How and why deities can manifest to mortals
Deities can manifest for all sorts of reasons. Manifestation can take many forms; physical, apparition, appearance, and visitation.
PhysicalPhysical manifestation is when a deity manifests in a physical form. The body/host, whatever it may be, can be touched and the deity could possibly be harmed if the body/host is physically harmed. One thing that can happen when a deity physically manifests is the body1 can materialize in front of the intended mortal or a wrong one, usually causing distress no matter the intended subject. The body is usually created in the image of how mortals perceive that deity, though some choose to take differing forms it is easier for both parties to use their culturally represented form. Another less popular form of physical manifestation is occupancy. Occupancy is when a deity takes control of a person, animal, or object that is in the general vicinity of the intended mortal. It is less popular with mortals, firstly because most do not like being possessed, and secondly, because the intended mortal and/or any mortals around them tend to get scared of the host item/body.
ApparitionApparition is similar to physical manifestation. Apparition is when a deity takes a 'ghostly' form, or when they can be seen but not touched. The intended mortal is usually scared of the apparition, thinking it could be a ghost or a demonic creature. Most deities do not like being called demonic or insulted, so it is the least popular type of manifestation.
AppearanceAppearance is another rare form of manifestation. It is fundamentally the same as an apparition, but only the intended can see the deities' manifestation. Appearances can cause a great amount of suffering for the intended mortal and any around them. Mortals that have had appearances sometimes become insane, losing sight of their mortality. You can usually tell if someone has had an appearance and not survived2. They usually do dangerous things with no regard to anyone's safety, abandon their families, and mutter about strange things, that are more likely than not, unintelligible.
VisitationThe last large type of manifestation is visitation. Visitation is when a deity enters a dream or induces a vision. Visitations can happen at any time but are the most common when the intended mortal is vulnerable3, but on rare occasions, they are not. The visions/dreams are usually not very clear compared to the other types of manifestation. Due to deities being fickle and mysterious beings most like this form the most. They can give information while simultaneously confusing mortals.
Reasons for ManifestationThere are many different reasons for a deity to manifest. The deity could want to send a mortal on a quest or address a kingdom/ their followers. The most common is the former. Deities don't like to do the more hands-on aspects of their plans, so they send mortals to do it for them. Quests can be dangerous for mortals, but what is even more dangerous is ignoring a manifestation of any kind4.
1. only body in this case because physical hosts can not materialize and dematerialize
2. their mental state survived
3. during sleep, when they are relaxing, during a battle, while healing
4. unless you have gone insane, the deities don't want you if that happens
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