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.

Crossbones Vigil / Portal to Imbolc

Wednesday 23rd January, gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil in the street by the gates / shrine in Redcross Way

The 176th consecutive Vigil held 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.

The January Vigil is also the Portal to Imbolc. This traditional festival of fire and light, held on February 1st, is dedicated to Brigid, Brid, Bridie. For the past few years we’ve honoured her with a call-and-response of this poem:

“… Bridie I am here 
with my goose-feather quill
to trace the lucent songs of the Ancients.

Bridie I am here
with the chalice and snake 
to receive and transmit your healing benediction.

Bridie I am here
with the bellows and tongues
to tend your sacred fire of transformation…” *

Each line is called and repeated in the response, and all three verses are repeated three times, to honour the triple goddess.

At this Vigil we also elevate David Bowie as our ‘Angel of the Outcast’ with a rendition of ‘Starman’. Anyone with the Voice and the chutzpah is welcome to lead the collective Crossbones scratch choir! 

This January, Jennifer Cooper will be conducting the Vigil. 

All are welcome to contribute with a short poem, song or personal testimony dedicated to The Goose and her Outcast Dead. We also 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 ready to take on the highest honour by doing a short shift as a Goose Samurai, guarding the road to protect the other participants.

* ‘Imbolc’ poem from ‘Spark In The Dark’ by John Constable 

Crossbones Christmas Vigil for the Outcast

Sunday 23rd December, gather 6.45 for 7pm vigil in the street by the shrine at the gates in Redcross Way

The 175th Vigil, held on the 23rd of every single month since 23rd June 2004 – to remember 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 on 23rd November 1996.

We each bring our own piece of the puzzle, and together we perform acts of remembrance and imagination, secular Human Rites, open to ‘all faiths and none’. Specific vigils are aligned with seasonal festivals – e.g. January 23rd is Imbolc, April 23rd is St George, June 23rd is St John’s Eve / midsummer, October 23rd is Halloween Portal, November 23rd is ‘Goose Night’.

At the 23rd December Vigil we mark the winter solstice and the coming of the light, Yule – and Christmas, with  lusty singing of traditional carols and sharing of tasty treats. Come prepared to join in with such classics as ‘Deck The Halls’, ‘I Saw Three Ships’, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and ‘We Wish You A Happy Christmas’. Yuletide and other seasonal songs are also welcome, especially if they’re easy for everyone to join in.

Please bring your own mementos or ribbons with the names of your lost loved ones to tie to the gates. You might also like to offer a short poem, song or personal testimony to the spirits of Crossbones Graveyard. Or be a ‘Goose Rhapsode’, learning part of ‘The Book of the Goose’ or another short poem from The Southwark Mysteries to recite on the night.

FREE. Donations welcome

Urban Magic: making magic in an urban environment

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

Urban Magic at Crossbones Graveyard

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.

Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast / ‘Goose Night’

Friday 23rd November
gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil at the Crossbones Graveyard gates in Redcross Way, London SE1

The 174th of the Crossbones Vigils held on the 23rd of every single month since June 2004…

To remember the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine at the gates and to reclaim this magical place as sacred ground.

This month’s Vigil marks the 22nd anniversary of ‘Goose Night’ (23rd November 1996) when The Goose spirit revealed the secret history of Crossbones to John Crow, inspiring The Southwark Mysteries and the works at Crossbones Graveyard.

Please bring your own mementos or ribbons with the names of your lost loved ones to tie to the gates, and perhaps a poem, song or short personal testimony to offer to the spirits of Crossbones Graveyard.

FREE. Donations welcome.

London Bridge Guided Walk with Unseen Tours

Friday 23rd October 5.30pm-6.30pm starting at Southwark Cathedral, London SE1 9DA

Dive into the back streets of the South Bank and reflect on the area’s history of poverty and social exclusion. Join your tour guide David to discover Winchester Palace, the infamous Clink Prison, and some of London’s oldest theatres. The tour will end at Crossbones Graveyard, the resting place for the area’s poor and excluded, in time for the poignant Vigil for the Outcast.

Unseen Tours is an award-winning social enterprise. All our walks are led by guides who have experienced homelessness or vulnerable housing.

https://sockmobevents.org.uk/tour/lbspecial-crossbones-tour/

Please note this is a tour of the London Brdge area ending at the Vigil, not a tour of the graveyard itself.

£12 Full-price, £10 Concessions. Advance booking required.

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.

1 2 3 4 7