This was my first Samhain (Halloween) sabbat in such a wild and untamed country home. Previously, this sabbat was celebrated outdoors at midnight with a little circle of candles or at a Samhain party down at the local witch shop with friends. I’ve never been able to walk outside into my backyard and set-up a proper bonfire and call in the elemental watchers in a degree of privacy.
This was quite an experience. First of all it was chilly! Yes, chilly in Florida! The wind was blowing a little too as it got darker and darker and my ritual dress proved to be lightweight, made for Florida weather south of here.
My mother (who usually takes part in such ceremonies) suggested we get the fire going and then stay as close to it as we could to keep warm. We huddled around it, warming our hands as I called the quarters.
What a glorious fire it was, burning fragrant woods and sandalwood chips. It was like the night air blew in perfumed. We had our ceremony and then went inside to the feast.
We had a “dumb supper” which was our traditional feast, for the ancestors.
Dumb Supper: A meal eaten in silence to which the dead are invited. The dead are present as invisible entities. Doors and windows are left unlocked to let them in the house.
The dining room was decorated very nicely with many candles all clustered in the middle of the table. We sat the spirit chair at the head of the table and draped a black shawl over it (which is customary). We had a black and silver candle centerpiece and used black dishes and silver goblets. Traditionally the supper is usually light harvest fare, so we had some vegetarian dishes and then served apple pie for dessert.
There is complete silence during the entire meal, though we did play appropriate spirit channeling music. It was lovely. The air was thick with the fragrance of the candles and the crackle of the energy of the door to the spirit realm being opened. It is also tradition to open all the doors and windows – we just do the windows in the dining room, which was sufficient.
There are no other lights but the candles and when the supper is finished we snuffed out the candles until it was complete darkness. Then we thanked our spirit visitors and ancestors and went back out to the bonfire to feed our notes to departed love ones to the fire.
I also cast spells that night too to take advantage of such incredible power. Clients that had workings done at this time got an extra dose of energy from the spirit realm.
Connecting with the natural world in the way that we did, right outside my back door was incredibly special to me. I look forward to more sabbats celebrated here in my own earth sanctuary.