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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 14 November, 2018
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What do women, the moon and Friday 13th have in common?

The truth is that it’s not an unlucky day at all!

SO IT’S FRIDAY the 13th today. As you’re probably aware, it’s a day that freaks out a lot of people.

Source: Disney

There are many myths  about why the day and number 13 is seen as unlucky, ranging from The Last Supper (where 13 people were present the night before the crucifixion which fell on Friday the 13th) to an event on Friday 13th October 1307 (hundreds of Knights Templar were arrested and burnt in France).

However, Friday the 13th was originally seen as a lucky day…for women.

So why was Friday and the number 13 seen as powerful for women?

Well, for ancient civilizations, nature was all-powerful and unpredictable.

Powerful symbols of nature like the sun, rainbows, and the moon were worshipped. Humans became cognizant that the moon had 13 cycles every years and then clocked that the average woman had 13 menstrual cycles each year. The same number as the moon.

shutterstock_1053428096 Source: Shutterstock

Science has yet to explain the freaky connection between the moon cycles and women’s fertility cycle, but it is a magical nugget of information to hang on to.

We still refer to natural landscapes like mountains and the sea as ‘she’, as well as calling nature ‘Mother Nature’ in reference to the Pagan tradition of seeing nature as female.

Once humans realised the connection between the moon’s cycles and women’s cycles, they believed that the number 13 was powerful for women and for society at large. Women and their bodies were seen as closely connected to nature and therefore were seen as powerful at certain points of their cycle.

After all, women’s bodies were the reason why the human species is able to reproduce themselves. We deserved respect

And ancient civilization gave it to us!

When a woman was on her period, she was seen as embodying divine powers and was considered to be imbued with wisdom and intuition.

Additionally, one whole day a week was devoted to women: Friday!

Friday was ‘women’s day’, in the pre-Christian calendar, as it was named after Freya, the Norse Goddess of fertility and lurve. Freya’s Day became ‘Friday’ over time.

I mean, we always knew there was a reason that Friday is the best day of the week!

freya Source: John Bauer

The Greeks had ‘Venus Day’ and for Germanic religions it was ‘Frigg’s day’ – both being goddesses of love and fertility.

So women’s day – Friday – when it coincided with the 13th day of the month, was seen as a day that was imbued with feminine energy and creativity.

But then of course Christianity came along and claimed that the most important man in the world was the son of a Virgin, banned women from having any role in the Church, and created a taboo about Friday the 13th because of its association with women.. yada, yada, yada aaaand here we are now, fighting for the very simple request of equality regardless of gender in 2018.

Source: Giphy

A 2017 thesis from the University of Iceland entitled explained how newly-baptized Christian women coped with their pagan female Goddesses being taken away from them.

Given the strong presence of the feminine divine and supernatural that had existed in the indigenous pre-Christian religious environment some scholars have suggested that the women of the North may have sought, and found, a parallel to these female beings in the Christian figure of the Virgin Mary and in the various other female saints.
Gräslund explains: “Worship of the Virgin Mary can be viewed as a compensation for the preChristian goddesses that were abandoned in Christianisation, e.g. Freya”

That explains our own patron Brigid being whitewashed from a lesbian midwife who performed abortions into a Saint.

It’s regretful that menstrual cycles are still ‘taboo’ and something that are a source of embarrassment to women, instead of being viewed as a beautiful reminder that women’s bodies have the magical and precious ability to hold and create new life.

But maybe from now on, we can reclaim Friday 13th as a powerful day to celebrate yourself and the other magical women in your lives.

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