Friday the 13th: Myths and Meaning
The fear associated with Friday the 13th comes from many Christian constructs hundreds of years ago as they were trying to abolish paganism. For witches, Friday the 13th can be a day of power, facing your fears, and embracing your sexuality, especially for women! Read on for more information about the history of Friday the 13th, the numerological meaning of the number, and how you can embrace your personal magick on Friday the 13th.
The History of Friday the 13th
For the Ancient Norse, a story about 12 guests sitting down together for dinner in Valhalla established 13 as an unlucky number. As the gods joined each other for a meal, the dinner was interrupted by none other than Loki himself. The story goes that Loki tricked Hoor into killing his brother Baldr. Since Loki was the 13th guest, the number was attributed to death and misfortune.
One of the oldest and most complete sets of legal codes still existent today is the Code of Hammurabi, which was proclaimed by the Babylonian king of the same name somewhere during his reign between 1792-1750 BC. The 282 rules do not include the 13th law, which was an error on the part of the translators, not an intentional omission on the part of the Babylonians. Still, it sparked the idea that 13 was somehow unlucky.
Fast-forward a bit, and we have a story from the Bible to thank for reinforcing the superstition. This story has a lot in common with the Ancient Norse one above. In the classic Last Supper story, 13 people ate together: Jesus and his 12 apostles. This group of apostles included Judas, of course, who betrayed Jesus, which led to Jesus’s crucifixion the next day – Good Friday. This seating arrangement became an unlucky one in many Christian households. Having 13 people at your table was an omen of death.
Not only was Friday the day that Jesus was crucified, but it was also supposedly the day of the week that Eve gave Adam the apple from the Tree Knowledge, which lead to them being cast out of Eden. Cain is supposed to have killed his brother, Abel, on a Friday as well.
So, it becomes clearer how the day and the number together resulted in it being deemed unlucky.
Before Christianity spread across the globe, Friday the 13th was celebrated for its powerful Divine Feminine properties. It was also a day for much creativity. Before patriarchal institutions – religious and secular – the day was considered the day of the Goddess.
The Thirteenth Club
Here’s a fun fact! In an effort to combat the stigma of the number 13, a New Yorker named Captain William Fowler founded an exclusive society in the late 19th century called the Thirteenth Club. Members regularly dined together on the 13th of the month (whether it was a Friday or not) in Room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage and shared a 13-course meal. Before they sat down, the group would walk under a ladder (also an “unlucky” thing to do) and a banner that said, “Morituri te Salutamus,” which in Latin means, “Those of us who are about to die salute you.”
Four of the US presidents joined the Thirteenth Club over the years: Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Of course, we have novels and movies to thank for furthering the idea that Friday the 13th is a deadly, unlucky day. I’m looking at you, Jason.
As it turns out, Friday the 13th can be a fun and lucky day for you! Since intention is such an essential part of magick, setting out to make it a great day can really help it be that way.
Friday the 13th is the perfect time for:
- Honoring the Divine Feminine
- Transformation Magick
- Cleansing Away Aspects of Yourself You No Longer Need
- Facing Your Fears
- Feminist & Matriarchal Magick
- Sex Magick
- Self-Love & Beauty Magick
Each Friday resonates with the properties of love, self-love, beauty, compassion, fertility, friendship, and sexuality.
Friday is ruled by the planet Venus, which is responsible for love. Self-care and self-love are great practices for Friday. Use this day to cast spells relating to compassion, fertility, increasing sexuality, and strengthening friendships. Some great magickal practices for Friday include a cleansing bath, giving yourself a facial, manicure, or pedicure, spending the day with friends, having a date night with your lover, sending love and positive energy into the world, or setting up a self-love altar to remind yourself of how awesome you are!
The Numerology of 13
Despite popular fiction – and centuries of pushing the agenda that says the day is unlucky – the number 13 is actually quite pragmatic. Its energy focuses on building a secure foundation for your future. It also resonates with independence - no wonder the early church wanted to suppress this day! Thirteen also corresponds with the number 4 as 1 + 3 = 4, so it can have the characteristics of all three numbers. As a 4, 13 actually indicates completion or perfection of transformation.
Let’s break it down a little more. Number 1 resonates with new ideas, progress, and individuality. Number 3’s energy centers on motivation, passion, inspiration, and self-expression. Together, they can indicate that you’re ready to renew your motivation and passion. It’s also supported by the Divine Feminine, which is why Friday the 13th is so powerful for women.
In the Tarot, the 13th card is Death, which is misunderstood to be an unlucky card. The Death card doesn’t signal that someone will die, but rather that there’s a transformation or rebirth on the horizon.
Thirteen is also the average number of cycles for menstruating people each year, and corresponds to the average number of moon cycles in a year. The moon has long been associated with the Divine Feminine. So, Friday the 13th is a great time to work with the moon and the Divine Feminine energy in us all.
“Friday the 13th,” The History Channel: https://www.history.com/topics/folklore/friday-the-13th
“Numerology Number 13,” The Secret of the Tarot: https://thesecretofthetarot.com/numerology-number-13/
“Fascinating Friday the 13th – History, Superstitions, and Ways to Celebrate,” Oddities & Curiosities Travel: https://odditiesandcuriositiestravel.com/friday-the-13th/