Don’t forget to hug a witch today… It’ll bring you good luck if you do!
To Pagans the numerological significance of the number thirteen is a good thing. In the ancient Pagan world the number thirteen was venerated because it was associated with the lunar year. This is also known in the Pagan world as the “year and a day.”
There are thirteen new Moons or thirteen full Moons during every solar year. There are thirteen days of the waxing Moon culminating in the Full Moon on the fourteenth day. There are, in like manner, thirteen days of the waning Moon cycle culminating in what is called Dark Moon (no moon visible in the sky), which is also known as New Moon. There are also 13 weeks in each of the four seasons.
The ancient Egyptians held the belief that the number 13 was lucky. They were aware of the fact that there are 13 Full Moons or 13 New Moons in each year, and this seems to be the source of their belief. They also believed the number 13 was associated with everlasting life. This association relates to the waxing and waning of the Moon. They thought the Lunar cycle to be associated with the god Osiris, and with his life, death, and resurrection. They saw that from Dark Moon to Full Moon, which is the waxing lunar phase, 13 days intervened and culminated in the Full Moon on the 14th day. In like manner, they saw that there were also thirteen days during the waning lunar phase which culminated on the 14th day in the Dark Moon/New Moon. The Egyptians believed there were twelve steps on the ladder to eternal life and that they believed taking the thirteenth step was to go through the process of death and resurrection. It seems therefore that they associated the number with immortality and held it to be lucky. One of the calendars they used was a calendar of 360 days. They also used a festival calendar of 365 days and a more accurate calendar of 364 1/4 days for their agricultural dates.
The Celtic Druids used a lunar zodiac of thirteen signs, rather than the solar zodiac of more recent times. The movements of Sun and Moon seem to have been well understood by the ancients and there seems to be more and more evidence indicating this all the time. The knowledge of the cycles of the Sun, Moon, stars, and seasons is reflected in the ancient megalithic sites of Britain and Ireland. Stonehenge marks precise alignments of the seasonal changes of the rising and setting Sun, and in Ireland, Knowth, Newgrange, and other locations, images of snakes and crescents show the concept of cyclic time. There are also ancient European carvings made on bone and on antlers depicting lunar crescents and spiraling snake imagery that date as far back as 5,000 BCE, indicating an understanding of the cyclic nature of time and the seasons.
The Moon goddess was associated with the number 13 due to the fact that there are either 13 Full Moons or 13 New Moons in every year. The number 13 is also associated with the death of Jesus. The last supper, which preceded his death was attended by the 12 disciples and by Jesus making a group of 13. This seems to be the source of the fear of the number 13. Also, the Moon Goddess and the Old Religion were considered a threat to the growth and success of the new religion, Christianity. (Sadly, they where not crushed)
In northern Europe the Goddess Freya was held in great esteem so She was seen as a particular threat to the success of the new faith. Freya is the Goddess who gives her name to our Friday. The number 13 was held to be unfortunate by the Christian monks and priests. They believed it unfortunate because of its association with the last supper and the death of Jesus. The number 13 was also associated with the Moon and the Goddess. Because the monks and priests of the new religion believed that the goddess Freya was a threat to their religion, Freya’s day, Friday, was called the devil’s day. So this seems to be the origin of the view that Friday the 13th is particularly unlucky.
The number 13 is also associated with the Death card of the Tarot. The first known Tarot deck appeared in Europe about five hundred years ago. Some feel that the cards are based on ancient Egyptian wisdom. It is known that the Tarot is a repository of Hermetic mysteries, astrological lore and Pagan religious tradition. The Death card has a bad reputation but its true meaning speaks of transformation and renewal.
Many people fear the number 13:
- This fear is called “triskaidekaphobia“.
- Many do not wish to attend a dinner party where there are only thirteen guests.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt was among the many who fear the number 13.
- Many buildings do not have a thirteenth floor.
- NASA’s Apollo 13 flight, which took off at 13 minutes after the hour on April 13, developed a number of problems on the way to the Moon. Miraculously, the crew was able to return unharmed. Even though this may be viewed as a manifestation of the unfortunate attributes of the number 13, the crew did have the good luck of safely returning despite all the obstacles and difficulties they had to overcome.
- Those fears have deep roots in the collective unconscious but one need not adhere to the fears held within the unconscious. With conscious, positive, focused intent, we are the ones that determine if today brings fear or fun…
Have a happy Friday the 13th!