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Day 92 – Crossbones vigil

January 23, 2010

for a second week, I’ve been granted a Jewish Shabbat – respite from the labours of Mystery Play PRODUCTION – a chance to be still and reflect, to be at the heart of The Southwark Mysteries…

And where better to reconnect? – with the heartland, the Muse, The Goose. Where better to let John Crow out for another magic 23rd?

The Red Gates, Red Cross Way, London SE1, our people’s shrine to the outcast dead at the gates of the medieval Crossbones graveyard.

Where The Goose revealed The Southwark Mysteries to John Crow on the 23rd November 1996, and on many a 23rd thereafter.

30 or more Friends of Crossbones  gathered for the monthly vigil.  A good turn out – for a little back street in south London at 7pm on a Saturday night.

Pete, a seasoned Samurai, and new friend John don the fluorescent yellow tabards to take on the Samurai stewarding duties and do a fine job from keeping us off the road even in the throes of mystical ecstasy.

Plenty of regulars: Crow and kaos, Jennifer, Ali, Lisa, Jon, Kevin, Noyumi, Sarah, Andy, Rosie, James, Hester, Pete and Irene.  Quite a few first timers: pagan Mark, students on a ‘Remembrance’ project: Victoria, Claire.  Some old friends returned: Jonathan C.  and Rainbow Lizzie who asks “Where’s Uncle Ion.”

Recovering, we trust, in St Thomas’ Hospital. Ion has been at every 23rd since he connected with us at Halloween two years ago. We hold him in our thoughts during the silent candlelit vigil, and focus on healing – and prayers for the people of Haiti.

Out of the deep silence Irene sings: “Mercy” accompanying herself on an autoharp. It is followed by an even deeper silence, everyone very moved.

Silence being a relative term, just down from London Bridge, with trains clanking over the railway bridge at the top end of Redcross Way, every few minutes – and between the  ringing of Southwark Cathedral bells… An inner silence, communion…

‘Hear lay your hearts your flowers your Book of Hours
Your fingers your thumbs your Miss-You-Mums…’

performed as ever five times, as an echo prayer, with flowers, ribbons, totems tied to the gate. KateE hung a delicate circle of white fabric flowers.

John Crow then incorporated to speak freely on the pagan festival of Imbolc, and the Christian Candlemass, the Purification of the Virgin, and the reawkening of the Invisible Garden on the site of the old burial ground. Everyone joined the channelled invocation:

‘Bridie, I am here with my Goose feather quill
To trace the lucent songs of the Ancients…
Bridie, I am here with the chalice and snake
To receive and transmit your healing benediction…
Bridie, I am here  with the bellows and tongues
To tend your sacred fire of transformation…’

And called out our own dead to be honoured: Arvind, who made the first film about Crossbones with Andy Lock… Wayland, Zoe’s dad… Fraser Clark… And John Joyce, the actor who played the Bishop of Winchester in The Southwark Mysteries back in 2000, whose ashes are now scattered here on Crossbones – Bishop reunited with his Goose! – may the pathways be open!

And we all called out the Open Pathways.

Aileen said her remembrance for the living outcast.

We ended with the ritual sealing of the circle of gin and the Goose blessing:

‘Goose may you never be hungry!
Goose may you never be thirsty!
Goose may your spirit fly free.’

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