Samhain, October 31st
Samhain (Sow-inn, also called Halloween.) This is the time for endings and new beginnings. The witch’s New Year. A quiet time when the veil between the physical and the spiritual world is at its thinnest and spirits can easily get through. A time to honor our forefathers and say goodbye to those who have left us during the year.
The dark months start and the land prepares for its winter sleep. The days get shorter and darker from now on and to Yule. The time when the earth rests starts at Samhain. We celebrate the year that’s gone and the year ahead. We light bonfires and perform rituals to honor those who have gone ahead of us. An offering of bread and wine is given to the gods to give thanks for their guidance through the year.
Pumpkin, apple, nuts, thistle, chrysanthemum, broom, oak leaves, sage
Apple, nutmeg, sage, mint
Cut pumpkin, photos of deceased loved ones, apples, autumn leaves, autumn flowers, squash.
Apples, nuts, cider, mulled wine, pumpkin foods, herbal tea, cranberry muffins.
There are many ways to do this, and they’re all just as good. The main parts are:
- Calling forth a holy zone
- A special place for the deceased
- Respectful silence during the meal
Preparations: Plan the meal (what to serve) and send out invitations. Table cloth, dishes and napkins should preferably be golden or white.
Some more traditional rituals call for black dishes. Butt his ritual is intended to call upon light for the deceased. Use your best china, crystal glasses and silver ware (if you’ve got it). The visitors from the other side will appreciate that you’ve tried to make a beautiful place for them.
The meal should be eaten in the light from a candle or other flame. Put a lot of white and golden candles on the table. The candles should be properly blessed, and dressed with a mixture of frankincense (made from the sap of Boswellia Thurifera), myrrh and sandal wood oil. These are holy to a whole heap of gods. Myrrh especially was used in the burial rituals of many ancient cultures. Make sure that you don’t use too much oil to prepare the candles. You don’t want the scent to dominate the whole meal. Place one special candle on the plate placed in front of the empty chair.
The chair for the deceased can be decorated or covers in the way which suites the group best. A bell can be used to signal the beginning and the end of the silent part of the ritual. Other objects which can be included in the meal are: paper and something to write with, to write prayers, wishes and messages for the deceased, and a small cauldron or other heat resistant container to burn them in. Divination tools can be included to receive messages from the deceased, or pen and paper for those who want to write their impressions.
The room should be cleaned from floor to roof, and everything that will be used for food or drink should be hand washed before the ritual.
Before you begin the ritual, all participants should have fasted for a whole day, and only drunk water which has been properly charged and blessed. They should also take the time to have a cleansing bath or shower before the ceremony, and wear their best/new robe (normal party clothes are also acceptable).
Photos of the deceased, favorite things and the favorite foods of the deceased can be placed where he/she has been placed at the table. You can also place a single white rose or lily (or the persons favorite flower) there. You can also make an arrangement of these in the holy zone. Because this is a quiet meal, no music is to be played during the ritual. Before and especially after you can play music which the deceased liked or something which suites the group.
Prepare the meal and make sure that all ingredients are fresh, clean and blessed. Set the table so that all spices and things can be easily reached. If the food is served in form of a buffet, make sure that everything is within the holy zone to be invoked.
When the food is ready to be served, make sure that all the food, drinks, dishes, glass and cutlery is in its place, and that nothing is forgotten. The group leader can now call the participants to the room to invoke the holy zone. You work from the East to the North and make a Circle in the way the group is most comfortable with.
Cast the circle and charge it with the light from the Creator(s), The one/Those who’s compassionate and guides the dead to their new lives. The leader can now say a prayer to open the ritual and give necessary instructions. Ring the bell to start the silent part of the meal.
Serve and eat the meal in honorable silence. Listen to your selves to detect any messages from the deceased. Write them on the paper provided for this. Also write any prayers and messages you have on another piece of paper.
When everyone is finished, and the last fork is put down, the leader can ring the bell to end the silent part. Now you can say any thanks, and messages and prayers can be read aloud and shared with everyone.
Before the ritual is concluded and the circle broken, you can read the messages for the deceased and burn them in the cauldron.
Break the circle and invite all who came in spirit to leave in peace and light.
End the evening the same way you usually do. The Dumb Supper can be a very deep and healing occasion. In a time of loss and uncertainty, it can provide a path to balance, communication and continuance.