A few of the old Gods that show up in this novel include Odin, Anansi, Chernobog, Ibis and Anubis, Thoth, Bast, Wisakedjak, Shiva, Zorya, Easter, and Kobold. These Gods are Gods of the immigrants. Jesus and the Greek Gods are not represented in this novel.
"Myths inspire the realization of the possibility of your perfection, the fullness of your strength, and the bringing of solar light into the world. Slaying monsters is slaying the dark thing. Myths grab you somewhere down inside" (Campbell, 148).
The old Gods are our teachers in many ways. They are meant to teach us how to be good and virtuous, and many of them are meant to teach us what not to be or do. The old Gods are meant to empower us, and teach us of the ways of nature. They represent both the cruelty and the beauty of nature. Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty's book Hindu Myth is quoted in an introduction to chapter 17. Part of the quote is:
"The Hindu Gods...experience most of the great human dilemmas...they are symbols in a way that no human being, however "archetypal" his life story, can ever be. They are actors playing parts that are real only for us; they are the masks behind which we see our own faces" (138).
The New Gods are the the things we worship in contemporary society. The new Gods who show up in this novel are Media, Technology Boy, Mr. World, and several others. When Wednesday is giving a sermon to Shadow and the Old Gods explaining why they should all join the war, he say, “Now, as all of you will have had reason aplenty to discover them for yourselves, there are new Gods growing in America, clinging to growing knots of belief: new gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon. Proud Gods, fat and foolish creatures, puffed up with their own newness and importance.” (123).
In his plea to the old Gods, Mr. Wednesday has given us the most accurate and by far the best portrayal of the new Gods as they are explained by Gaiman. Mr. World is meant to represent the new world culture. It used to be that humanity was centered around small towns, villages or tribes. Now we have a global community. We are connected to that global community through our dependance on the internet and technology.