November 23, 2020 06:45 PM London
The 198th 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 on 23rd November 1996.
So this night is the 24th (23+1) anniversary of The Goose’s revelations, when we celebrate The Goose and her works. It also marks a full year since John Crow conducted his last Vigil; the Magical Collective carried on the unbroken tradition.
For more than 16 years, at 7pm on the 23rd of every month, we’ve gathered to hold the Vigil at the gates / shrine in Redcross Way. During the past months, the Vigils have been held ‘on the Astral’, with many of us tuning in from all over the world, creating our own altars and conducting the rituals in our homes. Diverse Friends of Crossbones have livestreamed the Vigil and encouraged others to do likewise.
This month, Mark Juhan will be doing the honours, with Jacqueline Bee Durban in the Zoom studio bringing us in to play our parts.
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.” (1)
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.
For Goose Night, we read from ‘The Book of The Goose’ revealed by The Goose to John Crow on 23rd November 1996. As a Goose Rhapsode, 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.” (2)
“Goose may you never be hungry!
Goose may you never be thirsty!
Goose may your Spirit fly free!” (3)
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”.
Throughout lockdown, some rebel spirits have been informally gathering “in body” to hold Vigils at the gates in Redcross Way. The Crossbones page isn’t involved in this. It’s heartening to know that the tradition is unbroken, though at present we don’t encourage crowds to gather at the gates. If you feel the need to be there on the night, remember you’re responsible for your own health and for others. Please practice social distancing and take sensible precautions.
In shining emptiness.
Footnotes: original texts used in the Vigil
(1) “Here lay your hearts…” from The Southwark Mysteries by John Constable (Oberon Books)
(2) “Life. Health. Happiness. Open pathways…” from Mensagem do Caboclo by Baixinha
(3) Unconditional Goose blessing
Photograph by Max Crow Reeves: Shrine to the Outcast Dead, Cross Bones gates, 23rd November 2016