This is a 760 word piece, and quick read about those who walk amongst us. Nov 2021.
There are many gods, some of whom interact with our world, and we’ve names for some of them. The other gods have other worlds, or just do other things instead. There’s nothing special about this, and it’s all quite mundane really.
Gods and other spirits work with souls. Some spirits work with lots of souls. Size doesn’t necessarily matter here. Some souls therefore technically qualify as being the ‘son of god,’ but human definition assumes just one. There’s not though, there’s tens of thousands of them, attached to many diverse gods. The gas thing is, in Christian terms, their messiah has been rocking up time and time again. Not the same soul, but one of them. And usually several at the same time.
It’s my contention that the ancient Greeks called such incarnating people – and their souls – demigods. The problem with demigods, indeed any god-born child, is the presumption of superhuman ability. Yet it’s not like that. The sweetest fruit on the tree is still fruit. It won’t fly, leap tall buildings or teleport. And guess what? Some of the bitterest fruit comes from the same seed. Don’t think there are rules.
Yet, there are benefits. Having a direct line to a god is pretty useful, for example. Other benefits are subtle, and easily missed. A modern word for demigods is ‘incarnate’. Most of them have no idea who or what they are and yet they tend to be pivotal figures. That’s by design and sometimes it’s due to those subtle benefits. It’s far easier to lift oneself up out of the throng when it’s innate.
Nobody broadcasts this, to my knowledge. Yet most shamans would (or should) know it. Not because they read it in a book or were taught it, but because they should have experienced it when journeying. I get that it’s not an easy conversation though, and not everyone is wired to write these things.
The problem with the gods today is that much of our lore comes from ancient work, which has been corrupted through time and circumstance. If I was to tell you one of my more recent deity encounters was with a Fae queen, who’s not actually from our locale (a wholly different set of courts,) you’d think me mad. She wasn’t entirely humanoid and had no human sounding name, so I called Her Niamh because ‘oi’ and ‘mush’ isn’t good politic. I’m sure I’m not the first traveller to bestow a god with an earthly name. Millennia ago, She’d have been rendered into lore, and granted gigs along the Euphrates. Today though, nothing is written, because it’s a hiding to nothing.
The old gods… researchers love to assign tasks and duties to them, like a child’s story book. Then there’s all this lineage stuff, about which god became what in later cultures, and who relates to whom. All very cerebral, but we keep forgetting there aren’t any rules. Some of the those gods never existed. Others did, but by a hundred different names across different cultures and doing wholly contradictory things.
Some major gods were minor helpers in certain pantheons. Others were written out or inverted for convenience. There are many forces at play here and there is indeed a cosmic balance. Things are not, and have never been, what they seem. It isn’t a struggle between good and evil. Yet, in baby terms, it’s something like that. Like the genie in your car that makes it move on command.
The gods have very different views on what’s needed and what isn’t, just like all the other spirits. That’s not because they’re dispassionate – well, the better one’s aren’t – they’re wholly experiencing suffering too, because they’re emotional beings. However, their experience is a transcendent one, where they retain their own reality regardless of our mortal situations. The gods really, really do care. It’s just caring and changing things are very different asks. It seems almost psychopathic from a human perspective, but that’s because it’s the human perspective and bound by human knowledge and comprehension.
At their core, all humans are spirit, and some spirits are gods. Gods are not humans, and yet at their core, some humans are gods. We don’t walk alone, but it’s not like a TV series or film franchise. Things are simpler than that. So simple in fact, it’s easier not to believe in any of this.
You know it’s quite easy to spot an incarnate, right? They’re the heretic being lynched by a crowd for telling them what they needed to hear.