St John’s Eve Crossbones Vigil

Saturday 23rd June

Gather in the street by the gates on Redcross Way, 6.45 for 7pm Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast.

This month we enter the 15th year of these Vigils, held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004, making this the 169th consecutive Vigil. We come together to honour the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine at the gates, to reclaim the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow – and to share our own acts of senseless beauty, love and restoration.

This month we also celebrate St John’s Eve, the traditional English midsummer festival, a night of magic…

Jennifer will conduct the Vigil with a little help from our friends of Crossbones – including you! Feel free to bring a memento or totem to tie to the gates, a poem, song or short personal testimony to share.

‘Goose may your spirit fly free!’

Crossbones Vigil

This month marks 14 years of consecutive vigils, held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004. FREE! Donations welcome

At all the vigils, London poets and musicians give impromptu performances.

In the photo (Another Eden Images), Mervyn Syna performs his song ‘Prime Monster’ at the May 2017 Vigil.

We come to renew the memorial shrine, to remember the outcast, dead and alive, and to reclaim a secret history. AND this month…

OUTSIDE – opening event in Crossbones Garden. Wednesday 23rd May, 4:30pm to 6:30pm

OUTSIDE is an exhibition of sculptures and performances in Crossbones Garden, with free accompanying publication

OUTSIDE links Crossbones’ history to issues facing contemporary sex worker communities. The exhibition runs 12-5pm from 24th-28th May and 30th May-2nd June

This opening event, featuring performances in Crossbones Garden, will be followed by the Vigil for the Outcast in the street facing the gates / shrine in Redcross Way

Love and Geese >><<

St George’s Day Crossbones Vigil

Monday 23rd April
gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil at the red gates / outcast shrine in Redcross Way

As ever, 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’ve done this at the same time on the 23rd of every month since June 2004.

On our 23rd April Vigil, we also celebrate St George as ‘our Lady’s Knight’, the inclusive patron saint of many peoples and cultures, the healer of those in mental distress, and the protector of our magical works at Crossbones.

Like the 23rd April Vigils of past years, we trust that this one will be graced by the appearance of The Dragon and St George, perhaps shape-shifting into his Al-Khidr persona.

This month, George of Bermondsey, who wrote the haunting ‘Crossbones’ anthem, will be doing the honours. Jules will step forward to deliver his ‘spot’ of wisdom and insight. As ever, strangers will step out of the night to amaze you and, Goose willing, you’ll all work through the Vigil together. Enough of you know the form to help newcomers follow the simple rituals.

For The Goose and St George!

Crossbones Vigil

Friday 23rd March 2018

gather 6.45 for 7pm at the red gates in Redcross Way, London SE1 (Borough or London Bridge)

Our Vigil for the Outcast, dead and alive, has been held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004.

We welcome all faiths and none, sex-workers, office-workers, cis, LGBTQ+ and those who don’t identify themselves by their sexuality, outcasts and outsiders of all races, colours and creeds.

We come to honour the outcast, dead and alive, to renew the shrine at the red gates with ribbons and magical totems, and to reclaim the secret history of Crossbones as revealed by The Goose to John Crow in The Southwark Mysteries.

At this month’s Vigil we traditionally celebrate the Spring Equinox and the opportunity to rebalance our lives. John Crow will be doing the honours, working with Jennifer and anyone else who feels able to step forward and help hold the space.

Please bring ribbons or other objects to tie to the gates, poems, songs and personal testimonies to share.

Free. Donations welcome.

Crossbones Vigil

Friday 23rd February, gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil

Our monthly Vigil for the Outcast, dead and alive, has been held at 7pm on the 23rd of every month since June 2004, at the red gates in Redcross Way, London SE1.

Most of you know the form – if you don’t, you’ll soon get the hang of it! We perform simple, inclusive rituals – light candles to light the open pathways and tie ribbons to renew the shrine as we speak the echo poem from The Southwark Mysteries: ‘Here lay your hearts, your flowers, your Book of Hours…’

In the process, we may feel intense sadness, grief or anger for our own losses and for the injustices of the world we’ve made. As we work through these feelings, we can also experience great joy and healing, a sense of mending things that are broken and sharing in an act of transformation.

At the heart of the Vigil is a space for us to offer a song, a poem or a personal testimony to The Goose and the spirits of her Outcast Dead. John Crow, who often conducts the Vigil, performs work from The Southwark Mysteries, as revealed by The Goose at Crossbones, Jules shares wise insights into the universal revealed in the particular, Jennifer and other regulars speak as the spirit moves them. Together we build a community around a beautiful act of street magic. The Vigil ends with a collective unconditional blessing.

As Graham Eden said at a recent Vigil, quoting ‘God Is A DJ’ by Faithless: ‘This is my church. This is where I heal my hurt.’ *
* We’re not a religion; just a bunch of outcasts at work and play to heal ourselves.

Join us. Free! Donations welcome.

The Coming of The Light

Friday 26 January 7.15pm to 9pm in a magical garden surrounded by trees, Glengall Road, London SE1

with John Constable, George Hoyle and Vanessa Woolf

Join us in the darkness to celebrate the coming light. Sublime poetry and magical storytelling with live music around the fire by John Constable (Crossbones and Southwark Mysteries), George Hoyle (Cunning Folk) and Vanessa Woolf (London Dreamtime). Frighten the ghosts away and get ready for Spring. Bring a candle in a jar. Hot mulled cider available (bring cash!) Toilets and shelter are provided, but the event is outdoors so dress warmly.

Payment is in cash on the night £6 per person. Book your ticket to get the meeting place and all the details.

Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast / Portal to Imbolc

Tuesday 23rd January gather 6.45 for 7pm by the shrine at the red gates in Redcross Way, London SE1

The 164th consecutive vigil held at this place and time on the 23rd of every single month since June 2004! Why do we do it? To remember the outcast, dead and alive. To renew the shrine at the red gates, and to reclaim the Secret His(&Her)story as revealed by The Goose to John Crow on 23rd November 1996. To remember ourselves. To share our simple rituals, open to all faiths and none. To stand together, in shining emptiness. To light the open pathways and let the magic happen. And to celebrate Life Itself.

Photo (c) Katy Nicholls

Out of all this, there once came a secret, Invisible Garden – now the Crossbones Garden of Remembrance. This month we also welcome the Return of the Light at the portal to Imbolc, Brigid’s Day or Candlemas. Bring a totem or token to tie to the gates and be prepared to be part of it all. Free! Donations welcome.

Crossbones Vigil at Christmas

Sunday 23rd December: gather 6.45 for 7pm Vigil at Crossbones Gates / Shrine, Redcross Way, London SE1 – Crossbones Vigil for the Outcast, Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas and…

To remember the outcast, dead or alive, to renew the shrine at the gates in Redcross Way and to reclaim the secret history as revealed by The Goose to John Crow. This is the 163rd consecutive Vigil, held on the 23rd of every month since June 2004. The Vigils are linked to traditional seasonal festivals.

On Sunday 23rd December, we celebrate the winter solstice and the return of the light, the pagan festival of Yule – and Christmas. Having briefly experimented with alternatives, we’ve recently reverted to singing traditional Christmas Carols. We’re all faiths and none, and you’re welcome to share something from your own tradition. And, as ever, we perform our own inclusive secular rituals to honour the outcast. Come help hold the space. Please bring a ribbon or memento to tie to the shrine, a song, poem or personal testimony to share.

BBC World Service / PRI radio: ‘London has a unique vigil for its forgotten dead’

This radio feature could be heard coast-to-coast in the U.S. on Halloween 2017. It was recorded by Leo Hornuk during the 161st ‘Crossbones Vigil and Halloween Portal’ held at the red gates in Redcross Way, London, on 23rd October 2017

click link to PRI webpage and play radio report

John Constable aka John Crow calls out Irving Rappaport’s name to begin the reading of the names of the dead as participants tie memorial ribbons to the gates.

‘Irving Rappaport: Mensch, 23rd September 2017…’

Grant Burford, who co-created this website, died on 18th April 2017. His parents, Vernon and Terri, are at the vigil. Terri reads out Grant’s ribbon:

‘Grant Burford, Friend of the Outcast…’

Maggie Woodall is also present, honouring her son:

‘Tyson Cochise Haynes: Sept. 27, 2016, was killed, shot dead in the Netherlands’ <3

The names of three of the recent dead, the magicians Steve Ash, David Blank and Steve Wilson are all called, though they’re not included in the radio report. And so many more, loved and lost. And not lost. Remembered.

‘Steve Ash: philosopher. prankster.’ Restored to the shrine to the outcast, Crossbones Gates, 2017. Photo by Max Reeves

A few days ago, Katy Kaos and John Crow were in the garden tending the shrine when they heard a stranger in the street, reading from a memorial ribbon on the gates, saying Irving’s name out loud.

A recent visitor to the graveyard, Steve, reported seeing a ghost of a young woman, appearing and then vanishing behind a lamp-post.

And at the 23rd November Vigil, the ribbons fluttered in the breeze to remind us all that, here at Crossbones, there’s a time to bind and a time to loose…

Open pathways >><<

Crossbones Celebration

Saturday 18th November 2017: 2pm-6pm
Crossbones Garden of Remembrance, Union Street entrance, London SE1

A special opening of Crossbones Garden celebrating its extraordinary past and present,
and plans for the future of the garden.

Hosted by John Constable, author of The Southwark Mysteries, with Katy Nicholls

2.30pm and 5pm: historical tours of Crossbones Graveyard

from 3pm:
Wolf’s Head and Vixen border morris troupe – gothic dances
Tom Baker – darkside accordion ballads Fran Loze – haunting cello
Cunning Folk – south London folk songs Mervyn Syna – outlaw ukulele
Performances from The Southwark Mysteries
Herbal Lore with Karen Howell of The Old Operating Theatre

light refreshments, an open hearth and you!

FREE EVENT! Donations for the garden welcome.
Open-air event. Please dress for the weather. Under 16s please bring a responsible adult

Presented by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST)

in association with Friends of Crossbones

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