So many people are confused by the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow that I thought it would be useful to have a mini guide. The first thing that confuses people is how there can be a cult of a shadow that is actually forgotten. But this is simply a classic religious paradox – the sort that Augustine and Aquinas wrestled with in their day (while still putting out impressive DPS it should be noted). Actually at least one part of the name comes from a passive aggressive attack on the Church of the Holy Light. The cult wanted a word that was the opposite of Light and opted for “Shadow” because Aelthalyste (their banshee cult leader) forbade the use of the word “Dark” (it was a bitter reminder of her favourite treat when pre-menstrual- dark chocolate – which she now refused to eat because Illius, one of the other leaders, once implied it was making her put on weight (his actual words to her were, “Do you want me to buy you another bar or have you had enough? – but she knew exactly what he meant).
Before we talk about the religion in more detail it’s worth pointing out that we are talking here about the religion of the Forsaken- a faction of the Undead. This is a group of people who find it socially acceptable (indeed it is praised in their best-selling etiquette guide entitled “Don’t Forsake your Manners”) the act of falling to their hands and knees to chew up the remains of the dead without the use of a napkin. So it’s not going to be pretty.
This is a religion that was formed out of anger. Previously priests of the cult had been adherents of the Holy Light. They had believed that dead was dead – at least as far as the body was concerned – and only the soul lived on. To look in the mirror and see a shambling mass of muscle and sinew was to at first get excited and squeal “oooh look Madonna” and then to realise with a bitter blow that it was in fact yourself without even the compensation of her millions. Depression and anger soon followed.
There are three central tenets in the cult – Respect, Tenacity and Power – RTP – easily remembered by the saying Roll The Penguin- a past-time many Forsaken enjoy on a Bank Holiday (but against which the Penguin Society “We get Dizzy when we Roll” was formed).
“Respect” in Forsaken terms does not mean what one would normally think of as respect – honour to one’s parents (even when they’re talking loudly through your favourite programme), humility before those of greater power (being nice to the boss even though he is so dense he thinks standard deviation is what you do when taking a longer route to avoid roadworks). No “respect” in cult terms is merely a greeting – one that shows the other to be a cult member (although the robes and badges are normally a dead giveaway). Any member of the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow must greet each other by saying “Respect” preferably with a “yo” prefacing it and nearly always ending with a cult member debate about which is the funniest – Ali G, Borat or Bruno and with at least one person informing the group that Sacha Baron Cohen “is married to Isla Fisher did you know” – a tedious statement that all greet with rolling eyes.
“Tenacity” again has a somewhat different meaning in the cult – it is a reference to Tenacious D which sums up everything that is abhorrent and vacuous in the world. By remembering this tenet cult members are prevented from bemoaning their fate and instead rejoice that they are no longer compelled to watch Jack Black repeatedly live out his delusions of being a rock star.
“Power” is the final tenet – this is quite simply a reference to The Power of Love – a moving Frankie Goes to Hollywood song that – despite their anger, hated and bitterness, still brings a tear to every Forsaken eye when they hold hands and sway and sing along to it (every Tuesday morning before torturing captive dwarves). Most are convinced Holly Johnson is simply a rather well fed member of the Undead.
The cult believes in Divine Humanism- i.e. that they themselves shape the universe. However, it is important to note that by universe they mean “The Universe” – a Forsaken comic book that they all work on every day. Indeed you will not find a member of the cult without a coloured pencil in his or her hand. They are incredible artists given the fact their fingers are hanging on by a mere thread.
There are Shadow Ascendants and Lightslayers in the cult. Shadow Ascendants are those that have mastered the art of casting their own shadow on a wall and then running up it – Donald O’Connor style. Lightslayers are simply those who have the responsibility of turning the lights out at bed time – an important role given the current price of electricity.
The goal of the cult is to conquer and transcend death . Or learn how to make the perfect hot chocolate. With marshmallows. It varies depending on the mood they are in.
The best way to join the cult is to first look undead (i.e. follow faithfully Madonna’s workout and diet plan), second publically destroy a copy of any Jack Black film (interestingly for Boy Scouts this is also the way to earn the highest public service award) and then thirdly perform the extended version of Frankie’s Relax complete with any actions you deem appropriate to illustrate the lyrics. Finally go along and and reassure Aelthalyste she could never be fat and that you like your banshees loud and cuddly. You’ll be promoted to priest before you know it.