Cross Bones Vigil – autumn equinox

Saturday 23rd September – gather 6.45 for 7pm at the Red Gates, Redcross Way, London SE1 1TA, UK

To renew the shrine at Crossbones, the pauper’s burial ground. To remember the Outcast, Dead AND Alive. To reclaim the Secret History of The Goose and John Crow. And to celebrate life itself. Begins on the stroke of 7.

This will be the 160th consecutive vigil held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004. The vigil is structured around simple ritual forms, conducted by yours truly in my John Crow persona, with everyone invited to help hold the space and to play specific roles. On the 23rd September vigil, we also mark the autumn equinox. Please bring ribbons or mementos to adorn and renew the shrine, and come prepared to participate and to help with whatever is required to let The Goose take flight!

The vigil is FREE! Donations to help cover the costs of organising and presenting the vigil are much appreciated. The Goose is Loose!

Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast

Wednesday 23rd August – gather 6.45 for 7pm vigil at the shrine on the red gates of Crossbones burial ground, Redcross Way SE1

On the 23rd of every month since June 2004, we’ve held a vigil to renew the Crossbones shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reclaim a Secret History…

Jazz sings at the Vigil, 23rd May 2017. Photo by Graham Eden

Most of the 158 vigils so far have been conducted by yours truly in my John Crow shaman persona, though Jennifer and other Friends of Crossbones have also done the honours.

Many regulars now know the simple ritual forms –

Hold the light in silence and shining emptiness to ‘light the open pathways’

Tie ribbons and mementos to the gates as we echo:
‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your Book of Hours,
Your fingers, your thumbs, your ‘Miss You, Mums’.
Here hang your hopes, your dreams, your Might Have Beens,
Your locks, your keys, your Mysteries’

Chant the unconditional Goose blessing:
‘Goose may you never be hungry!
Goose may you never be thirsty!
Goose may your Spirit fly free!’

– all of which allows us to hold the space for spontaneous offerings of songs, poems and personal testimonies.

Whenever I’m around The Liberty, you’ll find me there there doing my thing. When I’m not, others are. Wherever two or three are gathered at the gates, the vigil happens.

The pathways are open to walk with The Goose. FREE!

Isis-Magdalene Festival

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

Crossbones Isis-Magdalene Vigil for the Outcast

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.

Crossbones Blessing and Celebration

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.

Crossbones Graveyard special opening and tours

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.

Crossbones May Fair

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
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

St George’s Cross Bones Vigil

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

The Great Southwark Dragon Quest

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.

Crossbones Vigil

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.

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