Guess who's coming to dinner this time! Dumb Suppers are a type of ritual where you offer food to the dead by inviting them to dine with you while remaining "dumb" (aka silent). Offering food to the dead is a tradition stretching back to the most ancient of times. Aside from the obvious - having food - you must set up a plate for the dead (food and all) and you ABSOLUTELY MUST REMAIN QUIET. From the time you start setting the table to the clearing of the table, remain quiet. This way you can focus and be more open to the visiting dead.
What are the steps you need to take for a Dumb Supper?
- Invite your guests, alive and dead. Let the living know that there are to be no phones, no talking, and no photography during the supper. The living cannot disturb the others by arriving late.
- Have your menu planned out. It's always classy to share it along with your invite, along with the rules for the evening. You may want to plan for before and after dinner libations where your living guests are invited to speak.
- Have the Dumb Supper ready to go by the time your guests start to arrive. Tell them the rules once again. This is a low-level form of seance. If you have invited a specific dead person or left it open ended, let everyone know. They should focus their energy on the invited dead during the meal. I would suggest having the table set, including an extra setting for your invited dead before people arrive.
- Have everyone move to the dining room in complete silence. Table candles may be lit at this time. As the host, you can start bringing out the food.
- As everyone dines in silence, be aware of the space around you. Do you hear any voices? Do you feel anything? Do you see anything? Continue with dinner until you are entirely through the dessert course.
- When everyone is finished, allow them to leave the room to a space where they can freely talk without disturbing the others in the dining room. Once everyone has left the dining room and plates have been cleared for the evening, the Dumb Supper is over.
- Talk with your guests about the Dumb Supper. Enjoy an after dinner libation. Relax.
There are a lot of variations for Dumb Suppers. Here are a few. You can pick and choose what you want to do for your Dumb Supper.
- You must do everything backwards - serve food, start with dessert, etc.
- Those eating the meal must help prepare the meal.
- Samhain/Halloween is the best time for Dumb Suppers.
- Host dinner at midnight.
- You can communicate with the dead by writing notes on paper and burning them in an adjacent fireplace.
- Create a beautiful table setting for the Dumb Supper.
- For a specific invited spirit, you might want to include a food they liked when they were living.
- You can use a bell to signal the start and end of the Dumb Supper.
- Sometimes the spirit's plate of food was left out overnight for them to enjoy.
How to invite the dead?
- You can open a window or door and simply vocalize your invitation.
- If the person is someone buried locally, you can leave them an invite when you visit their grave.
- Meditate on the invite for a few days ahead of the dinner.
- Use candles and lamps - no electric lighting.
- Use fancy dinnerware.
- Use name placards.
- Use incense that invites the spirits.
- You can scale this for one person and one dead invite to however many people and the dead you want.