What is a dumb supper?
In layman’s terms, a dumb supper is a meal that is held in silence with food reserved for invited spirits. This ceremony is mean to be a time of remembrance and connection to those you have lost. That’s the simplest version of it.
The term “dumb” simply refers to the silence that is observed during the meal, as no one shall speak, no phones shall ring and no external noises such as radios, televisions should be able to be heard. Essentially, a dumb supper should be done in total, utter silence.
How do you do a dumb supper?
There is no staunch set of rules for this, aside from the silence. A basic template to follow if you’re unsure or doing this for the first time, may be as follows:
- Cleanse your space; empty of it any energy, even if it’s residual. You can do this by burning incense, spritzing or chanting - however you feel is best. If you want to, or are wont to do, cast your circle now.
- When you set the table for the meal, set a place for every physical being in attendance, making sure you make it so that the head of the table is set for the spirits who will be joining the supper. You may want to set a place for every spirit you want to invite, but this isn’t always feasible. If you like, you can use tealight candles set around the plate to represent them.
- There is no set colour scheme for this ceremony, but black is typical of the season and activity. You may want a black tablecloth or candles on the table itself.
- If possible, use candles as a light source.
- Upon entering the room in which the supper is being served, no one may speak.
- Only once everyone’s food has been served - spirits included - may anyone begin to eat.
- During the meal, you may want to speak to your spirit guests in your mind; tell them you think of them, remember memories, share laughter. You may want to simply think about them, if that is easier.
- Once the meal is over, you may want to say goodbye (silently of course).
- Only when everyone is finished eating may you all leave and exit the room in silence. Once you are out of the ceremony space, the silence can be broken.
Food, drink and menu choices:
The food you serve at your dumb supper is entirely up to you. You may want to incorporate some of the traditional Samhain foods, e.g., apples, game, cider, late Autumn vegetables, etc,. but remember that you may want to serve food that pleases the spirits you invite too.
What do you do at the end of the supper?
This depends on you and your traditions.
If you’ve cast a circle, you will want to remove it and cleanse the area. When it comes to the food, there are a few things you can do to dispose of the food.
- Some people choose to burn the meal afterwards - it is said that the smell of the burnt food can bring happiness to the spirits.
- Some people will divide the meal out between the guests afterwards to make sure nothing goes to waste.
- Some people simply bin it.