The latest issue of Vigil Aunty, the monthly Crossbones newsletter by Jennifer Cooper and Natalie, with a report on Imbolc and last months Vigil and details of the next Vigil for The Outcast at the gates / shrine in Redcross Way: Friday 23rd February at 7pm
The January edition of Jennifer Cooper‘s ‘Vigil Aunty’ includes a report on the visit of The Lions Part and The Green Man for Twelfth Night Wassail.
It also gives details of the next Vigil to be held on 23rd January 2024.
This is traditionally the Crossbones ‘Portal to Imbolc’ (the fire festival dedicated to Bridie or Brighid) when we collectively say:
‘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.’
(‘Imbolc’ from ‘Grail’ by John Constable aka Crow)
At each January Vigil since the death of David Bowie, we enshrine and honour him as our ‘Angel of the Outcast’.
For more information, please click on link below:
Open pathways to all beings on this blessed Goose Night!
27 years ago this very night, John Constable (aka John Crow) had a vision of The Goose, the spirit of a medieval sex worker, licensed by a Bishop but allegedly buried in unconsecrated ground. In the vision The Goose revealed her Secret History and esoteric teachings, and led John Crow to the site of south London’s Cross Bones Graveyard. The revelation grew into ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, Constable’s epic cycle of poems, songs and Mystery Plays, performed in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral in 2000 and 2010. It also inspired John Crow’s 23 year magical work at Cross Bones, which led to the burial ground being reclaimed as sacred ground, with a shrine and a garden of remembrance for sex workers and outcasts.
JC writes: “27 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! Goose Night. Thursday 23rd November 2023
Becket’s, High Street, Glastonbury. 7.30 pm for 8pm start.
Free. All welcome.
In this talk on the 27th anniversary of the original ‘Goose Night’ John will relate the strange but true story and take us deeper into The Goose’s teachings and practice. He’ll tell how The Goose brought him to Glastonbury, where he’s working with Her to amplify the London-Glastonbury ‘head-heart’ current envisioned by Dion Fortune. John will be exploring aspects of The Goose as an agency and channel of the Divine Feminine and how his reception and transmission of her differs from traditional Western notions of mediumship.
We’ll see how Goose and Crow Magic works to re-pattern the world, making subtle changes in the fabric of reality. The talk will be illustrated by the performance of selected verses from The Southwark Mysteries, which John Crow uses to induce trance-states and to journey between the worlds.
more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/301507465971940/
JC: “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. So…”
Also tonight (23/11/2023) at the gates of Cross Bones Graveyard in south London and on Zoom:
*in person and virtually*
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240
Our monthly 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 Bee in the Zoom studio, bringing us in to play our parts, and by persons yet unknown in IRL.
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,
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.
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.
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 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 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”.
In shining emptiness and wishing us all a blessed turning of the seasonal wheel.
‘All at Crossbones’
You can order ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ direct from the publisher: https://www.bloomsbury.com/…/southwark-mysteries…/
For ‘Grail’ and John Costable’s other books, and for the new album ‘Ancestor Souls’, please DM via contact page for more details.
Photo by Max Crow Reeves: John Crow conducts the Cross Bones Vigil
Tuesday 31st October at 7.45pm in St Benedict’s Church, Glastonbury (doors open 7.30pm)
‘Here the veil between the worlds dissolves: the living, the dead,
share the brew, break the bread, Ancestor Souls converse and commune, this Samhain night…’
A healing ritual drama in theatre, music, poetry and inclusive ceremony performed by John Crow with his special guests William Kraemer, Maxine Dubois, Franck Alba, Mx Stevie and Sandra Tena Cole, Sieben Krüsel – and The Chaired Bard of Ynys Witrin, Johanna van Fessem. Special late guest singer: Jenny Bliss.
This performance by John Crow (John Constable) features work from The Southwark Mysteries and Grail. It evolved out of ‘The Halloween of Cross Bones’ rituals and the 23-year magical work at Cross Bones Graveyard and the ‘Ancestor Souls’ concerts (2021-22) with Queen Space Baroque.
Tickets: £12 on door (cash only). Advance tickets: £10 (cash) from Man Myth and Magik, Glastonbury. Or online (card) from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/this-samhain-night-tickets-716487181447
Photo shows John Constable aka John Crow conducting The Halloween of Cross Bones, Cross Bones Graveyard, London SE1, 31st October 2016. Photo by The Photography of Max Reeves
Sunday 23rd July 2023
in honour of St Mary Magdalene and the Women of Cross Bones…
In The Garden (entrance Union Street)
1-2pm: The Blessings: ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ conducted by The Dean of Southwark
2-4pm: The Bards: poetry, music and songs inspired by Cross Bones, including performances from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ by John Constable (John Crow). Hosted by George of Peckham.
Free but space is limited. Book your free place here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/…/blessing-and-bards-2023…
At The Gates (the Shrine in Redcross Way)
7pm: The 229th Cross Bones Vigil for the Outcast now into its 20th year of consecutive monthly Vigils. 23rd July is the Vigil associated with our annual Isis-Magdalene festival. The 23rd July 2023 is the date prophesied in 1996 in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ for Her Goose Apocalypse. Goose willing, John Crow will perform ‘The Book of The Goose’ (as recorded on the night of 23rd Novemeber 1996). Hosted by Jenn of Clapham
Free. No need to book. Just show up with an open heart
The writer John Constable changed it for the scansion and to reflect the female nature of the Revelation. However, it’s there in black and white, as prophesied by The Goose 26 years and 8 months ago.
Inspired by Frank Turner’s song, which was in turn inspired by our works at Cross Bones Graveyard, Reverb Theatre have written and produced a new play called “The Graveyard Of The Outcast Dead”.
It’s being performed on July 15th at the Cross Bones Graveyard and then heading to Edinburgh Festival Fringe as well. Catch it if you can.
Sat 27th May – Urban Flora Trail at Crossbones Graveyard
We’re inviting you to take a self-guided garden trail around Crossbones Graveyard. See what you can find growing and hear more about the garden’s history from our Crossbones volunteer wardens. This event can be enjoyed by all and is suitable for children. No need to book. While you are at Crossbones on
27 May, you can also catch:
“Playing Alone with a Fox Inside a Cocoon: 繭の中で狐と二人遊び” by Todome da Fox (Noe Iwai) from 12-2pm
A unique piece of art performed around Crossbones Graveyard’s Mizuko Jizo statues.
Words from the artist – Todome da Fox:
“In Japan, for a long time people have used Buddhist ceremonies called a Water Child Memorial Service, or Mizuko Kuyo (水子供養) to pray for the unborn.
“The Mizuko Jizo (water child statue) is a Jizo (statue) that teaches us the importance and preciousness of life as well as the awareness of a life that could not be born.
“These also stand to recognise the grief and the loss of those who did not meet the life they formed. Since I was a small child, I visited the graves with my family and paternal relatives every summer during the Obon Festival (Obon – お盆) and New Year holidays.
“There is a Mizuko Jizo grave next to the graves of my ancestors in Hiroshima. Compared to the UK, whilst Japanese culture takes great lengths to remember unborn lives – it lags behind culturally when speaking openly about reproductive rights. For example. it’s not commonplace to speak and educate minors about contraception and safe sex. Unborn lives are greatly memorialized, but there is still a lack of commitment to protecting the welfare of women’s bodies in society.
“My mother once told me I had a twin brother when I was a child, so I have lived my life with the thought that I am living it for both of us. This performance will explore the duality of our existence, the act of remembering a life that is left to begin – and the thorny history of women’s bodies and reproductive rights.
“In my performance work, I often draw from Japanese mythology and kabuki theater – which typically excludes women from the practice. Through this work, I’d like to offer a feminist exploration of grief and memory that exists within the complex culture of Japanese tradition.”
Mizuko Jizo statues at Crossbones Graveyard
Crossbones Graveyard has its own Mizuko Jizo, which we installed after being approached by several parents who had experienced baby loss asking for a space in the garden. It was suggested that this space should be created following the Japanese tradition of Mizuko kuyo – a Buddhist ceremony for those who have had a miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion – Mizuko Jizo statues are part of this tradition.
Our statues were created by local Bermondsey stone craftsman Josh Locksmith and are based on a painting of Buddhist deity Jizo, believed to be responsible for transporting unborn babies or children to the other world. The god is depicted making the Buddhi mudra, a hand gesture made to improve mental clarity and communication. In the hand is the ‘jewel of wisdom’, which in Buddhist faith helps people to understand themselves and others and their place in the universe.
The May edition of Jennifer Cooper’s ‘Vigil Aunty’ newsletter features news of the May 23rd Vigil.
23rd April 2023
Jennifer Cooper produces this monthly ‘Vigil Aunty’ newsletter. Together with Mark Juhan, Jenn has been instrumental in keeping the Crossbones Vigils going since John Crow bowed out in 2019. The latest issue gives details of the St George’s Day Vigil and explains why the 23rd April is such a significant date in the Crossbones calendar. Aside from being St George’s Day (George and an irrepressible Welsh Dragon make a welcome return to this year’s Vigil), it’s also the date of the premiere of ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ on 23rd April 2000 in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral. John Constable’s play set Cross Bones Graveyard at the very heart of the Mysteries. So, a 23rd anniversary!
Good to see how the outcasts’ graveyard and our work there since 1996 has embedded itself in the history and living culture of London. You can attend the Vigil in person at the gates in Redcross Way (gather 6.45 to begin on the stroke of 7pm) or join the online Zoom gathering – full details at end of newsletter.