Friday the 13th
Here’s a date to conjure with and one which seems to have so many superstitions tied to it.
Generally considered to be a day of foreboding, Friday the 13th even has a phobia named after it.
Paraskevidekatriaphobia – or sometimes – Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the technical term for a phobia of Friday the 13th. If you suffer from Triskadekaphobia then it’s just the number which instills fear.
Interestingly there is no written evidence about the fear of Friday the 13th before the 19th Century.
The number 13, on the other hand, has a bit of history to it..
The carving of the Earth Mother of Laussel shows her holding a crescent shaped horn which has thirteen notches.
This carving, found in the Lascaux caves in France, is 2.700 years old.
There’s a fun suggestion that this focus on the feminine was something that Patriarchal religions needed to suppress and vilify. So to emphasize the negative associations with the number 13 would be a good bit of propaganda.
So, in Christianity, we see the 13 people at the Last Supper as being a bad thing, especially since Judas was the 13th guest. (interestingly a parallel story exists in Norse mythology in which a feast of the Gods turned sour when Loki arrived as the 13th feast-goer).
The 13th Chapter of the Book of Revelation deals with the Anti-Christ..
Bev, the Hebrew word for Chaos, has the numerological number 13 whilst the words sickness, tear, dragon (symbolically the Devil) appear 13 times in the New Testament (but so does the phrase Son of God which may even things out a little).
The Valley of Hinmon, the scene of the rites of the evil pagan God Moloch, occurs in 13 references within scriptures.
On a brighter note, perhaps, the Koran contains the word “star” 13 times – perhaps we need to look at the significance of this.
The number 13, in the Tarot, is Death, which in some traditions has quite negative connotations but which can be considered as the Death of matter; a period of transition. Interestingly the Ancient Egyptians seemed to celebrate 12th paths of spiritual enlightment during life and the 13th trasnformational, and major, spiritual realisation after death.
In the gospel of Mark, Jesus lists the 13 things which defile us ….
adulteries, fornication, evil thoughts, murders, covetousness, theft, wickedness, licentiousness, guile, blasphemy, foolishness, pride and the evil eye.. (Mark 7 20 – 23)
There are some more positive references to the number 13 in biblical texts however..
The notion of ‘eternal love’ could be seen to be expressed through Jacob and his 12th son and Jesus and his 12 apostles.
13 is sometimes seen as being associated with the Virgin Mary, probably for more esoteric and mystical reasons that M simply being the 13th letter of our alphabet!
Interestingly some mystics suggest that the assumption (taking up into heaven) of Mary took place on the 13th, actually Friday the 13th of August to be specific.
More recently the Fatima mysteries sees the first and last of the ‘visions’ of Mary as being the 13th May and 13th October 1917 respectively and the Fatima children saw their vision of Hell on July 13th.
So what about Fridays?
In the Cantebury Tales (written in 14th Century) we learn that Friday was not the best day to start a journey..
Also on a Friday …
Allah created Adam; Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit; Jesus was crucified on a Friday the Roman day for Executions which, was later to become ‘hangmans day’ in Britain.
Friday is named for the Norse Goddess Frigg (Goddess of marriage and fertility) and/or Freya (Goddess of sex and fertility). It’s fun to recall that the cat was sacred to these goddesses and the possible Christian simplification of these Goddesses being evil – hence witches and cats being associated with evil deeds.
What’s in a Name?
The following folks have 13 letter names:-
Lavinia Fisher – 1819, Americas First Serial Killer who bumped off her male lodgers
Jack The Ripper – of Whitechapel fame
Albert DeSalv0 – The Boston Strangler
Charles Manson – and his murderous family
Jeffrey Dahmer – cannibal and serial killer
Aileen Wuornos – American serial killer
John Wayne Gacy – serial killer
All seems pretty gloomy….
Well so lets balance this with
So what do we know?
The Friday the 13th Superstition is not easy to track down and may have some very modern (19th Century origins) through the linking of longer traditions based upon Fridays and the number 13 individually.
There’s no statistical evidence to really support this day as being particularly dire and the link between Friday 13th and the arrest of the Knights Templars (Friday 13th October 1307) is not supported by scholars.
So whatever you believe – have a safe and positive Friday the 13th