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Poseidon now likes to kick it by the beach.
"I thought that since times have changed, I should move my remit to be the god of war, not merely the god of battle. The brave warrior risking his life in combat is passé- nowadays the civilized warmonger prefers the clinical indifference of a ranged drone strike. [...] The point is, I need to rebrand my image. Otherwise I'd just end up being the god of drunken slapfights in pub car parks."
The Hound explaining why he switched from Scary Impractical Armor to a general's uniform, Exterminatus Now

A god or other supernatural entity adapts to the modern world due to some of their aspects or powers no longer being as important to their worshipers' lives as they were in their heyday. May be caused by Gods Need Prayer Badly and result in Odd Job Gods. See also Death of the Old Gods for when they can't keep up.

Compare Post-Modern Magik. Contrast The Modern Gods, where the gods start out in the modern era.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fate Series: Throughought the Fate multiverse, many characters of mythology and old history are summoned into the modern world as "Servants". Some of them adapt to the new world just fine (such as Arturia or Gilgamesh), wearing modern clothing and indulging in present-day food and entertainment; a few of them even use modern weapons in fights, such as Lancelot.
  • Downplayed in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency. After awakening in late-1930s Europe, Native American/Mexican/Aztec super-vampire Kars finds a trench coat and a hat to wear unlike the other Pillar Men. Though he doesn't keep it for long.
  • Naqua-Den: The manga shows us in chapter eight a spider-goddess that managed to adapt herself to the modern days by ruling over a different kind of "web". She is called WWW, and is the spider-goddess of the Internet.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics:
    • The Sandman (1989):
      • Lucifer has made several attempts to modernize Hell over the centuries, most notably when he established a triumvirate with Azazel and Beelzebub in order to stave off a revolt. Before he finally retired from ruling Hell, he also created a modern office for himself, with a computer.
      • Later characters in a similar position are Ishtar (now a poledancer) and Susano-o (who now has a Japan Takes Over the World vibe, seeking to acquire Hell for his own pantheon).
      • This is Dream's own advice for gods whose worship wanes. It comes up when he meets one who started a travel agency.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Greg Rucka's run on Wonder Woman (1987) introduced this trope into the dynamic of the Olympian gods. At the dawn of the 21st century, the Olympian pantheon is dividing itself between the older deities, such as Zeus and Hera, who still dress and behave as if they were in Ancient Greece, and the younger Olympians, such as Eros, Apollo and Artemis, who put on modern outfits and blend in more with current society. As Ares himself explains to Wonder Woman in issue 199, the power hierarchy among the Olympians has changed thanks to gods needing prayer badly. Zeus is just king of the gods in title, since nobody fears the sky anymore, leading to him being greatly weakened. Meanwhile, three other gods have gained enough forms of "worship" to challenge him: Ares, whose power is fueled by the many wars waged by humanity; Aphrodite, who is still strong thanks to the timeless power of sex; and Athena who, as the goddess of war and wisdom, benefits from both the military and scientific advances of the new century. This trope even led Ares, who understood thanks to Wonder Woman that causing wars for the sake of war would end up being a self-destructive process, to reshape himself not as the "god of war", but as the "god of conflict", taking power from things such as protests, disputes and simple physical brawls. As he puts it: "We must adapt to survive".
      • In the New 52 Wonder Woman (2011), the pantheon are all radically reinvented, mostly to look somewhat inhuman, but some have also updated their look: Apollo wears a business suit and seems to be seen as the "fixer" of the gods, and Hephasteus wears brass goggles and is surrounded by automatons, giving him a slightly Steampunk look.
      • In Wonder Woman (Rebirth) Aphrodite has gone for a modern-casual look, wearing a loose sweatshirt with a swan (one of her sacred animals) on it.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • In Hercules (2015), an unclear "Storm" threatens the existence of mythological beings through Death of the Old Gods. As it turns out, the "Storm" is a pantheon of three new gods born out of the obsessions, vices and flaws of modern society, and their goal is to erase all "old gods" to replace them. They are Cryptomnesia, a god of data and information with constant access to all communication devices and the entirety of the Internet ; Catastrophobia, a modern "god of war" that uses targetting missiles instead of traditional weapons ; and Horrorscope, the embodiment of toxic self-image and narcissism as a plastic surgery model. The comic drew heavy inspiration from Neil Gaiman's American Gods (see below), with Cryptomnesia even being an Expy of the Technical Boy.
    • In Solo Avengers #11, Hercules finds a suicidal Dionysus on Olympus. Dionysus has found a large missile and plans to end his life and destroy Olympus in the process, frustrated about what his life has become. at the end of the story, Dionysus appears before Zeus, who is unhappy with his actions, so he strips Dionysus of his powers and memories, and sends him to Earth until such a time as Zeus deems fit. There, Dionysus is now the barman at an establishment called Dion's Bar, and seems to be happy.
    • In Ultimate Marvel, Loki is the Norse God who best adapts to the modern world, posing as a PR agent and operative for the EU who stage-manages their version of the Ultimates. During the Liberators arc, he gaslights Thor and the Ultimates, by making the former seem like a madman and not a real Norse God, and turning the Avengers against him. The Liberators arc ends with the world finding out that the Norse myths were Real After All.
  • A heavy component of The Wicked + The Divine, where twelve gods incorporate on Earth every 90 years, riding along with human hosts for a 2-year period to work miracles and spur human creativity. In addition to every god and goddess effectively being styled after a modern musician (Amaterasu looks like Florence Welch, Baphomet/ Nergal looks like Andrew Eldrich), Woden styles himself as a man in a Daft Punk-esque powersuit and uses technology to uplift his "Valkyries," Athena is grinding her way through technological developments, and Dionysus runs a rave that never stops.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, nobody in Ankh-Morpork really believes in Justice any more. But there are lots of women with alternative viewpoints who firmly believe a Goddess called Dike should not be wasted. The former Goddess of Law and Justice, whilst adamantly maintaining that Her name is pronounced with two syllables, considers this new lease of life is a hell of a lot more fun and beats stumbling around in a blindfold whilst carying a sword.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • The novel American Gods has many old gods who've been forced to adapt to the times to keep up a sliver of their old relevance.
    • Mad Sweeney is said to have started out as a local guardian deity, then developed into a pagan king, and now he's survived as a leprechaun.
    • Czernobog managed to substitute his old human sacrifices by getting a job at a slaughterhouse and killing cattle with a sledgehammer, but after getting forcibly retired he's a shadow of his former self.
    • Eostre is possibly the most powerful old god because her name was co-opted for a Christian holiday.
    • Hinzelmann is an ancient Germanic kobold produced by a child sacrifice who's attached himself to a small town in northern Wisconsin that he keeps prosperous except for the kids who go missing once a year.
    • Loki has taken on the guise of Mr. World, head of The Men in Black.
  • In The Camp Half-Blood Series this happens to some of the gods and monsters of Classical Mythology since they have to adapt to modern North America. For example, Ares appears as a violent biker, Iris, Greek messenger goddess of rainbows,note , has more or less abandoned the 'messenger' part of her job and now runs a small store, Thanatos uses an iPhone to help him keep track of departed souls, the Amazons run Amazon.com, and Mount Olympus is over the Empire State Building.
    • Rick Riordan also applied it to the spin-off series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Valhalla is now a luxury hotel, Thor is a TV-addict, Ran is the sea equivalent of a bag lady, and Odin's quest for knowledge went from discovering the runes to mastering the secrets of Power Points and smartphones.
    • However it is completely averted in his Egyptian mythology-based series, The Kane Chronicles. Given most of the Egyptian pantheon has been locked up and sealed away since the end of Antiquity, the gods are the very opposite of "modernized", except for a few of them that actually avoided being imprisoned (such as Thoth who is now a laboratory-dwelling professor thriving on scientific research).
  • The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids:
    • In the Prime Universe, the Greek Gods retired when they lost any hope of people starting to believe in them in numbers anymore. However, some of them can't help but continue to preside over their "essence" to some degree. In Aphrodite's case, she's been satisfying the urge by binging romance-focused Soap Operas.
    • Cybele, meanwhile, has decided to completely rebrand, embracing the similarity in names to become the patron goddess of Cyborgs. As such, she serves as a patron to the Detraxxi.
  • With times changing, a lot of gods in Divine Misfortune have modernized their domain, brand and methods.
    • Hephaestus, Greek God of the Forge, has his own motor company — Hephaestus Motors — employed with people cast from metal.
    • While F√≥lkvangr was originally reserved for the Aesir and the Einherjar, modernization had led to Odin opening it up to living mortals and other gods who pay for tickets, turning their annual battles into a Blood Sport.
    • "My Dinner with Ares": The form Ares takes in this story is a gruff man in modern camo-fatigues along with the old Spartan helmet. He also carries a Glock pistol along with the old shield and sword.
  • Discworld:
    • Gods Need Prayer Badly, so some out-of-style deities will do whatever it takes to get by. The ancient volcano goddess Lela reinvented herself as Anoia, Goddess of Things That Get Stuck In Drawers, and has actually managed a minor renaissance in her new position.
    • The central theme of Hogfather is "old gods do new jobs". The title character was originally the personification of midwinter sacrifices to bring the sun back, and is now a jolly toymaker.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Odin has a day job as CEO of a security firm, where his power is greatly reduced so he can avoid the All-Powerful Bystander effect and remain active in mortal affairs. He also holds the "mantles" of the Winter Court Fae Kringle and Santa Claus, roles which he fills part-time. As he says, a life as long as his is full of strange twists and turns.
    • In a related turn of events, it is still possible to summon smallfae with bread and honey... but what they really go nuts for is pizza.
    • In one book, Harry needs to summon a loa for advice on the latest mystery, which means providing the spirit with a vessel. She is less than happy to find that she has been incorporated into a Cabbage Patch doll.
  • Food Of The Gods by Cassandra Khaw: Unlike those who remain in spiritual realms, the deities who manifest on Earth tend to create mortally plausible "fronts" for their operations, like a group of Greek gods who run a soup kitchen to scout out promising victims for Leonine Contracts and Human Sacrifice.
    Poseidon: I am Poseidon, God of the sea. And-
    Hephaestus: Proprietor of the worst fish and chip shop in Croydon.
  • The novel Gods Behaving Badly presents the Greek gods living in a dilapidated flat in London and trying to maintain their mythological existences while technically being out of work due to the lack of belief in them: Artemis is now a dog-walker, Aphrodite runs a sex-phone business, Dionysus works as a DJ and Apollo turned from an oracular god to a TV psychic.
  • Good Omens:
    • The Horsemen of the Apocalypse now ride motorcycles. War is now a journalist, igniting wars in third-world countries with her mere presence; Famine became a businessman, dabbling in both the eating-disorder-inducing diet industry and the malnutrition-inducing fast food industry; and Pestilence retired after the invention of penicillin cut into the plague business, being replaced by Pollution. Even Death has traded his cowl for an opaque visor.
    • Crowley the demon has switched from one-on-one spiritual corruption to high-volume stunts like bringing down the mobile phone network over peak hours, setting off The Chain of Harm ten thousand times over as people vent their frustrations on others.
      [Y]ou had to think differently these days. Not big, but wide. With five billion people in the world you couldn't pick the buggers off one by one anymore; you had to spread your effort.
  • The Raven Tower: The gods of Ard Vusktia tend to choose domains for marketing purposes, trading miracles in their area of expertise for worship. One god had cornered the market on flint-knapping but is expanding into metallurgy as stone weapons fall out of style.
  • Defied in The Salvation War, where both Yahweh and Satan are extremely conservative (with the latter a regular Bad Boss and the former outright mad as well). In fact, it is believed that God closed the gates of Heaven a thousand years ago due to finding it easier than keeping Heaven good enough for the increased standards of humanity. However, a lot of the plot is centered around individual angels and demons trying to survive the war with Humanity by keeping up with times. One archangel runs a night club with rock band members snatched out of Hell.
  • Serwa Boateng: The afterlife uses modern technology, and the nature goddess Asase Yaa is now a Granola Girl social media influencer.
  • Parodied in Ye Gods, where Mars has become a fervent anti-atomic weapons campaigner, because he's still expected to be in the front of battle, and the only way to learn if his immortality extends to being nuked is to try it and see what happens.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In American Gods, the New Gods would go to the various Old Gods remaining in America - rendered powerless due to lack of worship - and "rebrand" them to better suit the modern era.
    • Bilquis was once a Goddess of Love in modern-day Iran before Islamic extremists destroyed her altars and drove what was left of her followers to America. Found homeless by the Technical Boy, she eventually derives from a Tinder Expy.
    • The Roman god Vulcan, god of fire and blacksmithing, refashioned himself as a god of firearms to capitalize on the American obsession with guns as a source of worship and power.
    • Ostara, Germanic Goddess of Spring and the Dawn, now shares her festival (and all of the traditions that came from it) with Jesus in the form of Easter.
    • Argus Panoptes was a many-eyed giant that served Olympus. In America, he had since become the god of Sinister Surveillance.
  • In The Magicians (2016) gods have largely stopped interacting with mortals. Bacchus is a notable exception: since mortals like to party, he has adapted well to the 21st century. He can be tracked through his Instagram (at least until it got suspended for something involving nipples) and party animals like Josh have favor with him.
  • Supernatural: Quite a few Physical Gods maintain cover identities in modern-day American society, such as Mercury running a hotel and conference center. Even those who don't have had to adjust their tactics to gain worship and sacrifice — one even impersonates human celebrities when hunting victims.

    Video Games 
  • Fate/Grand Order: Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca got enamored with wrestling and guns respectively, to the point that it rewrote their identities in the Throne of Heroes: Quetzalcoatl as a wrestler and Tezcatlipoca as an arms dealer.
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: The cast is full of Buddhist deities, but the setting is Heisei-Reiwa era Japan, and thus we have Buddhas watching TV, engaging in commerce, reading newspaper and using information and computer technology.
  • Touhou Project: Yasaka Kanako is a weather goddess seeking to increase her influence (due to waning belief in the outside world), notably by getting into technology. One of these plots saw her feed a three-legged crow (a symbol of the Sun in Japanese mythology) to a none-too-bright raven youkai so as to give Gensokyo a source of green energy. The result was Reiuji Utsuho, a raven girl with the power to control nuclear fusion.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • While the Olympians are generally reclusive in Class of the Titans, they still adapt to the present day. Hermes is in charge of emails and phone calls, Hephaestus makes all kinds of vehicles and weapons, and Zeus disguises himself as a janitor.
  • Earthworm Jim gives us this scene from the Christmas Episode:
    Santa: "If Christmas is in danger, I shall save it."
    Jim: "But aren't you a little, y'know... old and fat?"
    Santa: "You may know me as Santa Claus, but in my younger days I was-" (rips off clothing) "WOTAN, NORSE GOD OF JUDGEMENT!"
  • In Justice League Unlimited, the God of War Ares poses as an arms dealer to sell the Annihilator to a bunch of rebels from Kaznia. When the rebels aren't doing a good enough job in fighting, and the leader rejects his Blood Knight tendencies, Ares decides to kill him and take over the rebellion himself.
  • Played with in Over the Moon. Chinese moon goddess Chang'e shows off shapeshifting powers to throw vainglorious modern day C-pop concerts with elaborate costumes, ending with an instant switch to a more traditional looking Chinese garb.

    Real Life 
  • Some Patron Saints' areas of influence extend to places that were not dreamed of in their lifetime, such as Saint Christopher being the patron saint of truck drivers (being the patron of travelers before cars existed), Saint Barbara the patron saint of artillerymen and Demolitions Experts (she protected against lightning and fire, logically extended to explosions), and Saint Joseph of Cupertino the patron saint of aviators and astronauts (as he was seen to levitate during sermons).
    • Saint Claire of Assisi was a 13th century nun who is patroness of television: according to her legend, one Christmas night she was unable to attend Mass because she was sick and bed-ridden, the Holy Spirit projected the images and sounds of Mass on the wall of her room, in order to allow Claire to enjoy the first "broadcasted" Mass celebration.
    • Saint Isidore of Seville was a 6th-7th century scholar and bishop famous for writing a Great Big Book of Everything called the Etymologiae. Today, he is the the patron saint of the Internet, and often (unofficially) invoked as patron of wikis. Catholics have prepared a St. Isidore prayer for going online.
  • Iktomi, Trickster God of the Lakota folklore, is a spider who is destined to spread his web all over the world. Today, some believe he has.
  • Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, is occasionally invoked by workers in technological fields.
  • Some NeoPagans set up a shrine to Mercury, Roman god of travel, in a Brooklyn subway station.
  • The Chinese deity, Nezha, known for his Wind-Fire Wheels, is worshipped by taxi drivers and those involved in transportation.
  • The Thai spirit, Mae Ya Nang used merely a spirit of a tree who protects fishers on their boats. Now her purview has extended to protecting newly-bought cars, planes, bikes, and anything associated with transportation.
  • The Orisha, Ogun from the Yoruba traditional religion is a deity of metallurgy and blacksmiths. In modern Lucumi, his power has extended to govern all forms of technological advances. He also now blesses drivers to ward off accidents.

 
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Hermes

Hermes, the Greek god of travel and messages, does his work from a UPS store in New York.

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