We have all noticed the 'missing number 13' phenomenon -- elevator buttons, street addresses, parking spots, airport gates and office numbers often jump from 12 to 14 -- where'd the 13 go? It all boils down to superstition but I do find it rather funny as I once lived on the 13th floor and I most definitely knew it, even though my mail was addressed to 1407. Land owners, architects, tenants and many others suffer from triskaidekaphobia (the fear of number 13) and view it with suspicion and angst, sure that it brings bad luck and should be strictly avoided, however, as a numerologist and student of the esoteric, I view this number with the highest respect, as it is a pure and powerful combination of forces that can cause almost any type of situation to manifest -- both good and bad. On a spiritual level, I also see 13s (in numerology charts) as karmic comments that require close inspection and careful correction. So while there is a karmic aspect to the 13, there is also the potential for unburdening, corrections and second chances at 'getting it right'.
The 13 can create massive turmoil in a life, but it can also bring freedom and enlightenment to that life. So I do not see the 13 as unlucky...and I have several in my chart! One of the main historical instigators of the fear number 13 generates was named Judas. As the 13th member of the Last Supper, he caused all manner of chaos and tragedy through his betrayal of his host, an act which lead to the demise of both himself and Jesus (which is the germination point for the belief that having 13 guests for dinner portends the death of one of those guests within a year). Since the number 12 is regarded as 'complete' (12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, 12 disciples, 12 hours on a clock, 12 grades), the addition of another element is thought to upset the balance. Judas embodied this idea as his presence threw everything out of whack and produced unanticipated and far-reaching consequences, however, often the chaos and tragedy is focused upon, rather than the larger than life legacy Jesus left...and its message of love and faith. Another infamous example of nasty 13 energy is personified by King Philip of France, who on Friday, October 13th, 1307, (or 1306, depending who you believe -- but the 13 energy remains the same), allegedly ordered the arrest and execution of the then revered Knights Templar: thereafter, Friday the 13th took on a frightening and dangerous overtone and became known as an 'evil day'.
This negative link grew with each telling and was compounded by Rome's routine public hangings that were conducted on Fridays (at the top of a 13 step staircase) and in older history, as Friday was also believed to be the day upon which Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden, the Great Flood began and Jesus was crucified. All of these elements play into the nervousness often associated with number 13 in general and with Friday the 13th in particular. As a modern example of the mystery and karmic essence within the 13, consider the story of O.J. Simpson and how he met his own karmic wall, head first.
After being found not guilty in the deaths of his wife and her friend -- a controversial verdict to say the least (if the glove fits) -- Mr. Simpson was arrested on September 13, 2008 on completely unrelated charges and was convicted on those charges on October 3, 2008, (notice the 13 in the day and month and the day and year totals), exactly 13 years to the day of his original acquittal (October 3, 1995...again the day and month total is 13). Further 13 energy is evident in the 13 day trial and the 13 hours of deliberation prior to conviction. Is this indicative of a second chance at 'getting it right' for the people, if not for Mr. Simpson? Gives one pause, doesn't it? In direct contrast (and more in keeping with my view) is the ancient Egyptians' belief about the 13, in that it represented the upper rung of the ladder that lead to immortality...but that this final 'step' required settlement of 'dues' before it could be passed.
This 13th step lead to paradise, to light and love and purity -- certainly a reward worth a bit of self-inspection and honesty. The formative energies in the number 13 are comprised of intense original forces (1), combined with mental and physical activities and magical creation (3). This power and the use of it might explain why the number 13 is often seen as the 'witches' number'...'good' witches work with the Earth Mother energies, create magical, healing balms with herbs and flowers and focus on 'positive' manifesting, while 'bad' witches band together in the 'complete' coven of 12 members and invite the 13th (the devil himself) to join them. Their focus would not be so positive. Having said that, the creative and magical ingredient of the 13 is an uncontrolled aspect: it can produce basic changes or lay down fundamental laws or beliefs that affect mass or individual consciousness, both for the positive and for the negative (the death of Jesus, a negative, created an entire belief system, a positive).
The final vibration of the 13 is obviously 4 - the number of solidity, security and dependability. The 4 holds the 4 seasons, the 4 directions, the 4 elements and the 4 corners of a house...this is a grounded and concrete energy that lays down firm and lasting foundations, whether they be esoteric or tangible; positive or negative. With this in mind, we could say that the 13 has the ability to produce unexpected results that can become deeply embedded in individuals or in society as a whole. On a more personal level, this positive/negative force can create an internal imbalance which needs to be addressed: a crack at the core level of a psyche requires complete demolition and restructuring.
This means going back to the basics, taking responsibility, dealing with past deeds and making sincere reparations. It does take time, but once the slate is clean, we have the opportunity to 'draw a brand new picture' from a refined point of view. To those of you who connect with the number 13 - think of it as a redeeming energy: once the negative has passed and the lessons therein absorbed and learned, the number 13 offers new hope of a clear future and the ability to recreate your life as you see fit.
AND NOW FOR SOME OTHER SUPERSTITIONS...LIKE WALKING UNDER LADDERS AND SNAPPING CHICKEN BONES. WHERE DID THESE ODD BELIEFS COME FROM?
The origins of most superstitions lie within the pages of ancient history and usually began with a specific event that became worthy of retelling. Long ago, folks were very focused on the mystical: both out-of-the-ordinary and everyday events became omens in disguise or carried messages from spirit or were concerned with the possible insult to a deity. Consequently, most superstitions began from a place of fear and their longevity is evident even today. The following is an example of how a superstition might start and in fact, probably did.
Picture a sickbed surrounded by friends and family. A sad and somber scene to be sure. Now imagine the shock and widened eyes around the bed as a sparrow flies in through the open window, crashes from one wall into another, then shoots back out the window. The friends and family members whisper amongst themselves, all the while casting careful looks at the sickbed and quickly crossing themselves. Later, when this unfortunate sod dies, the appearance of the sparrow takes on a whole new meaning and thus a superstition is born.
Long ago, birds were thought to be messengers from the realm of Spirit, however, messengers though they might be, the truth of the matter is that birds are not all that smart when it comes to the construction of houses. On a variation of the theme above, birds have been known to fly into closed windows or sit on ledges and peck at the glass, actions which would have been viewed with as much trepidation as the sparrow was. Birds cannot distinguish open air from a panes of glass and see their own reflection in a window as another bird challenging their territory, so they fly into the path of the oncoming bird (their reflection) and wind up braining themselves. Or, if they are sitting on the sill and (seemingly) staring inside - they are really just staring and pecking at their own image.
Speaking of images, long before mirrors were created, folks used to think that the image looking back at them from surfaces of still waters, like ponds, was a part of themselves: their soul, if you will. Later, this concept was transferred to mirrors and when one broke, it was thought to bring bad luck to the owner...the soul's image was shattered, broken, in disrepair. The idea that it would take 7 years for this bad luck to pass came from the Romans, who thought that life renewed itself every 7 years...so the time of 'healing' would be a long and difficult one. (Very similar to the current view that the tissue of the liver is regenerated every 7 years - I wonder if that was an afterthought when God created potatoes, saw what happened when they fermented and sensed the concept of distilling?)
Have you ever walked under a ladder? I know I haven't. Not on purpose, anyway. Long ago, the triangle was considered the pure and perfect shape: as in the Holy Trinity - walking through it was thought to be rude and insulting to God. So, later, when a bucket fell on someone's head when they walked under a ladder, it was seen as confirmation that walking through a triangle (formed by the angle of the ladder, the wall and the ground) was not a recommended activity.
Ladders bring wood to mind - have you ever made a wish or a positive affirmation and followed up by knocking on wood? This practise goes back to times when it was believed that gods or spirits resided in trees (we still hug trees today! Well, some of us do) and that if a wish was made, one should touch the bark to catch the attention of the tree spirit and touch it once more to say thank-you. Nowadays, we knock twice on tables, chairs, walls or anything nearby that is made of wood. My father used to knock on my head. I used to make my own wish when he did so, but that's another story.
Speaking of tables: never leave your shoes on one. I don't know why: maybe because people will think you're dead and your stuff is being packed up. The same goes for shoes left upside down.
And about table salt: try not to spill it and if you do, be sure to waste some more by throwing it over your left shoulder so that you may smote the devil in the eye. This superstition began way back when salt was a precious commodity -- in fact, workers were often paid in salt, hence the word 'sal-ary' -- and it was also used in medicinal remedies. To spill or waste salt was considered a crime and could buy you a few days in the local slammer. (Just so you know? The devil is thought to stand behind all of us - get thee behind me, Satan!, so throwing something over the shoulder is aimed at disarming or confusing evil intentions).
Since we seem to be focused on kitchen-type energy, let's just go with it. So the next on the list is garlic. This superstition, which revolves around keeping away everything from vampires to werewolves and all kinds of other nefarious energies (and even someone who might just want to kiss you) cores back to the devil himself. Apparently, when he left the Garden of Eden, his rear hoof prints left cloven marks from which sprouted garlic (which has a high sulphur content - go figure) on the left and onion (which can make a grown man cry) on the right. Both plants are curious in that they smell very...odoriferous when raw, yet become sweet and mushy when cooked.
Anyway, the point is that along with the high sulfur content, garlic is also loaded with antibacterial and anti-parasitic values that were commonly used to treat infections, delusions and other mentally related diseases as well as functioning as an effective blood thinner (the Vamps must have loved that!) Garlic built a reputation for itself and became a charm against evil to hang on your door or a medicine that could assist your ills. Even today, folks eat garlic if they feel a cold coming on. Or they have a garlic lunch before meeting with that boss they can't stand.
And now for some chickens. Back in ancient Italy, chickens were viewed as sacred and when they died, their bones were used for prophetic purposes by the priests...the clavicle, or collarbone so to speak, was saved, dried and then used as a touchstone. The bone would be stroked as a wish was being made. Later, in Rome, chickens became scarce and these bones were broken in two to create more bones for others to wish upon.The British came to believe that the bone with the end still attached was the lucky one...and somehow, this all mixed together to form the modern ritual of two people holding the opposite sides at the base of the wishbone with their pinkies, making a wish and pulling until it snaps. The person with the longest section is thought to be the one who caught the 'lucky break' and will see fortune come their way. I need more wishbones in my life.
By the way, when you are carving the chicken, don't cross any knives. It is said that crossed knives will lead to crossed words, or an argument. (Interesting from the words point of view...switch the 's' of 'words' to the front and it becomes 'sword'). Crossed swords are defensive, and indeed, were often used as an opening formation in a sword fight of old.
Oh, and take care not to drop silverware unless you want company -- maybe lots of company: a teaspoon says a child, a fork says a female, a knife says a male and a bunch of cutlery says a bunch of people will be dropping by quite soon. However, if a knife falls to the floor and faces an uncommon entrance, it speaks of an unwelcome visitor. These omens don't seem to have a definite origin...they just took on a life of their own. My guess is little girls kept showing up after teaspoons fell to the floor. And so on. I think I might go drop some knives.
So as long as you throw out your ladders, black out your mirrors and windows, never go in the kitchen and wear your shoes to bed, you should be okay. Touch wood.
hugs from Heather!
Getting Married? You might want to read this before setting the date and stuff -- if you're superstitious, of course!
Everyone wants to get married, right? No? Okay, well, most of us would like to get married. Except for those of you who don't or already are. Right, let me start again. I was aiming to talk about superstitions and how they started -- and the subject is weddings, in case you hadn't guessed. It is perhaps a little known fact that much of the ritual and pomp surrounding the preparation and actual ceremony involved in a wedding cores back to ancient beliefs and superstitions -- much of it designed to ward off evil spirits. You thought chivalry was behind carrying the bride over the threshold? Nope. It was because if the bride fell on her face and broke her nose, it was considered an ill omen for the marriage. Here are a few more.
A well-known superstition regarding marriages is that it is bad luck for the bride and groom to see one another the day before and the day of the wedding -- however, this superstition is based more on finances than anything else. In the days of pre-arranged marriages, most prospective couples had yet to meet. What would happen if the groom took a sneak peak at his betrothed, passed out briefly before being escorted outside for a breath of fresh air and was never seen again? Financial loss and humiliation for the bride and her family, that's what. And so the superstition that it was bad luck to see the bride before the wedding began -- and it was simply to keep the groom (or bride) from backing out of a business agreement!
The focus on warding off negativity continues with the bride and her gown - it is said that a bride should never make her own dress because each stitch she sews will be matched by a marital tear. I can only imagine how many stitches a wedding gown requires. She'd be crying 'the blues' until the day she dies, or gets a divorce, whichever comes first. She is also not to tempt the fates by writing and rewriting her new name, or by looking into the mirror too many times as she prepares for the ceremony. And just so you know, the gown was not always white: that began with Queen Victoria who traded the traditional silver for white and set a new trend. Prior to that, brides would wear either their best dress or would purchase a new one in any colour they liked. Hopefully not black. That would be a bad omen, indeed.
Speaking of dresses, way back, the bride and her bridesmaids were all brightly and beautifully attired, sometimes in dresses that looked quite similar. This was done on purpose - to confuse the devil and evil spirits, who abhorred happy occasions and jocularity and were particularly fond of the energy surrounding young brides. The bridesmaids' main purpose was to camouflage the bride and confuse the devil and his consorts.
The wedding veil served two purposes, the first as an additional shield to further thwart the evil spirits, who could not distinguish her as the bride and the second to shield her face from her future husband - remember the guy who went AWOL? Well, even on the walk down the aisle, there is still time to flee - the veil kept the groom in place at the altar until the nuptials were cemented.
Speaking of the groom, the best man acted in much the same way as the bridesmaids, except his main duty after protecting the groom was to keep him from going AWOL, find him if he did and to get him to the church on time. With the ring.
The kiss at the conclusion of the wedding vows isn't even based on romance -- or it didn't start out that way. The Romans did not consider a marriage valid until the kiss was exchanged -- kind of like shaking hands to seal the deal.
And now to tossing the bouquet...another romantic event? Wrong. Back in Britain, folks used to attempt to become part of the joyous occasion by running after the bride and trying to get 'a piece of her' - her clothes, her hair - whatever. They thought that by touching her or having something of hers that they would share in her happiness.
Except her happiness sometimes turned to fear and she would throw the flowers in an attempt to distract her pursuers. Originally, shoes were thrown at the bride and groom and it was considered lucky if they were hit! What? This can be explained by looking at an older and less known tradition in which the father of the bride gave the groom a pair of shoes to symbolize his relinquishing of control of his daughter to her new husband. Prior to the tradition of throwing flowers, the bride, who was now a married woman, would throw one of her shoes for similar reasons: passing the potential for marriage to another...but I guess too many people lost an eye.
Many other symbolic actions were also performed in an attempt to ward off evil and to keep the devil at bay. The noisy tin cans and shoes tied to the back of the buggy (or car, these days), the ringing church bells and the cheering of the people were all aimed at scaring away these negative energies and rice was thrown over the departing couple at the same time to encourage luck, fertility, success and happiness. If nothing else, the couple was usually fairly happy for the following month, or 'moon', -- probably due to the generous amounts of honey wine they were encouraged to consume (designed to loosen inhibitions and produce offspring) during their 'honeymoon.'
If you are planning to marry, consider the following as good omens you'd like to see on your wedding day: a rainbow, sunshine, a black cat approaching you (this brings good luck), a spider (a highly creative creature who also is know to eat her mate, so I am not sure why this is considered lucky), a few pregnant women or a chimney sweep (don't hold your breath on that one). Some things you would not like to see on your big day include open graves or funerals in progress, monks or nuns, severe weather (I can vouch for this one), the ring tumbling to the floor, fumbling the vows (I can vouch for this one, too), seeing a pig or lizard or having a breakdown (car or otherwise) on the way to the church.
Oh, and as far as setting the date? Try to avoid Thursday, Friday (especially the 13th) and Saturday and rather opt for Monday for health or Tuesday for wealth...according to superstition, Wednesday is best. As long as it is not the 13th, of course.
An option here would be to elope to Brazil, get married in a bikini, hop onto a white horse and ride off into the sunset, martini in hand. Works for me!
and remember...everything is exactly as it should be...relax!