While most of you are aware of the history of Halloween (Samhain, or Sauin), its purpose, festivities, the thinned veil, etc.; you might not be aware of (or maybe a little aware) of a long standing tradition that some do, known as the Dumb Supper. Perhaps you will be inspired to include it into your Halloween Tradition here on in.
Before I begin about Dumb Supper, lets be reminded that Halloween is traditionally the best day for spiritual communicate, and visits from beyond the grave. This is considered the time that the veil is thin enough that spirits of all sorts can easily pass to and fro. It is a time that witches often welcome the visits from their dearly departed, and might seek insight and communion with their ancestors. There many ways of which a witch might do this, and one of them is a Dumb Supper. You don’t even have to be a witch to host a Dumb supper, or even partake in welcoming visits from the deceased. Either path you walk, a Dumb Supper is a great way to welcome such visits.
So what exactly is a “Dumb Supper” you might wonder? A Dumb Supper is literally a dinner for living and dead to join in. It is the dinner of honor and communion with any friends, family, ancestors that you wish to invite in on Halloween. Of course, Halloween is not the only time that you can host this kind of dinner, but it’s the most popular night, only because of how thin the veil is, of course. Other nights, might be times that it is harder for some loved ones to come through so you could run the risk of a loved one that you want there, not being able to attend.
The internet is chalk full of all sorts of ideas on how to host one of these dumb suppers. Through out the years I have tried many different methods, some more effective than others. I will share the method that I personally found most effective. You might want to give it a try, or try something different. I welcome you to even make adjustments and add some personal touches to your dumb supper, as I believe, the more personalized (rather than rigidly following some one else’s structure, the better it will work for you.) It also helps a lot if you have a natural aptitude like medium-ship, but this isn’t necessary. Remember, a dumb supper is always done in silence, hence the word ”dumb”.
Moving on, here is a method that might greatly help enhance your dumb supper…
Any dinner that comes out grand is usually well prepared in advance. This one is no different. First, decide who you are going to invite, both living and dead. You can invite some of your pets that you loved too! Next consider what were foods that the living and the dead liked. Sometimes, you can recall a get together with the deceased as a group at a function and found they all liked a particular dip, or dinner plate there. Your departed grand mother may have been a huge fan of swedish fish. Perhaps your great Uncle always enjoyed a beer. Maybe you are inviting a cat that loved tuna fish as a treat. Before long, you should have some kind of list that includes a variety of foods. Don’t go crazy though and buy up every single thing that you knew the deceased liked, nor do you have to pick a favorite food for every deceased person you are inviting. If you are inviting a lot of them this can get crazy and wasteful. After all, the deceased isn’t actually going to be eating the food, it is merely going to attract them and let them experience a dinner once again, where something they liked was served. So it’s acceptable and practical to even pick some dishes that are universally enjoyable, like mashed potatoes or something, plus better on the budget.
After you’ve done your guest list and menu, move onto selecting artifacts to put around the room and on the table. See if you can find some photos, and personal items the deceased owned at one time. If you can not access a photo and have no personal artifacts, then think of something that you knew they owned and liked. Maybe your great grand mother loved to knit, so you can get a set of knitting needles. Maybe you decided to invite your great uncle and you heard he was a fisherman, so get some fishing lures. If you decided you wanted to generally invite ancestors, perhaps you can put up the family crest, or try to find some period items at an antique or consignment shop, or both. One thing that always seems to work in case of ancestors is period money, which you can often get cheap, or empty bottles or tins.
Lastly, you will want some things for aesthetic purposes, such as candles, scented or not, flowers, or other types of decorations. I have found that aesthetics do enhance anything I do, whether it’s a ritual, spell casting, seance, or something like this. Also, it’s very helpful to have a set of bells, as these can be chimed when calling your guests to dinner. I have found that spirits are pretty responsive to this. I also set my black mirrors up to aid in it, but having other types of table mirrors, surely can help too. In fact, anything you normally use with your spirit work, should definitely be included in all this, which ever these might be. Another thing spirits tend to be receptive too is a little bit of tobacco and a nip of good whiskey, so be sure to set these too on the table or near by.
On the day of the dumb supper, take some extra time to set the table you will be using. You want it to look nice, like you put some care into it. Set any photos directly on the table, especially closer to the plate or plates you will use for the deceased. When it comes to how many places to set for the deceased, I have found one seat, plate, glass and set of silverware perfectly sufficient, opposed to trying to set up a bunch of spots. Put the extra artifacts on the table or surrounding tables or areas in a decorative fashion, including items you use when working with spirits. After this, go ahead and prepare your meal, which can be as elaborate or complex as you desire, as I have found, this didn’t matter much. I have done a dumb supper with just pizza (which everyone I know that passed liked a lot, and cake, which none were ever adverse of either.)
Now everything is done, you are ready. At this point, gather the items you use for spirit work, start using them in a manner to draw the spirits in. Call out vocally the names of the live people first that are invited, if any. Next, call out the names of the deceased that you have invited, but at this point, when you do it, chime the bells as you call them forward letting them know that dinner is ready. I found it helps at this point to also stand behind the chair designated for them. If there are ancestors you don’t know their names but wanted them there anyways then just say, something like ”all my ancestors, come forth, dinner is ready” as you chime the bell. After you have called everyone forward, do a small opening speech that you wrote about how everyone is gathered here together in communion with honored guests from beyond, everyone be seated and enjoy.
After that speech and the dinner officially started, there should be no talking at all from the living. This entire dinner should be kept in silence. You as the host should light the candles, if not already done, and be up serving the dinner on everyone’s plate including a little portion on the plate set for the deceased. For them, set the tobacco by their plate as well as pour the whiskey into a small glass. After all is served, be seated and join. Sometimes the living guests may want something like butter passed to them. To prevent them from accidentally speaking, leave flash cards with pens by everyone’s place so they can write what they need passed to them. If you are alone, none of this is a problem.
What to expect during the dinner
While you are eating, pay attention to the surroundings. The most common things you should be experiencing at this point is the sense that there is a presence in the room. You should start feeling the feelings you use to get when some of these particular loved ones were around you in life. You might even start smelling the smell they use to give off. Often you will feel drops in room temp or in spots, or feeling touched or poked by unseen hands. If the deceased speak at this point, you will suddenly hear a statement pop in your mind, usually sounding just like a certain loved one, tone of voice and all. Past memories with some of them, even memories you forgot about are likely to start coming back in bits and pieces or floods of them during this time. If ancestors were invited, you will hear sentences out of no where in your mind, but you won’t recognize the voice or tone. Its not uncommon to start feeling a rush of a breeze at times either. It is not too likely that you will see full bodied apparitions appear, your loved ones are still trying not to frighten you, so don’t expect dramatics; however, you might notice a shadow or other type of anomaly. It is not uncommon to notice something in peripheral, or fleeting in the mirror. You are also likely to start feeling the vibe you’d get when a certain person was present. This vibe is hard to explain but you will know it when it happens. ***With a successful Dumb Supper, you should at least be experiencing some of these things. Some suppers yield stronger results than others, not necessarily everything on this list of what to expect, but maybe some of them a lot stronger or longer in duration. This method, including the list I will give following on what to avoid is the one that has yielded the strongest results for me. But you might want to test out a few methods you research to figure out which one is best for you.
When Dinner is completely over, stand up, chime the bell and do a small speech about dinner being complete, everyone may now commence with talking, thank the living for attending, then thank the departed for being the honorable guests that attended and let them know that they are welcome to stick around and be part of the after dinner company til they feel it is time to leave just like any other guests. I find that some stick around for a bit longer, others leave pretty quickly, they tend to follow the habits they did in life. Now clean off the table, but leave the artifacts for a little while longer. (Hopefully the live guests are helping you) then engage in what you would normally do when company is over. If you don’t have company then just do what you regularly do from there on in.
What to avoid
1.) This shouldn’t be a scary or creepy experience. If the idea of having deceased guests in your house feels creepy to you, or you are scared of spirits, then don’t do a dumb supper, period! Plus, your fear will likely be picked up on by your deceased friends and family making them leave or not show up anyways; they still love you and don’t want to be creepy or scary for you.
2.) Personally, I think you should greatly avoid interjecting pagan or witch nuance. Not unless all the loved ones you are inviting were also pagans and witches. Remember this supper isn’t about you, proving your rights, or proving any points, this is suppose to be ALL about your loved ones, and for them. So be mindful that the grandmother you loved fiercely, who fiercely loved you, might have been a devote Catholic, or Baptist, and may still harbor some of those beliefs. From what I have observed (yes I have tested this myself, done plenty enough dumb suppers to do so), when using witch or pagan terms, phrases, etc. many of who I invited, did not attend or were afraid to because they never understood or feared that about me. Then when I removed all this from it, the attendance was far better. Don’t you like it better when people keep their functions more generic as far as religion is concerned, therefore respecting that not everyone is their religion? I know I can’t stand when I am at a function and spoken to like I am expected to be christian, or told to bow my head and pray. Unless I am visiting a church, I find that pretty uncomfortable, in fact. So treat your deceased guests as you want to be treated by keeping religion completely out of it.
3.) Try to keep live guests to a minimum, and be very selective about who you invite. Don’t invite anyone who is very skeptical about spirits, or who is frightened by them. This is not a dinner just to invite those that are curious, or might not be as respectful and as serious as should be about it. If I invite guests, it’s typically only one other person. Otherwise, I prefer to be the only living being in attendance.
4.) Do NOT treat this like a ghost hunt or paranormal investigation. Do not set up EMFs, or any thing to try to track or prove anything. There are times and places for that and this isn’t one of them. If you are doing this dinner just to try to collect paranormal evidence, then you have done it for the wrong reasons and that is rather a mean thing to do to those you love that died. How would you like to be invited to your cousin’s house for dinner, you show up and find out that it was set up just to study you? Your departed loved ones don’t like this either, and may not ever want to come back to have dinner with you again for a stunt like this. They are your honored guests this time, so honor them fully, and study them at a later time under the right circumstances if you must.
5.) If a guest accidentally slips up and speaks, just smile, giggle and say Sssh then drop it. Ruminating on it, is more likely going to screw up a dumb supper than the slip up itself. So don’t stress this. The dinner will not be ruined over an occasional incidental uttering.
Now that you know what this is, how to host one, and things to avoid, go out and host the best dumb supper ever!