About KALLISTI & Me

Hello! This is Kaye. Welcome to my religious blog. I’ve divided the About Me page into three sections — (1) Intentions; (2) Some History; and (3) Perspective.

Note: If you’re looking for my contact info, use
kallisti — the usual symbol for at — fea — dot — st

Intentions

On this blog, I plan to share personal practice anecdotes — good and bad — alongside things that I think are generally helpful to the community. This is a living space, and not everything is set in stone. Some things you may see include:

  • Commonplace book posts, often called A Miscellany of Quotations, followed by information about which authors I’m quoting.
  • Practical guides that describe how to get started with the basics of doing religious offerings in a polytheistic context.
  • Poetry and prayers given to the Gods.
  • Information about things I’m trying out in ritual or rituals I have conducted.
  • Essays, often impromptu, about a variety of topics at the intersection of polytheism and practice. Occasionally, I also write essays about astronomy, science, and polytheism.
  • Essays about minimalism, consumerism, and polytheism.
  • Occasional cross-posts from my writing blog when I have done something that is topically relevant to this blog.

As a caveat, I have absolutely no polytheism-related credentials — I’m not a priestess, oracle, mystic, or member of any organization, and I don’t have any degrees that give me academic authority on religious topics, either. My only two applicable experiences are growing up in Neopaganism and, after I became an adult, over thirteen years worshipping the Hellenic Gods and researching theology and philosophy to inform my everyday life. The more I read and apply what I have learned, the more I realize just how little I know and how much there is left to uncover.

Some History

This blog once lived on Blogger. That site was started in 2008 when I was 20-21, and it was one of the first few blogs on the English-language web (outside of LiveJournal) that focused on recon-style worship of the Hellenic Gods. Things have changed a lot since then.

I grew up in American Neopaganism, although my family also attended a Unitarian Society for most of my childhood. (Thank you, Bast!) Gradually, I centered on worshipping Mnemosyne and Apollon, and I spent most of my teens working through advanced, non-initiatory Wiccan books by authors like Christopher Penczak. From 9/2007 to 5/2009, I was a co-chair of the Association of Smith [College] Pagans (ASP), except for the semester I was abroad. From 2009-2020, I was a member of Hellenion.

I transitioned into reconstructionist-style Hellenic polytheism in early 2008 because it made sense at the time given the Gods I worship, and I read Sallust’s On the Gods and the World, which convinced me that it was the correct path forward. I started a blog called KALLISTI, which I sunsetted in the mid-2010s only to restart it again on WordPress a year or two later.

In the previous iteration of KALLISTI, I had hundreds of posts dating from when I was 20 to the present. My perspective and beliefs have shifted a lot since then (for instance, I don’t call what I do “recon” now, and I do not call what I do Hellenism or Hellenismos any longer), and this is a great opportunity to share my current thoughts on polytheism without having to account for ideas I had when I was 20 that I no longer have at 33.

Perspective

This blog is about a form of Hellenizing polytheism — specifically Hellenistic Syncretic Polytheism (or HeSP, which you can pronounce hesp, like Hesperos). I use this term because I worship Hellenic Gods and engage with philosophy and theology, but I am not Greek — I’m Scandi and Québécoise American. Thus, my practice is different from the religion practiced by Hellenes/Greeks even though some elements may look the same. You will see the word Hellenism in most posts published before mid-2019. I’m moving away from using that terminology and towards HeSP because I believe that being clear about what our practice is is important, and overidentifying with a cultural group when it isn’t ours feels uncomfortable and wrong.

My views on this blog are also influenced by my philosophical outlook. I love Plato and the Platonists and read them voraciously, but I am a nonspecialist despite having been veering→Platonism for years at this point. If part of the goal of philosophers is to teach people how to be good polytheists, I’m in that target audience, and I’ve been working hard at reading commentaries and modifying my religious practice in a Platonizing fashion. You can expect that some metaphors, analogies, framings, and so on that I use in my devotional poetry are related to Platonic teachings about the Hellenic Gods. Politically, I’m a social democrat.

The Gods I worship the most are Apollon, Mnemosyne, the Mousai, Athene, Hermes, and the Erinyes/Eumenides. The ancestor worship I do is not Hellenizing. I now perform some household rites for some Gods my pre-Christian ancestors worshipped, and I believe that doing this is a reverential act of repair. (It’s certainly improving my religious life and addressing feelings of unplacing.) I also worship Seshat, Sulis, and Bast — Seshat because I am a librarian and grew fond of her when I was reading a translation of Conversations in the House of Life; Bast because she was the Goddess I first worshipped; and Sulis because I am magnetically drawn to solar deities.

Otherwise, the ritual calendar I follow is lunar (and very similar to the one used by many Americans who worship the Hellenic Gods).

Professionally, I’m a librarian in higher education, and I studied English literature before 1850 and astronomy as a major/minor pair back in undergrad. I am also a published poet and writer; my work has appeared in several lit mags. My first book-length publication is a book of poetry called Acts of Speech, available as an ebook on Gumroad and other platforms or as a print book. The print ISBN is 9781735740614 and the ebook ISBN is 9781735740607, which you can use when searching.