There are numerous traditions observed by witches that have a variety of applications. One of those traditions is known as a dumb supper. So what is it? In short, it’s a meal that is enjoyed in complete and total silence (the word “dumb” meaning mute in this case). The following post aims to explain all of the reasons you might want to host one of these traditional meals as part of your witchcraft practice.

Samhain tradition

If you’re Wiccan, then you’re likely already aware of what a dumb supper is. However, in the Wiccan tradition, dumb suppers are ordinarily held on Samhain to honor the dead. The traditional Samhain dumb supper is done as part of an overall celebration that includes whatever relevant spells and rituals are to be done for the occasion. Depending on your particular heritage or family customs, a Wiccan Samhain dumb supper may include a variety of elements. Food, decorations and settings that represent your ancestors along with notes written to dead loved ones are common in this tradition. You may even make a plate of food for an absent (deceased) loved one, but some may personally view this as wasting food since nobody is actually eating it. The reason why Wiccans hold dumb suppers on Samhain is because they believe that this day is the best day to make contact with the “spirit realm.” This is the day that you may hear them say that the veil between the living and spiritual planes is at its thinnest. This article actually gives a really in depth, step-by-step tutorial on how to have your own standard, Wiccan dumb supper.

Truth be told, you don’t have to reserve the dumb supper tradition for Samhain. You can host one any time of the year to honor your ancestors. You also don’t have to follow any strict guides or traditional instructions to have one. Some witches don’t even believe in the so-called veil between planes, so the Samhain connection to dumb suppers isn’t exactly relevant to everyone.

Folk tradition

In the Southern United States, folk tradition and magic plays an important role in the culture of even the most devout Christians. This is no different when it comes to the idea of a dumb supper. In the early 1900s “deaf and dumb suppers” were somewhat popular. Participants of dumb suppers in the early 18th century believed that they’d see “signs” from the afterlife as they ate their meals in total silence. These Appalachian suppers were often hosted in hopes of contacting the dead — during a time when seances and spirit communication was all the rage.

Not just for the dead

While dumb suppers are commonly done for honoring or communicating with the dead, they’re also held for other reasons. In fact, you can have your own dumb supper as part of manifesting essentially anything you want. For example, referencing Kentucky folk belief, a young girl may hold a dumb supper by herself in order to determine who her future husband may be. To do this, the young girl is to prepare a meal for two, complete with a setting for her unknown suitor. While dining across from the untouched setting, the girl is to remain dumb (mute), while meditating on her thoughts about courtship and marriage. Tradition states that the first man to appear at the home during the meal (or even shortly after) is to be the girl’s future husband. On a more negative note, if nobody is to show up it is an omen of a lifetime of loneliness. Other dumb supper omens include the appearance of insects as messengers of death and other symbolic signs.