That Which Is Remembered Lives
DINING WITH THE DEAD
In our tradition, the word 'tradition', means so much. Whence we camest is very important.... both the positive and the negative. From the positive we are emboldened to be the best, and from the negative we learn and change, which is why we often add the word "living" with tradition. What we have is a living tradition.
In our tradition for Samhain we honor those who have passed who were a part of us. Our members are encouraged to bring a 'Dumb Supper' for their loved ones; purchase or cook the favorite meal of your loved one(s) to set upon the 'Dumb Supper ' altar just outside our ritual area. When the ritual is done and we gather, the food is moved to around the fire with us and we exchange stories of those loved ones, if wished.
During the ritual for the coven, we incorporate the names of those who have passed amongst us, lest we ever forget. The single peal of the summoner's bell emphasizes the pointed and poignant effect their lives and deaths have upon us.
Personal remembrances at this time are varied and just as effective. Personal anecdote: a few years ago, my very young niece asked about Halloween and why it was a holiday. "Many people believe that at this time, the curtain between the world of the dead and the world of the living stands open. So many people welcome home all those people they loved with food and drink and fires and love."
Some people will make a photo display on a table, burn some candles, and put a plate of food for the deceased on it, like an altar.
Others will set places at the table and serve their loved ones food that they will take out into the yard afterwards as an offering or feed to the dogs.
Some will set the table with just an empty plate and a photo of the loved one.
Others will adorn the dinner table with photographs and serve and eat dinner in silence - hence the term 'Dumb Supper.'
Some will visit a temple, shrine, or the graveyard and spend the day eating and talking around their loved ones graves.
If you do decide to serve your deceased love ones food, don't let anyone else eat it.
Try to serve foods they liked... when I pass, if someone pours some beer for me, just imagine the wrinkly face I will make from it.... coffee, on the other hand, well...
Many cultures honor their ancestors / loved ones throughout the year... not just at Samhain. Big holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's, and their birthdays are great days to have your passed love ones rejoin you for the day!
Whatever you do, however you honor your loved ones and/or ancestors, just remember them.
Say their names.
Tell their stories.
As our Lord Tanys likes to say, "That Which Is Remembered; lives."
~ Lady Atheona
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.