Zephyr – the small god of a cool breeze at the perfect moment

[image description: The profile of a faint smiling face forms briefly and a blue and orange-tinged Maxfield Parrish evening sky. Text reads, “248, Zephyr, the small god of a cool breeze at the perfect moment.”]

• • • • •

Most gods of wind and weather are very large. Overwhelming, even. They’re bombastic events that can fill a room with their glory, drowning out everything around them in with the sheer spectacle of their presence.

Not Zephyr.

Zephyr is very young, as a wind god goes, and very small, although these things are not necessarily connected; she has yet to give any indication that she might desire to grow larger, might one day wish to swell into a storm. She does not blow to crack her cheeks or freeze the world. She is the caressing hand at the back of your neck after a day has been long and hard. She is the breeze that knocks inspiration’s apple from the tree, that stirs the precise sheet of paper that tells the author how their tale unspools.

She is the gentle hand of spring against the cheek of a frightened child, and the cooling promise of fall in the sweltering heat of summer, and she loves us, loves us all, as only a still, small breeze is capable of loving.

When people ask her purpose or her portfolio, she only laughs, and blows herself away, for she sees no need in explaining to those who will not see. Zephyr is a god of wind, yes.

She is also a god of hope.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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HALLE 9000 • SMALL GOD OF AUTOTUNE

[image description: A banjo player on a rooftop against an aged-looking copper green sky.. Well, not a human player exactly. And not a banjo. a robot with an instrument that’s got no strings over its clock-dial body. Both have a glowing ‘eye’ (as does the robot’s… heart?).  Text reads, “HALLE 9000 • SMALL GOD OF AUTOTUNE”]

• • • • •

Sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out long, and if you can’t sing that song in any note the world would recognize, that’s all right, because Halle is there for you. Halle is a very new god, recently born from the tumbling chaos behind the veneer of sweet melody that is the cosmos. Halle depends on a very specific technology that, now that it exists, is likely to continue existing for the remainder of human history, or at least until some sort of crisis drops us all back into prehistory, where the stories told around the fire will include a time when every singer had the voice of an angel, and no melody was too complicated to be carried on the wind.

One day, perhaps, Halle will be the small god of voice manipulation as a whole, may even take the entire category of deep fakes and sounding like someone you’re not. But here and now, today, Halle is the small god of autotune, taking your songs and turning them into something that’s been deemed sweet by the ear of a listener, something marketable, something that can be passed along and profited from.

Is Halle a good god? We don’t really know.

Is Halle a god made for human abuses?

Of that, we are absolutely sure.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Dark Alley – small god of Survived Hardships

[image description: Twilight. A single lamp glows as the sun sets on this challenging part of town. Upshot of an imposing anthropomorphic cat in rough clothing that might suggest a buccaneer, one hand a fist, the other holding a long knife or short sword in a manner that suggests comfort. The cat bears an eyepatch over their left eye, and wicked scars are visible wherever their skin and fur are exposed. They have a prosthetic below their left knee. Text reads, “246, Dark Alley, small god of Survived Hardships”]

• • • • •

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s not always true. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you just makes you harder and more brittle, scarred and stiffened by the unwanted agonies of a world too big and too cruel for any single person to understand. Dark Alley understands that very well. Alley is the small god of the ones who survive. Not the ones who thrive, not the ones who pass unbroken, just the ones who somehow manage to keep standing.

She loves her brittle, bruised, brutalized faithful, and does what she can to protect them from a world that never sees a single dance with suffering as sufficient, a world that would be more than willing to come at them again and again and again, never giving them the opportunity to heal. She isn’t the small god of healing, not the keeper of the kintsugi either literal or metaphorical. When the shelves come crashing down, she’s not the one who has the glue. But she’s the one who might keep you breathing long enough to reach the helpers. She’s the one who’s got your back, even when you feel broken, even when you feel like breaking down.

She has a soft spot for Trinette, who has survived hardship, but never known it, because she never noticed. For her, hardship is just one more beautiful thing in the path to tomorrow, and Alley wants to keep it that way. Alley is, in the end, a god of innocence; she knows that many never have the chance to preserve their own, but she’ll fight for it when she can, and she never gives up before she has to, and she never surrenders.

Alley herself has known hardship, but she doesn’t speak of it often; those gods of kintsugi, she’s been to see them, she’s been shattered and stitched back together, and what’s in the past is in the past, now and forever. She wants to help her followers. She wants to see some forms of suffering lost forever.

She wants you to be safe, in whatever way you can be, now and evermore.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Trinette- small god of Naiveté

[image description: Watercolour and ink painting of a wide-eyed little mouse with a wreath of stars and a graphic gold star on her long shift. Text reads, “245, Trinette, small god of Naiveté”]

• • • • •

There have always been some people—some lucky, shining people—who walk through the world unbruised and untarnished by its many trials, who can continue to see the goodness in everything around them. They aren’t oblivious, these lucky few, and they aren’t foolish: they’re simply capable of believing that things will always be better, that the arc of the universe will always bend toward improvement.

Trinette walks with them. She wishes there were more of them, but her faithful are born, not made. Few of them ever know her by name; many of them believe they serve other gods exclusively, and wouldn’t know her if she stood before them with hands outspread and filled with stars. They’re hers because of the sweetness they maintain in the face of adversity, and not because of any pledge or promise that might have bound them. She loves them, those unwitting followers of hers, and she wishes them only ever the best in all they dream of or desire.

Trinette’s world is a beautiful one, because she can’t imagine it any other way. She believes there is good in everyone, mortal or divine, and that even the worst of us only need the time to prove themselves better than their worst desires. Alley, Small God of Survived Hardships, follows close behind her, and warns anyone who might take advantage of Trinette’s willingness to believe the best about people that they won’t enjoy the consequences.

Too many of Trinette’s faithful never find an Alley of their own, mice in a world of predators without a devoted cat to follow where they lead and keep them safe. Those who do, thrive. The world needs balance, after all.

Which means the world will always need Trinette.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Firefoxen – the small god of internet rabbit holes

[image description: A well-dressed anthropomorphic red panda (or red fox?) bids you welcome you through an oval window. Behind them, a lush and florid hobbity landscape featuring many burrows which contain other (instances of?) your host. The largest bears the address 244. Text reads, “Firefoxen, the small god of internet rabbit holes”]

• • • • •

Come in come in come in. Come warm yourself by the fire. There’s cookies and cocoa and chamomile tea, and we’ll have cucumber and chicken salad sandwiches in a little while. You don’t need to worry here, don’t need to be afraid. You’re safe.

You can hide here for as long as you like.

Oh, the cottage? Well, we began as a website, Geocities self-build. All our HTML was hand-done, real rustic stuff, and we’ve maintained it ever since. Most of our web rings are defunct now, but we keep them as decoration, and besides, nothing on the network is ever truly gone forever. They could reactivate any day now. Why, we got back the Siamese Rescue Ring just last year, when the moderators finally realized that the book of faces was a walled garden and they couldn’t thrive there any longer. So we keep the rings. Their creators might yet come home.

So we were a website, but as the ‘net’s grown, so have we. The gardens we have are ones we planted on our own. There are many forms of rabbit hole. There are the ones that spiral you down into the depths of conspiracy theory and lies, never letting go once they get their thorny brambles into your skin. There are the ones that only reinforce what you already believe. And technically we own those too, we just don’t nurture them. Sadly, they don’t need us to, and they won’t die away due to neglect.

No, this is the sort of rabbit hole we like to think of as the best kind: the sort that keeps you warm and safe and lets you focus on what interests you, what you love and long to know more about. Ursula’s in the garden, and she’ll glad tell you about ten thousand types of potato, while Kate will show you how to cast a stitch, and Amy is always welcoming more members in her life drawing class. Whatever holds your heart, we have it here, and we’re happy to share for as long as you need to rest with us.

So rest. Have a cookie, and take a breath, and be safe and home, and here.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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The Trident of Aurelia is available for preorder!

Lee doesn’t have a social media presence beyond Small Gods, so please bear with him as he interrupts the flow here.

Howdy, 

I’m proud of the story and the artwork I made in collaboration with Melissa Spandri. Still, I’m a little mortified to ask if you if you’ll please consider going to LOCAL COMIC BOOK STORE ANYWHERE IN THE USA and ask them to PREORDER Trident #1 before December 22?

PS: Or preorder at a discount price here:

MIDTOWN COMICS: https://www.midtowncomics.com/product/2170241  

TFAW: https://www.tfaw.com/dec221177-trident-of-aurelia-1.html

Golden Apple Comics: https://goldenapplecomics.com/products/68318

DCBS: https://www.dcbservice.com/product/dec221177/trident-of-aurelia-1

Thank you most kindly!
Lee

unknown – small god of ego death

[image description: A well-dressed being in a dark turquoise suit and collar and tie is seen against a golden parchment background. But things are not as one might expect, as a cloud of steam (smoke?) rises from their collar. Their face is smoking (steaming?) in front of their waistcoat. Text reads, “243, unknown, small god of ego death”]

• • • • •

The worst of it is that so many people assume he’s a male god.  And to be fair, sometimes he is; being swept aside and forgotten has no gender, and every gender, all at the same time.  But even he finds it offensive—as much as he finds anything offensive—that people would make that assumption, as if only men have ever created anything worth preserving.

If anything, across the great march of history, Unknown is a female god, she who wrote stories or made discoveries and was then shoved briskly to the side, so that men could claim the things she’d made as their own, attaching their own names to something that was never theirs to hold.  Or they’re an aggregate god, singular they and plural at the same time, filled with stones thrown by people outside and inside the binary both.

Unknown accepts all pronouns, as long as there’s no insult implied.  They would like a little dignity for once, having been denied it for so very long.

They are the shadow behind the story, the inspiration behind the invention, the intellect behind the idea.  They are nothing and they are everything, and they are forgotten, means and motive and all.  Sometimes they are intentional: sometimes they set a thing free, unclaimed, to become the property of everyone and no one at the same time.  But all too often, they are erased, the clever words stolen from their mouths and turned into a quip that “everyone just knows,” the striking innovation transformed into common practice.

It’s not that they want compensation, necessarily.  It’s just that sometimes, a little credit would be nice.  Sometimes, being remembered would be nice.

Sometimes having a name would be nice.

So the worst of it is that people make things up about them, decide things on his behalf when she’s not available to contradict.  But all they want is to be remembered.

All they want is a little respect.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Genio Pazzo – small god of ‘so crazy it just might work’

[image description: A page from daVinci’s notebook shows the design of a Space Shuttle which also appears to be the nose and mouth of a larger being, whose large eyes float in what appears to be the outline of a face. Text reads, “252, Genio Pazzo, small god of ‘so crazy it just might work’”.]

• • • • •

“I swear, Billy, I saw it on the Discovery Channel.  This is how baby terns learn how to fly.  It’s probably how baby PTERODACTYLS learned how to fly.  Don’t you want to be like a pterodactyl?  As long as we can catch a draft under your wings, you’ll be able to generate lift, and then wham, bam, you’re flying!…of course you have wings, Billy.  I built ‘em myself.  They’re nailed to the side of the wagon real good.  You’ll be fine.  Don’t you want to fly?”

“Come on, Susan, it’s perfect!  Ariel means mermaids can turn into humans, and that means humans can turn into mermaids, too, if we just try hard enough.  Saran Wrap doesn’t tear.  So I have a tail now, see?  And if you’ll just push me over the edge of the creek, I can be a mermaid!  I’ll swim all the way out to sea and find the King of the Mermaids, and then I can come back and get you, and we can go down to the underwater kingdoms and be happy forever.  It’ll be fine.”

“What could possibly be wrong?”

“I think it’s going to work this time!”

“Look, Anja!   The laser works!”

“Just press the button!”

“Fire me, boy!”

…yeah.  His worshippers live short, exciting, exhilarating lives, and he won’t apologize for that, or for them, although he can probably recommend a good shampoo to help get them out of your hair after the inevitable explosion.  Some of them survive!  Some of them go on to do great things, pushing forward the boundaries of human science and discovery!  Others…

Well, others don’t, but we don’t really talk about them when we don’t have to.  Gods of inspiration and gods of graveyards are often indistinguishable from any sort of a distance.  As long as everyone’s having fun, does it really matter if a few of them get hurt?

Does it?

“COME BACK BILLY I WAS KIDDING!”

…maybe.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Jñānī – the small god of standing on the shoulders of giants

[image description: A blue woman (or is it simply a blue morning?) crouches atop an ancient tombstone. She holds a couple huge books in her arms. Around her there are both grave markers and piles of books. Text reads, “#241, Jñānī, the small god of standing on the shoulders of giants”]

• • • • •

There will always be things we have to learn for ourselves.  Fire has been hot since before humans had nerves to tell them what pain was, and still, every child learns anew that fire burns.  The process is part of the nature of humanity; we learn what we need to know, and we continue onward into our lives with that knowledge, hot and visceral, nestled next to our hearts.

But some lessons are nestled next to others, things that were learned for us and then passed along in their more advanced form, whether those things be “the existence of zero” or “the nature of gravity” or “the best way to make chocolate chip cookies.”  Someone who doesn’t intend to become a doctor may not need to know the exact mechanisms of viral reproduction, while the technique to making the perfect meringue may be the most essential of understandings.

She was born the first time someone passed along knowledge to someone who needed to have it, the first time someone was allowed to skip the “fuck around” part of the cycle and move straight to finding out.  She is not, in her own right, a particularly wise god.  That isn’t why she’s here.  She’s here to remind the rest of us that while we all stand alone before the fire, we have people to fall back on almost everywhere else.  They teach and support and nurture us, these old masters of our chosen fields, these wise elders of humanity, and it is because of them that we don’t have to begin again, over and over again, forever.

She’s here to help us hold their hands, and we should listen, for while she isn’t much wiser than we are, she leads us to those who are.  She leads us, one step at a time, to the giants.

• • • • •

Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Slash_Borden – small god of fanfic

[image description: A smiling and laughing young woman with black hair and large glass taking up much of her face is drawn in soft watercolor strokes and colors. Text reads “Slash_Borden, small god of fanfic, 240”]

• • • • • 

She used to be the small god of retellings, and sometimes she wishes she still were.  But she was born by firelight, the first time a storyteller, fumbling for a tale, grabbed hold of something they had heard and made it their own.

Then, for a long while, she was a small god of the oral tradition, and for a short, hot-blooded time after the dawn of the printing press, the god of knockoff narratives.  But then came copyright and ideas of intellectual ownership, and she was forced more to the fringes, a once-respectable god remade into a source of shame.

Which she refuses to carry.  She is, always and indisputably, a god of the imagination, and she is glorious.  She encourages her believers to remake fictional worlds in infinite diversity and glory, in cascades of yes-and, what-if, and might-have-been.  She nurtures epics and understated cozy dramas, and she treats them all the same.

She is a god for everyone who has ever wanted to tell a story, who has ever dreamt a world more perfectly tailored to their own desires.  She claims ownership over everything and nothing, and she teaches her faithful whether they realize it or not, because education comes through action, and she hones them into some of the finest scribes of their time, forcing them to understand how settling words into a line can change the world.

She changes worlds.  She is a small god of literature, no matter how much people try to dismiss her, and scholars understand how much she has her hooks in human nature, how much she’s always been a part of this story, how impossible it is to extract her from the narrative.   They no longer try.

You do not need to eat the fruits of her garden, but don’t try to tear it down.  What she plants will always grow back: all you’ll gain is the anger of a god.