Stacking Your Immortal Deck: How To Play Nice With The Gods

ancient egyptian godsA hawk, an ibis, and a jackal walk into a bar. No, seriously.

At least, that’s what I’d do on a Friday night given the choice. Mortals are needy. They take work. But signing up to be in a pantheon came with certain responsibilities for certain perks. It can’t just be all fun and games, right?

The pantheon. A pantheon. A.k.a. The Gods. In all their glory.

For some, it’s a word that inspires. For others, it evokes fear. For the unlucky ones, it’s nothing more than a cold, stone building in the south of Rome. But for those of us whom the gods are more than just words on a page or images on a scroll, the pantheon you follow can mean everything.

norse godsIt can decide your beliefs, your fate, even your death. And as an author, most certainly the deaths of your characters.</pi

The sixth grade started it all, spurning my obsession immediately. A simple, homemade papyrus began a lifelong search, a journey that had things gone differently might have very well taken me to the ends of the Earth itself.

Ever since then, I’ve been an ancient history geek, a polytheistic nerd, Egyptology’s lover, and whatever other alphabet soup you want to toss my way.

We were studying Ancient Egypt, the one place that my heart still holds dear, and from there my obsession only grew. In adolescence, I became Pagan, and while Roman Catholicism held a place for me with its traditions and culture, its ambiance, and its lore, its path was not my own.

wpid-poseidon_neptune_greek_god_statue_02-1.jpgThey say that the places, religions, and gods you are drawn to the most are the ones you have the strongest connection to, be it from past lives, future selves, or whatever other descriptive phrasing you want to use. I have SPQR tattooed on my upper left shoulder and an ankh on my right forearm. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have an angelic language on my forearm.

My love of these cultures/histories/lores knows no bounds. I have a great affinity for temples, halls, and colonnades that does not come from being surrounded by stained glass windows, Roman collars, and crosses as a child. Depending on your beliefs and the acceptance of the beliefs of others, I would say it came from my past lives and you would believe me.

So when it came down to writing my novels, it seemed my fate was sealed.

#TheGenesisTrilogy is about angels, demons, and classical theology. Nephilim. Genesis and all that it entails.

The #NineWorldsSaga comes full circle on the mythology of a #pantheon and the powers it holds. In this work, they are called The Panthos (or The Aesir), and much like The Olympians, they are varied and harrowing in their power. They rule the Nine Worlds (Norse mythos).

The Nine Worlds, the Niuheimir, are the direct usage of the Norse mythology. TNW features locations such as Niflheim, Alfheim, and the Vahalionar (Valhalla).

Anaethesis, Alyas, Az’zahr, Arielle, Asvaej, and about seven more are the gods that form this pantheon.

I decided to go iLokiassic Olympian style and make it a group of 12. The Aesir are a blend of the Norse gods and our beloved friends from Mount Olympus.

Anaethesis is half Odin, half Zeus. He is cold, calculating, and rules with an iron fist, but he is not evil. He is just.

Asvaej is half Hades, half Loki. He meddles. He is the brother of Anaethesis. He twists and concocts schemes. He is the snake in Anaethesis’ ear.

For me, growing up Pagan, the Gods were more than just these scary forces hovering in the clouds. My mother who raised me Roman Catholic taught me as a child that thunder was God moving furniture. I liked it, but it wasn’t me. I changed it to the Gods in council.

They were a part of my identity, and somewhere along the way I stumbled onto American Gods by #NeilGaiman and that took over. (They’re finally making a mini-series OMFG – for the record). I saw that the Gods could have more than just trite motives, and even still, in American Gods, their main desires still fall back on self-preservation. I still wanted it to be more.

So I came up with a saga based on my original main character #SadiChesearean. What if God was really just a mortal at the beginning and he ascended to his powers? What if religion and theology weren’t what we really believed they were, and it was all a concoction of what really happened? This concept, in a nutshell, has been the bulk of my writing ever since.

So when it came time to explore motives and desires, I realized that there was more to the story.

The Gods were angry. They had experiences. They had lovers who cheated on them. They fought wars. Their wives died in childbirth. They were real people with real lives.

They just ended up as Gods. And that is the whole point of my entire NINE WORLDS SAGA.

The main characters are the reluctant heroes. They want to live their lives like humans, but no less than the Gods who meddle. Humans have a finite vision of the past and the future. They exist within a span of a century. The Gods exist for millennia, eons even, depending on the belief systems from which they are founded.

As a child, I loved Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwater Saga (hugely so), but even with the Tuatha, there was never any other explanation for their actions other than self-preservation.

I needed something more than that. These gods are immortal, so I took their immortality away, changing it to thousands of years. Like master vampires that live in the spans of four to five thousand years, the kinds that see entire empires rise and fall.

Now, the gods were more like elves; they lived long but not forever. But it wasn’t enough.

First their immortality, then their powers. This is something I also touch upon in The Genesis Trilogy, especially East of Eden.

We spend so much time trying to avoid the mundane that we forget the power of our own individuality. We may be mortal, and we may be limited in our actions, but we have free will. We just have to exact it right, like the setting of the gears in a clockwork. If the gods would trade away everything that made them who they are, they would be left human. They would live and die, love and laugh. Their motives would be human indeed, and as such, they would make better villains, better heroes.

And that’s the whole point of character writing in a nutshell: to make best characters believable, to make their motives human, to make them ring true, etc. “Evil isn’t born; it’s made,” #OUATobsessed.

These people came from something to be something, be it good or bad.

But the gods are more than just a royal flush sitting pretty, they’re a force to be reckoned with. They’re the wildcard in your hand. So if you’re going to play poker, make sure you don’t piss them off.

It’s too early to dig bodies out of damnation. I haven’t had my coffee yet.

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(Our dog, Loki, pimps out the couch while one of our cats, Scarlet, looks on)

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