Why the number 13 is special
As appeared in 'Chat - It's Fate' magazine.
As appeared in 'Chat - It's Fate' magazine.Copyright Karen Pereczes 2005.
The fear of the number thirteen, known as Triskedekaphobia, is one of the most common of all superstitions. Regarded as unlucky, it is commonly removed from hotels and street addresses around the world. To counterbalance the negative stigma associated with it, here is a refreshing look at this remarkable number...
The Lunar Cycle
moon covers, on average, thirteen degrees per day. Although there are twelve
months in a year based on the movements of the sun, there are 13 moons of 28
days with a day left over - hence the expression 'a year and a day'. The
thirteenth full moon is the second full moon that occurs in the same month and
is called a 'blue moon'. Many ancient cultures used a calendar based on
these thirteen lunar cycles. The first known civilisation known to man
(approximately 3800 BC) was an advanced society of people known as the
Sumerians, who possessed extraordinary astronomical knowledge. They followed a
solar-lunar calendar alternating between 12 and 13 months - as did their
successors, the Babylonians.
first calendar that the North American Indians used was on the shell of the
turtle. The outer shape of the shell is a circular shape that represented what
they call a Sacred Hoop or Medicine Wheel and within the shell are thirteen
segments that they used to mark the passing of each full moon. These thirteen
moon cycles gave birth to their legends of the Thirteen Original Clan Mothers,
who represented the talents and abilities that humankind can develop during
their 'Earth Walk', or physical lives.
thirteen was considered a powerful number strongly connected to women and
fertility, as the female menstrual cycle follows the phases of the moon. Women
bleed approximately 13 times per year, roughly every 28 days. Freya - the
Norse goddess of love and fertility - became associated with the number 13
because of this, and is specifically linked to what was once regarded as
sacred but now is the most ominous of dates - Friday the 13th. The
word 'Friday' itself is thought by some to be derived from her name, and
is the only day of the week named after a woman. Incredible as it may seem,
the origin of our very existence is related to the number 13. One sperm (13
chromosomes) + one ovum (13 chromosomes) = a human life.
The Meaning of Numbers
Greek philosopher Pythagoras said, "the world is built upon the power of
numbers", and believed that numbers possessed individual qualities. He
created the system of divination known today as numerology, where all words,
names and numbers are reduced to single digits. Using this system, the number
13 is the higher vibration of 4 (as 1 + 3 = 4), 4 being the foundation and
root of all numbers associated with the earth and the four elements.
13 symbolises love for the world and is the most selfless of all
numbers. It is a number of the practical, alert and intelligent and is
associated with genius. People born on this date are said to be innovators and
explorers, successful in scientific research and development.
Gematria is an ancient system for discovering hidden meanings and truth behind
words using numerical values for letters of the alphabet. It was used to
search for the secret, holy names of God, which were believed to carry
incredible power. The Greeks used it to interpret dreams, and the ancient
Hebrews used it as a form of divination. Kabbalists developed the system
further. 13 is considered to be among the holiest of numbers, directly
connected to Yahweh (God). It means 'love of unity', as the Hebrew words
for 'love' and 'one' both total thirteen.
A Company of Thirteen
the ages, there appears to have been great power in a collective of thirteen
members, although the true significance of this has been lost over time. It is
well known that Jesus had a following of 12 disciples. In the holy visions of
Maria Valtorta from Italy, who lived from 1897 to 1961, Jesus explained how he
purposefully chose his apostles to represent the 'thirteen veins of
humanity'. The Knights of the Round Table also numbered 13 (King Arthur
himself included), and together they searched for the thirteen treasures of
Britain. According to early Welsh legends these treasures belonged to the
Celtic Gods and heroes - the most famous of all these being the Cauldron
which, in later adaptations of the tale, became known as the Holy Grail. Robin
Hood is alleged to have had a band of 12 'merry men'. In Rome, the city
founder Romulus had 12 companions. The Norse God Odin and 12 deities reigned
over Valhalla. Zeus and 12 Gods ruled over Greek Olympus. The Danish Hrolf had
12 berserkers. There were 12 retainers around the Egyptian God Osiris. The
Hebrew Yahweh had his 12 tribes. There are 12 Namshans around the Dalai Lama.
Traditionally, a witches coven has 13 members.
Since ancient times, the number 13 has had divine importance
for many cultures worldwide...
the ancient Aztec and Mayan people of South America, thirteen was the most
sacred of numbers that they used to measure time. They used two calendars -
one that was based on a 365-day count, and another based on cycles of 13. The
latter was known to the Aztecs as the Tonalalmatl, or the 'Sacred Year',
and to the Mayans as the Tzolkin - considered by some to be the most
astronomically precise calendar ever created and still used for magical
purposes by some remote Mayan tribes even today. It consists of a 260-day
cycle made up of a series of time known as Baktuns. They believed that the
entire span of time was to last for exactly 13 Baktun cycles. The cycle of
time we are in now is said to have begun on August 13th 3114 BC and
is to end on December 22nd 2012.
Aztec calendar also had a week consisting of 13 days, which was ruled by the
God Tlazolteotl the 'Rainbow Serpent' - Goddess of sexuality and
childbirth and the 'eater of sins'. The thirteenth day itself was
dedicated to the God Tezcatlipoca, also known as the 'Smoking Mirror', and
was God of the night sky, God of time and ancestral memory.
religious ceremonies in ancient Babylon, 13 people were chosen to represent
the gods. For the Egyptians this number was associated with immortality, as
there were 12 rungs on the ladder to eternal life and knowledge - to take the
thirteenth step represented the transition through death into everlasting
ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet, used by the Druids as a secret language and for
divination, was also known as the 'sacred tree alphabet' and was based on
13 trees native to Britain. The sacred cord of the Druids has 13 segments.
the Bible (the gospel according to St. John) Jesus uses 13 comparisons to
describe who he truly is. The number thirteen is said by some to be dedicated
to the Virgin Mary, as it is believed that she died on August the 13th.
Judaism there are thirteen attributes of Yahweh's divine mercy. Maimonides -
the Jewish physician, rabbi and philosopher - had thirteen principles of faith
that he considered the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. The Hebrew Bible
has 39 books, which is 3 X13.
the Indian pantheon there are 13 Buddhas. There are said to be thirteen stages
a man must pass through to achieve 'Buddha-hood'. In the Mo system of
Tibetan divination, 13 is the most favourable number of them all. It
represents the Goddess Penden Lhamo - who is protector of the Dalai Llama and
the Tibetan nation. There are 13 Golden Doctrines central to the Sakya
tradition in Tibet. This tradition is closely connected to the Khon ancestral
lineage, which is claimed to be derived from celestial beings.
Sign of The Zodiac?
are thirteen constellations that the sun appears to pass through on the ecliptic
(the apparent path of the sun through the stars), although only twelve of these
have been represented as signs of the zodiac. The 'missing'
constellation, which lies between Libra and Sagittarius, is Ophiuchus - the 'Serpent Bearer'. He is associated with Aesclepius, the Greek God of
healing, whose symbol (snakes coiled around a staff or rod) is used worldwide to
represent places of healing and medicine. The Greek philosopher Plato insisted
in his time that it be included in the zodiac, to no avail. This continues to be
a controversial matter that has divided astronomers and astrologers for
thousands of years.
Thirteen Facts About The Number Thirteen