhood blocks carelessly several tossed-away fragments of recent 21st century history will attract my attention subtly or suddenly. I greet and acknowledge each one, just as if I were considering a beautiful rock, shell, or leaf instead of a piece of trash. Then I ask each one to grant me permission to include it in the art ritual. Acknowledging, greeting, asking permission, and thanking can all be shamanic acts in themselves and are very important.
So, yes, I talk to garbage. This must be done in the spirit of child-like FUN, not of psychosis! I don't make a spectacle of myself either. I do the trance dancing indoors before, between, and after periods of walking and art-play. And the conversing happens within Soul.
After the mask or other costuming is complete I usually allow myself to be guided by Spirit and Spirits into prayer dancing and singing over my shamanizing intention. There are many ways of concluding the ritual and releasing the healing and transforming of it into the world for good.
This practice does not recycle all that much garbage. Also I realize that the recycling of garbage is only a small bit what it takes to live sustainably and harmlessly. This and other shamanic recycling techniques mainly recycle me and deepen my understanding of the 'ecology of me and my world' so I see naturally more ways to be and go green.