Crossbones Graveyard: Burying the Outcast

Saturday 13th October 2018 at 1pm – Crossbones Graveyard: Burying the Outcast
with Jelena Bekvalac and John Constable

Part of London Month of the Dead at Brompton Cemetery Chapel, London SW10 9UG

Jelena Bekvalac, Curator of Human Osteology at The Museum of London, tells the story of the excavation of the buried bones, and John Constable, aka John Crow, will reveal the history of Crossbones Graveyard and how he was inspired by it.

£12 including a free Hendrick’s Gin Cocktail.

Public Consultation

u+i, the developers of the site adjoining (and including) Crossbones, are holding 3 days of consultations on their proposed Landmark Court development, including their draft proposals for the adjoining Crossbones Garden of Remembrance: www.landmarkcourtsouthwark.co.uk. You may like to attend one of the following u+i consultation days and HAVE YOUR SAY.

Wednesday 17 October, 12pm-2pm and 5pm-8pm at Flat Iron Square, 64 Union Street, London, SE1 1TD

Thursday 18 October, 12pm-2pm and 5pm-8pm at Flat Iron Square, 64 Union Street, London, SE1 1TD
6.30pm Lucy Talbot gives a history talk, sharing her PhD research on the area.

Saturday 20 October, 10am-4pm at the Landmark Court Site, 17-23 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU (Redcross Way Entrance) with history talks, tours, performances and craft activities.
12.30pm and 2.30pm: John Constable and Katy Nicholls conduct 2 tours exploring the history and culture of the Crossbones Graveyard. Assemble on the Landmark Court site ready to leave at 12.30pm or 2.30pm. And, at 1.30pm: Lucy Talbot, history talk.

John, Katy and Lucy will all be around on Saturday, explaining why Crossbones is such a special place. We’re there to represent ourselves, and the Friends of Crossbones network.

u+i’s intial plans to protect and enhance the Crossbones Garden of Remembrance are based on the Vision Plan developed in public workshops with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST). At this stage, we broadly support these plans and are looking to engage with them constructively. We’ve explained to u+i the importance of being guided by these basic principles:

Crossbones is a DIY, wild garden of remembrance for ‘the outcast dead’ who are buried in the Crossbones Graveyard.
It’s especially dedicated to sex workers and other outsiders.
It is a sanctuary in the heart of the city, a place for people to remember those buried there and their own lost loved ones, and to reconnect with the past.
It’s NOT a blank canvas – any proposed innovations can be judged on whether they respond to and enhance what is already here, rather than imposing their own ‘top down’ vision.
It’s ‘DIY’ in that it has evolved through work by those who feel a strong connection with Crossbones. Its ‘wildness’ reflects its history.
Any innovations should respect its historical, cultural, emotional and spiritual significance, the history of the graveyard AND the more recent works to reclaim it as sacred ground.

We’d welcome other Friends of Crossbones who support these basic principles and are familiar with the history to attend one of these consultation days and politely reaffirm the importance of the Crossbones Garden of Remembrance.

Crossbones Vigil / Halloween Portal

Tuesday 23rd October – gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil at the gates in Redcross Way, London SE1

The 173rd Vigil (held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004) to remember the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine and to reclaim the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow.

This being our portal to Halloween / Samhain, we’ll be observing some of the rituals for the dead traditionally associated with The Halloween of Crossbones.

You’re welcome to bring your own mementos or ribbons with the names of your lost loved ones to tie to the gates, and/or a poem, song or short personal testimony to share.

FREE. Donations welcome.

Autumn 2018: talks and workshops

with John Constable aka John Crow

Beginning the night of the 23rd November 1996 and shape-shifting over the past 22 years, a practice of urban magic has evolved at Crossbones Graveyard. It’s embodied in the verses of The Southwark Mysteries and in the Vigils held at the gates in Redcross Way at 7pm on the 23rd of every month.

Anyone wishing to delve deeper, please click on the highlighted links below.

The 13th October talk offers a fascinating introduction to the Crossbones story.

The 20th November talk and 24th November workshop are especially recommended for anyone interested in practising urban magic or incorporating it in their own spiritual works.

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Saturday 13th October 2018 at 1pm – Crossbones Graveyard: Burying the Outcast
with Jelena Bekvalac and John Constable

Part of London Month of the Dead at Brompton Cemetery Chapel, London SW10 9UG

Jelena Bekvalac, Curator of Human Osteology at The Museum of London, tells the story of the excavation of the buried bones, and John Constable, aka John Crow, will reveal the history of Crossbones Graveyard and how he was inspired by it. £12 including a free Hendrick’s Gin Cocktail.

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Tuesday 20th November 7pm to 8.30pm – Urban Magic at Crossbones Graveyard
a talk by John Constable aka John Crow
£12 members; £14 non-members (CLICK HERE then go to end of event page and click BOOK NOW

The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensbury Place, London SW7 2EB

An initiation into a contemporary magical praxis dedicated to the outcast dead of Crossbones Graveyard. The talk takes in mediumship, trance and incorporation, street magic, synchronicity, and how spiritual works can manifest in the physical world. We focus on the Crossbones Vigil as a model ceremony, exploring its ritual forms and how to balance these fixed points with a freedom that allows the unexpected to happen. The day includes: preparation (practical and magical); creating an altar and devising ceremonial forms; presentation and performance of rituals; connecting with the ‘spirit of place’ and holding the space.

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Saturday 24th November 10am to 5pm – Urban Magic: Making Magic in an Urban Environment
a workshop led by John Constable aka John Crow
£75 members; £95 non-members (CLICK HERE then go to end of event page and click BOOK NOW)

The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensbury Place, London SW7 2EB

This intensive, day-long workshop provides a working introduction to magic, mediumship and urban shamanism, and practical information for anyone interested in conducting a contemporary ritual. We focus on the Crossbones Vigil as a model ceremony, exploring its ritual forms and how to balance these fixed points with a freedom that allows the unexpected to happen. The day includes: preparation (practical and magical); creating an altar and devising ceremonial forms; presentation and performance of rituals; connecting with the ‘spirit of place’ and holding the space.

Advance booking recommended. John Constable’s 2017 Urban Magic workshop was fully booked in advance, leaving many disappointed. Book now to be sure of your place.

Bermondsey Folk Festival

Saturday 8th September 12 noon to 11pm

John Constable aka John Crow performs ‘I Am The Wind’, opening for a set by the legendary Martin Carthy, the man who taught Bob Dylan about English folk-songs. There’s also a walk with comedian Arthur Smith, a performance by Circulus and much more – and it’s all FREE! More details here

Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast – Autumn Equinox

Sunday 23rd September 7pm

The 172nd consecutive Vigil, which has been held at the gates in Redcross Way on the 23rd of every single month since June 2004. Gather from 6.45pm to begin on the stroke of 7.

We come here to remember the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine and to reclaim the secret history of Crossbones, as revealed by The Goose to John Crow in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ and re-imagined by every Friend of Crossbones who comes to open the pathways.

These magical works underpin our creation of the Crossbones shrine and the Garden of Remembrance, and our campaign to protect Crossbones as a place of historical, cultural AND spiritual significance – as sacred ground to be protected in the face of the coming redevelopment of the adjoining ‘Landmark Court’ site.

John Crow conducts the rituals and performs his songs and poems from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ – with words of wisdom from Jules, dedications to Goddess, creative acts of beauty to awaken all our senses and ‘moments in Eternity’ in which we stand in the heart of the city, in silence and in shining emptiness to light the pathways, allowing the sounds of the night to appear and vanish without trace.

This month also marks the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are in balance – an opportunity for us also to re-balance our lives, to let go of what we have lost or no longer need and to invite in the new.

Bring a ribbon, memento or totem to tie to the gates, and a poem, song or brief testimony to share with the spirits of Crossbones. Expect the unexpected!

‘you never know what you might find / you say that Southwark / is only a place / I say She’s a State of Mind.’

Goose, may your Spirit fly free.

Photo (c) Another Eden Images

The Goddess, The Goose and me

Sunday 23rd September 12 noon to 6pm

A workshop hosted by Jacqueline Durban and Jennifer Cooper

Through creativity, movement, ritual, and laughter, we will dive into an exploration of what it is to walk a Goddess Path, holding the Divine Feminine as our mirror and guide, seeking Her beneath the skin of the everyday where She has remained hidden in plain sight over two thousand years.

Working in the Crossbones Graveyard Memorial Garden to the Outcast Dead, we will discover The Goose; the Spirit of a medieval prostitute with Her own Secret History (as imparted to John Crow, the shamanic double of John Constable), and discover in Her company a doorway offering the way into deep healing and profound transformation through “sacred profanity”, Open Pathways, and Shining Emptiness.

Working together; listening to the Sacred Feminine within, to the holy and hallowed ground that we walk on, its nature and its heartbeat, we will create a communal poem which we will then present at the monthly Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast, dead and living.

Donations requested, from £30 downwards. Pay what you can afford. All welcome.

After the workshop there will be an opportunity and invitation to attend the monthly Vigil for the Outcast, Dead and Living at the gates of the Crossbones shrine.

Crossbones Vigil

Thursday 23rd August 2018

Gather from 6.45 to join the 171st consecutive Vigil, held at the gates in Redcross Way at 7pm on the 23rd of every single month since June 2004.

We come here to remember the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine and to reclaim the secret history of Crossbones, as revealed by The Goose to John Crow and reimagined by every Friend of Crossbones who comes to open the pathways.These magical works underpin our creation of the Crossbones shrine and the Garden of Remembrance, which we’re still campaigning to protect and enhance in the face of the coming redevelopment of the adjoining ‘Landmark Court’ site.

For this month’s Vigil, Jennifer will be doing the honours. Please come support her, bringing a ribbon, memento or magical totem to tie to the gates, and/or a poem, song or short personal testimony to share when we offer our creativity to the spirits of Crossbones.

Expect the unexpected! At the last Vigil, on 23rd July, we had parents reading moving poems for their children who’d died tragically, a mystical Brazilian song sung to the memory of a friend who’d recently taken his own life, tales of The Magdalene, the singing of Isis (Dylan/Levy), everyone being scented by a musky, green scent by John Foley our Crossbones street perfumier, the free distribution of 23 copies of BURNING ISSUE magazine – and much more. Come amaze yourself!

Goose, may your Spirit fly free.

Crossbones Blessing and Bards

Sunday 22nd July 12.30pm – 5pm FREE!
Crossbones Garden, Union Street entrance, London SE1 1SD

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd. Andrew Nunn, conducts a blessing of Crossbones Garden of Remembrance, followed by a performance and picnic for St Mary Magdalene Day

12.30pm Garden opens. Procession from Southwark Cathedral. Join the procession on the west side of the Cathedral or gather at Crossbones to greet it.

1pm Blessing
An ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ honouring the ‘Winchester Geese’, women who worked in medieval brothels licensed by the church yet were buried in the unconsecrated Crossbones Graveyard.

1.30pm Cross Bones Bards
Poems from The Southwark Mysteries, the secret history of The Goose at Crossbones, by John Constable with Michelle Watson. Also featuring Kirsten Morrison, Cunning Folk

2.30pm Magdalene Feast with impromptu performances
Celebrating St Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day. Light refreshments provided. Please bring cushions for your comfort and a tasty treat to share.

4.30 Closing ceremony

5pm Garden closes

Some adult content. Under 16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Presented by Friends of Crossbones, supported by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) and C.G. Hacking and Sons Limited, with thanks to Southwark Cathedral

Isis-Magdalene Vigil

Monday 23rd July 2018

Yet another reason to join us for the Isis-Magdalene Vigil at Crossbones Gates, Redcross Way, gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil on 23rd July

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