Merry Meet my friends…Samhain draws ever nearer and I find myself thrilling to it. Darkness falls earlier each night…the wind is brisk and leaves are falling…jack o’lanterns are showing up on porches…the veil in thinning…Magick is afoot!
Samhain is about honoring our ancestors; our loved ones who have passed beyond the veil. One way to do this is to have a Dumb Supper. This year, my family will be having one. A Dumb Supper or Silent Supper is just that..everyone present stays silent during the meal. There are a few particulars about the meal too….it should be held in sacred space. You can accomplish the sacred space in your own kitchen or dining room simply by casting a circle, cleansing and consecrating it. All table service should be black..this includes the tablecloth, plates, glasses, napkins etc. I don’t have black dishes so I accomplish this with a visit to a party store and I buy the heavy plastic dishes. Third, I only use candles for lighting or oil lamps…this gives the space the beauty and somberness it deserves. Lastly, each guest should bring a prayer for their loved ones who are being honored and they may bring their divination tool of choice also.
The chair at the head of the table can be shrouded in black…now the Spirit chair. Then you may leave other chairs empty to represent the loved one you’ve lost or your ancestor. When setting the table, place a black votive candle at each empty chair that represents a deceased loved one or ancestor and a white votive candle at the Spirit Chair. Light each candle. Place your hands on the shrouded chair and ask for Spirit to be with you. Walk to each ancestor’s chair touch it, explaining that the ritual is being done in the ancestors’ honor.
The host of the feast sits in the chair opposite the shrouded chair. As each guest enters the room, he or she should go to the Spirit chair, touch it, then go to each of the ancestors’ chairs and place a prayer under each plate or say a simple prayer silently. The guests then take their seats, join hands and pray a wordless blessing of the meal and for all present. The host serves the empty chairs, beginning at the head of the table. Then the host serves the living guests from oldest to youngest.
After the feast is done and all have finished eating, all join hands, silently asking for the blessings of Spirit on the living and the dead. Now is the time to gather each prayer left under a plate and burn it in the flame of the candle by that plate, catching the ashes in a container. On the sign from the host, the guests leave the area, stopping by empty places or ancestral altar on their way out.
After the host thanks Spirit, the guests return to share any impressions they received during the feast. The table is cleared, and divination can be done. Allow the candles to burn until all have gone home, and then snuff each candle. Throw the candle ends and prayer ashes into a moving body of water, or bury them off the property.
I find this to be just a beautiful way to honor our loved ones…the meal should be simple, delicous and beautiful. Even if its just your immediate small family, this ritual can be very touching and magickal. While you are silent, or during divination after the meal, listen to see if anyone has a message for you…do you feel their presence?
My paternal grandmother was a christian woman whom I loved dearly…and whom I believe gave me my early understanding of the witch in me! She was a witch and didn’t know it! She had a huge garden that she loved spending time in..she taught me to know when veggies were ready to be picked..how to shell peas and snap green beans and make homemade apple sauce and apple butter. She made her own home remedies..she taught us to lay in a hammock and look at the starry sky…taught us to listen for the birds, how to make a doll from hollyhocks..she was wonderful! A meal at her house ..even breakfast..was a 7 course meal full of things made with love from her garden. I often feel her near to me…and I know she is aware of our lives and whats going on with us. I will celebrate her at my Dumb Supper..along with other grandparents, a good friend and yes, even my two little dogs. And this year, I have a baby grandchild who was lost in early pregnancy but I believe I will know in another life.
Beggar’s night in my area, is on saturday night the 30th. My family will celebrate that as well! We live on a windy country road and pretty far from the road and we don’t get trick-or-treaters here, so we head over to my daughter and son-in-laws house for the evening. She makes chili, cornbread and an apple dessert. This year my nearly two year old granddaughter Lily will be going out to collect her candy in her darling lady bug costume while us grandparents and Auntie will pass out candy at their house. Then we have a nice casual meal and just enjoy being together! I can’t wait!
I send my wishes to you all for a Blessed Samhain..and my your ancestors and loved ones come thru the veil to spend some time with you.
Blessed Be, Autumn