THE WORKS

 

 

Wed 22/03/2023. Doors open at 6.30 for 7pm start
Abbey House, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury BA6 8DH

£8.00 – cash only please – tickets in advance from Man, Myth and Magik shop (see below)


John Constable (aka John Crow) on poetry, theatre and magic, and how they came together in the works at Cross Bones Graveyard. https://fb.me/e/5ruGPjvnU
 
‘I live and work at the nexus of Poetry, Theatre and Magic.’ (John Constable)

John Constable aka John Crow is a poet, playwright, performer and urban shaman. In this talk he explores the origins and the unfolding of his magical practice, including:

  • The 1970s: teenage psychedelic initiations, spiritual quests in Japan, Bali and India. Influences: Taliesin, Blake, Huxley, Castenada, The Gnostics, Gurdjieff, The Emin, Zen.
    How to integrate visionary experiences and diverse spiritual traditions in our daily lives.
  • The 1980s: touring Europe with street theatre companies, writing plays and the stage adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast novels. How Theatre and poetry express shamanic experiences in ‘de-natured’ Western cultures. How Western ‘shamanism’ is inherently transgressive, and how John’s own ‘outsider’ Goose and Crow magic celebrates human flaws and imperfections.
  • The 1990s: The Goose Spirit reveals The Southwark Mysteries to John Crow. How The Goose is a channel for the Divine Feminine, revealed in Her distinct aspects as Isis, Mary Magdalene, Kwan Yin.
  • The 2000s: The Southwark Mysteries performed in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral. Ritual dramas at The Warp parties, festivals and sites specific. Goose and Crow street magic at Cross Bones Graveyard, with rituals and vigils to reclaim the site as holy ground, creating a shrine and a garden of remembrance for sex workers and outcasts.
  • The Now: Grail book interweaves spells, legends and vignettes of contemporary Glastonbury life, working with The Goose and Crow, with the Ancestors and the native spirits of place.
John draws on his work over more than 25 years as a theatre-maker and magical practitioner to explore and illuminate the esoteric teachings and practices of his Goose and Crow Magic:
 
  • A vision of the One Made Many, a unified consciousness revealed in multiple names and forms, and how each expression of Mind (No Mind) plays its unique part in the whole.
  • ‘Healing rifts between our hemispheres’, between Mind and Matter, Light and Darkness. The Goose is the Spirit revealed in the Flesh, the Sacred in the Profane, Eternity in Time: ‘to heal the wounds of history’. Physical, sexual, psychic, energetic and spiritual healing and transformation.
  • Opening the pathways (neural and material) to enable all beings ‘to complete their individual journeys and to fulfil their most intimate aspirations.’
  • Cultivating states of ‘shining emptiness’ to become a channel for transpersonal entities and agencies. How this practice can help us to ‘get out of the way’ and set us free from fear, by showing how the Self is itself a narrative construct. The key to psychic protection.
  • Embodying the state of ‘Liberty’, the presence of the Unconditioned Mind in which contrary and even contradictory ideas can co-exist in a dynamic, creative harmony. This is the antidote to the modern obsession with being ‘right’ and proving others ‘wrong’, and is in itself an essential element of psychic integration.
  • Reconciling opposites, by seeing how each helps maintain the dynamic balance of existence – how, for example Christian and Pagan agencies can be seen to operate at different levels for the benefit of an Eternity vast, capacious and empty enough to contain them all.
  • Shape-shifting, channelling and other techniques to ‘re-pattern’ reality, to change our maps and models of the world. Creating new boundaries and rules so as to dissolve old patterns. Ritual as a way of shifting our focus on what is important and significant in our lives.
  • The Poetic Vision and how it can set us free from the mind-prisons of literalism. How poetry, music and drama can point beyond words and be used to invoke psychoactive states.
  • The apocalypse is not waiting for us in some uncertain future. It’s happening here, now, all around us. Our work is to realise and manifest it in this life and this world.

‘For everything that lives is Holy.’ (William Blake)

 
John will illustrate his talk with short magical invocations and incantations, to show how words can operate beyond rational structures to change the ways we perceive and co-create our ‘reality.’
 
John Constable’s many plays includes Gormenghast (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and international tours), The Southwark Mysteries (Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral), I Was An Alien Sex God (Edinburgh Festival and BAC) and Spare (inspired by the works of Austin Osman Spare). His published works include Sha-Manic Plays, The Southwark Mysteries, Gormenghast, Secret Bankside and Spark In The Dark. His new book Grail interweaves myths and poetic spells with vignettes of contemporary life in Glastonbury. On his album Ancestor Souls he performs his mystical incantations to music by Jenny Bliss Bennett and William Kraemer (Queen Space Baroque). As the shaman John Crow he recently completed a 23-year cycle of magical works at south London’s Cross Bones Graveyard, conducting monthly rituals and creating a shrine and garden for sex workers and outcasts. An invited speaker at Breaking Convention, The Occult Conference and many esoteric conventions, he has held ceremonies at festivals and sacred sites around the world. He now lives in Glastonbury with his wife and co-practitioner Katy Kaos.
 
Wednesday 22nd March 2023
Doors open at 6.30 for 7pm start
Abbey House, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury BA6 8DH

£8.00 – cash only please – advance tickets from Man, Myth and Magik, Market Place, Glastonbury
This is the shop directly next door to the main entrance to Glastonbury Abbey. Cash only please :: Keeping cash (non-digital) flowing in our community!
Opening times are Mon – Sat 10am – 4pm, Sun 11am – 4pm.
There will also be tickets on the door, subject to availability.
DUE TO SPACE, ADVANCE BOOKING IS RECOMMENDED.
*IMPORTANT*
Please park in the town or in nearby parking areas rather than at the venue, which is for Abbey staff.
If you have a disability and need to park directly at the entrance, please let us know beforehand. Anyone needing to enter and exit the area in front of the hous, please be aware of the above and take great care at the entrance and exit. There is a sharp turn onto a busy road and no pavement directly outside the venue. Cars can come along Chilkwell Street fast and there may be people on foot, including after dark.
 
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Photo by Max Crow Reeves

Cross Bones Vigil for the Outcast – Spring Equinox

23rd March 2023, gather 6.45 for 7pm start at the gates in Redcross Way, London SE1

Our Cross Bones Vigil to honour the Outcast, dead and alive; to renew the shrine; and to reclaim the Secret History as revealed by The Goose to John Crow.
 
The online Vigil will be hosted by Jenn and Mark, and by Jacqui in the Zoom studio. To join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240
Passcode: 377295
 
To help us all to fully participate, and commune on The Astral, with or without the livestream, here’s the ‘Order of Service’ for the Vigil:

>><<

1. Opening (on the stroke of 7pm)
Light a candle, incense. Ring seven chimes. Say:
‘Spirits of The Dead, Spirits of the Living, Kindred. Welcome!’
As you say these words, be aware that you are connected with all Spirits, incarnate and disincarnate, and with the transforming agency of The Goose, in an act of mutual healing taking place within a single, undivided consciousness. Breathe deep, relax and connect… Remember the Secret History and Vision…

Crossbones is a pauper’s graveyard and the final resting place for the Winchester Geese, sex workers who worked in brothels owned and licensed by the Bishop of Winchester in Southwark’s ‘Liberty of the Clink’. Many skeletons were dug up here during work on the Jubilee Line Extension (1992-96).

On 23rd November 1996 John Constable had a vision in which The Goose led John Crow to the site of the Crossbones Graveyard. Here she revealed The Southwark Mysteries, which in turn gave rise to The Halloween of Cross Bones and to these Vigils, held on the 23rd of every month since 23rd June 2004.
Thanks to our collective magical and activist works over the past 23 years, this once despised, desolate site has become a holy place for pilgrims from all over the world – a shrine and a garden of remembrance ‘for the Outcast, dead and alive’.

2. Hold the candle for one minute’s silence, as you imagine lighting the open pathways for all beings to make their individual journeys in Time and Eternity. Remember the Outcast Dead of Crossbones Graveyard, and all who are shut out, along with your own ancestors and loved ones. For this act of remembrance, it helps to cultivate a state of “shining emptiness”, in which all sounds, sights and other sense impressions can arise and vanish, with nothing for anything to attach to.

3. “Binding and loosing”. Imagine tying a ribbon to Crossbones Gates. Invest the ribbon with all that you would wish for yourself, and as you tie it, release that blessing for others, saying five times:

“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.”

When we’re together in the Vigils, one speaks and all echo the words in our own time. We do this on the livestream, our whispering voices evoking our collective emanation.

4. Bardic offerings.
At the December Vigil, this part is mostly given over to the singing of carols.
If you wish, you can perform a poem, song or text from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, or present your own offering to The Goose and her Outcast Dead.

5. Closing.
Close the ceremony with a libation of gin. Say:

“Life! Health! Happiness! Open Pathways!
Health in the Body.
Peace In the Spirit.
Love In The Heart.
It is this that we wish,
for ourselves,
for our friends and family,
for all our Brothers and Sisters,
for The Goose and The Crow,
and for all Humanity.
May it be so.”

then:

“Goose may you never be hungry!
Goose may you never be thirsty!
Goose may your Spirit fly free!
And so she does…
Open pathways!

>><<

When performing the rituals and channelling The Goose spirit, the trick is to “get out of the way” so as not to obstruct with our own psychological or emotional states. There are various ways to achieve this: e.g. by reminding ourselves that “I am nothing” that it’s The Goose who does the magic, not “I”.
 
>><<
 
photo of Red Cross Mary in the Cross Bones Garden by Lisa Newf, March 2023

The Works

The esoteric works of John Constable aka John Crow

GRAIL by John Constable

New Book (2022). ISBN: 978-1-913325-13-8
A magical artefact to open the pathways… A Book of Incantations, Spells and Meditations… An initiation…

…could be titled The Glastonbury Mysteries, as counterpart to the author’s celebrated The Southwark Mysteries… a deeply affectionate and perceptive look at esoteric Glastonbury at a particular moment in time… a generous exemplar of that meeting of different spiritual traditions, in harmonious juxtaposition and conversation, which is the greatest current achievement of the place… Constable always keeps his feet as dependably on the ground as his head is in the clouds. Like his muse the Goose Woman, he is a being equally of earth and fire.’

Professor Ronald Hutton

Book £13 (+ £3 postage in UK) – available in Treadwells or Watkins bookshops, London
or direct from John here

 

ANCESTOR SOULS by John Crow and Queen Space Baroque
New album, recorded live on All Hallow’s Eve. A journey between the worlds. Edgy Astral music by Queen Space Baroque (Jennifer Bliss Bennett and William Kraemer) to spells and incantations from GRAIL and THE SOUTHWARK MYSTERIES by John Constable (John Crow). The title track is a ritual performed on 13 Halloweens at Cross Bones Graveyard in south London, part of a 23-year magical work.
we travel through the veil on a Halloween night… hear outcasts on the streets of medieval London… through to the Celtic Otherworld… into the elemental cauldron under Glastonbury Tor…’ Jenny Bliss Bennett
Digital download: https://johncrowandqueenspacebaroque.bandcamp.com/releases

CD £13 (limited edition of 100 numbered copies) available from Jenny, William or direct from John here

 

THE SOUTHWARK MYSTERIES

1999. John Constable’s seminal Book of visionary poems, esoteric lore and a Mystery Play performed in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral.

Past and present, sacred and profane jostle and collide in a glorious tumult in this anarchic drama… John Constable’s work is couched in verse that is muscular, ribald and often dazzlingly rich. (The Times)
Book £18.99 available from Treadwells, Watkins
or https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/southwark-mysteries-9781840020991/

 

 

 

THREE SPELLS FOR A BLUE MOON

The first three spells from GRAIL in a hand-printed artefact, hand-set and printed by John and Katy under the guidance of Blakean master printer Peter Fraser on the Feast of St Bride 2022.
Pamphlet (8 pages plus cover): 23 numbered copies: £10. 33 unnumbered: £5.

Order direct from John here

SPARK IN THE DARK
A collection of John’s shamanistic poetry, including his hallucinatory prose poems WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL: TIME OUT OF MIND and WENNEFER. ‘Like Shakespeare on acid.’ (Time Out)
Book £10. Order direct from John here

 

Special offer: GRAIL (book) + ANCESTOR SOULS (cd) £23 (usually £26) save £3
Open to other discounts for bulkier orders 🙂

Treat yourself or a friend – and the author!

Support a living poet and help your friend Constable Crow to earn a pittance for his labours of love – and may these works resonate in you, to inspire your own magical workings.

William Blake’s 265th Birthday Bash

 

11am next Monday 28th November 2022
Glastonbury Abbey, by the Edgar Chapel (in the main ruin beyond the High Altar)
 
Blakean poets, bards and minstrels are invited to honour the Divine Humanity of William Blake, poet, artist, visionary (1757-1827). Bring your favourite poem (or selected verses from one of the Master’s Prophetic Books) to recite, sing or otherwise share. We’ll respect the Abbey ground rules, so no ceremonies. Just a few of us Blake Lovers gathered to praise our mentor.
 
All welcome. Free event, though Abbey entry charges still apply. So free to Abbey Members.
 
William Blake’s 265th Birthday Celebration will also be happening in London at 1pm in the Octagon Room in Tate Britain, and all over the world. When I lived in London, I participated in many of Stephen Micalef / William Blake Congregation‘s Birthday Celebrations. It was Micalef who called me in 2020, to suggest I contact Sophie Windsor Clive to organise one in Glastonbury. So this is the third year we’ve done this at 11am on 28/11. In 2020 there were seven of us; last year we were 28 (a classic Blakean ‘fourfold’ increase). If there are too many of us this year we’ll discreetly move over to a quieter spot in the Abbey grounds – let’s meet in the Edgar Chapel and take it from there. Whoever comes, we’ll be the perfect number.

Goose Night, 26th annversary, 23/11/22

 
Open pathways to all beings on this blessed Goose Night!
 
It’s now 26 years since the night of 23rd November 1996, when The Goose revealed to John Crow ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ and the secret herstory of the Cross Bones Graveyard. That vision changed and still shapes my life.
 
My new spiritual adventures in Glastonbury have been guided by walking and working with The Goose.

Tonight, I’m inclined to a peaceful, personal honouring of my spirit guide and the way she transformed my consciousness. Of course, if she wills it, you may find me publicly declaring her Liberty at the Market Cross. Or I may drop in on Jacqueline Durban’s Zoom Vigil here:
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240 Passcode: 377295
(the Zoom Vigil is available on youtube shortly after the event)

When I completed my works at Cross Bones, I said ‘The Goose Is Loose’, meaning that everyone is free to work with Her for the benefit of all beings. As they have done ever since, many friends of Cross Bones will gather tonight at 6.45 (to begin on the stroke of 7) at the gates in Redcross Way SE1 – to honour the outcast, dead and alive; to renew the shrine with offerings; and to reclaim the secret history as revealed by The Goose. Jennifer Cooper will be doing the honours. The word is, she may also be doing a poem from my new book ‘Grail’, which was also received under The Goose’s influence.

You can order ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ direct from the publisher: https://www.bloomsbury.com/…/southwark-mysteries…/
For ‘Grail’ and my other books, and for the new album ‘Ancestor Souls’, please DM me for more details.
Photo by Max Crow Reeves: John Crow conducts the Cross Bones Vigil

ANCESTOR SOULS and GRAIL by John Constable

 
 
 
ANCESTOR SOULS by John Crow (John Constable) and Queen Space Baroque (Jenny Bliss Bennett and William Kraemer) is a live album recorded at a ritual performance on 31st October 2021 in the esoteric Library Of Avalon and released on Halloween 2022.
 
A journey in mind and spirit, with my psychoactive spells and incantations set to edgy, astral music and soundscapes. 5 invocations from John Constable’s new book GRAIL, 3 new settings of poems from The Southwark Mysteries, the heart of The Halloween of Cross Bones ritual, and an eerie instrumental from beyond The Veil.
 
Great for meditation, vision quests or just to chill. Here’s a taster:
 
 
‘Caer Sidi is the castle which guards the cauldron of Awen or inspiration in the Celtic Otherworld. The archetypal Bard Taliesin relates how he accompanied Arthur on a raid to seize the cauldron. He claims Caer Sidi as the place of his Bardic ‘Chair’. My poem is a response to Taliesin’s originals.’ (John Constable)
 
‘Perfect is my Chair In Caer Sidi…’
Words by John Constable (aka John Crow). Music by Queen Space Baroque (Jennifer S. Bliss Bennett & William Kraemer) from Ancestor Souls by John Crow & Queen Space Baroque
 
Have a free listen, and if the spirit moves you, please download a digital copy of DM me to get your 1 of a limited edition of 100 numbered copies.
 
And, if you haven’t read it yet, treat yourself to a copy of GRAIL, John Constable’s 2022 book charting his first year living in Glastonbury, its mythic landscapes interwoven in spells and incantations with vignettes of contemporary life and mediations on magical practice.
 
‘This book could be titled The Glastonbury Mysteries, as counterpart to the author’s celebrated The Southwark Mysteries… a deeply affectionate and perceptive look at esoteric Glastonbury at a particular moment in time… a generous exemplar of that meeting of different spiritual traditions, in harmonious juxtaposition and conversation, which is the greatest current achievement of the place… an enduring contribution to the literature of Avalon, the more so in that Constable always keeps his feet as dependably on the ground as his head is in the clouds. Like his muse the Goose Woman, he is a being equally of earth and fire.’
 
Professor Ronald Hutton
 
 
 
ANCESTOR SOULS cd £13 *
GRAIL book £13 *
Special ANCESTOR SOULS cd plus GRAIL book £23 (save £3) *
(* plus £3 postage in UK)
 
DM John via CONTACT page on this website with your email to order cd/book or both, to support your local writer and Cross Bones urban shaman, and to open the pathways for your own magical workings!

Upcoming Events at Cross Bones Graveyard

 
Halloween Open Evening by Candle-Light (31 October, 5-7.30pm – suggested donation £5)

Trans Day of Remembrance (20 November, time tbc)

Monthly Vigil (23rd of every month, 7pm at the gates in Redcross Way)

For full details, further information, other events, photos and much more,
sign up for Bankside Open Spaces Trust free Crossbones Newsletter here:

ANCESTOR SOULS

The Goose and Cross Bones In Glastonbury

Monday 31st October, All Hallows Eve / Samhain: 7.30pm
JOHN CROW and QUEEN SPACE BAROQUE
ritual concert performance from the new album
St Benedict’s Church. £12 at door. Cash only. 

 
Music by Queen Space Baroque (Jenny Bliss Bennett and William Kraemer)
Words by John Crow (John Constable) from ‘Grail’ and ‘The Southwark Mysteries’:
 
“Past and present, sacred and profane jostle and collide in a glorious tumult in this anarchic drama… John Constable’s work is couched in verse that is muscular, ribald and often dazzlingly rich.” (The Times)
 
“Like Shakespeare on acid.” (Time Out, London)

If you haven’t booked in advance, please be at St Benedicts Church, Benedict St. Glastonbury by 7.30pm to be sure of your place. Please bring £12 in change to help us get you in as quick as we can.

Crossbones July Bulletin

 
 
Here’s the July 2022 bulletin by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) who look after the Cross Bones Garden. You can subscribe directly (and for free) on their page: https://www.bost.org.uk/crossbones-graveyard If you sign up for the bulletin, you’ll get it with all the photos and links (for more information) which aren’t given here. Here’s the report from Matt, who’s taking forward the bulletin started by Hej:

CONTENTS OF BULLETIN
Our gardening team is growing – join us!
“Thank you!” from Matt – our new Community Gardener and Engagement Manager Upcoming Events Blessings and Bards (24 July)
Community Biodiversity Day (25 July)
Landscape of Grief (24 September)
Monthly Vigil (23rd of every month)
‘Sanctuary’ Summer photo competition – send in your photos.
“They’re not weeds!” – we’re saving up to save plant pioneers
Monthly recipe – calming fennel tea to survive the heat
Our gardening team is growing. And it needs to be growing. In this heat, we need help watering the garden! And plenty more – composting, cutting back, planting. Training and tools are all provided. We run gardening sessions at Crossbones every Friday from 12 – 2.30 pm. To get involved please email Fay – our Volunteer Coordinator. We need you and look forward to your joining us soon.

Events Coming Up

Blessings and Bards, Sunday 24th July, 12.30 pm – 3.30 pm
Such a beautiful day – and free to attend. A procession from Southwark Cathedral to Crossbones Graveyard is followed by an Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration from the Dean of Southwark to those buried at the site. Following the blessing, local champions of Crossbones Graveyard share songs, music and poetry led by George of Peckham.
12.30 pm: Meet at Southwark Cathedral with a walk to Crossbones Graveyard.
12.45 pm: Arrival at Crossbones Graveyard.
1 pm: Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration by the Dean of Southwark.
2 pm – 3.30 pm: Bards (songs, music and poetry).
Many thanks to our volunteer wardens for enabling this event by opening the Graveyard. Booking: No need to book but due to the limited space, please come early to secure admittance. This event is free and open to all, wheelchair accessible. Dogs on leads welcome. Not sure what to expect? – have a peek at a previous year’s event.

Community Biodiversity Day, Monday 25th July, 1 pm – 5 pm
Join ecologist Jon Best and psychosocial researcher Hannah Reeves to celebrate and document the biodiversity of Crossbones Graveyard. This is an opportunity to learn new skills in a relaxed environment, exploring the ecology and stories behind the plants and critters on site. FREE (all ages welcome) but book a spot now to avoid disappointment. More information on Eventbrite.

Embracing Grief: Welcome to the Landscape of Grief Saturday 24th September, 2.30 pm – 4:30 pm
We see the landscape of grief as much broader than bereavement. People often feel that grief itself is not welcome. It includes a huge range of feelings that may show up in response to any loss, change, or challenge. We will offer a brief introduction to the landscape of grief, and offer a series of exercises to inspire thoughtful reflection, personal creative responses, symbolic ritual, and group solidarity. To join, get a free ticket here – (ticket link on bulletin).

Crossbones Monthly Vigil 23rd of every month 6.45 pm gathering for 7 pm start
Don’t forget that the Crossbones Vigil, held by Friends of Crossbones is on the 23rd of every month at 7 pm outside the gates on Redcross Way.
You can also join the Vigil via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person. Just login to your Zoom account or link on the link here. Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240 Passcode 377295
For more information about the history of the Vigils, see
www.crossbones.org.uk. ‘

‘Sanctuary’ themed Photo Competition Deadline 31st August
Have you got any good snaps of Crossbones? We are running a summer-long competition for the best photo that captures the idea of ‘Sanctuary’. We will publicly share our favourite photo here and on Instagram. Fancy yourself a photographer – show us what you’ve got. Send your photos to Matt – Crossbones Engagement Manager: Matt@BOST.org.uk

Many visitors are confused when they come to Crossbones. They ask “why have you let all these weeds come through the cracks? Don’t you have a team of gardeners….?” They are not weeds! Don’t insult our Hollyhocks and Evening Primroses. Don’t you dare point that accusing finger at the Buddleia!

We’re saving up at Crossbones to put in a nature trail, to show how we understand gardening on-site. They’re not weeds but ‘plant pioneers’. We show and share the spirit of Crossbones through our planting- but we have to explain that’s what we’re doing. That’s why we need a nature trail. But we can only do it with your help. We’re saving up to put in a nature trail around the garden – little information signs and QR codes. We need £225 to start building our nature trail. Can you chip in to help us share the spirit of Crossbones with more visitors? Donate £25 to the Crossbones Nature Trail

NB for other links – e.g to eventbrite for tickets- please subscribe to the newsletter on the BOST page: https://www.bost.org.uk/crossbones-graveyard

Crossbones Garden June 2022 Bulletin

 
 
Selection from the June 2022 bulletin by Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) who look after the Cross Bones Garden. You can subscribe directly (and for free) on their page:
If you sign up for the bulletin, you’ll get it with all the photos and links (for more information) which aren’t given here. Hej’s report:
 
“I hope lots of you were able to join us for the BOST Fest 2022, held on 3rd June – our celebration of open spaces and the community who loves them.
 
Many thanks to our wonderful wardens who opened the garden and to Father Christopher Pearson from The Catholic Church of the Most Precious Blood (opposite Crossbones Graveyard) who led a beautiful service at Crossbones, to remember victims of the terrorist attacks of 3rd June 2017 and their loved ones. Father Christopher gave his own poignant memories of that day and a moving reflection. Volunteer Ginny laid a wreath, made of Crossbones flowers, in the Graveyard at the top of the Goosewing shelter.
 
During the BOST Fest, we were delighted to welcome in two visitors from Kyiv. One of the visitors, Виктория (which they explained is Victoria in English) generously offered to translate our Ten Things about Crossbones information sheet, into Ukrainian and Russian and I’ll be bringing laminated copies of this to site on Friday. Many thanks to Виктория/Victoria!
 
June in Crossbones
Having asked our volunteers to volunteer so much of their time to extend the gardening opening hours in May for the Chelsea Fringe and for various other events, we’re having a quiet month to catch our breath. Despite this, volunteers Emma and Sharon still managed to open Crossbones last Sunday for London Square Open Gardens Weekend. They reported an interesting addition to the garden – a wheel caught on the apple tree. As with all things which blow into Crossbones, we’re leaving it to see if it would like to find a home here.
 
Jesse from the Outside Project this week undertook a photoshoot at Crossbones for 50 Years of Pride in association with our local Business Improvement District and community partner, Better Bankside. To celebrate the 50th London Pride, Better Bankside has commissioned an exhibition by Eve Milner to celebrate the beautiful and unique stories of Bankside’s LGBT+ community. The exhibition will be hosted by Omeara, and will be going on for the whole of July. Eve writes:
“The exhibition – Faces of Bankside – will be portraits made with members of the Bankside LGBTQI+ community. I have asked each volunteer to let me know a place in Bankside which holds a special significance for them, and we have done the photoshoots in their ‘special place’. The Crossbones Memorial Garden was chosen by Jesse both as a lovely place where he can indulge his love of nature, but also because he is concerned that trans people are often not buried as they would like to be buried, and this chimes with the history of the Garden.”
 
July Events at Crossbones
Blessings and Bards, Sunday 24th July, 1230pm – 330pm
A free event unique to Crossbones Graveyard, the event encompasses an Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration from the Dean of Southwark to those buried at the site. Following the blessing, local champions of Crossbones Graveyard share songs, music and poetry led by George of Peckham.
12:30pm: Meet at Southwark Cathedral with a walk to Crossbones Graveyard.
12:45pm: Arrival at Crossbones Graveyard.
1pm: Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration by the Dean of Southwark.
2pm-330pm: Bards (songs, music and poetry).
Many thanks to our volunteer wardens for enabling this event by opening the Graveyard.
Booking: No need to book but due to the limited space, please come early to secure admittance.
This event is free and open to all, wheelchair accessible. Dogs on leads welcome.
 
Community biodiversity day, Monday 25th July, 1-5pm
Hannah, a Crossbones volunteer who is also undertaking a PhD in Psychosocial Studies, inspired by Crossbones, is leading this workshop for the local community to get involved in monitoring biodiversity on site at Crossbones, supported by Jon Best, Senior Ecologist at Southwark Council. This is an opportunity to learn new skills in a relaxed environment, taking a close and sustained look at the ecology of the garden. We will also look to thicken our understanding of the garden’s ecology by engaging with multiple ways of knowing it, through exploring the stories, memories and sensations that are tangled up with plants and critters. More details to follow in the July bulletin.
 
Crossbones gardening
(full bulletin shows photo of) some of my inexpert attempts to capture the bees in action at Crossbones on our Jerusalem Sage, Lavender, Mallow and Alkanet. The latter two are considered ‘weeds’ in other gardens but a walk around Crossbones will make you understand why we keep them here! If you’d like to know more about the importance of weeds for wildlife, please do save the date for Hannah’s community biodiversity day (see above).
 
Thanks again to our wonderful team of volunteer gardeners who take care of the Graveyard every Friday 12-2pm.
 
Welcoming new Community Gardener, Matt – also our new Crossbones Engagement Manager!
We’re delighted to say that Barney, our current Community Gardener, has accepted a new position with BOST as our Green Hub Facilitator, empowering communities across SE1 (north Lambeth and Southwark) to improve their local spaces whilst learning new skills. I know our volunteer gardeners will be sad not to see Barney at Crossbones every Friday, but he’s still very much at BOST – even more so! – so you’ll see him again in another guise!
 
From July, Matt joins us as our new Community Gardener and, along with our regular community gardening groups on other sites, will be leading the Crossbones Friday gardening group from July onwards. We were excited to discover that Matt also possessed all the skills and experience necessary to engage even more of the community; he has now also agreed to join the BOST team as our part-time Crossbones Engagement Manager. Coincidentally, Masters student Meg approached BOST a couple of months ago; as part of her dissertation, she will be creating a community archive that includes documenting both past and future iterations of the site. This archive will be invaluable to Matt and eventually everyone involved at Crossbones. Thank you Meg! And welcome to Matt!
 
If you’d like to volunteer your time as a Crossbones warden or gardener or help in another way , please get in contact: hej@bost.org.uk
 
Crossbones Opening hours
Welcome to new volunteer warden Sharon – and also to Meg (mentioned above) who joins our warden team! Crossbones is open Wed, Thurs, Fri 12-2pm and some weekends when our fantastic volunteer wardens are available. If you’d like to become a warden, and help us extend our opening hours, please let me know (hej@bost.org.uk)
 
Donations
Thanks to the generosity of our visitors, and our wardens for opening the garden, we received £146 of on-site donations during May.
 
Crossbones Vision detailed design and construction workshops
I know there are many new subscribers since the last bulletin, so I’ll bring you up to speed on these workshops! We’ve hosted the first five of a series of workshops, in collaboration with U+I (the developer responsible for the Liberty of Southwark development next to Crossbones and who will one day be our new landlord) which will explore how we create our Vision for Crossbones, and help to ensure that contractors working on site do so with sensitivity.
 
Our first workshop (Friday 12th November 2021) was held at the Liberty of Southwark site which is next to Crossbones. MOLA Archaeologist Antonietta gave us a talk about the fascinating discoveries made on the site. You can follow the dig here.
 
The second workshop (Saturday 27th November 2021) looked at the proposed construction of the boundaries on site. Sculptor Adrian joined us and shared his experience of metalworking and we looked at ways of involving the community in both the design of the boundaries and possibly even contribute to the features on the boundaries through community workshops. You can read the notes from the workshop here.
 
Note that the ribboned railings/’gates’ did not form part of the Boundaries workshop and will not be forming part of the Crossbones enhancements. TfL states:
“TfL have reviewed the ribboned gates and advised that there are no urgent works to be undertaken.”
 
The third workshop (Saturday 4th December 2021) looked at the proposed structures on site: new ramps, a new goosewing shelter to mirror the existing one, as well as new shelters. You can read the notes here.
Volunteer warden Simon gave a talk on the history of ramps and shared his thought-provoking poem Wheel, which details his experience of the city as a wheelchair user.
Joel from YesMake was on hand to answer questions and listen to ideas about what the new ramps and shelters should be like.
 
The fourth workshop (Friday 14th Jan 2022) looked at surfacing on site and a little more at the new ramps and steps. You can read the notes here and the accompanying drawings here and here.
 
The fifth workshop (Friday 11th Feb 2022) recapped on the surfacing and also looked at Events and Visitor circulation and we looked at storage, seating and proposed new planting. You can read the notes here and the accompanying drawings here.
 
The last workshop will likely be arranged sometime during the summer – we’ll be looking at a summary of our discussions.
 
Crossbones Vigil
Don’t forget that the Crossbones Vigil, held by Friends of Crossbones is on 23rd of every month at 7pm outside the gates on Redcross Way. You can also join the Vigil via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person. Just login to your Zoom account or link on the link here.
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240
Passcode 377295
For more information about the history of the Vigils, see: www.crossbones.org.uk.
 
This month’s Crossbones recipe: Gluten-free Vegan rainbow cookies
My family have had this recipe for years, and love making these at home anytime of the year. If you can’t find Vegan rainbow coloured sweets, then chocolate chips will be fine. We often put a dash of food colouring in the dough for extra rainbow.
Ingredients
100g vegan spread (palm-oil free)
100g brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
140g self raising gluten free flour
1/2tsp xanthum gum (makes less crumbly but don’t worry of you don’t have it)
100g choc vegan rainbow sweets / chocolate chips / chopped chocolate
Method
Beat spread, sugar and syrup until creamy. Add half the flour. Then mix together the vegan rainbow chocolates/ chopped chocolate, and squish everything together with your fingers until you get a firm dough. Divide into 15 and roll into balls. Place on greased baking trays (grease proof paper works best) and squish down slightly. Bake for 10-12 mins until golden at the edges. Cool on a wire rack – they firm up when cold – great for tea dunking!
 
Got an idea?
As always, the best way to ‘weave Crossbones into the fabric of SE1’ is to get people involved on site. If you have an idea for an event, installation, tour, or other activity / initiative, I’d be delighted if you would get in contact with me via email, phone, WhatsApp, Signal etc. I’m also aiming to be on site most Fridays 12pm-2pm when the gardening team is there, so let me know if you have a positive way of spreading the Crossbones story, and you’d like to speak to me in person.
 
Liberty of Southwark development
For those of you receiving this bulletin for the first time, the Liberty of Southwark development is the one adjacent to Crossbones and an exciting archaeological dig is currently being undertaken.
Many of you will have heard the recent and exciting discoveries made in February 2022 and may even have been lucky enough to attend a tour on site and see the tremendous Roman mosaic which has received a huge amount of publicity.
You can also view the blog here and contact with the developer directly for information about the works on the site: henriettanowne@uandiplc.com.
 
Best wishes
Hej and the team at Bankside Open Spaces Trust”
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