“Heilyn’s mother, for instance, is no Titania. By human standards she can be cruel and heartless and her morals non-existent. You may not judge by the accepted code of our world. Faery is not immoral, but amoral in our terms. A leopard is beautiful and dangerous; it kills and devours its prey with dreadful ferocity and mates where it will. It is not evil, it follows the dictates of its own nature and instinct, yet in a human such behaviour would be condemned. So it is with the Otherworld. An ogre will rip you to shreds but it is not personal. Just a method of food preparation.”
Merlin gave them a few moments to digest this comment, their revulsion causing the glimmer of a smile.
“The next question is where are these other worlds, to which the answer is ‘right here’,” he continued. “They permeate our world in the same way as radio waves fill the air. Imagine the thousands of different broadcasts being transmitted at any time. They are all around us, unseen and unheard. They can only be deciphered with the right equipment and then they may only be clearly heard if that equipment is correctly tuned. And,” he paused to emphasise the next point, “can only be understood if you choose to listen.
“There are places where the worlds touch, their frequencies compatible. The veil is thin at the ancient sites. Most people are sensitive to their atmosphere to some degree. You three are all attuned to the life in the land and can feel more than many. You do, of course, have help and those on the other side are meeting you halfway. The battle for the Light transcends the veil and the choices made by creatures of all the worlds are essentially the same, in spite of their disparate natures. Understand this. The choices you make will echo through all the worlds.”
“Then, if these worlds are real and legend has a basis in fact,” mused Alec, “then the gods, all the gods, are real too? We met the Horned One today and something else this morning which seemed divine to me.” The others nodded in agreement.
“The gods,” replied Merlin, “are both real and mere figments of our collective imagination.” The old man chuckled at the consternation on Jamie’s face. “Yes, it is the great paradox.
“Man saw many marvels in the world when it was young. They saw that light meant life, so they worshipped the sun. By their worship the star became a deity in their eyes, but they had no abstract concept of godhead and imagined a sun god in humanised form to which they could relate. Their faith and worship were so strong, the vision of their god so concrete in their mind, that their collective prayer built a thought form on the Inner Planes. Because the principle behind their worship was a reality, the essence of that cosmic principle gave life to their god.
You could say that the gods as men have known them were created by man, but it would only be half a truth as the powers they represent existed before man walked the Earth. All the gods ever worshipped exist somewhere on the Inner Planes, waiting for their followers to call them back.
“However, most gods have many faces. The sun, the source of light and life has been worshipped by almost every community of mankind. Each aspect could be called by its particular devotees, but the power from whence the god took its being remained constant. At the end, there is but One, with countless faces. All the gods are one God; all the goddesses are one Goddess, all merely facets of a single jewel.”
From: Swords of Destiny