GRAIL – The Glastonbury Mysteries and The Poetic Vision

Saturday 8th April at 15.30

John Constable aka John Crow delves into his latest esoteric work, Grail, to explore how this living agency of transformation can manifest in our inner and outer worlds. This talk / performance traces its origins in the Celtic Cauldron of Inspiration infused with medieval Christian mysticism. John deconstructs the text most closely identified with Glastonbury, the problematic High History of The Holy Grail. He highlights the power of the Poetic Vision to transform the physical world, and the perils of literalism, of seeking to define or explain The Grail within a single paradigm whereby ‘the key to The Mysteries becomes the lock, the block’. Together we approach the enigmatic question to be asked at the serving of The Grail: ‘Whom does it serve?’ The answer cannot be framed by analytical reason. John will perform several of his magical spells and invocations which seek to point beyond meaning to the ineffable, infinite interconnected consciousness of Being Itself.

John Constable is a playwright, poet and performer. His plays includes Gormenghast, The Southwark Mysteries (Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral), I Was An Alien Sex God 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 work to music by 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 other symposia, he has held ceremonies at festivals and sacred sites around the world. He now lives in Glastonbury.

Part of the LEGEND CONFERENCE
8th, 9th and 10th April 2023
https://www.thelegendconference.com/

Join 15 speakers worldwide for three days in Glastonbury, renowned as a land of myth, legend and earth mysteries.

Advance book and get 20% discount using the code ‘crow’ (that’s crow – lower case without the quotation marks).

 

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

Cross Bones Vigil

Tursday 23rd February 2023 at 7pm
The shrine at the Red Gates in Redcross Way

At 7pm on the 23rd of every month since June 2004, we’ve gathered at the gates 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 on 23rd November 1996. John conducted the Vigils until 23rd November 2019, since when they have been held by Jennifer, Mark and others.

The February Vigil can also be viewed live on Zoom (later uploaded to YouTube and Facebook)
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85624178240
Meeting ID: 856 2417 8240   Passcode: 377295

For updates on forthcoming Vigils, click here to subscribe to Jennifer’s VIGIL AUNTY newsletter:

BOST Crossbones e-bulletin


The December e-Bulletin incudes:

  • Congrats and Thank You’s
    • Especially to TransAngel sculptors Svar & Lola!
  • Upcoming Events
    • Twelfth Night Wassail (1pm, 8 Jan)
    • Event volunteers required – get in touch
    • Construction Work Update from LandSec (End of Summer 2023)
  • A Word from Matt Wilcock – Crossbones Engagement Manager and Community Gardener
  • John Constable’s (John Crow’s) latest release – Ancestor Souls
    https://johncrowandqueenspacebaroque.bandcamp.com/album/ancestor-souls

For more details sign up for the free bulletin on this page: https://www.bost.org.uk/crossbones-graveyard

Sex Workers Tarot

A beautiful, affirming, unexpected gift in the post. Sally Davies’ hand-made Sex Workers Tarot Books (Major and Minor Arcana). A true labour of love, with Sally’s short poems interwoven with historical tales of exemplary Sex Workers illuminating every card.

She’s based The Pope (Psychopomp) on old John Crow, linking this card with Cross Bones and the Winchester Geese. (She did Crow’s Urban Magic workshop and connected powerfully with the Goose and Crow Mysteries.)

 

 

Thank you, Sally. May the creation of your Tarot pack be realised.

Sally has so far hand-made the two books. She ultimately intends to publish them together with a newly designed Tarot deck. If anyone knows somehow who could help realise this sacred work, please contact us with suggestions to pass

Photos by Katy Kaos

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:
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