American Gods Wiki
American Gods Wiki

American Gods - A Message from the Old Gods - STARZ

The Old Gods are the gods of religions and cultures that were brought over to North America by human activity and survived there even after their worship stopped.

Characteristics of the Old Gods[]

Black Phoenix Becoming Thunder
  • "Old Gods" is a term used to refer to the numerous supernatural entities that the immigrants, slaves and travellers brought with them to North America. Not all of them are "gods" in the usual sense of the term: they are "gods" in the sense that they are supernatural entities of folklore or myths, born out of the belief and worship of humanity. While the deities coming from Southern and Central America are considered foreign entities in an hostile land, and thus in the same situation as the other old gods, the beings native to North America are not considered the same as the "old gods" (see American entities).
  • The Old Gods are American incarnations or avatars of a given entity. Bound by the shores of North America, they cannot leave the continent, while their "original self" still exists and evolves in their homeland, distinct and separate from their American counterpart. (For the original incarnations of the deities, see Original gods). It is to note that this only seems to be true in the original novel, the television series implies that there are no "original gods".
  • The old gods feed on belief and worship. Those whose religion is still active in America (such as Hindu gods and Vodou loa) are said to live quite well, while those whose true believers and worshipers are long gone (such as the Egyptian or Nordic gods) need to find alternative ways to claim worship. Without regular worship, the old gods weaken, lose their powers and sanity, grow old and sick. When weakened, they can even die like regular human beings. In the opposite way, regular worship allows the old gods to fight and resist those afflictions that are age, sickness or hunger (though some of them appear old due to their ancient nature reflecting in their human appearance). While the weakened old gods can die of lethal wounds or old age, death does not work for them like for human beings: they can manifest as ghosts or spirits soon after their death, and even be resurrected with enough worship and sacrifices. The only "true death" for an old god is complete oblivion (see below).
    • Human sacrifice grants an Old God a lot of strength and vitality, more than simple prayers, faith, and offerings. In some cases like Bilquis, Old Gods even eat their worshippers alive to keep themselves alive.
  • Without worship or belief, the old gods fade away, a fate considered "worse than death". When a god completely stops receiving worship or belief in any form, they will eventually disappear and a statue of them appears in the Hall of Forgotten Gods. Knowledge of the god and the popularity of their legends play an important role in the survival of the old gods: well-remembered deities usually stay alive longer than obscure legendary figures, and the Hall of Forgotten Gods separates the gods whose name and aspects are still known from those whose names and stories have completely disappeared (the former having a chance at being resurrected, the latter being doomed to oblivion). The case of Easter also reveals that, even if a god's celebration is popular, as long as the deity itself is not remembered the worship will feel empty and unsatisfying.
  • While weaker than their original counterparts, the American gods are still quite powerful beings able to use magic and an array of supernatural powers (each god's abilities depending on their functions, roles and attributes in their original mythologies or respective religions).
  • The old gods usually have one human-looking appearance, that they can alter or change as they desire, though never for too long. When the old gods weaken, they seem to lose control over their appearance, such as Bast who is too weak to manifest as a human being (except in other realms such as dreams, the afterlife or the backstage). In the "backstage", the old gods regain their divine and mythical shapes - while they usually choose a default appearance for the sake of convenience, they actually have at their disposition numerous aspects reflecting the entirety of their character throughout history, cultures and religions.
  • According to Mr. Nancy in Chapter Fourteen, the old gods (just like all gods) are not social creatures, being rather "exclusive" people. Due to their need for adoration, respect and worship, they do not "play well with others" and tend to live either all by themselves or within a little group of similar entities. Gatherings and reunions of old gods such as those caused by Mr. Wednesday's actions are noted as highly unusual. He also mentions that part of the reason the old gods dislike their life in America is because they like "to be big", but America forces them to be "small" and live through "shabby days".
    • Most Old Gods view humans as sources of life to be exploited. Some Old Gods, like Bilquis, do have affection towards humans; while certain Old Gods, like the Jesuses and the Orishas, are compassionate towards human beings.
  • In the novel, Shadow describes the essence of the Old Gods as "the old world, a world of infinite vastness and illimitable resources and future".

The chronology of the Old Gods[]

The universe of American Gods slightly alters the historical chronology of the discovery of America. In this universe, most of the theories of "early Pre-Colombus contact" with the American continent are true, explaining the presence of gods belonging to very ancient civilizations. As Mr. Ibis explains it: "This country has been Grand Central station for ten thousand years. [...] Columbus did what people had been doing for thousands of years. There’s nothing special about coming to America."

Chronology in the book:

  • 14 000 BCE: Siberian tribes arrive in America through Beringia, the land bridge that connected Siberia to present-day Alaska. They brought their gods with them (such as the mammoth-god Nunyunnini), but their descendants abandoned them and developped their own gods. These tribes were the ancestors of Native Americans (see American Entities).
  • 7000 BCE: The Ainu, the Japanese aboriginal race, came to America. The skull of one of them was found in the 20th century.
  • 5000 BCE: Polynesians came to what is known today as California. The skull of some of them were found in the 20th century.
  • 1530 BCE: Egyptians came to America to trade. They exchanged with the Natives animal skins, food and copper from "what would later become Michigan's upper peninsula". They stayed long enough to believe and worship the Egyptian gods and to bury the few of them who died of a fever, but realizing America was not a good trading land they left. The Egyptian gods that came during this era were Mr. Ibis, Mr. Jacquel, Bast, Horus and Set.
  • 7th century: Welsh people came to America and brought with them Gwydion.
  • 800: The Basques established their secret sacred fishing grounds on the coast of "Newfoundland".
  • 813: A group of thirty Norsemen discovered North America, built there a hall for their gods (specifically Thor, Tyr and Odin, to which they sacrificed a Native man), but left after starting a war with the local "scraeling" people.
  • 900s: Leif the Lucky, son of Erik the Red, re-discovers America, which he calls the Vinland. Their presence reinforces the Nordic gods. It is possible that Loki came during this era, since he was not mentionned among the gods brought in 813.
  • In the Dark Ages, the Irish went to America. During the same era, Africans from the West Coast traded with South America, and the Chinese visited "a couple of times" what they called Fu Sang (today's Oregon).
  • The European colonization of America (from the 16th to the 19th centuries) brought numerous European gods and entities, notably gods and creatures from the Cornish, British and Germanic cultures. See Essie MacGowan.
  • The Atlantic slave trade (from the 16th to the 19th centuries) brought numerous gods from the African continent, most of them surviving through new religious practices such as the American forms of West African Vodun (Haitian Vodou, Louisiana Voodoo...). See Loa
  • The Great Famine of Ireland, from 1845 to 1852, caused a wave of Irish immigration towards the United-States. Said Irish men and women brought with them several entities, such as Mad Sweeney.

Chronology in the television series:

  • Tu'Er Shen, the Chinese god of homosexuality, mentions that he came to America in the mid-19th century.
  • In the 1970s, Bilquis came to America with those that fled the Iranian Revolution.

Main Old Gods[]

Notable Old Gods[]

Other Old Gods[]

The anchorites[]

A group of nine old Gods living as anchorites in Montana (anchorites are religious persons who isolate themselves from society). They were killed by the New Gods during the "cold war" of the first Interludes, poisoned with carbon monoxide by an old furnace. In the television series, the Caretaker mentions them in Donar the Great, revealing that their death was the work of Black Briar agents.


Also called Bean Sidhe. She is mentioned three times in the novel: she listed among the gods brought to America by Odin in Chapter Six, she is mentioned as one of the numerous tales told by Essie Tregowan in the "Coming to America" section of Chapter Four and finally she is listed by Mr. Ibis as one of the spirits brought by the Irish immigrants in Chapter Eight. In the television series episode Treasure of the Sun Mad Sweeney believes that a trio of mourning women at Ibis and Jacquel Funeral Parlor are banshees announcing his imminent doom (though their true nature is ambiguous, as Sweeney is drunk and suffering a mental confusion, while Salim claims they are human women here for a funeral).

Frau Holle[]

Frau Holle is the fairy tale version of Frau Holda, the Germanic protectress of agriculture and women's crafts. She may derive from older, Scandinavian forest creatures known as the huldra, one of whom makes an appearance in The Monarch of the Glen. She is merely mentioned by Odin in the novel, but in the television series she appears at the meeting at the House on the Rock and at the Motel America diner in "House on the Rock (episode)", played by Colleen Reynolds.

The Lion-God[]

The Lion-God is mentioned by Odin in his speech to the Old Gods at the House on the Rock both in the novel's Chapter Six and in the television series' House on the Rock (episode). The exact identity of this divinity is not clear. He might be Lion from Anansi Boys, or Narasimha, an Hindu avatar of Vishnu with a human body and a lion face, who is also a major deity of Vaishnavism and the god of yoga ; or any other male lion deity.

The lobster[]

In the first of the Interludes it is mentioned that, during the "cold war", the New Gods smashed a lobster tank in an Atlanta seafood restaurant - probably aiming at an Old God reduced to the shape of a lobster. In the television series, the same attack is mentioned by the Caretaker during Donar the Great, revealing that the smashing was the work of Black Briar agents and that their target was indeed the lobster.


Seth is a god of chaos, desert, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners in the ancient Egyptian religion. He is mentioned in "Treasure of the Sun" by Mr. Ibis.

The trucker[]

An Old God acting as a trucker in Denver was killed by the New Gods during the "cold war" of the first Interludes. He was killed in his home, the back of his head bashed with a hammer, and words of a "foreign alphabet" written on the mirror of his bathroom with brown lipstick. In the television seris he is mentioned by the Caretaker in Donar the Great, his death revealed to have been the work of agents of Black Briar.

The 1920s comedian[]

During Chapter Seventeen it is mentioned that a famous comedian who was thought to have died in the 1920s arrives at Rock City in a rusting car and removes his clothing, revealing goat legs and a goat tail. He might be either a satyr or the god Pan from Greek mythology, or their Roman equivalents, a faun or the god Faunus. The Annotated Edition identifies the comedian as Larry Semon (also nicknamed Zigoto, Ridolini or Jaimito), a major movie comedian of the silent film era who was the son of a travelling vaudeville magician (Zera Semon, rumor claiming he had inherited his powers) and his assistant. He died in a sanatorium in 1928, of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Albanian gods[]

Mr. Wednesday meets with gods from the Albanian mythology in Dallas during Chapter Twelve. However, he cannot convince them to join his war against the New Gods.


"Beautiful Antinous" was the young lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian. After his death in the year 130, he was deified by Hadrian and became the center of a very popular cult spread throughout the Roman Empire, from Greece to Egypt. He was identified and syncretized with numerous other gods, such as Osiris, Hermes and Dionysos, and he became a cultural symbol of homosexuality in the 19th century Europe. Antinous appears during the battle at Rock City in Chapter Eighteen, leading a "company of leather queens", "their arms and chest steroid-swollen and sculpted into perfect shape".

The apelike creature[]

In Chapter Seventeen, at Rock City an "apelike creature" with a "tangle of orange fur" is offered a Marlboro cigaret by an elderly wampyr.

The Apple-Tree Man[]

Mentioned as one of the numerous tales Essie Tregowan told during her life in America. It is a British creature said to be the spirit of the oldest apple of an orchard, and the guardian of said orchard's fertility.


Mentioned by Mr. Wednesday as one of the gods brought over to America in Chapter Six. Astharoth is another name of the Middle-Eastern goddess Astarte or Astoreth, a divinity of sexuality, fertility and war.


Bacchus, is the Roman god of wine, inebriation, fertility and freedom, a figure born of the syncretization of the Greek god Dionysus and the Latin deity wikipedia:Liber, as well as the patron of several popular public festivals such as the wikipedia:Bacchanalia and the wikipedia:Liberalia. He is mentionned by Mr. Nancy in Chapter Fourteen, when he explains that the Old Gods are not social people, not even Bacchus (or at least "not for long").

The bear[]

In Chapter Eighteen a "bear with flowers twined into its fur" is mentioned in the ranks of the Old Gods.

The black dog of the moors[]

Mentioned as one of the stories told by Essie Tregowan. The "black dog" is an archetypal creature present in the British Isles through numerous names and variations, to the British "Black Shuck" to the Welsh "Gwyllgi".


Supernatural mine-dwellers from British folklore, considered either fairies or ghosts. Mentioned as one of the stories told by Essie Tregowan.


Described by Essie Tregowan as "the trickiest spirit of the land [Ireland/British Isles]". The Bucca is a male sea-spirit, a merman from the Cornish folklore.

Saint Bride[]

Mentioned by Mr. Ibis in Chapter Eight as one of the entities brought over by the Irish immigrants. Described as formerly being "Bridget of the three Brigid sisters". Saint Brigid of Kildare, also known as Brigid of Ireland, is one of the patron saints of Ireland. She is considered to be the christianization of the Irish goddess Brigid, a Tuatha Dé Danaan representing spring and fertility, healing and poetry, as well as blacksmithing. Christian monks mentioned that there were actually three Brigid sisters - the goddess of the poets, the goddess of the healers and the goddess of the smiths, leading to the theory that Brigid was a triple goddess.

Chinese gods[]

In Chapter Seventeen, seven Chinese men and women arrive at Rock City in a Toyota Previa, wearing "dark suits that in some countries are worn by minor government officials". One of them carries a clickboard and checks the inventory in the car: golf-bags filled with ornate swords with lacquer handles, carved sticks and mirrors, all sorts of weapons that are "distributed, checked off, signed for".


Cluracauns or clurichauns are alcohol-loving trickster spirits from Irish legends, related to leprechauns. While in the original version of Mr. Wednesday's speech to the Old Gods in Chapter Six he mentions "Leprechauns and Kobolds and Banshees" among the gods brought to America, in the Author's Preferred Text version the Kobolds were replaced by Cluracauns.

Conan the Bald[]

Also known as Conan mac Morna, a troublemaker and comic figure member of the Irish fianna. Mentioned by Mr. Ibis as one of the figures brought to the United-States by Irish immigrants in Chapter Eight.

Comic Cousin Jack

Cousin Jack[]

The "Cousin Jack" is one of the piskies Essie Tregowan brought with her to America. Described as a young man with a moon-face, freckled hands and carroty red-hair, wearing dusty green trews, a green jacket and a dark green coat, he appears to Essie in Chapter Four, right before her death, presenting himself as "a Cousin Jack" (not his true name, but a common nickname for Cornish men living oversea). He was the one who received Essie's offerings of milk and bread in America, and rewarded her with "good and ill" fortune, since as a piskie he is "like the wind [...] We are blowing both ways."

The cyclop[]

In Chapter Eighteen, one of the fighters in the Old Gods side is described as a gray-skinned man with one cyclopean eye like a cabochon emerald. The use of the "cyclopean" adjective seems to indicate that it is a cyclop from Greco-Roman mythology, but it might also be others one-eyed mythological figures such as Balor from the Irish legends or the Tepegoz from Turkish mythology.


An "iron-fingered dactyl" is mentionned walking side by side with the minotaur in Chapter Eighteen. Dactyls were a mythical race of magical smiths and healers said to live in Crete and Rhodes. Said to be the apprentices of Hephaestus and associated with the "Great Mother" (Cybele or Rhea), they originate from archaic Greek mythology.


When Shadow looks at the battlefield of Rock City's Backstage in Chapter Eighteen he mentions seeing several dwarfs.


Finn MacCool, a hunter and warrior from Irish mythology. One of the figures said to have been brought to America by the Irish immigrants in Chapter Eight.

AG Comic Ganesh

Ganesh in the graphic novel


Ganesha is a Hindu god known as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.

While Shadow is hanging on the World Tree in Chapter Fifteen, he falls asleep sporadically and dreams of creatures like mammoths and spiders and a giant mouse who an elephant-headed man rides on. The elephant-headed man tells Shadow he should have invoked him before the start of his journey. He performs a coin trick with the mouse (which has shrunk by this point while seemingly remaining the same size) and passes the mouse from hand to hand before revealing the mouse has disappeared. Shadow sees the mouse's tail disappear up the elephant-headed man's trunk and is told to remember that it's in the trunk.

"Hey," he said. "Is there a god with an elephant's head?"
"Ganesh? He's a Hindu god. He removes obstacles, and makes journeys easier. Good cook, too."

Shadow to Mr. Nancy, Chapter Nineteen


When Shadow looks at the Backstage's battlefield at Rock City in Chapter Eighteen he notices several giants.

The Gorgon[]

A gorgon from Greco-Roman mythology is seen among the ranks of the Old Gods. She first appears in Chapter Twelve, living in a Rhode Island cottage. When Shadow and Wednesday visit her, she stays bedridden in her darkened bedroom, refusing to let Shadow see her face, and the latter finds in her kitchen's refrigerator two plastic bags filled with crickets and dead baby mice. She later reveals her true nature during the battle at Rock City in Chapter Eighteen, her hair being described as coils of green snakes. She might be Medusa, the most famous of the three Gorgon sisters.


Gwydion is a Welsh magician, trickster, and hero appearing in Chapter Fourteen. His name can be interpreted to mean "Born of Trees". In the novel, he came over to American in the 7th century and works as a stockboy at a supermarket in Humansville, Missouri. He is described as a fair-haired boy, with pale blue eyes and a tarnished silver bracelet around his wrist. The Author's Preferred Text adds that Gwydion has "an eruption of acne" on one cheek and his forehead, and changes the description of the silver bracelet, not tarnished anymore and now "high on one forearm".

The head[]

A disembodied head "the size of a VW bug" mentioned as part of a group of Old Gods coming from the South-West to Rock City (the Mayan Hero Twins are also part of the same group). It might be a reference to the Olmec colossal heads, human heads sculpted from basalt boulders by the Olmecs and whose exact purpose is still debated today.


Outside of the Jinn, Shadow mentions that several ifrits take part in the battle of Rock City in Chapter Eighteen. The Jinn himself mentions that a few other jinns live in New-York City.


Isten "of the Hungarians" is mentionend in Chapter Eighteen discussing with the other Old Gods about the upcoming battle with the New Gods. He is described as having a fine black mustache, a large dusty black hat and "the grin of a man who makes his living selling aluminum siding and new roofs and gutters to senior citizens but who always leaves town the day after the checks clear whether the work is done or not." Isten (Hungarian word for "God") is the head of the Hungarian pantheon, god of the sky and lightning, who created the world and shapes the fates of humans.


Supernatural mine-dweller in the Cornish, Welsh and Devon folklore. Listed among the tales brought by Essie Tregowan to America in Chapter Four.


Supernatural foxes from Japanese religion and folklore. A kitsune appears during the battle at Rock City. It seems very probable that the five Japanese women Mr. Wednesday and Shadow meet in Boulder during Chapter Twelve are kitsunes. In Chapter Eighteen several kitsunes are seen in the ranks of the Old Gods as white foxes. One of them is the first victim of the battle at Rock City, killed by a sniper: her corpse turns into the one of a young woman before fading away.


Sprites from Germanic folklore. They are mentionned by Mr. Wednesday as one of the gods brought to America during his speech to the Old Gods in Chapter Six.


Hindu god of wealth, mentioned by Mr. Wednesday as being among the gods brought to America during his speech at the House on the Rock.

The man with a sword of eyes[]

In Chapter Eighteen, a man with a golden chainmail and a sword of eyes is mentioned fighting alongside the Old Gods. The Annotated Edition reveals that Neil Gaiman actually forgot who this character was supposed to be.

The Mexicans[]

In Chapter Seventeen, there is a mention of "four Mexicans", "all smiles" with shiny black hair, drinking a mixture of powdered chocolate, blood and liquor out of a bottle in a brown paper-bag. These four are Aztec gods, for whom chocolate was a sacred beverage and who required to drink the blood of human sacrifices in order to maintain the world alive. They might be the same beings as those described in Chapter Eighteen as "squat and swarthy men" with "impassive faces" like "Aztec carvings" who know the "secrets the jungle has swallowed".


A "bull-headed minotaur" is mentionned twice in Chapter Eighteen during the battle at Rock City. The minotaur is a monster from the Greek (and later Roman) mythology.

Black Phoenix Mithras

BPAL illustration of Mithras


Mithras is the Roman-era god of the Mithraic mysteries. He is based on Roman perceptions of the Zoroastrian god, Mithra.


The Morrígan are three Irish warrior goddesses who are able to foretell the fate of battles. The three Morrígna are comprised of Badb, Macha, and Nemain/Fea or Anand. The Morrigan first appears as Macha, in Chapter Twelve, as a young woman with short red hair and blue spiral tattoos living in Seattle. Macha reappears in Chapter Seventeen, where it is mentionned that she has has a black crow's wing tied in leather to her shoulder and a crow's foot dangling from a chain around her neck. In Chapter Eighteen Macha multiplies herself to become the triple-goddess Morrigan, three warrior women standing so close together in the shadows that they become an "arrangement of blue-tattoed limbs and dangling crow's wings". As a war goddess, she is eager and impatient for the upcoming conflict with the New Gods, and very sure of the Old God's victory.


Son of Fionn mac Cumhaill, a warrior of the Irish fianna and recognized in legends as the greatest poet Ireland ever knew. Mentioned by Mr. Ibis as one of the figures brought over to America by the Irish immigrants in Chapter Eight.

The Pilgrims to the West[]

Three of the four pilgrims from the Chinese classic literary work "Journey to the West" are mentioned among the Old Gods in Chapter Eighteen. Journey to the West (an epic novel published in the 16th century) is considered one of the four greatest works of Chinese literature, and is a compilation of numerous myths, legends and folkloric tales of China about the pilgrimage of the monk Tang Sanzang (or Tripitaka) to obtain the sacred sutras of the Buddha. While Tripitaka does not appear in the novel, his three companions do: Sha Wujing ("Sandy"), a former celestial general who was cursed into becoming a river-dwelling demon ; Zhu Bajie ("Pigsy"), a former marshal of Heaven reborn as a half-man half-pig monster and renowned for his lust, greed and gluttony ; as well as Sun Wukong, the legendary Monkey King, a magical and rebellious monkey that acts as the trickster hero of the novel. Sha Wujing first appears alone during the bickering between the Old Gods. Described as a very tall Chinese man with a necklace of tiny skulls and a staff surmonted with a curved blade, he claims that the "first head" of the incoming battle will be his. He is also the first of the Old Gods to march towards the battle. Later all three of the pilgrims are mentioned during the battle, described as "a pig, a monkey and a sharp-toothed ghoul".

Each of them has roots going back into ancient Chinese folklore and traditional Taoism, and this is especially notable in the case of Sun Wukong who is one of the most enduring characters of Chinese literature, possibly influenced by the Hindu god Haruman or the folk monkey-gods of the Fuzhou province. Despite being rejected as a religious figure by Buddhism, Sun Wukong's worship was embraced by the Chinese population, to the point several holidays are celebrated in his name (the Birthday of the Monkey King in Singapore, or the Monkey King Festival in Hong Kong). His cult was so widespread that Sun Wukong was even worshiped in America during the 19th century by Chinese immigrants, and Neil Gaiman confirmed on his Tumblr that it is how he and his fellow pilgrims arrived in America. [1]


Also known as pixies, mythical beings from British folklore living in the moorlands and near stone circles and menhirs. They are one of the stories Essie Tregowan told the most often during her life in America, describing piskies as funny and squinting men, with red hair, turned-up noses, clothes and eyes as "green as the rivers". To obtain the piskies favors, one must leave outside the house at night a bowl of creamy milk. A fresh loaf of bread left for them in a field ensures a good harvest, and the first fish of a catch must always be left for them. Having salt or a little bread in your pocket prevents the piskies from leading you out of your way when you walk outside. Some piskies later appeared in Chapter Eighteen during the Battle at Rock City. Also see "Cousin Jack".

The Rabbi of Prague and his Golem[]

They appear at Rock City in Chapter Seventeen. The Rabbi of Prague is the 16th Jewish scholar and mystic Judah Loew ben Bezalel, whose 19th-century legend claims he created a Golem, a living being made of clay, to protect the Jewish from persecution. The Rabbi appears as a small and dark-bearded man with a dusty black derby on his head, curling payess at his temples and a ragged fringed prayer shawl. The Golem is described as being the gray color of "good Polish clay" and twice the height of the Rabbi. In the first versions of the text, the word written on the Golem's forehead was the word for "life" (Haim), however it has been pointed out to Neil Gaiman that according to the legend the word written on the Golem's forehead was rather "Emet" which means truth. Neil Gaiman corrected this detail in later editions. [2]


Demons from India, ferocious shapeshifters and man-eaters, they are mentionned in Chapter Seventeen, arriving to Rock City by cab. They first go towards Mama-Ji, the only one familiar to them among all of the Old Gods, before hesitating, "remembering the old battles". However Mama-Ji greets them "like her own children".


During Chapter Eighteen a blue-skinned man with a flaming bow is described during the battle between the Old and New Gods. It seems to be Rama, one of the avatars of Vishnu, an exiled prince who became an heroic warrior fighting the forces of evil. Rama is often represented as a blue-skinned man holding a bow (which is often Sharanga, the divine and celestial bow of Vishnu himself).

Rawhead and Bloody-Bones[]

A duo of mythical British and Cornish boogeymen, sometimes considered th same creature. Mentioned as one of the creatures Essie Tregowan shared the tales of during her live in America.


Malicious female water spirits from Slavic folklore, known to seduce and drown men. Several of them appear in Chapter Seventeen, travelling with vilas in a battered U-Haul truck, with a smuged makeup, runs in their stockings, and heavy-lidded, tired expressions.


Mentioned as the "seal women of the Channel" among the other creatures brought over by the Irish immigrants to the United-States in Chapter Four.


Fairies from the Cornish folklore, mentioned as one of the creatures brought to America by Irish immigrants in Chapter Four.

Terry "The Troll" Evensen[]

A troll from Nordic legends, Terry Evensen was a reclusive and morbidly obese man living in a trailer in Phoenix, Arizona. Working at a postal sorting station, he was shot dead by an agent of the New Gods during the "cold war" of the first Interludes.

The train driver[]

An Old God acting as the driver of an Amtrak passenger train was killed by the New Gods during the cold war of the first Interludes, when an UPS truck hit his train in Idaho.


The Hindu wikipedia:Trimurti is a trio of primordial deities consisting of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. They are responsible for the constant and regular cycle of creation, preservation and destruction that animates the world. They are presented by Mr. Nancy in Chapter Fourteen as the perfect metaphor for America's relationship with gods, constantly making deities "rise and fall then rise again".

The twins[]

In Chapter Seventeen, it is mentioned that two small boys "each the size of an apple tree" came to Rock City from the South-west. They are the Mayan Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, who travelled to and came back from Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld.


A vaukalak (or volkolak) is the Russian equivalent of a werewolf, either a man cursed by a witch into becoming a wolf-like being, either a sorcerer turning into a half-beast monster with his own powers. One appears in Chapter Eighteen as "something that looked a little like a wolf and a little more like a man", speaking with a mix of English and Russian, advising the Old Gods to attack the New ones when they expect it the less.


The vila are nature spirits in Southern Slavic folklore, living in the forests, waters and clouds, able to take the shape of animals or whirlwinds, spending their time dancing, hunting, helping young men in battle or playing a music that curses anyone who hears it. They appear in Chapter Seventeen, travelling with several rusalka in a battered U-Haul truck, "their makeup smudged, runs in their stockings, their expressions heavy-lidded and tired".

The wampyr[]

During the reunion of the Old Gods at Rock City, a elderly wampyr is mentionned sharing a Marlboro cigaret with an ape-like creature. The wampyr is an older form of vampire, coming from the folklore of Eastern Europe. This wampyr or another may be linked to the vandalized crypt in a Key West cemetery mentionned as one of the attacks of the New Gods against the Old ones in the first Interludes.

Ahura-Mazda 2x01

Ahura Mazda in House on the Rock (episode)

Ahura Mazda[]

Ahura Mazda is the creator and the highest spirit of worship in Zoroastrianism. His name means "Lord Wise" or "Lord of Wisdom." He appears at the meeting at the House on the Rock in "House on the Rock (episode)", played by Al Maini.

Ama-no-Uzume AG 2x01

Ame-No Uzeme in House on the Rock (episode)

Ame-No Uzume[]

Ame-No-Uzume is the Shinto goddess of dawn. She appears at the meeting at the House on the Rock and at the Motel America diner in "House on the Rock (episode)", played by Uni Park.

The beautiful woman[]

One of the goddesses present at the reunion of Old Gods in House on the Rock (episode). Merely credited as "Beautiful Woman God", she is played by Sonya Côté.

Dvalin 2x06

Dvalin in "Donar the Great"


Dvalin is a dwarf who works with Sindri in the mall where Wednesday takes his spear, Gungnir, to be repaired in "Donar the Great".


Freyja is a Norse goddess of love, sex, beauty, fertility, war, death, gold, seiðr a type a magic and sorcery who is mentioned by Mr. Wednesday in "The Ways of the Dead"

The MJ hobo[]

One of the gods who was present at the reunion at House on the Rock, in House on the Rock (episode). Merely credited as "MJ Hobo God", he was played by Edward A. Queffelec.

The old wizard[]

One of the gods who came at the Old Gods gathering in the House on the Rock, in the episode of the same name. Merely credited as "Old Wizard God", he was played by John Stoneham Sr.

Sindri 2x06

Sindri in "Donar the Great"


Sindri is a dwarf who works with Dvalin in the mall where Wednesday takes his spear, Gungnir, to be repaired in "Donar the Great".

Slavic gods[]

In Serious Moonlight a group of old gods from Slavic culture are seen attending the funerals of Zorya Vechernyaya.

Tu'er Shen The Rabbit 🐰 god

Tu'er Shen[]

Tu'er Shen, the "Rabbit God", is a Chinese god patron of homosexuality. According to legends, he was a human soldier who fell in love with an imperial inspector and was beaten to death after his forbidden desire was discovered. For the injustice of his death, the divine officials of the afterlife rewarded him with the post of divine patron of the homosexuals.

As seen in The Rapture of Burning, Tu'er Shen came to America around the mid 19th century. In 1951 he fled from homophobic police officers, who wanted to kill him for the "crime of sodomy", into the Grand Peacock Inn where he was protected by the transgender owner, Tony. To reward her kindness, Tu'er Shen blessed Tony with a long life (she has not aged in more than sixty years) and made the Peacock Inn his "temple", ensuring its financial prosperity and making it a refuge for "his people", what is seen today as the LGBTQ community. He then left the Grand Peacock Inn and was not seen again.

The warrior woman[]

One of the old gods participating at the House on the Rock reunion in House on the Rock (episode). Merely credited as "Warrior Woman God", she is played by Yvette McKoy.

Mythological beasts[]

These creatures are not gods or god-like beings, but beasts, animals and creatures existing alongside the gods in mythologies or supernatural realms.

Comic Ammit


Ammet, the Eater of Souls, lives in the Egyptian afterlife, its function being to devour the heart of those judged by Anubis if the heart is too heavy. It appears in Chapter Sixteen when Shadow is judged.


The squirrel living in Yggdrasil in Nordic mythology. It appears to Shadow while he hangs from the World-Tree in Chapter Fifteen, repeating "Ratatosk! Ratatosk!" and brings several times water to Shadow, in a nut shell, to ease his fatigue, pain and calm his hallucinations.

Anansi Boys[]


Bird is one of the Old Gods in the Anansi Boys novel and appears in Anansi tales, where Bird and other animals including Tiger and Monkey are frequently tricked and embarrassed by Anansi. She is a villainous goddess of all birds.


Tiger is one of the Old Gods and appears in Anansi tales, where Tiger and other animals including Bird and Monkey are frequently tricked and embarrassed by Anansi. He is the main antagonist in the Anansi Boys novel and is the god of all big cats, savagery, and the hunt.




Out With the Old - American Gods

See also[]


  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab created a perfume oil based on the character of Mithras, described as: Oblations of milk, oil, honey, and blood. They also created for their "American Gods III" line a perfume oil based on the Forgettable God: A faint impression of scent, a memory slipping like water through a sieve.
  • When asked about the "absence" of the Abrahamic God in the novel, Neil Gaiman explained on his Tumblr that technically He was everywhere and yet did not appear as any character of the book - due to the belief that the God of Abraham is "invisible, insubstantial, beyond all understanding, and revealing himself through his works". [3] [4]
  • When asked about the low presence of Greco-Roman gods, Neil Gaiman explained that he placed some in the novel (such as Medusa and Antinous) but avoided putting them "front and center" because his rule to include Old Gods was that there needed to be some kind of evidence of their culture visiting or reaching the Americas, even if it wasn't actually true - and he lacked such solid proof for the Greco-Roman civilization. He only discovered the existence of elements suggesting the presence of Ancient Greeks and Romans in the Americas after publishing the book, and declared that if he had known it before, he would have been more "enthusiastic" in bringing Greco-Roman gods among the Old Gods. [5] [6]
  • The Annotated Edition of American Gods mentions that, in his first ideas for the novel, Neil Gaiman wanted to explore a group of "retired circus people" living in Florida. It is unknown if this group would have been some of the Old Gods or not.
  • In the context of American Gods, American means "North America". As a result, the Old Gods include not only coming from outside of the American continent per se, but also deities coming from Southern or Central America (several Mayan and Aztec deities are seen among the ranks of the Old Gods).
  • When asked if the Old Gods in the show were just like in the novel simply "American avatars" of the deities, Neil Gaiman confirmed that, yes, there must be a Bilquis still in the Middle East, and another Mad Sweeney in Ireland. He also confirmed that the Old Gods being shown traveling to the United-States was just a simple visual depiction of their faith and belief arriving in America and did not mean in the least that the gods actually physically traveled to America. [7]
  • When asked about the presence of actual neopagans in the American Gods universe (as opposed to the "fake" neopagan that is the waitress of Chapter Eleven), Neil Gaiman explains that there are still actual, believing neopagans in the United-States and that they keep the Old Gods in America Gods (because when nobody believes in a god anymore, they cease to exist). He also clarified that Wednesday's point to Easter in Chapter Eleven was not that there aren't any real pagans in America - rather it is that there weren't enough people who heard of her, and that some of the people who "imagine themselves pagan" do not actually "feed the gods with belief, with worship and with blood sacrifice". [8]