Hearts And Minds

Entry by: Phidgers

31st October 2016
Hearts and Minds

So you’ve gathered your followers, transcended your mortal form and joined the exciting world of the gods. No doubt you’re excited, elated, and just full of the feeling of your own success. Go ahead, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You’ve earned it.

But now what?

My name is Thoth, and I’m a record-keeping god from the Egyptian Pantheon. In this pamphlet, I’ll share a few of the secrets that will turn you into a full-blown deity, pulling in followers across the centuries. It’s a sad fact, but most divine entities don’t last past the lifespan of their original worshippers. Hopefully I can help make you one of the few that builds momentum and keeps it going.

The first thing you need to understand is that you’re no longer running things on the ground. Your power is completely based on the hearts and minds of those who worship you. Their belief is a kind of currency, but it’s also your lifeblood. Spend too much, and you cease to exist. If you’re firing off miracles at all hours, you’ll spend far more quickly than you earn, especially in the early years. Right now, you can probably make the odd tree fall over, but you can’t afford the showstoppers. The rains of gold, the bountiful harvests, the rivers of blood for those of the evil god persuasion.

Let your followers do the work for you. They can help to grow your religion organically. Appearing to them in the flesh is extremely expensive, so for now, restrict yourself to the occasional dream whisper. If you were smart, they saw you ascend. That’s plenty to tide them over. They’re probably desperate to run out and tell the world that their faith in you was well placed. Let them do their work, and just give them the occasional nudge.

However, don’t let them shout too loudly at first. The heavens are a crowded place, and other gods don’t take kindly to having their followers poached. That’s not to say that it’s forbidden, but consider your position. If you start blaring the trumpets, getting your name decreed everywhere, one of the big religions is just going to come and shut you down. Most established faiths keep entire armies of missionaries and zealots on hand for just this purpose.

So how do you avoid incurring the wrath of Osiris while setting up your business? Just let things move gradually. Atheism is a big problem, but it can also be a goldmine for start-ups like you. It’s easy to find a pocket of non-believers. With a bit of ingenuity, you can turn them into fervent followers. The important thing here is research.

Watch your potential flock; find out what they want, and more importantly, how to promise it to them. The afterlife myth is the most powerful tool at your disposal. If you can strike a balance between carrot and stick, and make it sound halfway feasible, you’ll be surprised how quickly someone can turn into a follower. A nice eternity for the faithful, with a bit of damning the heathens threat, that’s the tried and tested method.

Remember, you’re selling the dream here, not an actual product. Afterlives are like super yachts for a god. Nice if you can afford them, but not really necessary, and ultimately, tacky and extravagant. Perhaps set up a small celestial sphere for your really devout followers, but you can just let most of them float off to the void. Honestly, it’s not so bad there anyway.

Once you’ve got a steady stream of income trickling in, you can start upgrading your operation. Symbols are an important part of this. A personal sigil for your religion can turn even the nastiest shack into a treasured holy site. Choose carefully, and perhaps consult a divine artist on what’s currently in fashion.

The best thing to do is to get your followers inscribing your sigil onto remote buildings at first. This is particularly true if your religion is based around death, or some other aspect of existence that mortal authorities frown upon. Too many promising start-ups have been quashed because they’ve built their first holy site in a crowded city.

You might consider using the place of your ascension as your primary holy site, but again, consider location. If you rose to godhood on a mountaintop then that’s perfect. If you did it in your mum’s basement, not so great.

Wherever your first holy site goes, spread the word that that was where your power started flowing. In all likelihood, you won’t be sorting out a holy book for your religion until your first followers are dead and gone.

Once you’re at that point, you can say you ascended pretty much anywhere you like. Remember, you don’t care about trivial things such as facts. Your power is based on the hearts and minds of your followers. So long as they believe that something happened, that’s good enough.

So you’ve got your followers. New ones are joining up. Hopefully you’ve had enough sense to find ways to discredit non-believers. You’ve got a holy site, complete with sigil. You should do a few upgrades, get an impressive, echoing building built. If all has gone to plan, you can start spreading the odd miracle around. Again, keep it small. Only do what you can afford, and what doesn’t upset neighbouring deities too much.

Even if you end up being able to afford the bigger miracles, steer clear for the vast majority of the time. You might love the idea of a divine volcano that spews purple lava, but you’re not the only one that can cast such a thing.

If you do it, everyone’s going to seize on the chance. Then, it becomes a race to the bottom, with religions screaming desperate promises to keep their followers. Holy wars break out, smaller religions get trampled, and pretty much everyone loses.

Now, even the best prepared plans can fall down. No religion gets to go smoothly for its entire existence. However, there are things you can do to prepare. Keeping back a solid amount of belief is the simplest and best thing you can do. Several gods have lost all of their followers, yet lived on thanks to a healthy stockpile of power.

Another thing is to tamper with the amount of income you get from each follower. Generally, you’ll be drawing in a small amount, as casual believers will make up the bulk of your faithful. However, if you find yourself with a decreasing flock, you can squeeze more earnings from each person that still worships you.

A bigger miracle within the confines of your holy building can really skyrocket the number of zealots you have. It’s a risky strategy, but in desperate times, it can pay off.

The other thing to consider is joining a pantheon. This is a group of gods who have banded together under the banner of a single religion. As I mentioned, I am pleased to belong to the Egyptian pantheon, so I can speak of the benefits from personal experience.

Technically, any god can start a pantheon. However, you need to convince others that you’re worth joining. Before you have many thousands, or even millions of followers, you might as well forget owning your own one. So look about for a group that appeals to you.

There are pros and cons to joining a pantheon, and you need to consider them before taking the plunge. The leader is the god that will make all the big decisions. They will also become the overarching deity for your followers. They will get a cut of your belief as a fee for your membership. In return, you have the chance to increase your exposure. If you’re losing twenty percent of your earnings, but gaining twelve times the followers, then it’s a great deal.

How influential you are within a pantheon depends on what you originally bring to it. If you have seventy devout believers, but everyone else has three thousand, you’re going to be a minor deity. If you have a hundred thousand zealots, you’ll probably be at your leader’s top table, dictating policy and enjoying a higher cut of earnings.

You have to apply to join a pantheon, and you should do this carefully. Most older groups are not accepting new recruits. This includes Egyptian, Greek, Norse and Roman. Plenty of newer pantheons are actively recruiting, and tend to offer better deals to prospective members. If you remember hearing of a god while you were mortal, and they are looking to start or expand their pantheon, they may well have the exposure worthy of your time.

If you do get accepted, there will be a formal induction process. Your followers will need to learn that you are a god in the service of another god. Gradual acceptance is the best way to achieve this. Your leader or their treasurer may grant you a bonus of belief from the pantheon’s bank, to help you sell the new message.

Appearing in dreams and whispering about your leader in your followers’ ears can spread the word without too much heartache.

So hopefully, I’ve given you a few ideas to get your started with your fledgling religion. The mantle of godhood is not always easy to bear, but with the right plan, you can learn to triumph while shouldering it. I wish you the best of luck, and look forward to seeing you at the next deity’s dinner. At time of writing, the last one was at Mount Olympus, and it was superb. The pan fried minotaur was simply divine.

Yours truly,



The author wishes to thank Osiris, for taking this god under his wing when he was newly deified. Without his kind words and guidance, this pamphlet could not have been written.