“There was also a “supper” (deipnon or dais) of various foods; the dead who partook of these sometimes were described as eudeipnoi, which we best can translate, perhaps, as “those who are content with their meal.” The word, a euphemism, seems to reflect the hope that, once nourished, the dead would realize that they had nothing to complain about. There is some evidence that water was also given to the dead person so that he could wash, just a host would give a living guest water in which to wash before a meal. Offerings to the dead might also include jewelry, flowers, and small objects used in everyday life such as swords, strigils, toys, and mirrors (although gifts, like lamentation, were sometimes restricted by funerary laws). It is hard to avoid the conclusion that these gifts were expected to be useful in the afterlife, particularly when ghost stories tell of the dead demanding objects that were forgotten or omitted at the time of burial.”
- Sarah Iles Johnston, Restless Dead. (P. 41)
When I wrote about Hekate's Supper, I said that S.I. Johnston had made a compelling argument that it could be used on an “as needed” basis. Recently, I had the chance to put this to the test and discover if she was correct. My experience with it was more or less fantastic.
A member of my family visited, needing some “time off,” after a period of instability. When she did so, the first few days could best be described as stressing me the hell out, man. I don't blame her by any means; when she'd become super-emotional, I could feel spirits stirring and buzzing around her. This is a sensation I've felt before when someone seemed plagued by something.
But I was distressed that if I took immediate action, the person wouldn't feel committed to keeping themselves clean and it would engage a self-defeating cycle. So I strongly recommended that they try cleansing with the addition of Rosemary while they visited elsewhere for a few days.
When they returned, a lot felt cleaned up already. Although, after a few days, the individual reported nightmares and sleep paralysis. So we decided to make a supper for Hekate, and I added a few more layers of ritual to the process. I performed the Stele of Jeu(or the “Headless One rite”) while the fish was finishing cooking, I cleansed the person with the elements (salt, water, fire, and Frakincense), and then we carried the wine and meal to the same area where I'd recently done the same at the park near where I live. As we left, the individual was clearly showing signs of trance intoxication and relaxation (with no chemical intoxicants in her system as far as I know). She reported sleeping soundly, and both her 'aura' and presence seemed remarkably clean until she finally headed home.
I've recommended that when she returns home, if things get back to being crap, she perform additional suppers, and she seemed pretty intent on doing so (which was marvelous, in my eyes)... And I am continuing to keep in contact with the individual to make sure things remain in the clear.
However, I'm more and more convinced that both the protection conferred by such processes, and their ability to be used, is wide-ranging and may not always strictly involve influencing the spirits of the dead. It seems to influence quite a bit more than that, as far as I can tell, and given my experiments around the area I live.
Be seeing you,