more about the number 13 & it’s significance

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more about the number 13 & it’s significance

by April Foulks (Notes) on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 4:30am

Another proposed theory that makes a little more sense is that the number 13 was purposefully made to seem evil by the founders of patriarchal religion in the early days of western civilization.

      You see, 13 represented femininity. This is so, supposedly, because this is the number used in goddess-worshiping cultures, as 13 corresponded with the number of lunar (or menstrual) cycles in a year (13×28=364 days). There are many ancient carvings from goddess-worshipping cultures found with the number 13 represented on them. It is said that as the solar calendar became preferred over the lunar one with the rise of male-dominated civilizations, so did the number 12 over the number 13. Thus, 13 became a number associated with negativity.

     One final reason of why the number 13 is considered bad is one that many of us, I’m sure, are somewhat familiar with – The Last Supper. Remember earlier when I said that some people believe having 13 people at a dinner table is bad? This could be why. As the Bible tells us, there were exactly 13 people present at Jesus’ last supper. And, of course, one of the people at that table, Judas, would go on to betray Jesus. Thus, leading to his crucifixion. There is even more information pertaining to this event when I talk about Fridays later in this article.

     Interestingly enough, 13 has actually been a positive number in some cultures. In ancient Egypt, for example, they believed there were 13 crucial stages of spiritual ascension. 12 of those stages took place on earth, while the 13th took place in the afterlife. So, in that, 13 represented death. And, to them, death was all part of their journey. However, although death to them was a great thing, you can see how this number, representing death, could translate throughout history as a bad omen as well. After all, many people do indeed fear death. Befittingly, they would also fear the number 13.

     The Knights Templar were all arrested in France on the same day by agents of King Phillip IV. This occurred on Friday, October 13, 1307.   However, the capture of the Knights Templar doesn’t seem likely to be the reason for the day’s ominous meaning, because Friday the 13th wasn’t mentioned in a bad way in any historic publications until the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

  • Also, if both Judas and Matthias are counted, there were thirteen apostles.
  • Thirteen was also once associated with the Epiphany by Christians, the child Jesus having received the Magi on his thirteenth day of life.
  • In the Jewish tradition, 13 signifies the age of maturity, a 13 year old Jew is said to be Bar mitzvah. It is also the number of the tribes (of them 11 are the sons of Jacob and two more are named after the two sons of Joseph) and appears in other places in the Hebrew Bible though not as often as other famous biblical numbers such as 7 and 12. In fact, one could say that for Jews, 13 is more of a lucky number than an unlucky one.
  • Modern day witches have reclaimed the number 13 as a lucky and significant number. This may be similar to witches reclaiming other previously negative terms and ideas associated with witchcraft, such as black cats, brooms, and even the term witch itself.
  • In modern day Wicca, thirteen is considered the maximum size of a coven, and in some traditions the ideal number of members. In Gardnerian Wicca, the ideal coven has thirteen members.
  • There are 13 powers of the witch
  • 13 symbols for the elements(invoking & banishing)
  • 13 steps to the Basic Esbat Ritual format

Amongst some Chinese people, it is regarded as a lucky number because it is sounds similar to “實生”, which means “must be alive”. But this belief is not universal, or even known to all Chinese. Also, 13 is regarded as unlucky by those Chinese under the influence of foreign cultures.

In mathematics

  • Thirteen is the 6th smallest prime number; the next is seventeen. 13 is a Wilson prime. 13 is the fifth Mersenne prime exponent, yielding 8191. 13 is also the third lucky prime.
  • 13 is a star number and the seventh Fibonacci number. There are 13 Archimedean solids.
  • 13 goes into 999,999 exactly 76,923 times, so fractions with 13 in the denominator have six digit repeating sequences in their decimal expansions.
  • At 13, the Mertens function sets a new low of -3, subseded later at 31 with a value of -4.
  • 13 is the only positive integer that is the fourth root of the sum of the squares of two successive positive integers (119 and 120).

In science

  • The atomic number of aluminum
  • The number of dimensions in some theories of relativity

In astronomy,

Messier object M13, a magnitude 7.0 globular cluster in the constellation Hercules, also known as the Hercules cluster. It is one of the brightest and best-known of the globular clusters.

The New General Catalogue object NGC 13 , a spiral galaxy in the constellation Andromeda

The Saros number of the solar eclipse series which began on -2561 September 12 and ended on -1046 March 9. The duration of Saros series 13 was 1514.5 years, and it contained 85 solar eclipses.

The Saros number of the lunar eclipse series which began on -2313 May 20 and ended on -1015 July 6. The duration of Saros series 13 was 1298.1 years, and it contained 73 lunar eclipses.

The 13th moon of Jupiter is Elara.

One (probably unverifiable) theory holds that 13 is a reflection of the human fear of the unknown, since it is the first number that cannot be enumerated by using our 10 fingers and 2 feet.

The 13th falls on a Friday more often than any other day. In fact it occurs more often than any other day/number combination except those that coincide with it (Thursday the 12th, Saturday the 14th, etc).

Thirteen is:

  • The number of loaves in a “baker’s dozen”.
  • The ASCII and Unicode value for carriage return.
  • The number of players in a rugby league team.
  • The age of maturity in Jewish tradition. A boy gets his bar mitzvah on the Shabbat after his thirteenth birthday.
  • The number of principles of Jewish faith according to Maimonides
  • The number of guns in a gun salute to U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Major Generals, and Navy and Coast Guard Rear Admirals Upper Half.
  • The number of Plutonium slugs in Fat Man, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
  • Strauss and Howe named Generation X the “Thirteenth Generation”.
  • Israel Naval covert unit – Shayetet 13

There is a lot of information on the relevance of the number 13. If you would like to know more, please research it. 🙂


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