© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Do you have Superstition Stress? When Friday the Thirteenth rolls around, do you worry? Do you think bad things may happen? When I was a kid, the other kids feared bad things happening on Friday the Thirteenth. I didn’t get it. My birthday is October 13th. So I told the other kids I was born on a Friday, so Friday the 13th was my lucky day! That was my little anti-superstition campaign. I don’t know if the kids believed me. Actually, I knew I was born on a Monday. But really, how could a day be bad luck? Yet many people believe there is something dark or unlucky, or both, about any 13th of the month that falls on a Friday.
I kept noticing that people didn’t like thirteens. As a teen, when I traveled to large cities with tall buildings, I noticed none of the buildings had a thirteenth floor. Even the elevator button for 13 was always missing. I began to crave an apartment on the thirteenth floor.
Thirteen turned out to be a pleasant number, in bakeries. If you bought a dozen of something, they gave you a thirteenth one free; I have no explanation for this yet. However, also on the positive side for the number thirteen, there are thirteen moon cycles in a year, and some cultures have long loved the number. The Aztecs used a 13-day week, and the thirteenth day was ruled by a god named Tezcatlipoca, who represented mystery and magic. The Greeks held the number thirteen to be powerful, as Zeus was the thirteenth and most powerful of their Gods. In Tarot cards, the Death card is associated with the number thirteen, plus the qualities of transition, change, new beginnings, and inevitability. By college days, I started calling 13 my lucky number.
A friend told the blonde: “Christmas is on a Friday this year”
The blonde replied, “Let’s hope it’s not the 13th!”
In the Christian tradition, a negative belief about the number thirteen goes back at least to the Last Supper. Twelve apostles dined with Jesus, so there were thirteen diners, with the first one to leave, Judas, becoming also the first one to die. In France, today, when there are thirteen dinner guests, some make an effort to get a fourteenth, a quatorzieme, to keep the event from being unlucky.
But here is the cultural memory that may be the source for the negative rep for Friday the Thirteenth: it’s the anniversary of the day the Knights Templar were murdered, all across Europe. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, the Knights Templar were officially banned in Europe. Many hundreds were violently killed or tortured to death during the campaign to eliminate the Templars. In France, the Grand Master of the Spiritual Order of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, and his successor, were burned to death on Friday, March 13th, 1314. This took place below the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris, where, today, a plaque commemorates the event. No doubt anyone with any exposure to the persecution of the Templars would have terrible memories of Fridays the Thirteenth, and their stories of those horrors would have persisted for generations. A few hundred years later, largely only the fear remains.
So let’s relax or even chuckle when we see the number 13. Let’s take that extra bagel or donut or roll, when it’s offered. And on Friday the Thirteenth, let’s smile and know that we can choose to have a great day. That’s Upbeat Living! Are you in?
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and award-winning author. She also is an ordained minister and has a natural healing practice. Among her books are: Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br),and Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. That one, and her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, are available through her office. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For inquiries for speaking engagements and individual appointments: email@example.com.
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