Cross Bones Vigil – Halloween Portal

Wednesday 23rd October – gather 6.45 to begin on the stroke of 7pm, in the street by the shrine in Redcross Way, London SE1
Nearest tubes: Borough or London Bridge  (Borough High St. exit)

The 185th consecutive Vigil, held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004 – to remember the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine at the gates, and to reclaim the Secret History of The Goose and Her Cross Bones Graveyard.

23rd October is also our ‘Halloween Portal‘ our own night of the dead, when we perform some of the rituals from the original ‘Halloween of Cross Bones’ (performed 1998-2010 and 2015-16). There’ll be group recitations of Goose and Crow incantations, and the reading of the Names of the Dead. Please get hold of some white ribbons and write on them the names and dates of your own lost loved ones – the names will be read out during the Vigil as the ribbons are tied to the gates.

After that, the 23rd November Vigil will be the last official Vigil to be conducted by me. This will mark the 23rd anniversary of the night (23rd November 1996) when The Goose revealed The Southwark Mysteries to John Crow at Cross Bones Graveyard. The Goose has commissioned me to seal my 23 years of active service with a performance of ‘The Book of The Goose’, assisted by two of our Goose Rhapsodes. There will also be a couple of surprise guest appearances. Please note that at this Vigil there will be no public offerings.

From 23rd December onwards, the Vigils will continue under the care of the new magical collective which has emerged to take the work forward. I’d like to thank them – Jennifer, Jules, Lucy, Hannah, Jacqui, Ross, Mark, John M. and Nicholas – and everyone else who’s helped deliver the Vigils and the wider magical works. Special, heartfelt thanks to Katy Kaos, who’s done so much behind the scenes to stage manage and make things happen – The Halloween of Crossbones, The Southwark Mysteries, the Vigils, the plaque, the planters, the dream-catchers, spiderwebs and the other crochet artworks on the gates,  and much more. Gratitude!

Love and Geese
John

Crossbones Vigil – Autumn Equinox

Monday 23rd September, gather at 6.45 for 7pm portal

The 184th consecutive Vigil held at Crossbones Graveyard on the 23rd of every month since June 23rd 2004 – to renew the shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reconnect with The Goose and her Mysteries.

As ever, we perform our simple, secular rituals – lighting the open pathways, tying ribbons and mementos to the gates and making creative offerings, culminating in the unconditional blessing ‘Goose may your Spirit fly free!’

Our 23rd September Vigil also marks the Autumn Equinox, a time for rebalancing and for letting go of what we no longer need. At the heart of the Vigil is space for creative offerings and short personal testimonies by artists and outsiders from all walks of life. You may like to bring a short poem, song or personal testimony to dedicate to The Goose and her Outcast Dead.

This is the third to last Vigil to be personally conducted by John Crow, assisted by the magical collective which held the space at the August 23rd Vigil. John’s final Vigil will be held on the 23rd November 2019, which will be the 23rd anniversary of the night that The Goose initiated John Crow into ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ and the secret history of Crossbones Graveyard. The Vigils will, we trust, continue after November 23rd, sustained and transforming under the care of the collective. However, if you’d like to see John Crow in action before he’s gone, you have just three more chances. Goose be with us!

FREE! Donations welcome

Crossbones Vigil – August

Friday 23rd August – gather 6.45 for 7pm in the street by the shrine in Redcross Way

The 183rd consecutive Vigil held at Crossbones Graveyard to renew the shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reconnect with The Goose and her Mysteries. This month the Vigil will be conducted by Jennifer and other members of the new collective formed to take on the ‘John Crow’ role, who will be conducting the Vigils after 23rd November 2019. Please come prepared to participate in the simple rituals – and to do a short stint as a Goose Samurai to help hold the road and protect the assembly. FREE! Donations welcome

Crossbones Vigil and Isis-Magdalene Festival

Tuesday 23rd July, gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil in the street by the shrine in Redcross Way

The 182nd consecutive Vigil held at Crossbones Graveyard to renew the shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reconnect with The Goose and her Mysteries.

We perform simple, secular rituals – lighting the open pathways, tying mementos and ribbons to the gates: ‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your Book of Hours…’ 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 at this time of year, and with Mary Magdalene, whose feast day is on 22nd July.

At the heart of the Vigil is space for creative offerings and short personal testimonies by artists and outsiders from all walks of life. You may like to bring a short poem, song or personal testimony to dedicate to Isis, Mary Magdalene, The Goose and her Outcast Dead.

FREE! Donations welcome

Cross Bones Blessing and Celebration

Sunday 21 July – 12.30 to 5pm – in Cross Bones Garden of Remembrance

Crossbones blessing and celebration of St Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day – and John Constable’s 67th birthday

For the fifth successive year, The Dean of Southwark, 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.

12.30 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)
1pm The Dean conducts the ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ at Crossbones
1.30 John Constable conducts a short guided tour of Cross Bones history and myth
2pm John Constable and Kirsten Morrison lead a performance of poems and songs inspired by Cross Bones Graveyard and dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. Bring your own short poem or song to share.
2.30 After the performance there’ll be a picnic in Crossbones Garden to celebrate St Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day (which falls on 22nd July) – and John’s 67th Birthday.

Refreshments will be provided. Please bring snacks and drinks to share, minimizing packaging and taking any rubbish away with you.

St John’s Eve Crossbones Vigil

Sunday 23rd June at 7pm

The 181st Crossbones Vigil, conducted on the 23rd of every single month since 23rd June 2004.

Gather 6.45pm at Crossbones Graveyard – in the street at the shrine in Redcross Way, London SE1 (London Bridge or Borough tube) – to begin the Vigil on the stroke of 7pm.

To renew the shrine and reclaim our sacred space in the heart of the city. To remember the outcast, dead and alive. To revive the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow at Crossbones Graveyard. To stand in silence, in shining emptiness, lighting the open pathways. To hang “our hopes, our dreams, our Might-Have-Beens” in our ribbons and mementos tied to the gate. To share our poems, songs and personal testimonies of Crossbones, The Goose, her outcast dead and her living outsiders. To reiterate ‘The Message of the Caboclos’ (“Life, Health, Happiness, Open Pathways”) and The Goose’s unconditional blessing.

John Crow and GAGGLE at the St John’s Eve Vigil, 23rd June 2012

You are invited to bring your own memento, totemic object or ribbon to tie to the gate.

June 23rd is St John’s Eve, the traditional British midsummer festival, an opportunity to attune ourselves with the solstice and the turning of the year.

It’s also the day of The Great Get Together, a nationwide community celebration of the life of Jo Cox, who was murdered by a right-wing fanatic. Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) and other local organisations are promoting music, food and all manner of jollies in the area around Crossbones from 12 noon into the evening. This event is entirely separate from the Crossbones Vigil, although we share our rejection of fascism and our celebration of diversity.

Crossbones Graveyard and Garden of Remembrance will be open for visits until 6pm. And, for all the crowds and the background noise, from 7pm in Redcross Way we’ll be holding our sacred space in shining emptiness “at the still point of the turning world” – as we participate in our act of mutual healing and transformation.

FREE! Donations welcome

Crossbones May Vigil

Thursday 23rd May – gather 6.45pm at Crossbones Graveyard – in the street at the shrine in Redcross Way SE1. The Vigil begins on the stroke of 7pm

Claudina sings ‘Motherless Child’ at the Crossbones Vigil, 23rd May 2017. Photo by Graham Eden

We come to renew the shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reclaim the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow. We stand in silence, in shining emptiness, to light the open pathways. We hang “our hopes, our dreams, our Might-Have-Beens” on ribbons tied to the gate. We close with ‘The Message of the Caboclos’ (“the Spirits of Place”, as received and transmitted by the Brazilian mystic Baixinha) and The Goose’s unconditional blessing. At the heart of the Vigil, there’s space for those who wish to share a poem, song or brief personal testimony connected with Crossbones and outsiders of all kinds.

This is the 180th Crossbones Vigil, completing 15 years of consecutive monthly Vigils. We’ve stood at Crossbones gates at 7pm on the 23rd of every single month since 23rd June 2004.

At the May 23rd Vigil we also celebrate Beltane, the Queen of the May and the coming of summer. You are invited to bring your own memento, totemic object or ribbon to tie to the gate. For those who forget, ribbons will be provided – thanks, Jennifer! If you can, creating your own small memento will enhance your experience – the more we give, the more we receive!

Please also come willing to do a 15-minute shift as a Goose Samurai, closing the road to keep us all alive and undisturbed. This is the highest honour that any participant can receive, and enables us all to experience the many facets of the Crossbones Vigil.

St George’s Day Crossbones Vigil

Tuesday 23rd April – gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil, held in the street by the Crossbones shrine in Redcross Way SE1 

This is the 179th consecutive Vigil held in this place at this time on the 23rd of every single month since June 2004. Once more, we renew the shrine, remember the outcast, dead and alive, and reconnect with the secret history and vision as revealed in The Southwark Mysteries by The Goose to John Crow.

St George’s Day Crossbones Vigil, 23rd April 2016. Photo by Max Reeves

In April the Vigil falls on St George’s Day. During the Vigil, we reclaim George as an inclusive patron saint – not only of England, but of Palestine, Georgia, Catalonia, Rio de Janeiro and many other countries and cities around the world – and as ‘Our Lady’s Knight’, the protector of our healing works. The April 23rd Vigil traditionally features street theatre – there are rumours of a return visit from St George. And a trickster Dragon?

Among the other offerings:
Healing George and The Dragon raps from The Southwark Mysteries performed by John Crow and Jennifer. and The Book of the Egyptian performed by Mark
Brazilian songs for Jorge and Ogum by Danny, Gilda and family
Katy’s new crochet alchemical rose cross hung on the portal
Jules speaks on John Michell (who passed away April 24th ten years ago), JM’s vision of Avalon, and Jules’ own encounter with him at Crossbones…
And surely someone will want to say a few words on Extinction Rebellion and the brave young canaries in this 21st century coal-mine.
AND… a telepathic link up with the 3 x 23 Discordian pilgrims who on this 23rd April will be performing a ritual at CERN, Switzerland, home of the Hadron Collider!

All this unfolding within our time-honoured rituals for the outcast, dead and alive – and the magic that only happens on the night.

Gather 6.45 for the Vigil to begin on the stroke of seven. Come prepared to participate and to do a short shift of honour as a Goose Samurai!

And to be entranced, and changed, forever!

THE GOOSE IS LOOSE IN THE LIBERTY!

As at all the Vigils, we light the open pathways, tie ribbons to the gate as we speak the echo poem: “Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your Book of Hours…” – and close with our unconditional blessing. At the heart of the Vigil, there’s space for those who wish to share a poem, song or brief personal testimony connected with Crossbones and ‘outsiders’ of all kinds. We especially encourage ‘Goose Rhapsodes’ to learn and recite a poem from The Southwark Mysteries, allowing the spirit of The Goose to live on after John Crow is gone.

Crossbones Vigil

Saturday 23rd March 2019

At 6.45pm we gather at Crossbones Graveyard – in the street at the shrine in Redcross Way SE1. The Vigil begins on the stroke of 7pm.

Crossbones Shrine, 23rd March 2012. Photo by Katy Nicholls

This will be the 178th successive Vigil, held at this time, on this day, every month since June 2004! We perform our time-honoured rituals to renew the shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to relive the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow. We light the open pathways, hang our hopes and dreams in ribbons tied to the gate, and close with our unconditional blessings. At the heart of the Vigil, there’s space for those who wish to share a poem, song or brief personal testimony connected with Crossbones and “outsiders” of all kinds.

This month marks the Spring Equinox when we balance the darkness of the Crossbones story with the new light rising there. It’s also the portal to the first anniversary of Katy and John’s wedding and celebration of friendship, which was attended by many Friends of Crossbones. For this months “Jules’ spot”, our resident speaker Jules will read out poems and well-wishings by John Cooper Clarke and Jo Brand, which Jules had solicited but which, in the happy chaos of the day, remained unread.

You are invited to bring your own memento, totemic object or ribbon to tie to the gate. For those who forget, ribbons may be provided – though creating your own offering deepens your experience of The Goose and her grace. Please also be ready to serve a few minutes as a Goose Samurai, helping close the road to keep us all alive. This is the highest honour that any participant can receive, and enables us all to experience the many facets of the Crossbones Vigil.   

Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast

Saturday 23rd February – gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil
at the shrine by the gates in Redcross Way, London SE1

The 177th consecutive Vigil held at 7pm on the 23rd of every month since June 2004. To honour the Outcast, dead and alive. To renew the shrine at the gates. And to reclaim the secret history of Crossbones as revealed by The Goose to John Crow.

Web of light – artifact and photo by Katy Kaos

For this Vigil, on 23rd February, we’ll be celebrating the extraordinary transformations that have taken places at Crossbones over the past decade, reclaiming the old burial ground from a desolate post-industrial wasteland into a beautiful, quirky Garden of Remembrance.

Towards the end of March, u+i, the development partners of TfL who own the site, will submit a planning application for a development on the land adjoining Crossbones Graveyard. Please note that there are no plans to develop the burial ground itself, though it’s still unclear exactly how it will be protected and maintained as a garden of remembrance.

Friends of Crossbones want to make sure that Crossbones is not treated simply as a generic Open Space, but as a special case, entitled to specific protection as:

* a protected graveyard and memorial garden on a larger piece of private land scheduled for development
* an historical, cultural, environmental and community asset
* a sacred space of spiritual significance to many people

We’ll be sharing news and ideas about how to ensure the long term funding, management and maintenance of Crossbones as a graveyard and public garden of remembrance for the length of the developer’s lease.

For this month’s Vigil, John Crow will be back doing the honours. Regulars who know the form are encouraged to step forward to help conduct parts of the ritual.

At the heart of the Vigil, those who wish are invited to offer a short poem, song or personal testimony dedicated to The Goose and her Outcast Dead. We especially encourage Goose Rhapsodes to learn and perform a poem from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’. And please bring a small magical totem or memento to help renew the shrine.

Gather at the gates in Redcross Way at 6.45 to prepare. And be prepared to take on the highest honour by doing a short shift as a Goose Samurai, guarding the road to protect the other participants.

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