Dumb Supper and the Thinning Veil
Spirit communication at the end of October and beginning of November has been traditionally celebrated on days like Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, and Dia De Los Muertos (to name a few).
These days are sacred holidays honoring the cyclical nature of the Earth and of our lives. Celtic poets referred to the otherworld by names like, “Honeyed Plain of Bliss,” “Apple Island,” “Fortunate Island,” “Summerland,” and “Isles of the Blessed.”
Samhain (A Gaelic word pronounce sow-win) or summer’s end is called The Witch’s New Year and is celebrated traditionally between the end of October and the beginning of November (dependant on the astrology of the year and where you live). This ancient Celtic tradition is a fire festival that marks the place between the fall equinox and the winter solstice.
Most of what we know about Samhain is from centuries old Celtic traditions. Some evidence suggests that Samhain may have its roots in the Neolithic period. Unfortunately, because of its ancientness, much of its traditions and stories have been lost to the ages.
Samhain is a sacred time to honor the dead when the veil in between this word and The Otherworld is at its thinnest. Traditionally, big bonfires are lit, animals are slaughtered, the harvest comes to a close, food is left out for the ancestors altars are built, and rituals are performed to connect with the beyond.
Because of the thinning veil, Samhain is also a preferred time to leave offerings to the Fae and other spirits or practice divinatory arts. Samhain is also the perfect time to host a Dumb Supper.
How to Host a Dumb Supper
- To perform a Dumb Supper, first prepare a table. Many would set extra places for ancestors who were expected to visit.
- Prepare the food! If you know your ancestor’s favorite foods, prepare them! Ancestral food in a more generic sense is wonderful too.
- While preparing the meal, celebrate. Share stories about great-great relatives with younger generations, traditions, and joy.
- As a final invitation, light a candle in the windowsill.
- Once sitting down to the meal, the energy may become more somber. Each person around the table can share a toast to someone visiting or a specific ancestor, and then pour a small bit of the drink onto the tablecloth.
- After the toasts conclude, silence falls across the table. Silence is a key component in many rituals, in divinatory practices, and in spirit communication. This helps facilitate better listening, witnessing, and observation. What messages may come through from visiting spirits?
- At the end of the meal, share your experiences and see if a collective message has appeared.
Dumb Suppers of course are associated with Samhain and the Wheel of the Year; however, a ritual meal can be prepared any time of the year.
Cooking itself is a ritual. Following a recipe card is not unlike the step-by-step process of creating a spell or setting an intention. If family politics are difficult, leaving out a bit of food on an ancestor altar for a goddess, deity, or plant is a beautiful way to connect with the beyond too.
Happy Halloween and Samhain Blessings!