The Council of Godheads, also known as the Council Elite, represents a union of the leaders (or their delegates) of the various pantheons of gods on Earth. There are over twenty separate tribes or races (pantheons) of superhuman beings associated with Earth claiming to be gods. The vast majority of these pantheons trace their origins back to Gaea, one of the Elder Gods (such as Chthon and Set) who materialized on Earth before any other life had appeared there. The other Elder Gods degenerated into demons, preying upon each other. Gaea called upon the Demiurge, the sentient life force of Earth's biosphere, and gave birth to Atum, who became Demogorge and either slaughtered or banished the other Elder Gods. Gaea then infused her life essence into all living beings on Earth. It is unclear whether Gaea mated with the Demiurge to create a newer, more perfect race of gods, or if Atum simply split his essence to spawn the new gods. The timing of this is unclear, as it predates recorded history. Further confusing matters is the existence of many races (some demonic) whose supernatural members have also been worshipped as gods on Earth. In addition, some demons have usurped the names of gods, while some gods have also usurped the names and worshippers of older beings. Further, some of the current pantheons of the gods have lived through various cycles of death and rebirth, interacting with humanity at various points in the past.
Gaea, along with Demiurge or Atum, is the progenitor of most of current gods, and is known by different names to each pantheon. Valka - about whom little is known - was one of the first new gods worshipped on Earth, achieving prominence around 30,000 BC which lasted at least 12,000 years. Towards the end of that period, some of the other gods (or beings bearing their names) began to be worshipped on Earth as well.
The Aboriginal Gods were worshipped by the Aborigines of Australia over 20,000 years ago, continuing into the modern era. Their leader and creator god Baiame rules from the Dreamtime realm Alchera. The former X-Men Longshot once encountered Altjira, the god of the Dreamtime. Other prominent gods of this pantheon include Daramulum, Narahdarn, and Marmoo, the gods of the sky, death and evil, respectively, as well as Julunggul, the rainbow serpent and goddess of fertility.
The African Gods are known by numerous names to many tribes. Buluku is their sky-father, dwelling in Ala and arbitrating between the two divisions: the Orishas, gods of sky and heaven; and the Loa, gods of earth and the underworld, worshipped in Voodoo. Nyambe (Orisha Great Spirit) and Lusa (Loa sun god) have prominence amongst the African gods, and Ndriananahary - lord of the underworld lku - has also served as their representative. Their worship dates as far back as 2900 BC and continues today in some parts of the world, though the Loa have taken precedence over the Orishas. Voodoo worship remains strong in Central and South America, Haiti, and the Southeast United States. Other African Gods include Anansi, a trickster god of wisdom and culture, possibly connected to Spider-Man's origins; sea goddess Avlekete; Dan-Ayido-Hwedo (aka Damballah), god of the dead; mischief god Eschu; love and fertility goddess Ezili (aka Erzulie); traveler/messenger god Legba; moon goddess Mahu (wife of Lusa); iron and artisan god Ogun; death and plague god Sagbata (aka Baron Samedi); storm and thunder god Shango (aka Xevioso); and allegedly Kibuka, war god of East Africa's Bugunda tribe.
The Anasazi are worshipped by Native Americans, most known by numerous names and worshipped by many different tribes as far back as 8000 BC and continuing to the present day. Manitou (his Algonquin name) is their god of sky and heaven, ruling from Shipolo. Other Anasazi include combat arbitrator Calumet; storm and thunder god Haokah; war god Hotamintanio; trickster god Nanabozho (aka Coyote); hunting god Owayodata, patron to Red Wolf; sun god Tawa; and totem god Tomazooma, who once attended a godhead meeting. Red Star Oil Company once used a Tomazooma robot to trick the Keewazi tribe. The Innua appear to be a separate sub-division of the Anasazi who were worshipped by the Inuit (Eskimo) people and are led by Hodiak. Other Innua include Nelvanna, the Shaper, and Sedna, goddess of death and the sea. Alpha Flight member Snowbird is the daughter of Nelvanna. The demonic Adversary is not actually one of the Anasazi.
The Annunaki are one of the oldest known races of gods, worshipped as early as 18,000 BC, but reaching greater heights circa 4000 BC, worshipped by the Sumerians, then the Babylonians, Mesopotamians, Assyrians, and Phoenicians. Anu was the god of Dilmun (heaven) and first ruler of the Annunaki, retaining a position of authority even though he has since been supplanted by Dagon/Enlil (thunder god), Marduk (god of wisdom), and Ba'al-Hadad (god of wind, rain, storm, and fertility). The Annunaki's current status remains unclear, and some are believed to have degenerated into demons, as they lost most of their active worshippers around 1,500 BC when they were conquered by the Greeks. Other Annunaki include death goddess Ereshkigal; Inanna (aka Ishtar) love and war goddess; exiled Kiskillilla (aka Lilith), storm and underworld goddess; steppes and desert god Martu; fire and sun god Moloch; underworld god Nergal; metal and smelting god Ningal; messenger god Saja; rain and vegetation god Ullikumis; and possibly the wind god/demon Pazuzu.
The Asgardians have undergone regular cycles of destruction and rebirth, apparently manipulated by the enigmatic higher beings know as They Who Dwell Above in Shadow, with the last know rebirth occurring two thousand years ago. Buri fathered Bor, who fathered Odin, Vili and Ve, and Odin became the ruler of Aesir and later the Vanir, two tribes within their race. Though Bor, Odin, and other members have been referenced as early as 13,000 BC, the Asgardians peaked under worship of the Vikings and Germanic tribes from 1000 BC to 1000 AD. The Asgardians are divided into the Aesir and Vanir, with the former maintaining prominence. From Asgard, Odin ruled the Asgardians though the trickster god Loki briefly usurped his rule on occasion; when Odin was missing and believed dead he was replaced by Balder, the god of light, for a time. After Odin's true death, he was succeeded by his son Thor, god of thunder, though the Asgardians perished during Ragnarok as Thor freed them from the endless cycle of destruction and rebirth by slaying They Who Dwell Above in Shadow. Among the numerous known Asgardians are Amora the Enchantress; Brunnhilde the Valkyrie; death goddess Hela; goddess of the hunt Sif; war god Tyr; and the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg).
The Coatli are divided into two tribes, the Aztec Gods, led by Tezcatlipoca (god of darkness and the sun) or Quetzalcoatl (god of sun, wind, and wisdom); and the Mayan Gods, led by Itzamna (god of sun, Maize, writing, and the arts) or his father Hunab-Ku (god of sky and the sun). Referenced as early as 10,000 BC, they were worshipped by Central American tribes primarily from 1500 BC to 1532 AD, and the younger Aztecs conquered the Mayans around 800 AD, driving them from prominence. The Aztec gods dwell in the sky-realm Teotihucan, while the Mayan gods live in the underworld Xibalba. The Aztec gods and Mayan gods have some overlap: the Aztec Quetzalcoatl is also Mayan Kukulcan. Quetzalcoatl supported Itzamna over Tezcatlipoca, earning his enmity, and Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca have overthrown each other's rule over the years. Tezcatlipoca and Itzamna appear to have achieved a truce. Other Coatli include death god Ahpuch and sun and war god Huitzilopochtli, the latter of whom was impersonated by the immortal mutant Apocalypse.
The Daevas are worshipped by the Hindu, succeeding the worship of the Vedic gods from 300 AD to the present. The Daevas are ruled from Nirvana by the triumvirate of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. Shiva was at least once impersonated by the Vedic thunder god Indra. The Daevas retain strong active worship in India. Other Daevas include Kali, goddess of death, destruction, life and creation; dream goddess Maya; love goddess Ratri; and death god Yama. The Vedic gods were worshipped in the Middle East as early as 1000 BC, though they have been largely supplanted by the Daevas in India, as well as by the Yazatas (gods of Persia under Zoroastrianism) and the religion Buddhism. The Yazatas are ruled by the creator god Ahura Mazda. Mitra (aka Mithras, god of light) had strong worship from 11,000 to 8000 BC, and retains a strong following in believers of Zoroastrianism. Atar (aka Agni, god of fire and purification) has also served as leader or representative of the Yazatas in the Council.
The Dievas were worshipped by the Russians, Latvians, Lithuanians and other Slavic/Baltic people from 500 BC to 1000 AD. Svarog - god of sun, fire, rain, and sky - rules the Dievas from Svarga. Other Dievas include childbirth goddess Ajyst; Baba Yaga, goddess of earth, witchcraft, and misfortune; storm and thunder god Perun; and war god Svantovit.
The Ennead (aka Heliopolitans)
The Ennead (or Heliopolitans) are the gods worshipped in Egypt from 3200 BC to 395 AD. Heliopolis is their realm. Ammon Ra ruled the Ogdoad, the race whom the Ennead succeeded, and has represented the Ennead as well, though Osiris (a god of the dead) serves as their usual representative. Seth, the serpent god of death, has usurped Osiris' rule on many occasions and Horus (sun god) has acted as proxy to Osiris. The Panther Gods and Lion Gods worshipped in Africa are actually the Heliopolitans Bast and Sekhmet, respectively. Other Ennead include funeral and mummification god Anubis; luck god Bes; earth god Geb; fertility and domestication goddess Isis; moon god Toth; and moon and vengeance god Khonshu, patron to Moon Knight.
The Incan gods had worshippers in Peru, Bolivia and Chile and as far east as parts of Brazil from 1000 BC to 1532 AD. The aged Viracocha (god of sun and sky) remains their leader, ruling from El Dorado. The Kamekeri worshipped the Incan gods until more recent years. Okonorote (god of earth, rain , and fertility) accompanied Viracocha to one meeting of the Council of Godheads. Volcano goddess Peliali is mother to the Avenger Silverclaw.
The Kahunas are the Oceanic gods, worshipped by Hawaiians and Polynesians primarily from 2000 BC to 1768 AD. Tame (god of weather and the sky) rules from Hawaiki. Other Kahunas include fertility and childbirth goddess Haumea; war god Ku; hula goddess Laka; sea goddess Na-Maka-O-Kaha'l; and volcano goddess Pele.
The Kami were worshipped by the Japanese from 660 BC to 1946 AD and are led from Ama by the sun god Izanagi, though he has been religiously supplanted by the divine couple Amaterasu (the true power) and Takamimusubi (figurehead husband). Other Kami include joy and laughter god Ho-Ti and Mikaboshi, the god of evil.
Mongolian & Siberian Gods
The Olympian gods were worshipped in Greece and Rome mainly from 1600 BC to 476 AD. Their father, Ouranos (sky father) was killed and succeeded by his son Chronus of the Titans (god of earth and time), who was killed and succeeded by his son Zeus (god of sky, thunder, and lightning), who rules from Mount Olympus to this day. Among the numerous known Olympians are sun god Apollo; war god Ares; wine and revelry god Dionysus; Hephaestus, god of the forge; marriage goddess Hera; strength god Hercules; speed and messenger god Mercury; sea god Neptune, patron to the Homo Mermani; and death god Pluto.
The Tuatha de Danaan were worshipped prominently at least as far back as 18,000 BC as well as more recently by the Celts, and in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul from 900 BC to 600 AD. They are led from the Isle of Avalon in Otherworld by the sky god Nuadhu, though Dagda (god of magic, wisdom and heaven) often serves that role. The Fomor, relatives of the Tuatha de Danaan, are monstrous and malevolent creatures led by Elathan. Crom (god of storms, death and eternity) was especially prominent circa 10,000 BC. Other members include youth god Angus; underworld god Arawn; war goddess Badb; war god Bodb Derg (aka Red Lord), patron to the Bane; Caber, god of speed and bards; wisdom and witchcraft goddess Cerridwen; hunt, harvest, and fertility god Cernunnos; Rhiannon, goddess of enchantments, fertility, birds, and horses; storm god Taranis; and the triple war goddesses Macha, Morrigan, and Nemain. Niamh (aka Nimue and Lady of the Lake) also has ties to the Celtic Gods. The demon Ludi claims to be the god Lud, though Lud is sometimes another name for Nuadhu. Nauda of the Silver Hand, who fought the Young Gods, is believed to be a poser who adopted Nuadhu's name and history, though he may be a dark aspect of Nuadhu that split off at some point.
The Xian were worshipped by the Chinese from 2000 BC to 1911 AD and are led by Yu-Huang, lord of Ta-Lo (heaven), though the immortality god Shou-Hsing has sometimes served as Yu-Huang's proxy. Connections to the warriors of the K'un-Lun dimension, who trained Iron Fist, remain speculative. In addition, Buddha and the god of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths have apparently attended gatherings of the Godheads. While multiple other races associated with Earth or its related dimensions have claimed to be gods, such as the Dark Gods of Narcisson, they are not believed to have originated from Gaea and are not considered part of the same class of gods.
Third Celestial Host
Around 1000 AD, the Celestials sent a Third Host to Earth, and Odin assembled the heads of the various pantheons of gods to discuss this threat. A few other gods, such as the Anasazi's Tomazooma and the Kamekeri's Okonorote, also attended alongside their leaders. Zeus, Odin and Vishnu were chosen as representatives to confront the Celestials, who threatened to sever the dimensional passages of all of the gods' realms to Earth unless they promised not to interfere with the Celestials' plans to judge humanity's worthiness. The three gods bowed to the Celestials' superior power, but Odin began planning to deal with the Fourth Host of the Celestials by creating the nigh-indestructible automaton, the Destroyer, and the Odinsword. Seeking a more peaceful solution, Gaea allied herself with the goddesses of the Earthly pantheons, and had them gather together the best examples of humanity over the next 1000 years in hopes of swaying the Celestials' judgment in humanity's favor. When the Celestials returned in recent years, Odin imbued the Destroyer with the spirits of himself and the rest of the Asgardians, rendering it 2000 feet tall and able to challenge the Celestials directly. However, the Celestials combined their own power and melted the Destroyer into slag, killing the Asgardians. Thor visited each of the Godheads, petitioning them to donate a portion of life force. Each Godhead eventually agreed to donate, and the Asgardian Gods were resurrected. Gaea presented the Celestials with the 12 representatives she and the other goddesses had gathered, and the Celestials ruled in humanity's favor, taking these 12 under their tutelage as the Young Gods.
Union of the Death Gods
Shortly thereafter, a union of Death Gods brought about the return of Demogorge, who consumed them and then prepared to devour the rest of the gods. Odin petitioned the Godheads to each send a delegate to oppose Demogorge. Buluku, Manitou, Osiris, Tezcatlipoca, Vishnu and Zeus responded to this plea, and so Thor joined Shango, Tawa, Horus, Quetzalcoatl, Indra and Apollo in confronting Demogorge, eventually convincing him that it was not time for the current pantheons to die.
When the mad Titan Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to eliminate half of the population of the universe, the Godheads met in Asgard to discuss this. Ironically, Odin was then missing and Loki had usurped his role, but apparently none present realized the deception. Another group of Godheads later met to discuss the actions of virtually omnipotent former Pharaoh Akhenaten against humanity: Atar, Horus, Hunab Ku, Izanagi, Ndriananahary, Shou-Hsing, Thor, Vishnu, and Zeus. They also discussed summoning "Those of the Forgotten Realm." Horus, who was most familiar with Akhenaten, used the Eye of Ra to spy on him, but Akhenaten detected them and attacked, destroying all present except Thor and Zeus, who managed to flee. Soon after, Thanos claimed the Heart of the Infinite (Akhenaten's power source) and used it to retroactively prevent all of Akhenaten's' actions. However, to those who could understand or even remember what had happened, these actions were seen as the replacement of one threat with another, perhaps even worse. The Godheads joined together with a multitude of heroes and villains from Earth and the rest of the universe to oppose Thanos, who had gained supreme power from the Heart of the Infinite. Thanos easily wiped out every single being in the universe, but later was convinced by [[[Adam Warlock]] to sacrifice himself to restore the universe to his previous state.
The Death of Odin
Following Odin's demise, Thor was called before the Council of Godheads to be tested for worthiness to join them as Odin's replacement. Thor passed the tests of awareness and insight, but failed when he supplied food to a starving population rather than teaching them to grow their own food. In addition, the Council decided that Thor had violated the oath of non-interference on Earth. Those present included Osiris, Yu-Huang, Zeus, Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu. The Council Elite met once again and discussed Thor's continuing problems including his most recent effort to resurrect a young girl. They debated whether steps needed to be taken against Thor, but deiced that mankind's current plans were sufficient for the moment. Information brought back in time from Earth-3515 ("The Reigning") convinced Thor to turn from the path of interfering with humanity.
Following the demise of Zeus, Athena represented the Olympian gods at a Council convened to develop a strategy when the Skrulls invaded Earth, ultimately dispatching Hercules with a team of champions representing various pantheons. The Council met again to formally usher in Alexander Aaron as the new Phobos, Olympian god of fear. As the Kami's Mikaboshi threatened to transform all of reality into chaos, Hercules attained sky-father status and was infuriated by the Council's slow action against Mikaboshi. As Earthly and godly realms fell before Mikaboshi's armies, the Council decided to seal themselves within their meeting places, lest Mikaboshi find the gateways to their home realms. However, Hercules clashed with Zeus, who had been resurrected as an agent of Mikaboshi. Zeus tricked Hercules into opening a gateway to the Council, enabling Mikaboshi to assaunt that dimension and access all of their home dimensions. Hercules ultimately defeated Mikaboshi, simultaneously sacrificing his sky-father powers. Members of the Council met at the Infinite Embassy to discuss the threat of Odin Borson's brother the Serpent, and Odin's plan to destroy Earth to eliminate the Asgardian god of fear, the Serpent.
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