[image description: Half the face of a smiling being looks out from the left side of the piece. Their incisors are… incisive. Their nose and brow are pierced with silver studs. Their eye is a cat’s eye, their forehead is tattooed in a pattern visible on their neck and shoulder. Their ear is remarkably pointed. Behind them, a sheet of tattoo flash. Very bold and very pointy text reads, “118, LIV MARX ~ small god of BODY MODIFICATION”]

They aren’t frivolous, although many people assume they are.

They’ve been with humanity since humanity figured out what it was to be human, since the first flickers of consciousness and the self invaded the minds of previously innocent and unaware primates.  They never needed to be invited in.

A remarkable number of other gods can be considered their subordinates, if looked at from the right angle.  Patrice Angel, Polly Chrome, dear Tesla Jefferson—they are autonomous all, and yet they serve Liv.  Liv, who says sweetly, “If your body is your temple, decorate it to your liking.  Knock out a few walls, change the curtains, make it something you can live with.  Because no one else gets to decide the shape of your space.  No one else gets to tell you what’s right for you.  Become the person you were born to be, whoever that person is.”

They aren’t frivolous.  Their works can be transitory—the pierced eyebrow that seems like a wonderful idea in college, the drunken tattoo that gets lasered away in sober shame—but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

They stand with the preteen staring at the makeup aisle with wide, longing eyes, thoughts of the way his father will react warring with the need to paint his face the way it looks in his dreams.  They stand with the teen who binds growing breasts and sobs, either because they’re growing too big, too fast, and shattering the remains of her fleeting childhood against the rocks of sudden sexualization and inappropriate adult attention, or because adults who believe they know better than anyone else have blocked his access to the hormones that would have allowed him to control the shape of his body as it always should have been.  They stand with the adults those teens become, sitting in white rooms and looking at solemn doctors, begging to be allowed to repair the damage done by other hands.

They aren’t frivolous.  They only want the house in which you live to feel like a home, no matter what anyone else may think of it.

And they’re always down for a bitchin’ new tattoo.  Because even the more serious of gods is allowed to enjoy themself from time to time.

Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:





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