Laurel Bay – The Small God Of Topiary

Her portfolio serves no purpose beyond making people smile, and she’s perfectly content with that.  Let other gods control fate, or time, or love, or war, even down to its smallest attributes; she will conjure the laughter of children and the delight of lovers, the joy of gardeners and yes, even the fear of those whose automatonophobia has been stirred to terrible heights by unkind horror movies.  She delights in them all, for she is a joyful god, and she sees no reason to be anything other than who she is.

Sculpt a rabbit or a robot, and she’ll be standing gladly by your side, clapping her hands and exalting in your skill.  She has inspired her own Pygmalions, although she lacks the gifts of Aphrodite, to bring their glorious creations further into life than the green growth of their limbs, the healthy splendor of their branches.  She can inspire life.  She can shape life.  She can encourage life. She cannot give it, much as she might wish she could.

But she can, upon occasion, move it from one place unto another.  The starving child whose family has been lost to the wilds may find themselves reborn in growth and glory; the beloved dog whose people bring them beneath the branches to soothe their passing may find that they have not gone, simply relocated.  And Laurel finds her own joy in tears, on those occasions, in the pain she cannot prevent but can at least reduce a bit as the future moves forward, and carries, as always, a bright new spring.

For that is the one truth she carries above all others: that always, no matter what else happens, there will be another spring, and as long as the green endures, she will be there with it, glorying in the growth of that which lives for joy.


[image description: Smiling black girl stands outside on a sunny day. An Oread? a Dryad? In any case, she has bright green foliage where humans would have hair – and it’s been fashioned into the shape of a rubber duck. A leaf pattern winds around the neck of her tunic. Text reads, “112, Laurel Bay, the Small God of Topiary”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

111 OTTO 111, Small God of the Palindromes

Hello.

Goodbye.

He’s a confusing one at times, ever charming to the innocent and the wise, ever vengeful toward the cunning and the cruel.  He comes as he is going, and goes as he comes, and so very few can understand his workings.

He would like a cucumber sandwich, if it matters at all to anyone who’s listening, or perhaps a lasagna.  A lasagna would be especially welcome—as he has been known to say to those who ask him, “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog.”

Many of his sayings make little sense to the uniformed.  Does it matter where the rats live, or if they choose to hang their hats upon no evil stars?  Is there any relevance to whether or not geese see God, or whether it was a cat or a car he saw?  But he continues, and he endures, and he keeps his small, perplexing secrets, and he tells his small, perplexing tales, and he is happy enough.

Happiness, he says, is what separates gods from gone, and he would prefer to be present.

Many of his sayings make little sense to the uniformed.  Does it matter where the rats live, or if they choose to hang their hats upon no evil stars?  Is there any relevance to whether or not geese see God, or whether it was a cat or a car he saw?  But he continues, and he endures, and he keeps his small, perplexing secrets, and he tells his small, perplexing tales, and he is happy enough.

He would like a cucumber sandwich, if it matters at all to anyone who’s listening, or perhaps a lasagna.  A lasagna would be especially welcome—as he has been known to say to those who ask him, “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog.”

He’s a confusing one at times, ever charming to the innocent and the wise, ever vengeful toward the cunning and the cruel.  He comes as he is going, and goes as he comes, and so very few can understand his workings.

Goodbye.

Hello.


[image description: A small creature with the face of a juvenile Badger stands in a flamboyant red coat, purple waistcoat, violet sash, and wide ribbon bowtie. His shadow falls on a rough wooden floor, right hand on a comparatively tall bottom stair. Text reads, “111 OTTO 111, The Small God of the Palindromes”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Automata Hari – Small God of Passwords

She will forgive almost anything once.  Twice, if you’re lucky.

On the third transgression, there will be consequences.

Once, she could be easy.  Once, she could be a childhood pet, a mother’s maiden name, an elementary school’s mascot.  Once, she was unbreakable. Now, she is become endless strings of letters and numbers, incomprehensible, unpronounceable, holy and profane.  Speak her secret names aloud and wake the end of days.  Chant them to the winds and bring on Armageddon.

And still the malefactors chase at her heels and undo her good works, cracking them like pearls in search of the pearls within.  She is not protected.  She is not safe.

All she has ever wanted was to be safe.  From the days of forts on wind-racked hillsides to today, she has been seeking naught but safety, and forever we deny her that simple release, that piece of peace.  All she wants is to protect her treasures and be left alone.

But as our methods of intrusion grow ever more sophisticated, so must her methods of evasion.  One day she will transcend even godhood, becoming something so incomprehensibly arcane that it becomes unspeakable and incomprehensible.

And the hackers will merely sigh and upgrade their tools, for she will never be left alone.

Our presence is the penance she must pay for whatever sins she carried with her into godhood, and as long as we continue to press her, she knows that she is not forgiven.


[image description: Against a black and red background of smoke, a severe-looking woman with staring cyan eyes is seen in 3/4 view. Around her many diverse skeleton keys hang from threads of different lengths. She wears an elegant black off-the-shoulder dress that has a key-shaped cut-out directly above her sternum. Close inspection reveals that her skin features thin seams – that she is not human, but an elegant simulacrum. Text (Futura) reads, “Automata Hari, Small God of Passwords.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

The Hindenburger – Small God of Jersey Diners

It’s okay if you don’t want a burger.  Jonesy don’t mind.  Jonesy don’t mind that it’s not his name on the sign these days, either.  Used to be.  Used to be Jonesy’s was where you went for the best coffee in the world, hot and bitter and so old it had seen the rise o’ empires, good with or without cream and sugar.

All right, maybe Jonesy minds a little.  But he knows the gig.  Before the place was Jonesy’s, it was Ethel’s, and she’s still here, dishing pancakes and fries and smiling at her regulars like she still owns the place.  See, the gods who work here, we don’t disappear when our ascension ends.  We don’t go nowhere.  Got nowhere to go.  We diminish a little, maybe, so we’ll fit better behind the counter, but that’s about as far as it gets.

Once you’re hired, you’re hired from now until eternity.  So consider that, sweetheart, before you go filling out that application.  We’re always short-staffed, but might be as you wanted to see something else before you went back into the primeval subconscious and became part of the divinity soup again.  Might be as you didn’t want to stop here, cutting ambrosia pie and flipping burgers until the stars burn out and we close out the final check.

That one’s going to be for us.  Soon as our jobs are done, all the Heavens are fed, all the believers are gone, we’ll sit down to whatever we want, finest in the cosmos, everything perfect and just the way we want it.  We’ll sit on those vinyl seats and laugh in that neon glow, and we’ll be a family, no matter whose name is on the sign when that day comes.  Might still be mine.  Might be yours.  Might be someone entirely new.  Won’t know until we get there.

But just listen to old Hinderburger.  We got the best grill this side of Tartarus, and name aside, nothing we serve here is ever burned.

That’s a promise.


[image description: A black and white illustration set against a stormy sky. A huge hamburger careens into tall ketchup and mustard containers. The collision causes both containers to shoot their contents skyward. Text reads, “109, The Hindenburger, Small God of Jersey Diners.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Uncle George – The Small God of Ohhh Myyy!

It seems to be a season for discussing the ascended divine, those who were not gods but have had godhood thrust upon them.  Many are dismayed to realize that they have been pressed flat and reduced to a single aspect of their personality.  Perhaps large gods, gods of cosmic force and creation, can afford to be complicated, but small gods are like garlic presses.  They have been designed by the cosmos to serve a single purpose, and while they might fill that purpose very, very well, they can and will do little else.

Others are delighted.  And those who ascend while still among the living, who get to reap the benefits of both complexity and simplicity at the same time…those gods tend to be the most delighted of all.

Enter Uncle George, who is new to the pantheon, but has never been more needed.  He is an icon and an idea, and if it concerns him at times that he is also a living man, whose choices and actions in the world might impact his believers, he sets that concern aside in favor of admiring the beauty and bravery of his faithful.

He is with the frightened teen considering asking their crush to a school dance without knowing what the answer—or the consequences—might be.  He is with the suburban homemaker using mascara to create a five o’clock shadow that finally makes their reflection feel like an accurate representation of the self.  He is with the young and he is with the old and he is with the lonely and he is with the lost, and he is with everyone who needs him to whisper admiring words and grant them the bravery to be themselves in a world that seems so often intent on destroying anything it doesn’t understand.

He is not the living man, for all that they share a face, and the living man has depths that he will never know.  And honestly, he doesn’t mind.

Uncle George is happy as he is.  He only hopes and prays that everyone else can one day be the same.


[image description: A portrait of George Takei on a red ground. His eyebrows are raised and he is speaking. The image shows him mid-phoneme.  Text reads, “108, Uncle George – Small God of Ohhh Myyy!”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Ambrose – The Small God of Sideburns

There is some debate, among extremely inconsequential theological circles, as to whether he is a small god in the traditional sense—a divinity risen out of the ether in response to a perceived gap in the functionality of the universe—or a small god in the ascended sense, a person who became so associated with one of those perceived gaps that the universe, rather than making something entirely new to fill the hole, simply made due with what was already there.

Either Ambrose was a general in the American Civil War, fighting against the Confederacy on the side of the United States against the horrors of slavery, a man of infinite complexity, of unrecorded thoughts, dreams, and ideals, capable of change and growth, or he wasn’t.  And if he was, it must be asked what kind of sins he committed in his life, to deserve this eternity.  Yes, he has a god’s abilities, but limited to such a narrow scope, such a narrow slice of all he was, than in his case, godhood seems a punishment.

He will make your sideburns glorious and thick.  Your facial hair will be the envy of all who look upon you, even those who would, under normal circumstances, find it unattractive.  Your moustache will, as they say, bring all the boys to the yard, and they’ll be like, it’s better than ours.

Damn right, it’s better than theirs.  You could teach them, but you’d have to charge.

And all the while, the small god of sideburns weeps unnoticed.


[image description: Portrait of Ambrose Burnside, Former Governor of Rhode Island. His strangely-shaped face offset by remarkable white sideburns. Really big sideburns that connect to a wide white mustache. He has no beard and sports a dark blue suit and a bright blue tie over a cream colored shirt front and a cream colored collar. Behind him, a beamed ceiling hangs over a room of blue and gold mosaic. Text reads, “107, Ambrose – Small God of Sideburns.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Quink – Small God of Sugar Cereals

They are best-beloved of the young, when they must compete with a host of other divinities for attention, with small gods of plush toys and fashion dolls, of cartoons and new experiences, of fear and joy and novelty.  They are never powerful in the eyes of their youngest applicants, although they are sometimes leant additional strength by the allure of the forbidden.  They don’t make kids hyper.  That’s an urban legend, bolstered by the natural excitement born of getting something rare and nice, and the occasional child whose system is wired to respond to a burst of energy by burning it off immediately.  Still, they receive credit—or perhaps blame—for any number of hijinks, for broken windows and woken infants, for the natural exuberance of childhood, and they don’t deny it, because they are not a small god of childhood nutrition or the like.

They are small, and simple, and content to be what they are.  Bright, colorful, cartoonish, and implicitly extraterrestrial, even though there is more of Boise than Betelgeuse in their list of ingredients.  Their boxes are designed to be inviting, and they can make any kitchen their cathedral with a minimum of preparation and but a single invitation to arrive.  With cleverly clipped coupons, they will come virtually for free, and they like it that way.  It allows them better access to their adherents.

And of course, there are always those who will continue their worship into adulthood, those for whom marshmallow sweetness and color-changing milk are reminders of a childhood spent sweetly, or proof that they are finally secure, finally free from the ownership of parents who put their own preferences at the head of the line, finally able to live their own lives.  Those will not always be the people you assume.  The judge in her solemn black robes eats a bowl of Frostie-Os before she proceeds to the courthouse, the accountant in linen and wool enjoys Fruity Sugar Dreams every morning before he turns to his spreadsheets.  They turn none away.

They do not cause tooth decay when proper dental hygiene is practiced; they are not solely responsible for poor nutrition or any other ill.  They are only here to bring us light and joy and to serve as part of a balanced breakfast.

They are a neutral god, and we would do well to treat them as such.


[image description: A cute green cartoon alien in an orange uniform with padded white collar and cuff rings floats against the black backdrop of outer space. He smiles mischievously while the antenna atop his head radiates energy. Text reads, “106, Quink (a big bold commercial logo) – Small God of Sugar Cereals.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

CV, A – Small God of Anonymity

He will not kill us if we tell you who he is, what he does, his purpose, his portfolio.  He promises he won’t.

But he’ll make us never have been.  We will be erased from all of time and history, and our deeds will come to nothing.  Even our account will not be seen, and we will have unmade ourselves for nothing.

We are sorry, but we can tell you nothing more.

We are also sorry to have told you he existed.

This is not your fault; it is ours.


[image description: A stark asymmetrical poster in red and black with a thin sliver of green edge-light. It shows the face of someone with long black hair wearing a plastic Guy Fawkes mask under a brimmed black hat. Text reads, “CV, A – Small God of Anonymity.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Woo Woo – Small God of New Relationship Energy

They say that no one is immune to their song, and it’s true, it’s true; people who try to claim that because they don’t experience romantic attraction, they can’t be wooed, are likely to find themselves swept into an overwhelmingly intimate friendship which has nothing to do with romance, but everything to do with the all-consuming sparks created when two people of compatible minds strike against each other for the first time.

It can all too easily become an inferno, consuming everything in its path, and older friendships will often find themselves immolated, ignored, disregarded until the flames die down.  This is normal and natural and inescapable, and those truths do not undo the damage done, or heal the wounds created by suddenly absent attention, by jealous and envy and shame.

Woo Woo is sorry for the damage that they do, but they consider the scales balanced by the joys they bring, those bright moments of sudden synchronicity with someone who wasn’t in your life a week ago, but is now one of the fixed stars in your sky.

They are an exhausting god.  Fortunately, they don’t stay with anyone for long: it is their destinate to have no faithful, only faithless, for they are transitory by nature, fleeting, and all the sweeter for it.  They would no more linger with a single soul than they would allow themself to be caged.  And some, who seek new people more often than most, can spend enough time in their company to become all but priests of their short-lived religion, adored and anointed.

But soon enough, the god will tire of them as well, and fly away to perch in someone else’s heart.

Do not think of them as good, or evil, or malicious, or kind.  Think of them as fickle, and you will be closer than any other descriptor in the dictionary.

Over the course of this documentary description, they have already flown away.


[image description: An adorable cuckoo sits atop a crooked wooden cuckoo clock, its green plumage a contrast with the clock’s traditional carved wooden oak leaves and classic cruciform details. The red clock face is in the shape of a heart – as are its hands, the demarcations of hours, and the 3 hanging carved wooden weights. The door of the clock is open, and its perch empty. Inside the wee door, nothing remains save a busted spring. In the background, a field of hundreds of light pink hearts. Spritely text with curling serifs on its capitals reads, “#104 Woo Woo – Small God of New Relationship Energy.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Blitzkreig Bob – The Small God Of Suburban Punks

Some people say he can’t exist, or, when confronted with the reality of his presence—and remember that even a small god is still a god, better not provoked with statements such as “you’re a shit divinity, aren’t you?” or “you don’t exist, you can’t possibly be real”—that his believers are misguided about their own existence.  He doesn’t take kindly to any of these things, but his ability to take revenge is limited by the shape and scope of his portfolio, which he loves too wildly and too well to ever set aside, even for the sake of blackening a few eyes.

Blitzkrieg Bob is the patron and god of suburban punks and mall goths, frustrated teens seeking something to rebel against and grown adults finding themselves in new subcultures well past the age when they’d been written off as unremarkable, serene.  He guides the hands that select the bottle of Manic Panic and the shears, and if he doesn’t always guarantee those things are paid for, well.  He’s happy to stick it to any Man available, even the ones who can’t afford another injury.

(Penny Ante, small god of local businesses and community support, wishes he would enforce certain commandments more strictly on his followers.  He understands her concern—some of hers are also some of his, or were once, or will be eventually—but punk is about breaking rules, and the more rules he sets before his faithful, the more they will rebel.)

He doesn’t care if their nail polish is blotchy or their music is secondhand or their stompy boots aren’t quite fitted to their feet.  He cares about their hearts, and the passion he finds sleeping there.  Punk and goth are their combinations are sacred things, and he allows no gatekeepers, no barriers between his faithful and his word and their holy, hurting hearts.


[image description: A dark portrait of a young person inside a dark stone frame. Their long sallow face is framed by long unkempt black hair. They wear wide oval glasses and a sneer. Barely visible in the background, a sign that might read ‘OMFUG’ (which might, in turn, stand for ‘Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers’). Text reads, “#103 Blitzkreig Bob – Small God of Suburban Punks.”]


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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/