Irrational Inquiry; Fear of Thirteen

by Edward Le Prieur


Frigg foremost of the goddesses for whom Friday is named weaves the clouds.

Yesterday was Friday, and it also happened to be the 13th of the month of June. Some people were probably going well out of their way to avoid bad omens or circumstances. Indeed the number thirteen is an unlucky number according to many.Friday too being named unlucky for some people. This is of course in context with the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII (in which on average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days) not very often anymore. Fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga of course the Norse goddess whom Friday is named for in English and triskaidekaphobia the fear of the number 13).

In Judeo-Christian traditions it seems the number thirteen is almost universally avoided, twelve apostles of Jesus, twelve tribes of Israel. The former thought to be relative to the negative connotation with thirteen. The fact that there were allegedly thirteen people at the last supper could be where some people associate the negativity with thirteen. In that Judas Iscariot was responsible for the death of Christ. As well on Friday 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar, most of the knights were tortured and killed.

Furthermore Jacques de Molay, Magistrate (Master of the Knights of the Temple) cursed King Philip IV of France and his descendants from his execution pyre. As he was about to be executed warning the pope that, within a year and a day, he and Philip IV would be obliged to answer for their crimes in God’s presence. Philip and Clement V both died within a year of Molay’s execution. However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention.

In modern times too great efforts are made to avoid the number thirteen, building that have more than thirteen floors will often omit the thirteen either skipping it entirely or leaving that floor for mechanical use instead of residence or access. In some buildings it is omitted as a room number as well. According to research an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.

The Calendar

The Ancient 13 month calendar highlights the 13th of each month, as well as the solstices and equinoxes. Each of the months are named for the divine houses of the gods, shown in proto-Nordic reconstruction.

In Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia by Varg Vikernes it is shown the existence of a calendar. In addition the visual representation of the calendar shown above developed for Vikernes’ up coming tabletop RPG (Mythic Fantasy Roleplaying Game) with the 13th months, each with exactly twenty-eight days as the one found in Bohuslän, Sweden

“The Friday was the day of love, and naturally the day of the goddess of love. The second Friday of every month was the Friday of the week of birth, and was therefore seen as a particularly favourable day for marriage. This Friday, the 13th day of every month was also seen as the birthday of the deity. All the thirteen most important deities’ birthdays were celebrated in turn, one every month of the year, and every year.” (Vikernes 29).

So in our context the Friday, nor the number 13 and it’s associations should be though of with fear, but rather with joy. It was not only common to see a Friday the 13th but it was celebrated, and celebrated in correlation with the deities, love and birth!

So it is perhaps best to amend our relation to some ideas once again. Think intuitively about what truths you know, and to those of you who might fret at the idea of Friday the 13th showing up on your calendar. Rest easy as there is nothing to fear in a day so celebrated by the European forebears! Not the fear created by some foreign effort to further obscure the past. Only the enemies of European heritage would see the birth of the gods as something to fear, no?