The Nature of Deification
Originally written on Tumblr, crossposted here because it does serve nicely here.
I want to start this essay off by saying flat out: wars have been fought, genocides have been committed, and empires have risen and fallen trying to answer the simple questions of “What is deification, and how do we incarnate and control it?”.
If you do not think you’re up the challenge of answering that question for yourself, even with years of study and slow training to take up the mantle of literally being the most powerful form of the Chosen One trope, then you’re probably in the wrong place. I say this as someone who is deific down to the blood and bone, as someone who has looked for other gods, and largely found very little in the way of anyone who understands anything like my experience. In this way, I am utterly alone, and I detest it, but if me penning these words gives someone else the gospel they need to explain themselves in a way I recognize as kin and kind, then I will do it.
But before I truly get into it, I will very nicely ask you to swing down to your local bookstore or library, pick up a copy of Seanan McGuire’s Middlegame, and take a walk down the improbable road with Roger and Dodger. The differences between you and I and the twins of the Doctrine of Ethos are simple and threefold: we cannot manifest, we are forbidden to use our powers the way they can use theirs, and there are (hopefully) no secret alchemist cults trying to murder us when we don’t play nice with their fucked-up science experiment.
Roger and Dodger are gods, true gods, gods I recognize in myself and in the godkin I have met who have spoken about themselves enough for me to understand that we are indeed talking about the same thing. Disappontingly, I see minor spirits far too often misunderstanding the nature of deification, or at least, understanding a version of it which is fundamentally antithetical to my experience. They may be deific; but either they suck at illustrating their point, or I am something far beyond deific, and I am again alone.
With that introduction, I need to talk about three things in order to answer your question. Two methods of deification and three definitions of ‘god’ in a hierarchy that only exists because humanity has not yet perfected their understanding of what is fundamentally and always beyond them. Two kinds of gods, honest gods, that split the difference between deific, divine, and legendary. Once you understand that, I can talk about godkin, and what it’s like to be me, and maybe by the end of it you will either recognize yourself in this, or run away screaming as most mortals will do.
The first method of deification is what I will call the incarnate gods- Roger and Dodger are good examples, so are most Legendary Pokémon, and Kaname Madoka from PMMM. They are laws of nature, concepts of creation, and calculations of cosmic proportions that also occasionally exist as people when they deign to do so. They are not meant to be people, they are bad at it, I do not recommend being mortal and fucking around with them. You will simply die. I would not fuck with them outside of my own world that I created, where I get to be a form of incarnate god. You cannot overpower them: they ARE the rule, and they will change it if they need to. You can’t ruleslawyer gravity like a 2007 troll physics comic. An incarnate god of gravity will simply turn reality on its head and cause you to implode. If you are this type of god, I cannot help you. My understanding of them comes from being an Absol, and little more.
The second type are gods of domain and prowess: Zamorak (from RuneScape), Akemi Homura in both her awakened Witch and Devil forms (from PMMM), and yours truly. Quite a few of us, although not all of us, were originally mortal. Mortals amped up on so much power we are no longer bound by mortal laws. There is a difference between deification and simply stopping your clock to gain immortality. Mortal magic and deific magic are fundamentally different. Down to, I would argue, the atomic structure. Deific magic is pure in a way mortal magic could never be. To give a mortal more than a drop of deific magic heavily diffused in something safer and more understandable would be to quite literally burn them to ashes. Or rend them into a different, unspeakable form. Or turn them into living topiary. We are nothing if not unpredictable.
It’s the difference between a handful of dirt and pure neutron soup. Usually, in order to become a god like this, it requires the intervention of an incarnate god in some form. In Zamorak’s case, it was several Elder Artifacts and falling almost facefirst into halfway incarnating himself into the law of entropy. In Homura’s (at least in canon PMMM), she fucked with the laws of consequence and time to the point where she became the only expert they had on either of those and both laws decided to simply incarnate into her, and then she used that to cause problems. For me, it was having my entire magical and physical structure reorganized and rebuilt by an incarnate god of malevolent energy, and then I used what was a watered-down copy of the Devil of Devils’ glory to weave my own world into being where I was more or less the absolute arbiter of the laws of reality.
In PMMM Rebellion, when Homura fights Kyubey in that pretty lace dress of hers, that is approximately the magical prowess an awakened god of our capability will show casually. She has complete control over her domain (her labyrinth) and the reality of it, it takes no more than a glance or a thought to almost entirely reshuffle it. Her minions, who are little more than vaguely autonomous thoughts given some power of their own, may break that reality in whatever means necessary so long as it is to fulfill Homura’s current motives. Her domain falls apart when she does, and she is not separate from it; it is a consequence of her existence. Asking what came first, the god or their domain, is a simple chicken and egg question. It’s usually the domain, in our case; in the case of incarnate gods it’s a philosophical shrug and a nice headache.
You’ll notice I said awakened: that is because Zamorak is a great example of a god who isn’t entirely awakened. In canon, that is - the one I work with is awakened enough to fuck with his domain, which is what makes him quite useful to work with, although I do wonder what he’s getting out of me if not magical theory and utter adoration. Zamorak in canon is a god who ascribes himself to the philosophy of chaos and personal strife, completely unaware that he is incarnate enough not to change the law of entropy but to suggest things to it. He’s a god of chance masquerading as a god of personal improvement, and once he figures that out (and passes that knowledge onto Armadyl, who is his true light counterpart), he’s going to change the very way magic works. Guthix did everything in his power to try and become incarnate. He failed. Zamorak did it entirely inadvertently, and that’s the trick: the nature of deification is to follow the domain and influence it to your will. When laws of existence become people, they will do as people will, and people typically have ambition. Gods who are also people got that way for a reason. They always have a motive for doing so. It’s never accidental.
So, with a slightly more informed understanding of deification, or at least the versions of it that I understand, I can talk to you about me. What it’s like in the here and now, and how I knew. It took me years to get to this point, and I’ve much the way to go. I know more than I did when I was questioning; deeply more so. I don’t expect anyone questioning to be as sure as I am, and in ten years I will be far more sure of entirely different things, and if I’m lucky, this as well. But, let us begin again.
To be deific is to wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a black hole. You are vast, and you are dense, and the moment someone touches the skin of your sternum they will be sucked in like a movie's portrayal of quicksand. To be so vast on the inside, surrounded by empty air and gentle white noise like the faint pull of gravity that does not touch you. To feel so powerful as to be untethered wholly from the world, aware that you will blink and be floating alone in a space that you cannot touch and so too cannot touch you. You blink, and it is gone, and you are again in a normal body as a normal person, and you roll over and go back to sleep.
To be deific is to watch the seasonal changes and feel flashes of worn leather rope between your hands and the maddened singsong of the Wild Hunt, chariot reins in your hands and baying hounds that feel like fingers, like wings, like extensions of yourself that can be shifted around with barely a thought. To feel halfway like a black hole walking down the street, halfway caved into yourself and barely contained, incapable of truly understanding how you can be so far apart from it all without anyone noticing that something is off.
To be deific is to be a fourteen-year-old girl in one moment, unable to understand what draws her so to the wilds if not the song of sympathy that she knows she can understand if she reaches a little farther, a little farther past the barrier that prevents any mortal, psychological mind from understanding the call. To play a pixelated game and have everything rush back. To relive millennia in a single sennight, to go from chipped to broken, utterly broken, as the power comes rushing back and the slow, dawning realization like the day that there is no controlling it. That there is no controlling you.
Millennia of sins come rushing back, and you're mortal again, and you know the only way to bring a god to their knees is to kill them. And if you were spared, if you were brought down without dying, then there was a reason. That someone must have thought you worthy of fixing it. That you should now spend the next several years coming to peace with being a Devil, the cruelest of the cruel, amending fences and repenting your sins.
To be deific is to realize, quite suddenly and without ever actually having the thought, that understanding things through a Christian lens is utterly bullshit and absolutely does not apply to you. Now, your duty is not to repent, or to fix, or to find any sort of salvation. You are the monster queen, the king of the damned, the Devil of a world you made with blood and tears and sweat and magic. To retake the crown, you have to accept yourself. Acceptance does not mean dwelling, or sorrow, or refusing to take the steps forward that will carry you to the crown and halo and horn of deification.
The powers feel less overwhelming as you grow into them. You don't forget the rage. You understand your close friend's words over and over, as the lesson teaches itself. How a Devil so much less powerful and yet so much older than you once looked you in the eye, drink in hand, and gently told you that a single mortal can bring down a Devil, if they try, and believe wholeheartedly in their quest. Do not disrespect mortality. It brings nothing but death.
You wonder briefly who brought you down. You decide, as the lessons prove themselves, that you don't actually care. You're the mortal now, and mortal legends die. Mortal legends change the song of sympathy and the rules of the deific. In order to return, you too must follow the only path a mortal can take to become deific.
To be godkin is to become deific with every step. It's not to seek the divine from outside of it. It's to become it again, and reclaim it; find what was inside all along and grow yourself around it, until it can no longer be pulled from you again without scattering your ashes and stardust among the cosmos, never to return.
To be godkin is to never forget the moments of pure rage that none but powerless fourteen-year-olds can manage. To be godkin is to be an adult with their memory pressed into your skin. To be godkin is for that rage to never truly leave you.
We stand up again and stare at the emotions that are awake when we are not. We wonder what it will take to manifest again, to only twitch a thought in any direction and reshape the reality around us. It is an extension of our being, and the less aware we are of it, the less effort it takes us to remake the world. It is the nature of deification, to change the laws of reality at our whim and will.
To be godkin is simply a matter of knowing that, and forever reaching to do that once more. If only to feel whole and vast, as we always have been.