Did you know that outside of modern Western tradition, 13 has always been a number associated with goddesses and the power of women? As the number of lunar months in the year (or the number of times per year the moon circles the earth), the number is the natural number of menstrual cycles a woman has annually and therefore represents fertility. So why am I usually a little extra cautious just because it’s Friday the 13th?
It figures that a pro-woman number would somehow be turned into a sign of evil by patriarchal society, but the arbitrary nature of superstitions makes fear of the number 13 just as ridiculous as not letting a black cat cross your path, not opening an umbrella in the house, being careful not to break a mirror, and whatever else is in the long list of silly superstitions that make no logical sense. So why do we adhere to them?
Now, the thing about superstitions is that even the most rational people are often taught to believe in them from a young age. Then, they practice the behavior, avoid harm (because bad things don’t usually happen anyway), and continue practicing the superstitious behavior because what’s the point in messing up a good thing?
I, for one, have never in life walked underneath a ladder — not only does it seem dangerous on general principle, but I know it’s bad luck, so why bother? I also started sprinkling a bit of salt over my shoulder as a child whenever I spill some and have done so pretty much every time since…I do not know what this is supposed to do but I keep on doing it. I’m still waiting for my bad luck to run out after having broken a mirror in 2006, and now that I know it also takes seven years for negative information to leave your credit report, the entire world makes sense. And, yes, today I will be on the lookout for things going wrong. If I can believe in black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day and Mercury’s retrograde, why not go all the way out and be a little superstitious?