This year our Isis-Magdalene Festival falls on a weekend with a double-bubble dose of south London street magic…
Saturday 22nd 1pm-4pm: Blessing and Celebration of St Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day in Crossbones Garden of Remembrance, Union Street entrance SE1
Sunday 23rd 6.45 for 7pm: Isis-Magdalene Vigil for the Outcast at the Red gates to Crossbones Graveyard in Redcross Way SE1
These events are dedicated to Mary Magdalene and the Goddess Isis, whose festivals are celebrated at this time. At both there’ll also be a chance to wish a Happy 65th Birthday to John Constable aka John Crow! Goose be with us!
See below for more on each event
Sunday 23rd July gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil at held at the Red Gates of Crossbones Graveyard, Redcross Way, London SE1
The 158th consecutive Vigil to renew the shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reconnect with The Goose and her Mysteries.
As ever we perform simple, secular rituals – lighting the open pathways, tying mementos and ribbons to the gates as we recite ‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your Book of Hours…’ from The Southwark Mysteries, culminating in an unconditional blessing ‘Goose may your Spirit fly free!’
Our 23rd July Vigil is traditionally associated with Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of Love and Healing whose festival fell around this time of year, and with Mary Magdalene, whose feast day is on 22nd July.
You may like to bring a short poem, song or personal testimony to dedicate to Isis, Mary Magdalene, The Goose and her Outcast Dead.
Saturday 22 July 1pm
Crossbones blessing and celebration of St Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day – and John’s 65th birthday
The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, the Very Revd. Andrew Nunn, conducts a special service at Crossbones, the unconsecrated outcasts’ burial ground.
This ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ expresses the church’s regret for the treatment of the ‘Winchester Geese’, the sex workers who worked in the Bankside brothels licensed by the Bishop of Winchester, yet were allegedly denied Christian burial. It’s also a powerful statement of the Cathedral’s support for the protection of Crossbones Garden.
The service will be followed by a performance of poems and songs inspired by Crossbones, then a picnic in the garden. Free and open to all. Under 16s please bring a responsible adult.
1pm-1.15 The Dean and clergy leave Southwark Cathedral in procession. (You can join the procession on the west side of the Cathedral, or gather with us to greet them at Crossbones)
1.30 The Dean conducts the ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ at Crossbones
2pm John Constable and Michelle Watson perform poems and songs from The Southwark Mysteries, inspired by Crossbones Graveyard and dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Followed by poems and songs by Friends of Crossbones
3pm-3.30 After the performance there’ll be a picnic in Crossbones Garden to celebrate Mary Magdalene – and John’s 65th Birthday. Refreshments will be provided. Please bring snacks and drinks to share, minimizing packaging and taking any rubbish away with you.
Saturday 17th June – Open Garden Squares Weekend
11am to 3pm – special opening of Crossbones Garden of Remembrance
Guided tours of the garden at 11.30am and 1.30pm.
As part of Open Garden Squares Weekend, John Constable (author of The Southwark Mysteries and long-standing campaigner for Crossbones) and Katy Nicholls (co-founder of Friends of Crossbones) will welcome visitors and conduct tours of the garden.
Supported by Bankside Open Spaces Trust and Open Garden Squares Weekend. Free. Donations to the garden welcome.
Tuesday 23rd May, 5pm (followed by 7pm Vigil)
Crossbones Garden of Remembrance, Union Street SE1
a special opening and promenade performance on the site of
the outcasts’ burial ground, exploring its stranger than fiction
true story and the transforming visions it has inspired…
Hosted by JOHN CONSTABLE aka Crow
author of The Southwark Mysteries
with singers CUNNING FOLK, KIRSTEN MORRISON, MARIANNE HYATT
and international poets MAMTA SAGAR and ANA SEFEROVIC
5pm Garden opens
5.30 Crow’s magical mystery tour of the garden
with interventions by BETWEEN TEETH theatre
6pm Performance in the garden of songs and poems for Crossbones
7pm the 156th Cross Bones Vigil for the Outcast (at the Red Gates in Redcross Way)
A FREE EVENT! Donations welcome.
Dress for the weather. Bring cushions for comfort.
Under 16s please bring a responsible adult
Sunday 23rd April gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil
Cross Bones Graveyard, the Red Gates, Redcross Way SE1
The 155th consecutive Crossbones Vigil, which has been observed on the 23rd of every month since June 2004.
The April 23rd Vigil is dedicated to St George as an inclusive patron saint, a healer, a protector of spiritual works and ‘Our Lady’s Knight’. There may be dragons!
The Vigil will also feature short poems, songs and stories inspired by Cross Bones. Please bring ribbons and mementos to tie to the shrine at the gates. FREE! Donations welcome
Monday 17th, Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd Sunday 23rd April – 11.15am
A walk with a difference! An alternative, inclusive celebration of St George – AND The Dragon! St George in Southwark Festival is pleased to announce the return of our celebrated Dragon Quest. Join us as we sally forth in search of fire-breathing scary monsters AND those magical creatures who bring health and healing. Hear their stories and help solve the clues to find signs of St George and The Dragon hidden in nooks and crannies in and around The Borough. The Dragon Quest is devised and led by local writer-performer John Constable with Katy Nicholls, based on an original idea by Sarah Wheeler.
Adults: £3. Children free. All children must be accompanied by a adult who will responsible for their safety at all times during the quest. Maximum two children per adult. Unaccompanied adults welcome! In the past, Dragon Quests have been fully booked in advance. To avoid disappointment, please book your tickets now:
(Sarah Wheeler and John Constable befriend The Dragon at the end of a Quest. Photo by Katy Nicholls)
Meet in Tabard Street Piazza SE1 1JA – between the Church of St George the Martyr and St George’s Garden (near Borough tube). The Quest begins and ends here. Please arrive in good time. We depart promptly at 11.30am.
Thursday 23rd March gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil
The Red Gates, Redcross Way SE1 1TA
To remember the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the Crossbones shrine and to reconnect with the secret history and transforming vision of The Goose, as revealed to John Crow at Crossbones on 23rd November 1996.
Please bring ribbons and mementos to tie to the shrine at the gates, short poems, songs and stories inspired by Cross Bones, and your unique magical signatures to weave our unconditional blessing….
Come celebrate Spring Equinox at the 154th consecutive Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast, observed on the 23rd of every month since 23rd June 2004.
FREE! Donations welcome.
Thursday 23rd February gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil
The Red Gates, Redcross Way SE1
Turn up a bit before 7pm to greet friends and tune in.
The vigil begins on the stroke of 7 with simple rituals to remember those buried in Crossbones and our own lost loved ones, to honour the outcast and the outsider, not forgetting sex workers, and to reconnect with the secret history and transforming vision of The Goose, as revealed to John Crow at Crossbones on 23rd November 1996.
We’re not a religion, though we just might be a shamagical cult whose members are free to ‘come and go as they please’ in keeping with the Ordinances of our Bishop of Winchester! 😉
You’re invited to bring ribbons and mementos to tie to the shrine at the gates. In the middle of the vigil, there’s space to offer short poems and songs inspired by Cross Bones. Above all, bring your own magic, your love, care and beauty to share.
The 153th consecutive Vigil for the Outcast, Dead and Alive, observed on the 23rd of every month since 23rd June 2004.
Jennifer conducted last month’s vigil. This month’s Old Man Crow will do the honours with a little help from Friends of Crossbones – that’s you! We welcome your help with (officially) closing the road for the Vigil.
FREE! Donations welcome.
Friday 23rd December – gather 6.45 for 7pm vigil at the Red Gates Shrine in Redcross Way, London SE1
This will be the 151st monthly Vigil held by Friends of Crossbones on the 23rd of every month… to honour the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine at the gates on Redcross Way, and to reclaim the Secret History of The Goose and her Liberty…
At our December Vigil we also celebrate the Winter Solstice, Yule and Christmas. Come prepared to sing carols! Bring flowers and offerings, poems, songs and personal testimonies, and seasonal treats to share. FREE – donations welcome
If you’d like to volunteer to operate the road closure so we can all celebrate safely in the street, please contact me. If not, we’ll just have to arrange something on the night.
The garden of remembrance is closed over the holiday period (22nd December to 3rd January). However, during this period there will be occasional special openings on sunny days. These are intended to offer a festive surprise to people who happen to be passing and will only be announced on the Crossbones Garden noticeboard in Union Street. If you’re in the neighbourhood, you may like to look in.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.