This Friday is Friday the 13th. It’s a very special Friday the 13th because it falls on a Full Moon. On a mythic, spiritual and magical level, this Friday the 13th links us to three powerful archetypes:
- The meaning of Friday
- The number 13
- The power of the Moon
The Romans called Friday dies veneris in honour of Venus, the Goddess of Love. The Norse then named Friday after their Goddess of Love, Frigg. So why would a day named after Goddesses of Love be considered unlucky? There is no real answer except that Friday has been considered an unlucky day by many cultures and for quite a long time. More recently, Friday has become associated with bad luck because it is the day Jesus was crucified.
The fear of the number 13 has been around since at least the time of the ancient Babylonians. Again, why is this so? 12 is seen as a number of completion whereas 13 has been seen as the number that comes along and disrupts or corrupts this. The Norse myth of Balder, a version of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale and the Last Supper are stories that feature a dinner with 13 guests – invited or uninvited, and the dire consequences of these events. 13 at a dinner is still considered unlucky. 13 was thought to be the traditional number of witches in a coven; a perversion of Jesus and his 12 disciples. There are also 13 full moons in a year which challenges the 12 months of the year system.
Of course you could look at 13 as the beginning of a new cycle like the Egyptians did. 13 was a lucky number in ancient Egypt as they believed there were 12 stages of life and the 13th stage was death and transformation in the afterlife. This wasn’t anything to be feared but was part of a natural cycle to be celebrated. Interestingly the tarot Death card is the number 13.
So what do you get when you put the fear of Friday together with the fear of the number 13? Friggatriskaidekaphobia, a word that combines the name of Friday’s Goddess Frigg with triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13. Add a full moon and this fearful day grows to mythic proportions.
The light of the silvery moon has been celebrated as a romantic emblem; a time for love to blossom and lovers to meet. A full moon on a day named after a love Goddess and on a number that symbolises rebirth and new cycles should be a romantic time. But that bright, shining orb changes monthly and goes from bright and beautiful to dark and hidden. Consequently this mysterious entity is also associated with fear, madness and lunacy. A full moon is believed to bring out the worst in everyone. And, as horror movies have shown, brings out the worst monsters – particularly werewolves and vampires.
If we put this all together we can see that Friday was named after a Roman Goddess of Love and is now named after a Norse Goddess of Love and that the number 13 is associated with the moon, women and the cycle of life, death and rebirth. So perhaps the fear being exploited on Friday the 13th is a fear of ancient pagan religions which celebrate, love, life, death, the moon and women. Rather than fear this day, maybe we should reflect upon its deeper meanings.
So go out and celebrate this Full Moon Friday the 13th. There won’t be another until August, 2049.