- It’s called a “Dumb Supper” because it’s silent. Consider young children and babies. Choose a time when the house will be most quiet.
- Enter, eat, and exit in silence.
- Be mindful and respectful.
- If you are the hostess, anticipate any needs before the meal begins so that everything is easily available once the dinner starts.
- You may wish to feed children earlier and not include them in the festivities.
- Think about whether you wish to include meal preparation as part of the process.
- Choose foods that are quiet to eat so that the silence isn’t disrupted.
- Be sure to include foods that your ancestors liked or traditionally ate. This will make it a treat for them.
- Use noise dampeners like cloth place mats and coasters.
- You may wish to include a ritual before, after, or make the entire event a ritual.
- If you set up an altar, you can set up pictures of the deceased on the altar.
- The supper tends to be lengthy so you may not want to have foods that are best eaten while very hot or very cold.
- Seasonal foods work really great for a Dumb Supper.
- You can put the ancestors’ food on one plate or set it out in little containers buffet style. The latter option might be better if you have guests as their ancestors might prefer different food.
- You can designate the ancestors’ chair by covering it in cloth so that everyone knows not to sit there. This goes at the head of the table, a place of honor.
- If you like, you and your guests can write out their messages to the dead to bring to the dinner. Keep your notes private. The ancestors will still receive them.
- You might choose to use tea lights to represent the dead. If so, you can burn your messages to the dead using the candle that represents the recipient of that message. Alternatively, you can use one candle to represent everyone.
Whew! Was that some equinox! I want to share a bit about my equinox experience so that people who are new to modern animism can see how living in the wheel of life might show up for them. When you know what to look for, it can be easier to spot how you are already doing it so that you can do it consciously.
Pisces Full Moon
The energy of the equinox lasts for more than just one day. It’s actually about a two week window of liminal space. Liminal spaces are doorways of potential. They are spaces that are not quite this or that. They are potentially dangerous and transformative. Nothing represents that better than the Pisces full moon. This is when my equinox adventure started.
The symbol for pisces are two fishes swimming in opposite directions who are bound by a cord. They are the Yin and Yang. They are wholeness, like the equinox. We say we want balance and wholeness, but it’s not a great place to stand. It’s both big and small, in and out, is and is not all at the same time. People want boundaries and compartmentalization, not this fluid madness.
My Pisces full moon kicked off in confusion when someone said I should align my chakras by doing qigong. They are two different disciplines. I could see how they are both ways of looking at the energy body, but they approach wholeness from two different systems that are complete within themselves, not something that you take some from here and some from there. After struggling with that for a couple of days, I decided to take a “yes and no” approach to this.
Balance of Elements
The wheel of life contains Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I spent the equinox in Cornwall where the sun (Fire) was shining in the sky (Air) and the waves (Water) pounded the shore (Earth). It was a perfect representation of wholeness.
Doesn’t the beach just fill you with peace? This felt like the “pretty” face of wholeness. Unfortunately, most of the time it was uncomfortable.
It’s All Good
I spent the equinox with a some people who were really connected to themselves and the space around them. And then there were those who weren’t. It was not easy to maintain healthy boundaries when I was so tempted to go into fix-it mode. Most of the time I was able to witness, but sometimes I fell into complaining and feeling exasperated. Then ultimately, I came to the realization that it’s all good. Nobody is in a great, awakened, healthy state all the time. It’s fine to be whomever you are, wherever you, whenever you are.
I was on a pilgrimage to sacred sites during the equinox. Most of the sites were hidden and neglected. They felt sleepy and depleted. There were so few visitors, and those who came took without giving. This brought home the idea of reciprocity and giving as much as I take. When this isn’t balanced, things can and do become weakened, unbalanced, and lose their vibrancy.
I realized that I had been giving more than I have been receiving and, like the fall season, it was time to retreat and rebuild.
The Ugly is Beautiful
We traveled to a place I have always loved. Yet it didn’t look so lovely when I got there. Better marketing and the hunger for spiritual tourism brought lots of traffic, big crowds, noise, and many things I came here to escape. The weather was nasty. And I discovered that I had mistaken natural beauty for painted beauty. It initially diminished it in my eyes.
Then I woke up and saw that everything that I loved was still there. This was just another side of it. In my “in-loveness” I just was focusing on the things I liked. What I thought of as ugly wasn’t ugly. It was the backdrop that allowed the beauty to stand out. Without contrast, beauty cannot exist.
Libra New Moon
The equinox concludes with the Libra new moon. The symbol for Libra is the scales. It wants things to balance. It does this largely though relationships.
This tour wasn’t easy at all. There were lots of challenges, but one thing kept thing kept standing out- relationships. How do I stand in these many realms? What’s my relationship with Nature, people, animals, weather, time, space? How can I move in this web in a way that creates harmony? What is this experience reflecting back to me? The Libra new moon keeps asking me to seek balance. It’s asking me how is my delusion self delusion and being out of harmony with what is.
What’s the Take Away?
Expansion was the first take away. Clearly I needed to expand the way I view the world to be able to include contradictions and more “and” vs. “or.”
Perspective is another one. If we believe that everything is one, then that includes all the stuff we’d rather not have in our lives. “Bad” lives alongside “good.” Whether something is wrong or not depends on where you are standing, and everything has a positive side.
When it’s time to let go, let go. When a thing lasts beyond its time, it becomes a burden, not a joy. Everything ends.
These are the types of things that Nature reflected back to me. This is what I mean when I say “Nature is your teacher.” She’s always giving us feedback. All we have to do is pay attention, enjoy the moment, or self correct. Nothing is “wrong.” Some of life is more pleasant and desirable, but nothing is ever wrong.
When the equinox squeezes you, pay attention to what comes out. This is showing you what’s inside. If it hurts, it’s because you’re not in a place of acceptance. All that means is you’re still growing. So grow.
Many of us say that we look forward to the balance of the equinox. We imagine that being balanced feels whole and right. It could actually feel pretty confusing.
When we are mindfully present in equinox energy, it can be easier to see our many faces. Reality varies depending upon where we are standing. Sometimes our motivations are hidden, subtle, multi-faceted, and inconsistent. This doesn’t actually mean we are crazy. It means we’re complicated, deep, and whole.
Here are some ideas to explore during the upcoming balance of day and night to help you embody the equinox energy.
- Pick something that you intellectually know and explore it from your intuitive side.
- Find something that you believe to be true, like your beliefs about gender, politics, or spirituality. Look deeply at the other side for ways that others see it as not true. If possible, have a respectful conversation with someone to hear their version of the truth.
- Use meditation to explore the intelligence of the unconscious.
- Just for one day, focus on the moment that you are in. Not tomorrow, an hour later, or five minutes later. Just this moment, now, all day long.
- Set aside your goals for who you want to be and love who you are now.
- If you are a go getter, slow things way down. If you are leisurely, be more productive.
- Spend time with a person of the opposite gender.
- Act as if there were no right or wrong. This doesn’t mean that you go around hurting people! Sovereignty, connection, and Oneness are still in place. It’s just a suggestion to let go of judgment for one day.
- Imagine that it’s okay for the whole world to live in this paradoxical space. Let go of perfectionism and idealism. Be messy.
- Do something without an agenda. Play.
- Explore your relationship with the animal, plant, human, mineral, or spiritual realms. Is it a balanced relationship?
If you are a very orderly person, you’re probably feeling really uncomfortable right now. The list may seem like I am suggesting you run amok. Not at all. Just suggesting that we see what balance might look like.
The modern world is logical, linear, goal directed, and judgmental. What would it look like if we were intuitive, circular, curious, and accepting? The equinox is inviting you to try that out. Will you accept the challenge?
This doesn’t mean that you have to be someone else or let go of your values. It might just help you to actually be more of who you really are. Try it.