The act of creating your own magical entities… or gods.
So, with American Gods on our screens, we’ve had tales of gods travelling from where they were first worshipped to new lands. And we’ve had tales of new gods coming into being, called by the needs and desires and belief systems of today. So let us talk about creating and communicating with energies different to ourselves.
What are your needs and belief systems? What do you desire? What’s important to you?
If you’re familiar with Chaos Magic, you’ll know that it’s very much result-based magic. It takes the concept that your will is EVERYTHING, and your magic works or fails according to your will. It encourages you to treat any archetype you can think of as a powerful tool for change, from Barbie to the first god you think of when you read this sentence.
I’m all for Chaos magic and see a lot of good in it. Hey, I even wrote this thing on making sigils – but the results-based nature of Chaos magic is, I think, its blessing and its curse.
One concept that was popularised with Chaos magic – at least, as far as I know – is the act of creating an avatar or servitor to do your bidding. Shape your will into a magical entity, feed it, grow it, and it will carry out the tasks you’ve set it to do. In my mind I see an avatar or servitor as something a bit like a homunculus. Something made and fed with the magical intention of getting something out of it.
Creation is important. Don’t you like creating? It’s a discipline that has freedom in it but it takes work. And love. And, sometimes, sacrifice. And belief. Belief in yourself and what you’re doing.
I don’t think a magical act of creation always has to be based on expected results. Results are important, certainly. We strive for them, always. We’re here to do as well as be. But is magic purely about results? What about communication with entities that aren’t ourselves, or the development of the magical self, or veneration for and connection with the forces of the universe, and our past and future?
I love results. But magic isn’t always about results.
I also love creation. And I think it’s okay to create beings because you want them to exist. But you must be willing to believe in them and give them something back.
So let’s talk about creating beings, not just things.
Creating gods and entities
I’m not here to tell you where to set your limits. I haven’t the faintest idea where North should lie on your ethical compass. It’s your compass.
Personally, I don’t think it disrespectful of anyone’s belief to create an entity you feel linked to. Nor do I think it is in any way disrespectful of the nature of faith and belief to create a god. Gods have been created before, in the 21st century. I’m not talking about mythology or where Gods first came from. I’m thinking, just for example, of writer Alan Moore and his ‘fake’ snake god Glycon, who also happens to be a sock puppet. I don’t need to know Alan Moore’s reasons to accept that, for him, Glycon exists as a deity. Glycon didn’t appear to exist, but one person felt Glycon was needed*, and Glycon came into being.
Good. Glycon was needed, and Glycon came.
*(Actually, Glycon was mainly referenced by the satirist Lucian as a possibly-fake snake god created in the 2nd century. A snake god who was also a hand puppet. So maybe Glycon was created twice.)
I first stepped into magic in a time when cultural appropriation wasn’t considered. Now, of course, it is. I’m in no position to tell you what to think, do, believe. Personally, I think there is a big difference between actively considering what it is to have a god take control of your body and calling yourself a houngan or mambo. I think there’s a difference between smoking herbs to cleanse a space and using bound white sage and calling it ‘smudging’, which has cultural nuances that may not be covered by your practice.
I think, in an age where appropriation is considered and individualism is very much on the rise, the time is ripe for you to say that yes, you can create your own god, if you feel it the right action to take. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought “I like this existing god in that existing pantheon, I like so much of what they are, but what’s going on with this militaristic angle that everyone’s ascribed to them over the years? That’s not for me.” Or I’ve thought “I like this existing god, everything in their energy feels right, but I’m not sure I have the right to go as deep with this god as I want to go.”
I’ve never yet created a god. But I can see it happening. Like that feeling when you build up to getting your first tattoo, and the marking will be important, and it will be on your skin for life. The urge builds, and you start doing research, and thinking about who you really ‘are’ and what you care about. One day, I think I will feel a need to seek a god where I can worship them AS I PLEASE and AS IT PLEASES THEM and it’s NOTHING to do with anyone else.
And then I will create a god. And maybe no-one but me will ever know about it. But that god will exist.
And to create a god, or entity, is to form a very personal connection with them. They were brought to life – or recognised – by you. You can offer them the threads of your life and weave those threads into the gowns they wear. Your spirit, what you seek, what you deem most important to your soul, your locale… everything is yours to offer to your god, from naming them to attributes and rituals.
Creating a god… is creating the right word?
I’m comfortable with talk of ‘creating’ a god, becaus their newness and made-upness doesn’t lessen them in my eyes in any way.
What if they’re there already? Maybe you’ve created a bridge to them, or discovered them, or communicated with them, or remembered them from your very distant past.
I’m not here to tell you which word fits this magical act best. It’s your journey.
The new gods are anywhere and everywhere. You could find a new god while on a bicycle ride with Albert Hoffman. You could find one lurking in a childhood memory you’ve chewed over but never quite managed to pin down the significance of. You could find a god while doing a guided meditation, either travelling solo or with a friend. You could call one to you with a ritual. Those gods are lurking all over the place – on the tip of your tongue, in a bush in your garden at midnight. All that matters is that, when you meet, you think to yourself: “Hello, you. You feel right.”
Reaching out to your own god
The joy of making up your own gods is the freedom it allows you to explore yourself in any way which feels most important to you. As with any god, you can collaborate, venerate, communicate, supplicate – all the ‘ate’s, basically. As always.
Because it is a new god, you can get to know them, too. Templates go out the window. Corresponding numbers, colours, plants, minerals, songs, scents? Only if you say so. Old gods have been pinned down in countless articles, artworks, films, rituals, festivals, churches… who’s to say what’s right for you and your gods? Time and trial and error will tell. Or maybe you’ll be most fortunate, and there’ll be no error at all…
I think that maybe, just maybe, I created the Spritoj Spiritoj. But one can never be sure. Maybe they were there all the time.
They’re not gods, or if they are, they are very tiny ones and number in their millions. Nevertheless, I love to work with the Spritoj Spiritoj, the little watchers of the night. I also know them by the name of the Little Helpers.
I like that these entities are constructed, and named with a constructed language.
The Esperanto name for these tiny helpers is ‘witty ghosts’, and these little ones hide from plain view when they can. These invisibles are all around us, as manifold as motes of dust in broad daylight. They can be as intangible as suspense, as physical as the shy inhabitants of all the cobwebs in my house. They can be the atoms in one’s body or the particles of smoke that set off a smoke alarm. There are so many ways to explore the little helpers and work with them, from finding lost keys to guarding the garden.
Perhaps you already know them, and you know them by another name entirely.
Was their creation results-based? Yes, I think so. But it’s grown over time. They’re not my servants. They’re just there.
In terms of forming a connection with your god, or entity, or avatar, or servitor, I do think it’s important to feed them. Offerings and rituals and songs and whatever you feel works. For the Spritoj Spiritoj, I lay down a sprinkle of sugar as an offering in the most secret places, like behind the eternally untouched vegemite jar in the very back of the cupboard. I accept that they may come in the form of ants or similar into my home as a result, but I feed them the sweet sugar nevertheless.
I guess I’m sharing this with you because I think the Little Watchers exist, and perhaps you do too. And because creation from the spirit is a magical act. And the world and the will are there to be explored.
We can create.
It’s what we do.
A story is never just a story.