When? 7pm on 23rd April 2020. Where? Wherever you are.
At 7pm on the 23rd of every month since June 2004, we’ve gathered in the street by the Crossbones shrine in Redcross Way – 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 on 23rd November 1996. Our St George’s Day Vigil is traditionally one of our best attended Vigils, in which we honour George as an international patron, a healing energy and a protector of spiritual works..
Last month, 23rd March 2020, because of the restrictions on public gatherings, we couldn’t be there in the flesh. However, people from all over the world participated in Spirit, conducting the simple ritual acts in their own homes. We invite you all to do so again on 23rd April.
Here’s our basic ‘order of service’ – with opening, 3 ritual observances and closing. Create your own ‘street altar’ and be with us in Spirit. Like this:
1. Opening (on the stroke of 7pm)
Light a candle, incense, libation to the Goose. Ring seven chimes.
Say: ‘Spirits of The Dead, Spirits of the Living, Kindred. Welcome!’
2. Holding the Light (and the Dark)
Hold a candle for one minutes silence as you stand in shining emptiness. Imagine you’re lighting the open pathways for all beings to fulfill their most intimate aspirations.
3. “Binding and loosing”
Imagine tying a ribbon to the shrine at Crossbones Gates. Invest the ribbon with all that you would wish for yourself, and as you tie the ribbon, release that blessing for others. “See” the ribbons flutter in the wind.
Say 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,
4. Bardic offerings to The Goose
Perform a short poem or song from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, or something of your own dedicated to The Goose. Know that, whoever, wherever, you are, Goose be with you!
Close the ceremony with a libation and a sip of gin (if you have some and fancy a nip). 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 our friends and family,
for all our Brothers and Sisters,
for The Goose and The Crow,
and for all Humanity.
May it be so.”
“Goose may you never be hungry!
Goose may you never be thirsty!
Goose may your Spirit fly free!”
And so she does…
When conducting the ritual, the aim is to get out of the way, allowing The Goose to work her magic through you. It helps to cultivate a state of “shining emptiness”, especially during the holding of the light. In this empty state, allow all sounds, sights, smells and other sense impressions to arise and vanish, with nothing for anything to attach to.
Over the fifteen and more years that I conducted the ceremony in my John Crow persona, I sometimes had to let go of whatever personal anxieties or anguish I was carrying. I found it helpful to remind myself that “I am Nothing. Thou Art!” – that it wasn’t me doing it, but John Crow and that he was there simply to serve The Goose and all Spirits, incarnate and disincarnate, who may be communing with us.
Since 23rd November 2019, when I handed on the hosting of the Vigils to a Magical Collective of Friends of Crossbones, I said that whoever facillitates this ritual, irrespective of gender, is the ‘John Crow’. If it helps you to get out of the way, please feel free to be the John Crow – and remember, at the heart of our work is play!
Goose be with us!