Every Friday the 13th, people likely think of the disturbing hockey mask-wearing Jason Vorhees running through Camp Crystal Lake bent on slashing unsuspecting teenagers with a gigantic machete. Or perhaps, many of you might wake up on a Friday the 13th morning and be worried that the day is going to be filled with bad luck with a multitude of unforeseen events that can't be prevented.
But have you ever really thought about where Friday the 13th might have gotten its preconceived ill regard? It’s time to do a bit more patriarchy unlearning.
Friday the 13th as a day deemed unlucky, is the result of historical patriarchal forces that were deathly afraid that the sacred feminine, or women in that day, might have some sort of influence on their male-dominated ruling structures set in place.
Let's take one more thing into account on this particular Friday the 13th. It also happens to be the first time in many years where there is a full moon on the same day. What better day to discuss the sacred feminine and the history of Friday the 13th in a way to dismantle patriarchal teachings? Let us all unlearn.
So that said, here are a few facts about Friday and the number 13 that may come as a bit of a surprise.
The feminine history of Friday - and why it got horribly downgraded
Friday is derived from the Latin term ‘dies Veneris’ which translates ‘Day of Venus.’
A simple Google search can tell you off the bat that Friday comes from the Old English term Frīġedæġ, meaning ‘Day of the Frige’ or the day dedicated to the German goddess Frigg. Many equate Frigg to the Roman goddess of love, Venus.
But Friday, much after it was initially celebrated for the womanly or feminine connection, was discounted as a sacred day when patriarchal forces took control of its meaning. One example is in the 19th century, when Admiral William Henry Smyth labeled Friday negatively in his written work, The Sailor’s Word-Book:
“The Dies Infaustus, (an unlucky or unfortunate day) on which old seamen were desirous of not getting under weigh, as ill-omened.”
In other words, Friday is an unlucky day to ship out for sailors.
Friday was also the day when Eve allegedly gave Adam the apple, and when Adam was thrust from Eden. It is a well-known story that invokes Eve as the aggressor and poor little Adam only took an innocent bite of an apple. Additionally, Jesus was killed on Good Friday, prompting many to further label the day as a negative one.
The sacred feminine number 13
There are an approximate 13 cycles of the moon in a 12-month period. Religious monks historically tasked with the creation of calendars did not like it when 13 full moons, as opposed to 12, appeared in the calendar year. The dates Church and religious festivals were postponed due to a full moon — were considered problematic.
So to the monks, when there were 13 full moons in a year, it was considered an unlucky year.
Another sacred connection to 13 is that a woman's average female cycle is 28 days. So that equates to 13 female reproductive cycles over the course of 12 months or 364 days.
The number 13 also got a bad reputation because there were 13 people seated at the Last Supper. There is a religious superstition that any 13th person sitting down at a dinner table will die within one year. Another instance of an unlucky 13 was the Knights Templar, who were arrested on Friday, October 13, in 1307 in which King Philip the Fourth of France had them tortured and killed.
13, though it has a sacred connection, has long since been determined unlucky.
My summation as a Native man
Friday the 13th has been deemed unlucky by historic patriarchal figures, and I am quite honestly not surprised. I am Mohawk and part of the Iroquois Confederacy. In as much as there are male leaders within my tribe, we also have values taught to us regarding the contribution and strength of women in our tribe and in the world.
We have a council of women elders, who alone can vote that a chief be removed from his position if they deem it appropriate. Their decision is honored, abided by, and embraced by all of the Confederacy.
In a quick phone conversation with Chief Lynette Allston of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, whose tribe is Iroquoian and resides in Virginia, quickly acknowledged that “there are 13 phases of the moon, I can't imagine why the historians have long been putting a negative twist on it. I just put in the same bag as “don’t step on cracks on the pavement” or watching out for a black cat crossing your path.”
Whenever I have posted on social media about the power of women, I get an incredible amount of backlash. But I don't mind and I will continue to fight for the women of this world, including my wife Delores, who brings so much light to everyone she interacts with, most notably myself.
I have always considered Friday the 13th my lucky day, and I didn't really know why until I researched everything for this article. Once again I am reminded what the patriarchy has done historically, and how they have done everything in their power to wipe women from history.
Let us all come together and celebrate Friday the 13th as the day of the sacred feminine.
Happy Sacred Feminine Day.
Follow the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, associate editor for Indian Country Today
Vincent Schilling is a certified critic on Rotten Tomatoes https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/vincent-schilling/movies
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