Spirits attempt to walk the path of godhood face a slow climb filled with many threats and perils. Few souls among the billions of spirits have the inner strength and charisma to become deities.
To make the transition to god, a spirit must meet several conditions. First, a local population must know the spirit well. Second, mortals must believe that she will provide for them. Third, the spirit must make a home in the Celestial Realm.
In the land of mortals, only the famous or infamous are remembered. What a person does in her mortal life has a direct relation on where she goes in the afterlife. Well-remembered people, whether they are shamans, heroes, bandits or rogues, receive adulation or derision in life—but in either case, they are memorable. After a famous mortal dies, she might remain in the Known World as an ancestral spirit, whispering words to her loved ones. Only mortals with a strong bond to the ancestral spirits—lovers, brothers, mothers, and the like—hear her. These people might become attached to the spirit and serve as her prophets and early priests, speaking her words. If the spirit attains godhood, her heroes and priests are often her descendants or relatives.
Unlike ancestral spirits, demons gain notoriety through whatever person or object they possess. They interact directly with the Known World and have no need for liaisons.
So to achieve godhood, an ancestral spirit or demon must first gain the belief, if not the trust, of her tribe. Ancestral spirits leave this task to who were nearest to the spirit in life. Through their loved ones, the dead reach out and guide mortals. An ancestral spirit or demon may also make herself heard through possession. Usually only the more infamous spirits and demons with few scruples use this method. In either case, through the power of persuasion and spiritual knowledge, ancestral spirits and demons might gain followings among the living. After some time and danger, the tribe’s belief in the spirit grows. If the spirit reaches godhood, this belief translates directly into energy the new deity can use.
Spirits wishing to attain godhood must also establish homes in the Celestial Spheres. This process is fraught with peril.
First the spirit must pass through the Celestial Gardens to the Celestial Spheres. Fate and established deities permit or deny entry to the Celestial Spheres, but only Fate can allow a spirit to establish a domain in a Celestial Sphere. Before Fate allows her to do so, she must have a following of at least one hundred mortals and have at least one priest or hero to fulfill her people’s spiritual needs.
Spirits wishing to become gods usually do not enter into the Celestial Spheres unless they are ready for the transformation. After presenting herself to Fate and making a proper case made for godhood, Fate allows the spirit to enter one of the four seasonal realms. The apotheosis is then immediate, as the faith of the spirit’s followers translates into miraculous energy and fills the once-humble spirit with the powers of universe. Fate never denies godhood to those who meet its criteria—at least, not yet.
After this initial entry, new deities usually establish heavens or hells (or both) for themselves and their followers’ spirits.
My goddess, you are a shining pearl among the dim jewels of the heavens.
Written by Richard Leon