This is written so that people from any walk of life might understand it. I realize many of you here know what these things are. Bright Blessings!
I’ve followed, studied, questioned, participated, observed, bled, sang, learned, changed, grown with Magick, spirituality, the occult for the majority of my life. I’ve looked at it from every angle I could wrap my head around, delved into different aspects of Shamanism and found those things that are personal and private to me. I practice in individual expression and belief as opposed to “organized religion” and am convinced that for everyone, there is a unique way of seeing the Universe that should be pursued and celebrated.
Samhainn, Samhuinn, Samhain is one of four mid season festivals on the witches wheel of holidays of which there are eight total. The Veil between the world of mortals and the after life, spirit realm, the dream road is at it’s thinnest at this time of the year. Ancestral worship is very strong for many different traditions. Worship meaning something more akin to respect. Many years ago I learned of a ritual called, “The Dumb Supper” and decided that I wanted to try it. You prepare the best food with great care, thinking on those in your life that you have loved and lost. I’ve incorporated things like listening to their favorite music, cooking their favorite foods, having pictures of them out. Sometimes I have it outside, weather permitting.
I start my dumb suppers around nine on All Hallows. A decorative altar is made up, things that I have of those past sitting on it. One year my brother included the hat that he had inherited from my grandfather, I have jewelry my grandmother wore. The place setting for the meal can be anything from paper plates to the best china. Magick done with positive intent is largely intuitive and individual.
When dinner is served, you make a plate for your loved ones, as well as set a place for them, leaving them a seat too. When I sit for the meal, I do not speak, which is where the expression “dumb” comes from, meaning mute and not meant in a negative way. You stay silent during the remainder of the meal. I have done this with groups of people before and always it’s interesting to see how people react to the silence alone. The first group dumb supper I did erupted into a full blown food fight near the end of the meal, which than evolved into midnight margaritas. I stole that idea from the film, ‘Practical Magic.’ That’s become a yearly tradition for me: The contemplation and silence of those who have gone before me, ancestors, friends, even beloved animals, the preparation of food and place settings, building the altar, eating, followed by midnight celebration‘s that generally involve a fire pit, music and dance.
I once had a dumb supper with just one friend of mine and I invited a cat that I had lost earlier in the year to come eat with us without telling her any specific’s about it. Once we sat down to eat and meditate in quite she began sneezing and her eyes swelled up. Afterward she told me that she was allergic to cats and that’s what it felt like, that there was a cat with us, but there were none. I believe it was the Universe’s way of letting me know that my cat friend was there.
Magick is very particular. Be careful what you wish for is not just a saying, it’s words to live by. Things can manifest themselves in strange ways. So it’s best to be very specific about what you want.
While Harry Potter was a lovely fictional story and very respectful to the ideas of Magick, obviously we don’t live in a world where Magick is that flashy. I find it’s much more subtle.
If I remember correctly my first dumb supper was in 1993. I say that realizing now that was 20 years ago and feeling a bit of nostalgia. It was just me in a small apartment in Burbank California, nothing close to nature anywhere near me. It’s grown into something intensely personal and very comforting. It’s a time when you can acknowledge those that have brought meaning to your life in the past. I find it very healing at times, occasionally hilarious and very moving. I always feel exhilarated afterward and sometimes I’ve felt the presence of those that have past so very strongly that it makes me sad all over again. For me it’s worth it.
Many times we are unable to honor the passing of our loved ones directly after their passing for obvious reasons, the pain. When the grief is too near, you don’t really have time to remember them and the happiness they brought you or the wisdom they instilled in us. All that exists is about making arrangements, getting through the death ritual, whatever it may be. With a dumb supper you get to say things that need said, not out loud, at least not while eating. We exist because of our ancestors. We are who we are because of the people and creatures that we have known and loved, it’s a wonderful feeling to acknowledge that, even if there are a few tears.