Who are the Gods? What are the Gods? Why talk about Gods? Simply put, the Gods and Goddesses are the Divine Forces of the Universe and the Self. The Gods and Goddesses are personifications of metaphysical reality. We perceive the Gods as natural forces, as indeed they are, as there is no separation, or no distinction between the Gods and the natural forces of the universe. So why not just talk about the universe? In short, because of the materialism which dominates the modern era. We can just talk about the universe, but talking about the Gods is a deep way of making the Universe alive to us. It is to recognize the metaphysical reality of our universe. In our modern age, we have been taught to think of the Universe as some kind of machine, as a cold, dead thing which just produces things randomly, like planets and people, if the conditions are right. We need to understand the Universe as intentional, as Divine, and so we talk about the Gods.
It’s wrong to think of the Gods as "separate" beings, as separate from our Selves or separate from this Universe. They are not "outside", or living in some other dimension or some other place. For instance, we should not imagine that there is a literal place called Valhalla, with an actual old man sitting in a throne watching warriors fight for all eternity. That whole picture is just that, a picture. It is meant to express something important poetically, it’s not meant to be taken literally. It is meant to be a picture of bliss. Our eternal existence is pure bliss, so the imagery used in the myth is meant to express a feeling of bliss to a warrior. Taking images of the Divine literally, making the myths material, is something the Christians do, and have always done historically, should be avoided, as it is ignorance instead of understanding.
When we can see that the Gods are not literal people, or literal separate beings, then we can see that the Gods are not completely separate from each other either. All the Gods are really just different aspects of the same thing, our Ultimate Divine Reality, metaphysical reality. The Divine is in us, around us, and is us. The Divine is in the world, around the world, and is the world. When our ancestors would go to a sacred grove in the woods to worship the Gods, they would be worshiping the Gods in the woods, in themselves, in the space around the trees, and yes even the trees in the woods themselves. There is no separation between the Divine and "creation", between the Gods and nature, between the material and the spiritual, between ourselves and the Gods, or between ourselves and nature. Everything around us, including our own being, is a manifestation of the Ultimate Divine Reality, and this is what the Gods remind us of.
Why not talk about "God" then, in singular form, as the Christians do? Because this brings to mind an Abrahamic, monotheistic idea of God, as a separate creator God who stands outside and above creation, giving commands and judgments, and that is a fictional reality.
It’s true that all the Gods are aspects of the same Divine Reality, that that the Divine is the metaphysical reality of the universe, and we can talk about a singular Divine interconnected Universe, but that is not the same as the concept of God in Christianity. That is a myth which has been taken literally, and is not what is meant by the Gods in a polytheistic sense. Monotheism is about control, as it has always been since it's invention. Monotheism is about centralizing power. It's invention was for political reasons, and was responsible for the institutionalization of society, removing society from it's own organic spirituality.
Abramhic religion always acts in the name of the “one true god” and in doing so, misses the whole entire purpose of the gods. It pulls followers away from reality and from their own strength, and binds and controls them. This is what monotheists have always done. The Gods are not something "else", or something "other". They are you, and me, and everything around us. The Universe itself is Divine, and it express it’s many aspects in a multitude of ways, which we can understand as different Gods and Goddesses.
Why are the gods people?
Why did the ancestors personify the Divine force of the universe? If the gods are not literal people, then why do they have names and personalities?
Because they also represent the ancestors themselves. When we die, we return to the source, to the metaphysical reality of the universe. In order to create recognize that the ancestors are still will us, they were personified, and later because the familiar gods of the myths that we still know.
The gods are people because we are people.