Category: Beneath the Baobab – Bronwyn Katzke

Pagan Values

BRONWYN KATZKE. Up until this morning, I had never given my values and morals a thought. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually had to look up ‘values’, ‘ethics’ and ‘virtues’ in the dictionary to see what the difference was between them. And you know what I found: it’s not so much as what sets them apart, as that which makes them essentially the same thing. Virtues, ethics or values; they all have one thing in common, and that’s how a person’s principles or standards influence their behaviour. So how does being Pagan influence my behaviour? What effect do my beliefs have on how I go about my daily life?

From Me to We

BRONWYN KATZKE. One of my favourite songs by Bob Dylan is probably one of his most famous, the times, they are a-changing. And now, as I listen to that song its title takes on a new significance. I have been on my Pagan path for roughly a decade now, and that path has been a solitary one. For me, being solitary has worked, it’s been my ‘thing’ and I’ve been happy experiencing my faith my way. It’s always been about ‘me, me, me’, but sometimes ‘me’ just isn’t enough anymore. Last week Saturday I did something for the first time – I held a ritual with another Pagan. What ritual you may ask? A dedication ritual. I took the plunge; I listened to my heart and soul. I decided that while the solitary path has fitted me well the past ten or so years, I am ready to be a part of a spiritual family.

Magickal ‘Knit-picking’

BRONWYN KATZKE. Ten years ago when I first dipped my big toe in the Paganism pool, it was by exploring divination and magick. I didn’t start off my path by learning about the spiritual side of magick and witchcraft, it was only later that I learned that there are related religions out there that actually approve of, and incorporate, magickal practices, which lead me to where I am today. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve left those beginnings of my path by the wayside as I explore my spirituality; like many other Pagans I like to incorporate magickal practice into everyday life. From a Pagan perspective knitting as a form of magick can incorporate many other magickal systems and take it beyond just knitting with intent and prayers.

Ice-cream Parlour of the Gods

BRONWYN KATZKE. So you like ice-cream, but your previous ice-cream parlour had very little in the way of flavours; their bog-standard chocolate, vanilla and strawberry just failed to wow you. But then you found a new ice-cream parlour. It had more flavours than you thought possible, and in all manner of delicious variations. You finally decide that a scoop of hazelnut ice-cream and another of chocolate frozen yoghurt will be just the right treat for you; and it is. Paganism comes in many, many different flavours; from the scholarly Pagans who devote their lives to bringing the past into the present, and keeping it relevant, to the more eclectic of the bunch who are ruled by their ‘feel’ and where it draws them. You could say that they are each on opposite sides of the spectrum, and if each path were a flavour of ice-cream, then I can tell you that adherents of either side would not approve of each others flavour.

Magickal Reiki

BRONWYN KATZKE. With an estimated one million practitioners worldwide, Reiki is becoming a leading holistic therapy. Originally founded by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century in Japan, it has grown into numerous traditions under the Reiki umbrella. And from its roots as a system for spiritual development, it has blossomed into a method for healing a variety of ailments with energy. But could Reiki be used for more than healing?

Crystal Clear – the healing powers of crystals

BRONWYN KATZKE. Diamonds may be a modern-day girl’s best friend but the fact is that gemstones, crystals and minerals have been mankind’s friends for millennia. Not only have they long been appreciated for their dazzling beauty, but their health benefits have been an open secret down through the ages. And now more than ever, people are waking up to what ancient cultures have known for centuries – crystals are more than just pretty trinkets; they have the power to heal.

To veg or not to veg?

BRONWYN KATZKE. ‘You are what you eat’, a saying that is more prevalent today than it has ever been. We live in an age obsessed with exactly what we fuel our bodies with; and this is especially evident in women’s magazines that hype the latest diet fads. Food fashions that promise instant weight loss, increased health, glowing skin, youthful radiance and much, much more. But there is one diet option that has been gaining in favour within New Age circles as it offers something more than health benefits – it promises increased psychic abilities and higher spiritual vibrations.

White Witch

BRONWYN KATZKE. It may have been that when Gerald Gardner first took Wicca out of the broom closet and thrust it into the glaring light of the public eye that term ‘white witch’ was born. A term concocted by the first of modern day witches to reassure a predominately Christian public that they did not worship the Christian Satan; as if by adding ‘white’ to a term that was synonymous with the villain of many a fairytale would soften the public to accepting them as ‘good’ witches. But perhaps with decades of use and the commercialisation of the New Age, those who used the term as a safeguard began to full it out, believing solely in all the ‘love and light’ they preached.