At 7pm on the 23rd of every month since 23rd June 2004, we’ve conducted the Crossbones 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.
Our last four ‘lockdown’ Vigils have been held ‘on the Astral’ with people tuning in from all over the world, creating their own altars and conducting the rituals in their own homes. You’re warmly invited to do so again on 23rd July.
This month is traditionally our Isis-Magdalene Vigil. Around this time in Ancient Egypt, the Goddess Isis was honoured, along with other members of the Divine pantheon. The rites of Isis, who literally ‘re-membered’ the body of her murdered and mutilated brother-husband Osiris, are reiterated in ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ and in the July Crossbones Vigil.
The 22nd July is Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day. At Crossbones we celebrate her both in her orthodox form as the ‘Apostle of the Apostles’ and in her Gnostic manifestations as the disciple to whom Jesus imparted his secret teachings. ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ places itself in an oral tradition of hermetic teachings passed down by Mary Magdalene, transmitted by the actors and whores of the Southwark ‘Liberty’.
If you’re conducting your own Vigil, you may like to perform parts of ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ that relate directly to Isis or Mary, an appropriate text from the Nag Hammadi Gospels, or the New Testament scene where Mary encounters the risen Christ “supposing him to be the gardener” (John 20:15).
Once again, here’s our basic ‘order of service’ for every 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 this act of mutual healing taking place within a single, undivided consciousness.
Remind yourselves that Crossbones is a pauper’s graveyard, the final resting place for the sex workers (Wichester Geese) who worked in brothels owned and licensed by the Bishop of Wichester in Southwark’s ‘Liberty of the Clink’. Thanks to our work 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. 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,
4. Bardic offerings.
Perform a short poem/song/text from ‘The Southwark Mysteries’ inspired by and / or dedicated to Isis / Mary Magdalene. Or another text relevant to them and their festivals.
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…