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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friday the 13th

Of course we'll be doing a show about this subject this week, but what does it all mean? Where did the whole nonsense of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day come from? Before I get into that, I would like to mention for new listeners about our previous Friday the 13th show, with Kelly Curtis Spangler. It was a hoot!! Kelly's show Here's the deal with Friday the 13th: The convergence of two superstitions between the number 13 and Friday seem to be at the heart of many questions concerning this particular superstition. In Ancient Rome, Friday was execution day. In Britain, Friday was customarily Hanging Day. Why was it was chosen to be Friday? In some pre-Christian Religions Friday was a day of worship, so those who involved themselves in secular or self-interested activities on that day were not likely to receive the blessings of the gods on their undertakings. Which may explain the superstition of not embarking on journeys or starting important projects on Fridays. It is supposed that witches favour Friday for coven gatherings. This Pagan association was not lost on the early Christian Church, which went to considerable lengths to suppress them. If Friday was a holy day for "heathens" the Church fathers felt it must not be so for Christians, hence in the middle ages Friday became known as the "Witches' Sabbath." The name "Friday" is derived from the Norse goddess known either as Frigg - wife of Odin (the goddess of marriage & fertility, the moon & witches) or Freya (goddess of love, beauty, sensuality, war, good fortune, magic & wisdom). To complicate matters the two goddesses are combined and used interchangeably by many, however, the etymology of Friday has been given both ways. Pre-Christian Teutonic people actually considered Friday to be lucky, particularly for wedding, because of its association with the aforementioned goddesses. This however changed when the Christian church came into ascendancy. Frigg/Freya was re-cast in folklore as a witch and her day became associated with evil doings. An old Christian proverb states, "If you laugh on Friday you will cry on Sunday,". Various legends developed in that vein, one however, is of particular interest: "As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members." The number thirteen is associated with the supposed number of members in a witches' coven. It is also interesting to note in this story, the possible origin of the belief that a witch's familiar is a cat. Interestingly enough, precisely the same superstition has been attributed to the ancient Vikings. There is an old Norse legend that seems tailor made for continuing this trend; As the story goes, twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, (the god of mischief) had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to thirteen. True to character, Loki incited Hod (the blind god of darkness and winter) into attacking Balder the Good (fairest of the gods). Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. This tale explains why the Norse themselves adhere to the belief that thirteen people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck. Another important fact came from the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians revered thirteen. It was the number of the last step a soul took on its journey to eternity, twelve steps taken in life and the final one at death into the eternal glory of the afterlife. Thus making the thirteenth step a joyous one. Since the Christian religion was mirrored from the Egyptian one, it is only fitting that the Christians would want to distance themselves from a practice that would contradict their core belief - hence the number 13 being deemed as evil/bad in their teachings. They even went as far as to write it into their holy book, there are multiple references to thirteen in the bible - all being negative. One especially important one is the idea that ties both superstitions together somewhat is the claim that on a Friday Eve gave Adam the apple, thus the birth of the original sin - and also distancing the Christian faith from any feminine divine from pervious times. *quoted from unknown source. If this is yours, please credit yourself in the comments :)* Personally, Friday the 13th is generally a lucky day for me. I'm curious to know how you all view it or how it affects you. B*B )O( Dorian