Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Piece of Home

"Christmas... is not an external event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart."~ Freya Stark

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday Tidbit- the more you read...

To all the avid fiction readers, this Tuesday Tidbit is for you! The more novels you read, the better you are at understanding what people are thinking and feeling just by watching them. A study shows reading about complex characters trains your brain to pick up of subtle real-life facial and body cues! So happy reading! Too many books will not addle the brain.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Why is Friday the 13th so Ominous?

Why is Friday the 13th so Ominous? There seems to be no concrete answer just a whole bunch of legends and tales that bind the number 13 and the 6th day of the week in a foreboding pair. It seems their inevitable alignment one to three times a year (this is the second occurrence in 2013, exactly 13 weeks apart!) portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear.

LEGEND HAS IT: -If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year.
-The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894).
-Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor.
-If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names).
-There are 13 witches in a coven...
-Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams.
-If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow.
-Don't start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck, as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday. One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell the longstanding superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned and given the name "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday — and was never seen or heard from again.

Some other tales of poor misunderstood 13 I ran across...

1)To the ancient Egyptians, we're told, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages — twelve in this life and a thirteenth beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife. The number 13 therefore symbolized death, not in terms of dust and decay but as a glorious and desirable transformation. Though Egyptian civilization perished, the symbolism conferred on the number 13 by its priesthood survived, we may speculate, only to be corrupted by subsequent cultures who came to associate 13 with a fear of death instead of a reverence for the afterlife.

2)Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The "Earth Mother of Laussel," for example — a 27,000-year-old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality — depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches. As the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization, it is surmised, so did the "perfect" number 12 over the "imperfect" number 13, thereafter considered anathema.

3)And Loki makes thirteen---Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be "Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.
As if to prove the point, the Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests — er, disciples — betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion. Did I mention the Crucifixion took place on a Friday?

How does Friday get tied to this unlucky number?:

1)Well, many pre-christian/pagan religions saw Friday as their Sabbath. All of a sudden the Roman Church started saying all bad things in the bible happened on a Friday... It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, as we all learned in Sunday School, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.

2)Friday is also named for the Teutonic goddess Frigg or Freya, the goddess of love and fertility...and again the Christians intervened and made her a witch and associated with evil deeds.

3)And, In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman's Day in Britain).

There you have it, Thirteen is bad luck and Friday is bad luck ( or legend tells us so) put them together and *shudder* as Oct 13 1307 the day of the decimation of the Knights Templar...poorly documented but highly believed.

Stay wary and enjoy the release of the Desolation of Smaug!

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