Pagans Ahoy! / Salt Lake Weekly, Dec. 21, 2006

Pagans ahoy!
by Jerre Wroble

Rev. Heron has been part of the Salt Lake City Pagan community since the early ’90s and is one of the founders of the Church of the Sacred Circle, a local earth-based tradition. A graphic artist and Web designer, Heron is married with two children being raised in the Pagan tradition. She joins other Pagans on Thursday, Dec. 21, at the annual SunStave Circle Yule at 7 p.m. at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 6876 S. Highland Dr. (2000 East).,

What is a SunStave? Won’t the sun come back without it?
SunStave is a circle that happens eight times a year when the Utah Pagan community comes together to celebrate the four solar holidays and four cross-quarter dates of the wheel of the year. When we “call the sun back,” we welcome the return of the light into the darkest part of the year, and this can be seen as a metaphor for the progress of an individual’s spiritual path.

How does your celebration differ from Christmas?
Most modern Pagans do not accept that we need a savior, and thus we do not celebrate the birth of Jesus. Another difference is that many modern Pagan families will celebrate on the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) instead of December 25. Finally, many Pagans give handmade or meaningful gifts to avoid the commercial aspects of the holidays.

Describe a typical SunStave ritual.
We’ve had everything from Native American elders dancing the blessings of harvest with us to Asian-style ceremonies honoring ancestors. One thing that you will almost always find is an open, welcoming atmosphere and a reverence for the earth and nature.

What type of person would feel most at home attending the SunStave Yule?
Anyone who is interested in earth-based spirituality or who wishes to understand more about what Pagans really do.