by Beth Diane Bradley
The year 2013. The mere anticipation may have you hiding under the bed — that is if you suffer from triskaidekaphobia — or fear of the number 13.
I once owned a black cat, and have broken a few mirrors over the years. But thanks to countless warnings by Stevie Wonder, I’ve chosen not to be superstitious.
It all started when my youngest son was born on Sunday, August 13th, 1989. I tried to push him out on the 12th, just to be doubly sure he wouldn’t be cursed – but missed the deadline by twenty minutes. Ever since then, I have taken a proactive stance against superstition — by making 13 my lucky number.
Fast forward past potty training, spelling words and driver’s Ed, to the day my oldest son came home from college with a small tattoo on the back of his neck that said “Lucky 13.” When I asked him why he chose it, he explained a friend of his worked at a tattoo parlor that offered a special on Friday the 13th for any tattoo featuring the number 13. While not the most compelling reason to choose a tattoo, it has always been his nature to help out a friend.
Since then, I have had two addresses in a row featuring the number 13, first an apartment number, and then a street and house number. Since13 was beginning to follow me around, I decided I’d better do some research.
I was pretty sure I had heard the phrase “lucky thirteen” prior to reading it on the back of my son’s neck. And there was plenty of information online to back up my hunch.
Numerologists – and who is a better authority on numbers, after all — have my back on this. The phrases “three’s a charm” and “we’re number one” are popular for good reason. The number three represents creative, completion, order, advancement and mystery. The number one is symbolic of beginnings, initiation, solidarity, unity and birth.
When the two numbers are used together, they tell a story of a path that is just beginning, and will lead to greatness by expressing the union of opposites. The number thirteen is a prime number and is only divisible by itself. This is symbolic of an incorruptible nature, purity and integrity. It’s probably a good thing 2013 is not an election year.
To indigenous cultures the number 13 had spiritual significance, and was often used in ritual art and ceremonial songs. Ancient Egyptians held the belief that the number 13 was lucky. They considered the moon sacred and found significance in the 13 full moons per year and the 13 weeks per season.
There are also positive associations with the number 13 in Judaism, such as the 13 tribes of Israel and 13 attributes of Mercy. And according to Christian tradition, Jesus received the three Magi on the 13th day of his life, which was once associated with the Epiphany.
At the Last Supper, there were a total of 13 in attendance. Tradition says that Judas was the 13th to sit at the table and the first to leave, however, there are others who consider Christ to be the 13th person at the table.
Some historians speculate the Christian church discredited pagan or indigenous beliefs by misrepresenting the number 13 as being connected with frightening rituals and evil. The number was also related to goddess worship and feminine empowerment, which most likely didn’t sit well with the patriarchal church leadership.
For those who believe in Tarot cards, the number 13 is associated with the death card. Although it sounds foreboding, it is not intended to represent your pending physical death, but merely a life transition. One door closes, another opens.
And if you still don’t believe the number 13 can be lucky, just stop in at a bakery for a baker’s dozen. In Medieval times, authorities punished bakers for cheating their customers, so bakers were required to throw in an extra roll to ensure the transaction was fair. Or for my son, and anyone else with a birthday on the 13th, let’s make that a cup cake.