As mentioned in my previous 'C', I used to role play a lot. I don't anymore due to lack of time and the distance between me and my friends since I have moved. But I miss it. On some days, I miss it very much. I miss being someone else for a few hours, I miss sitting at a table with friends eating chips, crying, laughing and forming relationships, I miss the clarity it used to give me about life and religion, I miss getting lost in a universe not my own... and I miss the Gods I bonded with for most of my adolescent life. I even miss battling some of them, although that was primarily a death sentence.

After I stopped playing D&D, I came to the realization that if enough people invested time, energy and resources to the worship of [insert concept], They should be able to rise. So if enough people keep playing, believing and honoring these Gods, even if it's just in-game, They might one day be full-fledged.

Now I don't know if this is true or not, but it got me thinking if there were more authors, game creators, etc. who create their own Gods for their universe and have them feature heavily in the book or game they created. I am sure there are many. I have done it myself once, for a D&D campaign. It was bloody hard and turned out pretty unbalanced as I only had four Gods. Dividing all portfolios between them was quite difficult and really, where do you leave magick and sorcery? With the one bad guy who happens to have gotten all the mysteries? Or the main Goddess who resides over intelligence and life? Or one of the other two, who both hold sway over aspects of magick? I never quite figured it out, I admit.

I sit here early in the morning, thinking about fantasy pantheons and only one comes to mind: Artesia. Please, if you know of any others with well-fleshed out Gods and Goddesses, please leave me a comment? I'm genuinely curious. I think Pratchett did a good job in his books, as well as W.J. Maryson but beyond that, I'm stumped.

Alright, Artesia. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Artesia is a comic I would love to own one day but don't have the money for right now. It follows the adventures and exploits of Artesia, a young female warrior (often with a tragic lack of pants) who is Touched by the Gods. She communicates with them regularly and has the souls of the dead to help and guide her.

The entire comic is set in a medieval setting where the followers of a patriarchal sun God are trying to drawn out and suppress the moon Goddess inspired religion and culture that the land currently reveres. Sounds familiar, huh?

What I love most about Artesia are the Gods, Artesia's (romanticized) pagan attitude to sexuality, nudity and death and the fact that she is a mystic leading an army.

Now, Artesia's pantheon is positively brimming with Gods. A complete list can be found here. I think they were probably inspired by the Celtic pantheon and Goddesses feature heavily. It's one of the few pantheons I wish I could worship and not feel like a complete idiot. Because the way the Gods are written speaks to me. Powerful, vengeful, kind to those who follow them. They are sated with the blood of their enemies and fed with lust. They are primal, not white-washed at all. And that is something that is sometimes missing in modern day Paganism and the pantheons they worship.

Goddesses Like Hecate/Hekate and Gods like Hades are often as close as we get to deities we respect out of a healthy dose of fear. They can be volatile and deal in death or mysticism. We have reason to fear them because they represent the unknown. And, as humans and mortals, that is something we tend to fear a lot.

Artesia knows her Gods and Goddesses better than just about anyone in her world... and yet she struggles through every encounter with Them. She fears for her life whenever They notice her. And that is a feeling I can appreciate.

The wonderful thing about creating a pantheon is that it allows you to connect to parts of yourself and the world you might otherwise steer clear of out of fear or shame. Getting to know these pantheons of others is a binding experience. You have seen a glimpse of their true and honest selves and they require respect for it. This is especially true in the case of Artesia.

So keep building your own pantheons writers, artists, poets, film makers and musicians. Bare your soul to the Divine. You never know who may be touched by your honesty and reverence.

Images taken from: Asshat Paladins and