Many people dread Friday the 13th expecting the worst from the negative superstition that surrounds it, but the day can be considered to be lucky in many ways, especially for women. The day gets a bad rap because of associations assigned by groups afraid of both the day and the number, but understanding the root of the fear that drives those assignments can significantly shift the energy of the day.
First, the number thirteen. The negative association with thirteen is anchored deeply in ancient lore as the thirteenth gods in ancient polytheist cultures often met violent and unfortunate ends. Of course, the number found still less favor after it marked the number of guests at the Last Supper where Jesus sat at table with his twelve disciples before being crucified. (I spent one Thanksgiving in our den watching television after a dinner guest unwittingly brought an extra to the Thanksgiving table making our number thirteen; my aunt wasn’t having it as some superstitions suggest the 13th party to table will inevitably meet an untimely end. As a result, I sat that one out…)
Thirteen is also rued as being the number after the magical number twelve. Many cultures consider twelve to be of a holy and complete alignment: twelve apostles, twelve calendar months, twelve hours each in the day and night, twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve successors of Mohammed, and so on…
When Judeo-Christian culture began its assault on nature-based religions, particularly in the Inquisition, the number thirteen took on a new, sinister association. Witches were understood to worship at the full moon and there are thirteen moon cycles in a calendar year. To wit, the number thirteen became associated with malicious witches and their presumed efforts to undermine Judeo-Christian beliefs in their monthly rituals.
Poor Friday. You’d think the last day of the traditional work week would get a little more love, but, no: Friday has too much stacked against it to overcome. First, it is the only day of the week named after a woman, namely the Norse goddess Freya or Frigg. The Norse worshipped Freya as the goddess of love, passion, beauty, sexuality, abundance, and fertility–all good things, really. Still, the root of Friday’s name was enough to cause patriarchal culture to believe Friday brings the same unpredictability, lack of reason, and folly that patriarchy often (wrongly) associates with a woman’s character.
“Now Friday came, you old wives say,
Of all the week’s the unluckiest day.”
17th Century Rhyme
Friday was also known as the Hangman’s Day, the day at the end of the week when the hangman would call to reckoning all of the sorry souls that had been condemned in the courts in the previous days.
Many cultures eschewed all important endeavors on Friday’s–no starting a business, no breaking ground on new building projects, no getting married, no setting out for travel, no launching a ship, and absolutely no major financial deals should be conducted on a Friday lest the day upend the desired outcome.
Reframing the Day
If you’re willing to discover and appreciate Friday the 13th’s roots, it’s easy to associate the day with far more favorable energy. As the only goddess-anchored day of the week, it holds particular import for women, especially as its energy is raised up by the association with moon cycles, which you may have heard are kind of fundamental to that whole “being a woman” thing… I celebrate Friday the 13th’s arrival as it marks a magical alignment for me as a nature-worshipping woman.
This year’s Friday the 13th has the added bonus of including a full moon, the Strawberry or Honey Moon, which many people will have seen in the night of Thursday to Friday as a low-hanging, amber-glowing orb. Full moons draw energy down to us, allowing us to attract in our lives those things upon which we put our attention–a fine thing when coupled with Freya’s tendency to anchor abundance and love. (Conversely, new moons anchor desires for banishing and protection, making a new moon the perfect time for giving up a bad habit, detoxification, and other purifying and protective endeavors.)
Ironically, the nature of Friday the 13th, particularly on a full moon, may cause those with the greatest fear of the day to draw down their fears, fulfilling the very unlucky experiences upon which they have chosen to focus. Reframing the day and focusing one’s energy on the more positive alignments allows Friday the 13th to unfold as a rare and magical gift–I encourage you to embrace its mystery with wonder and delight!
Bless and blessed be!
Resources: Superstitions, Peter Lorie. Simon & Schuster, New York, NY. 1992