The Great One – The Small God Of Small Gods

We started early in the Pandemic. We hoped – we still hope – to bring a little joy to all of you, wherever you may be. But this is our first real anniversary – the 100th Small God!

Of course there are many more to come, but we believe in celebrating where we can. So here’s to you and the Great One. And the next hundred!

By now, we’ve spent enough time together for you to understand one of the deep secrets of the universe, one of the conceptual underpinnings around which all things rotate and extend:

If a thing exists, it can believe. And if a thing believes, it can and will accrete divinity around itself, even as an oyster forms a pearl. The universe self-organizes into gods, for the sake of all those who are made of baser stuff.

The small gods themselves exist. They think, they know, and they believe. So why would they be the only creatures in creation not to have a god to call their own?

They call him The Great One, and he walks the world with ponderous grace, implacable and inevitable. He is there when new gods come into being, watching with his single narrow, ancient eye. He is there when they surrender to the inevitable and fade finally away, their last believer gone, their purpose lost. He remembers them all, even the ones the gods of memory and history have themselves forgotten; he judges none.

No one knows what happened to his eye, but some have noted that in a cosmos with small gods, large gods exist as well, and one of them may have taken their toll. If this is so, then he has paid for the safety of the pantheon, and they at times reward him with strawberries and clover, things sweet to a tortoise’s palate, things to please him well.

He was not always a tortoise. That form was set for him, by one who believed that the divinity of man was intrinsic as much as external, and that humanity was capable of glorious things when they thought themselves worthy of the effort. He likes it well enough. He liked the man who gave him this shape; he liked his books, and his hat, and the smell of chalk on green grassy hillsides. The man is gone. The Great One remains.

He thinks the man would have liked that best of all.

He doesn’t need us to believe in him.

The gods themselves have that covered.

He would, however, like some clover.

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: