Triskaidekaphobia, Anyone?

Is a number really something to be afraid of?

In Her Words

Triskaidekaphobia, Anyone?

Is a number really something to be afraid of?

-Megan Southwick

Friday the 13thBlack cats. Demons. Exorcism. Curses.   Bad luck. JASON.

Friday the 13th has been the day of doom for as long as any of us can remember – and not just because we are bombarded with cheesy horror movie marathons for the entire week prior to the big day.
But why? Where did this mythos originate?

If you ask a numerologist, it’s all because the number 12 is considered a complete number – 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 apostles. If you exceed 12 by just 1 number, you throw all of that out of whack. (Do I need to remind you that Judas was the 13th member at the Last Supper?)

Charles A. Platt thought that 13 was unlucky because a person can count from 1 to 12 with their 8 fingers, two thumbs and 2 feet, but not beyond that — so the number 13 is unknown, and therefore frightening and unlucky.

There is a famous myth about 12 Norse gods feasting in Valhalla; their party was crashed by the mischievous Loki (an uninvited 13th guest), who arranged for Hod, the blind god of Darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. As a result, Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning.

Fridays have always been fraught with superstition. Eve tempted Adam on a Friday. The great Biblical flood took place on a Friday, the Knights of the Templar were executed on a Friday, and Jesus’ death took place on a Friday. Primitive peoples often worshiped their deities on Fridays – and those who chose to work on this day were told not to expect good luck.

Friday was named after Frigg, the Norse goddess of marriage, who was later confused with Freya, the goddess of love – who, in turn, became associated with Friday. When Norsemen and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Freya was banished to the mountains as a witch, and Friday became known as the “Witches Sabbath.” It was believed that on this day, every week, twelve witches and the Devil met – 13 evil spirits gathering each Friday.

It’s easy to see how these myths trickled down through popular culture over the ages! What about you – are you superstitious??

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