The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days
“Dumb suppers” earned their name because the entire ritual is conducted in silence from start to finish. No matter what happens or who shows up for dinner, it is vital to remain silent and to reserve discussion for after it is very clear that the ritual is over. Traditionally, dumb suppers serve either of two purposes:
Romantic divination—dumb suppers serve as divinatory methods of discovering your true love or your destined spouse (ideally but not always one and the same!) When you prepare the dumb supper, set the table for two. Allegedly your other half will come and dine with you. (This is not necessarily meant literally; expecting immediate literal results from magic spells leads to disappointment. Spells can come “true” in various magical ways.)
Necromancy—the dumb supper serves as a type of séance. It may derive from rituals similar to those of the Dias de los Muertos celebrations where the living dine with the souls of the deceased.
There are all sorts of variations on the Dumb Supper. Here are two:
Dumb Supper One: Starting at the stroke of midnight, set the table while consistently walking backwards, so that there are nine things on the table to eat. (Things like salt and pepper or butter count among the nine.) Then silently honor those who have passed on.
Dumb Supper Two: Set the table for two or more as desired. Each living person gets a plate; a setting is also laid for each anticipated invisible guest. Do not expect them to serve themselves. If this is a group dinner, guests are invited to bring photos or images to represent the souls of the deceased to whom invitations have been extended.
1. Leave all the doors and windows unlocked. (If possible, leave them open, although depending on where you are, nights at this time of year can be very chilly.)
2. Reverse the supper. Set the table in reverse; serve the food in reverse order, beginning with coffee, tea and dessert and working backwards.