The Dumb Supper
Samhain is a celebration of death, and as such it is marked by several traditions. One of these is the Feast of the Dead, sometimes called the Dumb Supper. This has many variations — from a complete meal shared by the living, with places set at the table for the dead, to the simple leaving of cakes and wine, or any similar combination, by the fireside on Samhain Night. And this is the most traditional time for communication with the dead. For this reason, after welcoming them into your Samhain Circle through the Western Gate, the direction of death, you can allow the spirits of the deceased to communicate with you if they so desire. One method is the wineglass.
Similar to a ouija board but without the undeserved sinister reputation, the wineglass is just that, an inverted wineglass (the champagne type is better than the wine type, as t is less likely to tip). The glass is surrounded by a circle of letters. An alphabet in Gothic style drawn on squares of white paper helps to create an appropriate atmosphere.
It must be mentioned here that many occultists turn up their noses at such devices as the ouija board, the pendulum board, and, no doubt, the wineglass, preferring instead personal mediumship, or channeling, as it is currently being called. But we believe that entities willing to take control of the body or voice of another individual cannot be of the highest calibre. Nor is every scene that passes before the inner eye psychic or spiritual, or the motivations that created them always spiritually pure. This is not to say that we do not believe in either channeled information or that which is received psychically. We most certainly do, but we have seen many instances of self-delusion, which is one of the greatest barriers to true spiritual development.
The wineglass, on the other hand, has several built-in safety devices. It cannot be easily operated alone, so spiritual possession is less likely, and since two or more people are operating it, self-delusion is not so easy. It is interesting to note, too, that the wineglass brings with it some intrinsic symbolism. It is a vessel or container for wine, itself a symbol for spiritual awareness, so the wineglass is a container for spiritual knowledge.
The wineglass can be used within the Samhain Circle. The four quarters of the Circle may be marked with candles in jack-o’-lanterns, and an extra candle, an indigo blue one (the colour symbolizing the higher spiritual planes), should also be lit. This candle might be anointed with oil and marked with a rune such as û` that describes the travel between the planes. After a moment of meditation each person present places a fingertip on the upturned base of the wineglass and the traditional “Is anyone here that wishes to give us a message?” is asked. Then as the glass slides from one letter to the next, rapidly spelling out messages, read the words. You may find it easier to use a tape recorder because it can get confusing. At this, the most solemn of Pagan festivals, the messages are often personal and profound.
from: “Wheel of the Year” by Pauline Campanelli