Friday, June 13, 2014

Full Moon, Friday 13th...

It's a Full Moon on Friday the 13th and Mercury is retrograde...and if Nature plays a wild card, we may also get a solar shock wave. This is either a rare occurrence- or not- depending on the source; the next Friday the 13th in June will be 2049.

Of course, for witches, the Full Moon is always something to celebrate: the lunar cycle is at it's peak and the Moon (and all goddesses and a few gods) are at their full power. We look to the night sky, and that wondrous orb bursts through the clouds and shines down on earth, and instantly, everything illuminated by its light seems extraordinary and magickal. It's as if there's a crack in the heavens and the light of the Goddess can no longer be contained. As we draw Her down into ourselves, our union with her is its most complete; we are subject to oneness with Luna, Diana, Selene, Artemis, Hecate and many many more. The moment of communion with the Goddess of the Moon is all at once heady, exhilarating, spiritually expanding and humbling.

The Full Moon is considered by some to be the best day for magickal endeavor. Many Pagan traditions and solitaries perform rituals at the Full Moon for a wide range of results: increased prosperity, healing, peace and spiritual matters. For groups, it's a time to socialize and combine their personal power toward the common good. Historically, there are thousands of tales about the Full Moon which criss-cross as many cultures.

 Likewise, Friday the 13th is a day of power for a different reason: the date mostly has a negative association. While credible history about this negative association is sketchy, folklore abounds: the number 13 is unlucky because with the addition of Judas there were 13 guests at the Seder (aka the Last Supper) Jesus hosted just before his betrayal and crucifixion on the following Friday; the downfall of Adam and Eve, the day Abel slayed his brother Cain, and the day the Great Flood began all supposedly took place on a Friday; persecution of the Knights Templar began on a Friday the 13th; many beliefs from the Medieval period linked witches and their covens and the Devil with the number 13 and or Friday. An ancient Norse myth about 12 gods having a feast disrupted by the mischievous god Loki ( the 13th,uninvited guest) resulted in the death of Balder the god of joyfulness, which caused a pall of darkness to fall over the earth-hence the connection to the day being ominous. Many of the superstitions concerning the number 13 have their roots in the fact that the number 12 was supposed to be the 'perfect' or most sacred number-adding one more upset the balance. ( Taking this into consideration, you would think that a 'baker's dozen', which is 13 doughnuts instead of 12, would be a good thing,right? Wrong! That 'extra' doughnut might just be the way the baker gets rid of stale doughnuts!)

The truth is that we make Friday the 13th into a 'bad' day because of what we choose to believe about the day. It is the negativity we cast onto the day which makes it foreboding. In reality, it is no better or worse than any other day. Humans love to create stories to justify things we don't understand or when we want and explanation for our fears. It is habitually our nature to support and lend credence to our feelings in this way. We trip over the cat on a Tuesday, and suddenly Tuesday is a bad day to leave the house or the cat is out to get us.

Donald Dossey,PhD, a folklorist and author of "Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun" [Outcome Unlimited Press,1992], is the founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. He believes that the negative psychological associations of the number 13 and Friday were combined into one single superstition over the years.[]

The psychological term for a fear of Friday the 13th - 
friggatriskaidekaphobia-originating from a combination of the name of the goddess Frigga (for whom Friday was named) and the Greek term for fear of the number 13. In some individuals, this fear is so strong that it causes everything from avoidance measures to panic attacks. Dr. Dossey has also observed that more than 80 % of buildings lack a 13th floor, and that other building have no room numbered 13. As a practicing psychologist, Dossey observes that the fear associated with the day is irrational and avoidable...he also offers a couple others (new to me) from the annals of folk lore: climbing to a height and burning all the socks you own that have holes in them; or standing on your head and eating a piece of gristle. ( I guess the lucky part of the last one is not choking to death!) 
As Witches and Pagans we have no fear of these  tales: they are simply interesting old stories. and as much as it is fun to make light of these things, our true magickal power comes from within ourselves and the connection with the Divine source in Nature. We overcome external influences which truly are the things of superstition through the application of this power to change consciousness at will, and therefore change out outlook from a negative to a positive one. Doing this can make a Full Moon on a Friday the 13th-even one during which Mercury retrograde takes place-into one of the most beautiful and meaningful of the year.

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