11 June 2014

Friday the 13th - a Day of Superstition and Modern Urban Myth

This coming Friday will be Friday the 13th - a day of superstition and misconception, a number of which already seem to be making their way around various social media sites.  As such, I thought I would revisit the blog entry that I made back in January 2012.  The difference between the Friday the 13th which occurred two and a bit years ago and this year, is that this time around, the Full Moon will also occur on the same day (at 1:42pm in Adelaide to be exact).  This occurance apparently has been interpreted (by some) as equating to Friday being a "super magical event" - something that has left me scratching my head.
 
Friday the 13th seems to be one of the most dread days of the calendar where bad luck is expected effect us all. Is this a naturally occuring coincidence, or does it have something to do with an overwhelming global "thought" process almost willing bad luck to happen, willed on by the "Paraskevidekatriaphobics" (those people who are actually afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th)?

In the article Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky, the author quoted a 1993 British Medical Journal studying into whether or not this was actuallly true, with the Journal concluding that "Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended."

But how did this belief come about as opposed to any other day of the week?

Some superstitions about the number 13 are:

If there are 13 people at a dinner table, one is believed to die before the end of the year. This is believed to have been based on the fact that there were 12 disciples at the last supper of Jesus, who made 13 at the table.

Many cities do not have a 13th street, 13th avenue or even a 13th road. Buildings often do not have a 13th floor, hotels often tend not to have a Room 13, and there are even some international airports that do not have a Gate 13.

If you have 13 letters in your name then you fall into the unfortunate company of Theodore (Ted) Bundy, Charles Manson, Albert de Salvo and Jack the Ripper.

And of course, there are said to be traditionally a total of 13 witches in a coven - which is made up of six working couples plus the Devil.

In Norse mythology, 12 Gods were having a dinner party at Valhalla when Loki, the mischievous God, appeared uninvited. Living up to his name, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind God of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the God of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. When Balder died, the whole Earth got dark and went into mourning. Thus, the number 13 was considered unlucky.

Friday is named after the Norse Goddess Frigg (the Goddess of marriage and fertility) or her later counterpart, Freya (Goddess of sex and fertility). Both Frigg and Freya are Goddesses associated with magick and indeed witchcraft.

The moon goes through 13 lunar cycles within the solar based calender year, and as there is a correlation betwen women and the moon, the number 13 is also considered to be a "female" number.

In modern times, the Apollo 13 spacecraft malfunctioned after being launched on 11 April 1970 at a time of 13:13 CST, forcing it to return to Earth without a landing on the moon and imperiling its crew. Further, after 13 years of being the richest man in the world, Microsoft Corporation chairman Bill Gates lost this title, according to Forbes magazine's 2008 list of the world's billionaires.
 
In the tarot, the 13th card is that of Death which, contrary to what may first be thought, is a card about transition, change and inevitability. In numerology 13 can be reduced down to 1+3 which equals 4. The number four tends to have ground effect where the focus is on stability and one's foundation, such as employment, study/career, the home as well as other longer termed goals. Both of these I hardly consider to be "negative".

As for this Friday being a "super magical event", the jury is out - however with the full moon converging on the same day does not happen all that often.  The last time this occurred was on 13 October 2000 while the next will be in 2049.  As the energy of the full moon can heighten "unsociable" behaviour (where the word "lunatic" originating from the word lunaticus meaning "of the moon" or "moonstruck"), no doubt Paraskevidekatriaphobics will be shaking in their boots.  New Zealand's Dominion Post had already warned people of the bout of "bad luck" that is due to be experienced this Friday, warning that the day could be "could be downright terrifying for some".

During such occasions, I find myself reverting back to some of the basic universal laws that operate outside the realms of superstition and urban myth - and in particular the Law of Attraction where "like attracts like".  Instead of looking at the upcoming full moon in negative light, why not focus on its astrological phase - that being Sagittarius - and make the most of this opportunity to seize life by its horns (as suggested by ) instead of cowering under the weight of superstition.

References:
Urban Legends
National Geographic


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