A Wiccan Grove

December 18, 2008

The Dumb Supper

Filed under: Articles, clippings, etc.,General Information,Samhain — ravenbird @ 6:42 pm

Samhain speaks to us of strong emotions; death, resurrection,
of deeply cloaked energies, of shining hope for the future. It
is a New Years celebration; our will to face the specter of death
without tremor and our desire to know those things that others fear
to see.

One of the most inspiring rituals performed at Samhain rises from
the enactment of the Silent or Dumb Supper. Along with places set
for human guests, the table also holds places for those who have
passed beyond the veil. The chair at the head of the table, shrouded
in black (or white, as you desire) signifies the place of deity.

Five rules exist for the Dumb Supper:

1. The Dumb Supper should take place in an area that you have made
sacred by prayer or other means.

2. All plates, napkins, glasses, and the tablecloth should be black.

3. No one may speak from the moment they enter the feast room. Each
person participating should leave the room in silence after the ritual.

4. The feast takes place in candlelight or lamplight.

5. Each living guest should bring a prayer, written on a three-by-five
inch card or small piece of paper, for their ancestors or loved ones.
Each living guest can also bring a divination tool of their choice.

The timing of the feast depends on your discretion. Some individuals
choose midnight of October 30, October 31, November 4, or November 7.
All of these dates coincide with various traditional observances. The
number of guests also depends on your choices. You may wish to enact
the Silent Supper with family members only, or a group of close friends.
This feast works well as a pot luck, where each guest brings a cooked
dish of their choice, or you can provide a menu and allow guests to
choose what they would like to bring.

Before the supper begins, put a black votive candle on the plate at
each empty place, and a white votive candle on the plate at the head
of the table. The head of the table represents Spirit or deity. Place
your hands on the shrouded chair and invite Spirit into the area. Walk
to each place set aside for your ancestors, touch the chair, and explain
that this ritual will be done in their honor. The host or hostess of the
feast sits in the chair opposite Spirit.

As each person enters the room, they should touch the chair of Spirit,
then walk to the ancestral places, putting their prayers under the plate.
They may wish to stop and contemplate at a particular chair, say a prayer
in their minds, or simply send loving energy.

After everyone has taken a place, all living guests should join hands
and pray silently for the blessing of the meal and those present, both
living and dead. The host and hostess serve the empty plates, beginning
at the head of the table. Continue to serve the living guests in order of
age, from oldest to youngest.

Because spoken communication doesn’t exist during the feast, the host
or hostess carries the responsibility of the needs of the living. You
may wish to arrange items normally passed throughout a meal (bread,
butter, salt, pepper, condiments, and so on) at both ends of the table
to lessen any difficulties experienced by the diners. During the meal,
the host or hostess should quietly observe the others present to
ascertain anything they might need, such as an extra napkin for a slight
spill or the refill of a drink.

At the end of the feast, those at the table again join hands, silently
asking for the blessings of Spirit on the living and the dead. On the
lead from the host or hostess, the diners leave the feast area. They
may wish to stop at the empty places or at the ancestral altar before
they leave.

After the diners leave the room, the host or hostess thanks Spirit.
They guests may now reenter the room and help to clean up, perhaps
sharing their impressions or any messages they have received during
the feast. After dessert has been served and you have cleared the table,
it’s time to break out the divination tools. Guests can separate by
pairs, or you can perform a group divination. Allow the candles to
burn until the last guest has gone home, then snuff each candle.
Dispose of the candle ends in a living body of water or bury them
off your property.

Although you may think that the Dumb Supper will only work for a
group of people, this is not the case. A solitary Dumb Supper carries
as much impact, if not more, when performed with love in your heart.

The Dumb Supper creates a deeply moving ceremony, teaches group
interaction without speech, and allows you to honor those who have
passed from this realm to the next as well as acknowledge that Spirit
moves with us always, from birth through death.

From “Halloween” By Silver Ravenwolf


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