Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Nothing is Ever Forgotten

 “Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.”

(Robin of Sherwood)

“New ink,” I say.

It's the annual Beltane cookout, something of a family reunion here in local Pagandom. Catching up with a friend, I notice two staves of ogham on his forearm.

I can read nine different alphabets, including Phoenician, but (alas) my ogham is rusty.

He helps me out.

“'Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.'”

I know the quotation, of course. It's the tag line from Robin of Sherwood, the BBC's overtly pagan iteration of the Robin Hood mythos, the 1980s series that brought Herne back to Sherwood.

“It's for N,” he tells me, naming a beloved and much-missed local priestess, now with the ancestors.

It's a fitting tribute. She loved the series well, and in fact came into the Craft because of it. (Discussing it with a friend at work one day, she happened to remark: “...but what's with the guy with the antlers?” “Ah,” said her co-worker, “I think I can help you out there.”)

Our conversation continues, but through the days that follow, I find myself thinking again and again of those words, the words of (among others) Herne.

Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.


As pagans, we know that the gods speak to us in many ways, words being only one of them. Having managed (with the agility of the ancestors) to duck the silver bullet of Scripture, we don't (unlike some) much go around quoting our gods.

Yet these, I think, we can count among the words of the Antlered to his people.

Part of their impact, oddly, is the fact that they're patently untrue.

The act of forgetting, ochone, is part of the human condition. Me, I forget things all the time. And as for collective forgetting...well, the loss of so much of the Old Lores must be reckoned among humanity's greatest tragedies, and certainly presents the New Old Ways with one of our greatest challenges.

But in some ways these words could serve as one of the premises of the New Paganisms. Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.

All the knowledge that we need in order to be the pagans that our time and place require us to be have, they say, been remembered somewhere. All we need do is find it.

It's a hopeful approach, sure, but also a sine qua non. If we can't know enough about the old paganisms to relive them—as some that I know would contend—then we might as well give up and go home now.

But there's more. What we most need to know—how to do this here and now—is something that we have to learn for ourselves.

And learning, as the sages would say, is also a form of remembering.

Herne—to give Him but one of His Names—was right, and we can take Him at His word. It constitutes a promise, a promise to aid us in our work.

Nothing's forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.


Above: Michael Praed

(here looking particularly kissable)





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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 09 May 2017

    +1 for the ROS reference.

    That show rocked.

    By the way, I very much agree with your comments.

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