Monday, January 13, 2014

The Number 13 - Lucky or Unlucky? #Superstitions

I embraced the number 13 long ago, since it is the date of my birth...I've had plenty of birthdays on Friday the 13th, in fact.  I do sometimes wonder if being born on the 13th has anything to do with my love of all things spooky, though.  All my novels incorporate some type of supernatural suspense, whether it's a mystery surrounding a haunting (GULL HARBOR and SILVER LAKE) or a quest for revenge undertaken by the world's last half-angel (DIVINE FALL).

Some of my most popular posts discuss the reasons behind our superstitions.  This one delves deeper into the number 13 - while I consider it a lucky number for myself, many people don't!

A fear of the number 13 is known as Triskaidekaphobia.  I actually once worked in a building that lacked a 13th floor.  To me, this made little sense...did the people on the 14th floor not realize they were actually on the 13th floor?  Still, the button in the elevator did not exist.  Why does the number 13 get such a bad rap, anyway?

Some reasons stem from various religions.  In Christianity, for example, 13 people sat down to The Last Supper: Jesus Christ and 12 disciples.  The last to sit down, the 13th, was Judas Iscariot, who would betray Jesus. 

According to Norse legends, the 13th (uninvited) guest to arrive at a banquet of the gods was Loki, who then killed another god and set in motion a series of tragedies.

Historically, condemned people climbed 13 steps to the gallows.

A coven was traditionally made up of 13 witches.

In the deck of tarot cards, XIII is the card of death - a pale horse and rider.

Apollo 13 was the only unsuccessful mission to the moon; the oxygen tank exploded, putting the lives of the astronauts at risk.

Finally, 12 is considered a perfect and magical number in many disciplines and traditions.  There are 12 months, 12 zodiac signs, 12 days of Christmas, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Christ, 12 principal Olympian gods of the pantheon...the list goes on and on.  It follows, then, in some people's minds, that to add a number to 12 would make it unlucky.

I find the reasoning fascinating, but I still like the number 13.  But I also have black cats, and we cross paths all day long.  But of course, I have my good luck rituals as well...I have to pick up every penny I see on the ground!

I may pick up a few extra today, just to be safe!  Have a happy Friday the 13th, and grab one of my steamy romance + ghost stories for this combination Friday the 13th/Valentine's Day weekend!

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