It is bad luck to fall out of a thirteenth story window on Friday.
With all the extra attention being given to this Full Harvest Moon that (for many people) also falls on a Friday the 13th, I have been asked to update my past discussion of the lore and magic of Friday the 13th.
Associated throughout Christendom with bad luck and superstitions of dire deeds, did you ever wonder why?
Pagans and Christians
For starters, Fridays are hailed as a particularly significant day in the Christian traditions.
Obviously, there is Good Friday, which was the day that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. And while it is never specifically stated in the Bible, traditional Christian lore also says that Adam and Eve supposedly ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday; the Great Flood started on a Friday; the builders of the Tower of Babel were tongue-tied on a Friday; and the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday.
Why would so much negativity be heaped on Fridays?
Some scholars suggest that perhaps it was due to the fact that many pre-Christian Pagan cultures welcomed Fridays as holy days, particularly sacred to Goddesses.
In Rome, Friday was Veneris dies, named for the Goddess of love and beauty, Venus.
Similarly, “Friday” was named for Venus’ Norse/Teutonic counterpart, Freya, a powerful Goddess of fertility, sexuality, war, wealth, and magic, whose day of worship this also was.
(One of my favorite depictions of Her is shown as the main image at the top. It is a modern interpretation of a silver amulet, found in Sweden, dating from somewhere between 700 and 1100 C.E.)
Like the Hellenic culture’s traditions, in the ancient northern Pagan societies, Fridays were associated with love and considered a good day for weddings.
Over time, however, Christianity demonized all Goddesses (with a few notable exceptions, like Mary and Brighid). So Friday became an unholy sabbath.
The Ominous Thirteen
Similarly, the number thirteen also has mythological and religious symbolism.
Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don’t label a 13th floor (check the elevator buttons, especially in older buildings).
It is very unlucky in Hindu tradition to have thirteen at any assembly, because it may result in the death of one of the guests. I am not sure what the origins of this are, but they appear to be related to an ancient tale of a fatal gathering of the Gods.
Meantime, on the other side of the globe, in Norse traditions, the same taboo is true. The story goes that twelve of the Heathen Gods were meeting together, but Loki, the God of mischief, crashed the party and tricked Hod, God of Winter, into killing Balder the Good.
Following in that vein of tragic dinner parties, the Last Supper in Christian tradition hosted thirteen people (the twelve disciples plus Jesus) and one betrayed Jesus, resulting in the crucifixion. (One does wonder, however, whether they weren’t all assembled together at other times, without incident).
The number thirteen also has been associated with death in other cultures. The ancient Egyptians, for example, believed life unfolded in twelve stages, and the thirteenth stage was death.
The Egyptians considered death a part of their ultimate journey and looked forward to the spiritual transformation — thus thirteen was not an unlucky number in their world.
But like so many others, their beliefs became distorted through the centuries, eventually connecting the number thirteen with modern culture’s more negative and fearful interpretation of death.
Finally, there is some evidence that the number thirteen may have an unlucky connotation because of its association with the lunar calendar (there are 13 lunar cycles in a year) and with femininity in general (women have 13 menstrual cycles in a year).
And as we know, the power of the Feminine has been feared, vilified, and persecuted by the Christian Church since its earliest days.
But just remember that what’s unlucky for some can be quite beneficial for others. For those who fear women’s power, or cower in denial of the natural endings of life, Friday the 13th is a scary day, spawning a whole genre of slasher movies.
But for those who accept with equanimity our Mother’s gift of life, death, and rebirth, and who honor women’s power, today provides an opportunity to give thanks.
Blessings of the Harvest Moon
And speaking of thanksgiving and Moon connections, the mainstream muggles media is having a field day with the timing of this year’s Harvest Moon. Dubbing it an “extra spooky” Full Moon since it is falling on a Friday the 13th for people living in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones, most of us who are attuned to the Divine Feminine might prefer to think of it as especially auspicious.
(Outside of those three time zones, the calendar page will have already flipped to Saturday the 14th by the moment Lady Luna reaches Her zenith of fullness, just a half-hour after midnight on the East Coast, and later on Saturday in Europe).
Still, though, the Friday the 13th Moon would be a superb time to celebrate a very special, time-honored moment in the turning Wheel of Time because with this Moon, we enter into the magical season of Mabon. (I’ll be writing lots more about this happy holiday in the days ahead).
Known by many names the world over, including the Barley Moon, the Corn Moon, the Wine Moon, and the Hunter’s Moon, the Harvest Moon is the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, which arrives on the 22nd or 23rd this year, depending on your time zone.
This is a time of protection, prosperity, and abundance. Under the Harvest Moon, the grain crops were traditionally gathered in, making it is a good time for spellwork involving money, health, abundance, and nurturing.
After the warning in my Tarot card of the week, I highly recommend paying special attention to all that you consider your wealth: finances, health, and home in particular.
Although frost is still (probably) at least a month away where I live, the energy is waning in my garden. The longer nights and cooler temperatures will begin to take their toll. So I love to gather in the last of my herbal harvest with the blessings of this Moon, at the final crescendo of their power.
Under this Harvest Moon, we are invited to strike a gentle balance between the pragmatic Virgo Sun, and the dreamy, sensitive Pisces Moon. Additional insights, including suggested devotions and the ever astute astrological wisdom of my friend Elisabeth Grace can be found here.
For my friends who are in accord with sidereal astrology (or even if you’re not and you’d welcome a fresh perspective!), you should subscribe to my friend Sally Nurney’s delightful and profound Lunar Lowdown videos.
In any case, this is a magical threshold moment. Take time to be quiet, still the body, and tune in to the perfect balance of the coming Equinox. Listen deeply to the wisdom that is within you. Nurture, tend, and watch over your true being. Gather in what feeds you. Cultivate what strengthens you.
Allow spaciousness for your creations, insights, and wisdom to age, like a fine wine. When the moment has come, open and share the sweet fruition of who you are.
And I hope you will make it your choice to reclaim this day as a most fortunate and blessed day.