Feast of the Dead
© 2009 ~ By Ariana Clausen – Velez
What is the Dumb Supper? The Dumb Supper is a sacred rite in which is dedicated to those Ancestors, those who have recently passed over and returned home and a way to communicate with the dead through a silent meal and meditation. As with Samhain the Dumb Supper’s origins are Irish and Scottish in origin it was a ritual meal that was served during the six days and nights of Samhain, where food and drink [mead to be exact], and if of nobility some of the finest wines that could be imported from Egypt and other countries.
How we honour and venerate the dead is important, we honour them twice a year first during the season of the Black Month’s beginning at Samhain and again during the third day of Spring just prior to the Equinox. The Spring honouring of the dead is known by the Greeks as Antesherias and by the Romans as Parentales which is celebrated during the days of February 13 & 20 which is ruled by Saturn and is just prior to springs awakening. Then again in May the Old Roodamas which runs from the 13th to the 15th of May, this is a time when we too honour our Ancestors, by the lighting of the Spirit Flame and preparing their favourite foods for them to dine on during the feast. In searching for the actual origins of this Feast it dates back originally to the Celtics as Samhain “Summer’s End” and in the Roman to the Feast of Lemuria, some say the Celtic’s feast pre-dates that of the Romans, however, there is no real way to prove this to be a fact. As with all religions it is a fact that as the people of the lands travelled and settled into new lands, so did that of the religion they practiced and thus blending thier practices and beliefs with that of the land in which they settled.
Today the rituals celebrated during spring time are what are known as Lustrations where a ritual is performed in honouring the dead and thanking them for allowing new life to be born upon the Earth for the coming season/s.
When we prepare for celebrating the Dumb Supper there are many things to take into account, first off who are you/we honouring is it to be dedicated to a specific person who was really important to you and your life? Such as a special friend, loved one, or mentor. Yes, and No. The Dumb Supper is for you to sit quietly with those whom are of your Ancestors during the time in which the veil is thinnest in where you are able to communicate and ask questions via meditation or spirit channelling. The Dumb Supper can be either for a large group or a small or individual setting/s. When you begin to prepare for this meal you first seek out recipes that were favourites of the individual in who you are honouring and venerating for your specific ritual, favourite colours, music, place settings a more. You prepare funerary music to listen to, and if for a larger group you make a compilation of various forms of religion to honour all who may attend. If for a smaller group or you are performing this as an individual, then you prepare the music in which applies to those persons beliefs who are attending. In as much you get decorations, candles [white], and prepare as you would for any formal dinner.
Altar Setup is important, as when you are preparing an altar for the dead you must make sure that they all have the ability to see what is going on around them, yes, they can see what is going on. For a specific altar in where you are dedicating the Dumb Supper to an Individual in who has recently passed you place their photo in the centre of the altar raised above the others. Placing tokens, flowers [purple orchids], candles [white], and anything you feel they enjoyed. Then include enough room for you to include the photos of others who may attend to place they photos, tokens, candles and so forth to be part of this altar. This allows for everyone from time to time during the meal to go up to the altar and say prayers, blessings, and their I love you, and a way for them to speak quietly to their loved one. Skulls are used a lot on altars that honour the dead. The colours for the altar are white & black Altar Cloth is best the rest is up to you, make it fun, enjoy and add flavour and colour to the altar.
Prior to serving the meal, the tone is set the blessings are said prior to entrée into the room, or prior to sitting down to the table. The music is set up for all to listen to and enjoy and then prior to everything make sure it is understood that this meal all must be in complete and total SILENCE. This is a meal called the Dumb Supper.
Take in the energy and feel the presences of those who have passed on, many do eat the food, though many just sit and meditate and nibble on the meal. Typically, this can run anywhere from one hour to three hours, this depends of course on the amount who are attending.
Take time to listen, feel and smell, those who have passed over do speak and appear during this meal, as it is their meal.
Inasmuch, the best time to have the Dumb Supper is during the six days and nights of Samhain, the Celtic New Year and the time in which the veil is open and the dead are able to walk amoung the living so this would be for this year starting on the 25th of October and through the 30th then on the 31st through the 7th the Ancient Samhain Ritual is celebrated with bonefires, food, drink, divination, scrying and more. On the Day of the Dead or Santa Muerte the Dead are honoured by placing food and drink upon their grave sites along with flowers, purple orchids, lilies, etc. In Mexico, Spain and other Latin countries people dress up and have processions through the entire graveyard to honour the dead during this time. This is how the dead are remembered and honoured.
Now, to date there are not many paths within Paganism that follow this ritual, it is not a common Ritual for Wiccans, or many others, moreover, those paths such as Voodoo, Voudon, Hoodoo, Santerita
, as well as Spain, Italy, Sicily, Malta, and Mexico as well as Catholics do honour this season. The Catholics call it All Saints Day, and day in which all who were matyrs, elected, and those who simply are not of the Craft of the Wise are honoured.
We learn many things from the Other World, as well as many of us have travelled there even though still amoung the living, this is a special thing to be one with both realms and to know that we live between parallel worlds is a great knowledge and one in which should be held very sacred to our paths.
Remember those who you love bring them the honouring of lights, food, drink and company with conversation though the mind and always remember to honour the dead.
May each of you enjoy, your Dumb Supper.