Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration at Cross Bones Graveyard

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Sunday 18th July 2021

The Dean of Southwark performs the Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration on Cross Bones Graveyard. This special service, conducted for the past seven years on the Sunday closest to St Mary Magdalene’s Day, blesses the outcast dead and our holy ground of Cross Bones. And all abused women. This SE1 youtube film (17 mins) is very moving – especially when The Dean scatters holy water and the incense is censed. It ends with Mark Juhan thanking ‘the guys from The Cathedral’ then giving a fine rendition of ‘I Am The Wind’ from The Southwark Mysteries. Well done to all concerned. Proud to see Cross Bones being honoured in diverse spiritual traditions. The Goose is (well and truly) loose!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi7w-Ru5IXk

Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration

Sunday 18th July at 12.30pm in Cross Bones Graveyard and Garden of Remembrance, Union Street, London SE1

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd. Andrew Nunn, conducts a special service at Crossbones, the unconsecrated outcasts’ burial ground.
 
His ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance, Restoration’ expresses the church’s regret for the treatment of the ‘Winchester Geese’, the sex workers who worked in the Bankside brothels licensed by the Bishop of Winchester, yet were allegedly denied Christian burial. It’s also a powerful statement of the Cathedral’s support for the protection of Crossbones Garden.
 
The Dean and Southwark Cathedral Chapter will be welcomed by Mark Juhan and other friends of Cross Bones.
 
Because of the pandemic restrictions numbers are strictly limited. Please arrive in good time before 12.30pm and be gracious if you’re unable to get in.
 
Click on this link for the Order of Service: Cross Bones Act of Regret

Catch My Drift

A new short film by John Constable, author of The Southwark Mysteries, commissioned for ‘BOLD beginnings’, a season of seven short films set at the Elephant and Castle. The season begins on Monday 14th June 2021.

Book at www.ticketsource.co.uk/boldtheatre – it’s pay what you can. The booking form fills in a suggested amount but you can change it before you need to pay anything – if you’re broke you can enter £0.00 and watch for free. If you book today (14th) you’ll get to see all 7 films, each of which is about 5 minutes long.

The producer and director is Sarah Davey, director of The Southwark Mysteries, productions in 2000 and 2010.

Sarah has just launched the new BOLD creative hub at Elephant and Castle.

The films will be released one at a time from Mon 14th through to the final film on Sunday 20th June. Bookers will receive a link to the different film in their inbox each day.

John’s film, CATCH MY DRIFT, is scheduled for Thursday 17th June, though the schedule could change at short notice.

Cross Bones Garden of Remembrance – opening hours from April 12th

We’ve had many enquiries as to when the Garden of Remembrance will reopen.

Here’s the most recent update from Laura at  Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), which manages the garden:

“We plan to re-open Crossbones the week beginning 12th April, in line with lockdown relaxation. We have a limited number of volunteer wardens available so opening times will be reduced. At the moment it looks like the garden will hopefully be open on Thursdays and Fridays between 12 and 2. However as we depend on volunteers to open these times cannot be guaranteed. Hopefully as the summer progresses the garden will be open more often.”

For the latest information please telephone BOST on 020 7403 3393 or email Laura@bost.org.uk
 

Crossbones ‘saved for decades’ BBC News 23/03/2021

click here for full BBC report – Crossbones: Historical London burial ground ‘saved for decades’

The future of a historical cemetery in south London has been secured for decades following a deal reached by developers, Transport for London (TfL) and local campaigners.

A local group, Friends of Crossbones, worked to preserve the graveyard together with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), and in 2014, a public garden of remembrance was opened, dedicated to those on the margins of society.’

click here for Southwark News report – ‘Crossbones Saved: A Tribute To Our Pooer Ancestors’

‘… People also adorned the gates of the graveyard with ribbons, part of what archaeologist Don Henson called the “active commemoration” of the prostitutes who may or may not be buried at the site’.
 
“HMS Belfast and Southwark Cathedral have associations who support the work of those sites, but the heritage narrative is controlled by the owners of each site,” he wrote in the 2014 book Who Needs Experts?
 
“At Crossbones there is no site ownership or even management; there are merely acts of commemoration. As a result, Crossbones is the most affective [sic] heritage site in Southwark, even if it is the least recognised, least designated and least like a heritage asset.
 
“It is the one place in the area where purely local significance is really evoked, and where the lives of people in the past can be celebrated and remembered. Without physical structures to distract the mind, it can be a site of quiet contemplation and communion with past people.”

 

Cross Bones Vigil: Halloween Portal livestream

Since March 2020, at 7pm every 2rd, one of us have livestreamed the Cross Bones Vigil for the Outcast. These monthly virtual Vigils have each embodied their own unique spells and sigils. Along with the live rituals and a cornucopia of bardic offerings, this one includes a short film from the early days and Frank Turner’s song ‘The Graveyard of the Outcast Dead’. For Crow and Kaos, this 23rd October Vigil perfectly expressed the spiritual forms of Cross Bones, with all of us communing in mind, heart and spirit to evoke The Goose on the Astral. Thanks to everyone who gave so completely of themslves, and especially to Bee for bringing us all in and out with such grace and lightness of touch – such a natural charismatic screen presence – our Mistress of Technowitchery! 🙂 The Goose is loose! ❤📷
https://www.facebook.com/jacqueline.durban/videos/4923366541008623/

Cross Bones Vigil

Sunday 23rd August – 7pm

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.

During the past months, the Vigils have been held on ‘on the Astral’, with some of us tuning in from all over the world, creating our own altars and conducting the rituals in their our homes. For anyone who likes to tune in to a live online ritual, Mark, John and Jacqueline have livestreamed the Vigil from our own homes and altars, and encouraged other Friends of Crossbones to do likewise.

This month Autumn Stellar will be conducting the Vigil from her home altar, renewing the magical connections between Glastonbury and Crossbones. You’ll find her livestream on the facebook event page from just before 7pm on the 23rd August.

To help us all to fully participate, with or without the livestream, here’s our basic ‘order of service’ for every Vigil:

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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 can do this with the livestream, our whispering voices evoking our collective emanation.

4. Bardic offerings.
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.

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!

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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”. Practitioners are welcome to use the trick revealed by The Goose when she spoke through the mediumship of John Crow. Over the years John Crow has become strongly identified with John Constable, but anyone who chooses to can work with John Crow as an autonomous spirit, a channel for The Goose to do her healing work. In The Southwark Mysteries, The Goose makes clear that she and John Crow have been working together for centuries! So in this sense, irrespective of gender, anyone who uses the invocations and ritual forms to serve The Goose IS “the John Crow”. If it works for you, feel free to use it. If not, may you find your own way to get yourself out of the way. 😉

The Goose Is Loose.

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It’s rumoured that, even during lockdown, some rogue spirits have been informally gathering “in body” to hold Vigils at the gates in Redcross Way. We’re grateful that they have upheld the unbroken tradition going back more than 16 years. However, the Crossbones website isn’t involved in this, and at present we don’t encourage crowds to gather at the gates. If you feel you need to be there physically 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.

JC


photo: the little yew tree and The Shard cunningly captured in the Cross Bones tantric pool. Photo by Katy Kaos

Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration

The ‘Act of Regret, Remembrance and Restoration’ for the women of Crossbones performed by The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd. Andrew Nunn, 19th July 2020. The Dean has held this moving service on the nearest Sunday to St Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day every year since 2015.
Filmed by London SE1 Community Website

GOOD NEWS FOR CROSS BONES

At a LB Southwark planning meeting on 15/06/2020, the planning application for Landmark Court (TfL land adjacent to Crossbones Graveyard) was granted.

The planning committee also granted a 30-year lease to Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) for Crossbones Graveyard to be protected and maintained as a public garden of remembrance.

The existing garden will be enhanced in line with plans agreed last year following extensive consultations between the developers, BOST and a ‘Vision Group’ including many Friends of Crossbones.

Here are the main points of the planning decision as summarised by Helen John (Hej) of BOST:

“1. The lease is now inside the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 which means that BOST now has a right to renew at the end of the 30 years lease term.
2. The landlord one year break clause proposed by TfL which in effect could have removed BOST after just one year, was removed at the request of the Council so BOST now has greater security of tenure.
3. The funding for the wardens and ongoing management is secure beyond the 6 month review period, allowing BOST to adequately fund maintenance and wardening on site.
4. The legal team at Southwark have agreed to review the Other Open Spaces proposed designation to give Crossbones stronger protection under planning law.
5. The restrictive covenant – an agreement requiring the landlord not to redevelop the burial ground – which is proposed for Crossbones will also be reviewed to provide stronger protection
6. The Section 106 agreement will also attempt to ensure that there is always at least 25 years on the lease term to help BOST secure funding for events, educational programmes, workshops etc.”

” Sadly, the 299 years, or the 70 years proposed by Councillor Noakes was rejected; this would have secured Crossbones Graveyard’s future more than any other legal document. The legal advice we’ve received is that although 299 years was not granted at committee, we should never stop asking for a longer lease from TfL.”

” We now move onto the next stage of our journey, which is to enhance Crossbones, raise its profile and educate people about its importance; this more than anything else will help to secure its future. So, on we go!”

” There is still also work to be done on the detailed design for the enhancement of Crossbones, in line with the planning application and BOST looks forward to continuing to work with the developer to achieve this. We’re very much hoping that landscape architect Luke Greysmith from Cookson & Tickner landscape architects, will still be working on the scheme and as soon as I have more information I’ll let you know.”

Thanks to Hej and the BOST team, to Lucy for speaking at the planning meeting, to members of the Crossbones Forum, to all of us who put in so much work on the Vision Group and in consultation with TfL and the developers, and to all Friends of Crossbones who have contributed to our 25-year campaign that is now bearing fruit.

When we began this long journey, many thought we were deluding ourselves by thinking we could save a piece of “derelict industrial land” with an estimated development value of £30 million!

Over the past 25 years Crossbones Graveyard has become a world-famous pilgrimage site, a shrine and a garden of remembrance dedicated to sex workers, outcasts and others who have been excluded or marginalised. Now, at last, its historical, cultural and spiritual significance is enshrined in law.

JC 17/06/2020

Planning Meeting

15th June 2020 from 2pm

Southwark Councl planning meeting on a proposed development on the land adjacent to Crossbones Graveyard. The developers have given undertakings to protect and maintain the old burial ground as a garden of remembrance. We’re still waiting to now how long a lease they’ll offer to Banksdie Open Spaces Trust (BOST) who have managed Crossbones Garden since 2015.

If you want to listen in to the Planning Meeting, please contact LB Southwark for access – details in the link below (Crossbones Graveyard is item 5.1 on the agenda)

http://moderngov.southwark.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=119&MId=6674&Ver=4

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