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 Good News (maybe): the developers and the Council have agreed a scheme for the permanent public display of the Roman mausoleum and mosaics found on the site to the north of Cross Bones, site of the ongoing ‘Liberty of Southwark’ developement.
The Down Side (maybe): increase in height of buildings, two less homes, more commercial outlets. Some are calling for a more extensive display of such significant Roman finds, comparable with The Mithraeum in the Bloomsberg Building in The City of London.
full report in se1.news:
digital reconstruction of the Roman Mausoeum by MOLA
NB both these stories relate to the devlopment site to the north of Cross Bones Graveyard. As far as we know, neither has a major impact on Crossbones and its ongoing enhancement as a Garden of Remembrance.
We’ll be wecoming Brigid / Bridie during the opening circle of the community celebration in the Assembly Rooms this Saturday.
Doors open 6.30. Ritual at 7pm. (NB the door will be closed for the duration of the ritual so make sure you arrive before 7pm).
in the many come together,
in the making of The One,
in the flicker in the fire-bowl,
in the heartbeat in the drum,
in the stars that map the heavens
come guide us through the night,
come, Bridie, thrice blessed be,
in the coming of the light.
in the lamb that turns and quickens
in the belly of the ewe,
in the glimmer in the darkness
to remake our world anew,
in the beasts of the field all sniffing the air,
and your white-feathered swan in flight,
come, Bridie, thrice blessed be,
in the coming of the light.
in the songs of your bright children,
in the flowers that cleanse and heal,
in the clang of the blacksmith’s hammer,
in the turning of the wheel,
come open the portal to vision,
restore our lost second sight,
come open the sun-gate to nurture new life
in these gardens of earthly delight.
come, Bridie, thrice blessed be,
in the coming of the light.
(c) John Constable aka John Crow
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
The August issue of Vigil Aunty by Jennifer Cooper includes a report on the Blessing and Bards (with video of the ‘Act of Regret’ performed by the acting Dean of Southwark), the 23rd July Vigil and Isis-Magdalene Festival, The Goose Apocalypse as prophesied in’The Southwark Mysteries’ and yet more Crossbones lore, with details of the upcoming Vigil (as ever) at 7pm on 23rd August. To view, please cut and paste link below:
For ten years (1998 – 2008) the London Irish poet and musician Niall McDevitt was a key player in the presentation of my epic work, The Southwark Mysteries. He played John Taylor the Water Poet in the premiere of the Mystery Plays in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral and performed my ‘Goose and Crow’ poems, setting some to music, as part of a small band for the annual ritual drama The Halloween of Crossbones. These works of magical intervention and cultural activism were an integral part of the work to create the Shrine to the Outcast and the Garden of Remembrance for Sex Workers at the Cross Bones Graveyard. Niall immortalised this part of our lives in his poems The Drum and Liberty Caps (I was touched when he dedicated the latter to me) published in his first collection b/w. Back then, he liked to call himself ‘Crow’s Altar Boy’ or ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’.
Ours was a turbulent relationship, though an enduring one. As Blakeans we agreed that ‘Opposition is True Friendship’. As he emerged as a poet in his own rite (and in my estimation, il miglior fabbro) we often performed at each other’s events including On Blake’s Steps and The Dylan Celebration. I read at the launch of his Porterloo and he at the launch of my Spark In The Dark. In his last years, and especially after I left London, we didn’t see so much of one another, though the friendship and the connections remained strong. Niall died in the morning on the Feast of St Michael the Archangel. I wrote him this villanelle in tribute and performed it at his wake. Whenever I think of him it’s with immense love and gratitude for all he brought to my life, respect for his unflinching radicalism and championing of the underdog (something we shared) and above all a sense of how much fun we had being bad boy poets back in the day. Open pathways, Niall.
Crow’s Altar Boy
for Niall McDevitt
22 February 1967-29 September 2022
Crow’s Altar Boy is with us at The Feast,
The body ripped; the spirit arcing bright;
Immortal song from fragile form released.
With Crow the Cross Bones man, his outcast priest
Who fed the hungry legions of the night,
The crazed boy sang to consecrate The Feast.
They served The Goose, Her brittle bones they greased
And feathered, sang Her into flight;
Immortal song from fleeting form released.
They walked their talk, to pacify The Beast,
To open ways to worlds of pure delight;
Their mantic songs resounding at The Feast.
The boy became The Man; the song increased,
With his voice perfect pitched to Mental Fight;
Immortal song from failing form released.
I hold you here, in mind, Sun rising in the East,
Archangel Day; the dimming of the light;
The Man, complete, The Poet at his Feast;
Eternal Form, from bond and bound, released.
John Constable – aka John Crow
“…the most intact Roman mausoleum ever to be discovered in Britain” has recently been unearthed in London SE1. It’s on the site of ‘The Liberty of Southwark’, the impending development on the land to the north of the Cross Bones burial ground.
We’re on south bank of the Thames by London Bridge, the oldest and wildest part of London, going back to the Romans:
mouth stopped with a stone
in the belly of a well
in Mary Overie.
2000 Years of Empire
2000 Years of X-rated
Flesh did not defile
The Daughter of Eternity.”
(from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ by John Constable, 1999)
From the 12th to the 16th century, The Liberty of the Clink was a semi-autonomous zone, where Shakespearian theatre flowered among bear-pits and brothels and the whores were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester. This secret history and vision of Cross Bones was revealed by The Goose to John Crow on 23rd November 1996. This is related in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, where The Goose first presents Herself:
“I was born a Goose of Southwark
by the Grace of Mary Overie
whose Bishop gives me licence
to Sin within The Liberty.”
She prophesies the coming developments and foretells the unearthing of ancient magic, a Temple of Isis revealed in south London! Here The Liberty is not only historical fact; it’s also the spiritual state in which the Blakean Contraries are free to do their creative dance. This vision informed the creation of the shrine and the Cross Bones garden of remembrance for outcasts.
Some poems in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ take us back to Roman times. This one references the Latin inscription on a wine-jug found in the mudflats near London Bridge:
LONDINI AD FANUM ISIDIS
“Here Isis wept
in Thames river mud
for her children sold into bondage
in slave-mart by River of Babylon,
Queenhithe to Gropecunte Lane.”
Thus far the prospective developers have been sensitive to the history and culture of the Cross Bones site, publicly undertaking to protect and respect it, actively seeking community engagement – and even renaming their adjacent development “The Liberty”. Prior to building work, archaeologists have made some astounding discoveries – first a mosaic floor, now “the most intact Roman mausoleum ever to be discovered in Britain”.
With all those Goosey hints about Isis, has to be a Roman temple down there. To the re-membering…
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
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.
Limited edition pamphlet (8 pages plus cover):
a few remaining from 23 numbered copies: £23.
some left from 33 unnumbered copies: £10.
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 John Constable Crow to earn a pittance for his labours of love. May these works resonate in you, to open your neural pathways and inspire your own magical workings.
£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
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.
- 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)
Doors open at 6.30 for 7pm start
£8.00 – cash only please – advance tickets from Man, Myth and Magik, Market Place, Glastonbury
There will also be tickets on the door, subject to availability.
DUE TO SPACE, ADVANCE BOOKING IS RECOMMENDED.
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.