No matter where you go in the pagan / magical / metaphysical / occult realm, there seems to be a near universal hatred of anything plastic. No plastic objects in my magical tools, to plastic in my altar tools, and so on. I do get it - there are definitely ecological issues where plastic is involved (or rather, our use of plastic is the problem), and energetically, it's not the most inspiring. It's kind of like having a spiritual connection to cockroaches - not really the most sexy and inspiring.
Here's the thing, though - amber is a polymerized organic resin, which isn't really any different form the organic polymers that we call plastics. And amber is definitely recognized as a powerful stone - it's part of many traditional pieces of sacred jewelry. Amber and Jet are traditional components of Wiccan clerical jewelry, for example. So clearly, it's not really about it composition, as some suggest.
It's actually very clearly about "Nature", which is probably better described as "wilderness". I am "Natural" despite the many, Many unnatural substances I've put in. Twinkies are delicious. Joking aside, how is my car not natural? There is no component in it that did not come from nature. The steel - man-made transformations and alloys. Headlights made from carbon, aluminum, silica, and so on. The plastic is just one more component sourced and transformed in the same way as any wooden wand. Well, maybe with a bit less ceremony and a bit more legality.
"Nature" and wildness are definitely a hot-button issue, but there's a lot of confusion and conflation going on here. And a good bit of not thinking very deeply. It's not difficult to recognize the damage that human activity has done to the environment - we're confronted with it daily, but all the most pessimistic scientists and "green warriors". The problem I have here (really, it's fodder for a series of posts on ecological activism I have planned) is that humans are not the only being affecting the environment in drastic ways. Pine beetles. Elk in Yosemite, and the wolves that were missing (admittedly, due to human intervention) that allowed those elk to transform the paths of rivers. Volcanoes! Humans are not the only beings to affect the environment, and to get upset about every tiny thing humans do is to miss the point of how nature works. Invasive species may be terrible now, but in the end, aren't they just another species that's fitting more than current species?
All of which is mostly irrelevant when it comes to plastic. Ultimately, there's a feel to plastic that is not as enagaged and immanent and natural as any given stone or piece of wood. And there's a reason for that.
Consider where plastic comes from - there are many different sources. Petrochemicals is a common source, and the issues that apply to that source, in the big metaphysical picture, apply to most if not all of the other sources (most of which are renewable - so the unnatural and damaging to the environment arguments don't apply as strongly). Essentially, petrochemicals come from petroleum, and where does that come from?
The whole freaking mesozoic era!
Okay, maybe not, mesozoic - I'm not really clear on which eras and such are involved. But it does come from plankton and plenty of other plantular (It's a word, I promise. No, really!) beings in Nature, and formed by natural processes. The only humanity involved in raw petroleum is the getting of it.
Which means that humanity's involvement is the only real objection here - humans were involved, and therefore it's "eeeevil". As we've seen, that's not a valid argument, as we're far from the only being or forces involved in the transformation of the world. Even crows know how to use tools, and most animals have an impact on the environment for both good and bad. When you start to dig, there's really only one argument that seems to hold up.
It just doesn't feel right.
That's valid - we can't argue people's experience and feelings. Okay, it doesn't feel "alive" or powerful, that's fine. But why is that, when other very-chemically-similar substances like amber do feel powerful?
My thought is that the issue here, beyond being a noticeably human-derived substance, is that not only has there been centuries of time to transform them, we're talking about essentially all plant life from a huge time period. If you took a substance derived from the trees that lives in the last 100,000 years - do you think there'd be much in the way of specificity? Could you relate to the Wight of every plant for last 100 millennia? I bet not.
And that's part of the problem, when it comes to plastic. It's too generic, too broad a scope. Usually, when we charge an object, we're holing and looking at a specific chunk of history, specific Wights connected to specific and concrete physical items. but when we hold a piece of plastic, even if we're certain of it's origins, we're still considering a Wight that is composed of millions, Billions, TRILLIONS of of other Wights. Placing a charge on any given plastic doodad is equivalent to trying to enchant the whole freaking planet for all time. No wonder we don't feel so much energy. Anything we apply to it, any enchantments or charging we might do is spread across a huge numbers of beings.
It's not that plastic doesn't hold a charge. The problem is that the charge is spread across trillions of Wights. One person's efforts, maybe a dozen, won't have very much impact, would they, spread that thin? And what about Amber then? Well, amber comes from one specific tree, so... not trillions of beings. Well, not trillions times trillions of beings.
What do you think? Does this answer the plastic conundrum?