For the last 2000 years the number 13 has been demonised by the Romans and subsequently the Christian Church. But what is the significance of the number 13? Why does it pose such a threat to patriarchal religion?
The obvious answer is that it is the number of the Goddess, or the divine feminine aspect of consciousness. That’s the simple answer, but there is a whole lot more to it than that and the symbolism goes very deep.
First of all, Goddess was usually related to the moon. In pagan cultures, they observed the months of the year by lunar cycles and had a 13 month calendar (13 x 28 = 364 days, almost a perfect year). The early Romans instead observed a 10 month calendar because they believed that 10 represented perfection since it almost a neutral number, or possibly a number of duality like binary code.
Later on the Romans changed their calendar to 12 months with the addition of July (named after Julius Caesar) and August (named after Emperor Augustus). This pushed September from 7th to 9th, October from 8th to 10th, November from 9th to 11th and December from 10th to 12th, which is why their names no longer correspond to the Latin numbers they’re named after.
The number 12 is significant to the Jewish and Christian faiths as a representation of God, or the masculine aspect of deity. It is an orderly number which underpins much of the universal code of reality, as does the number 9. If you would like to know more about this subject, watch the video below:
So we know the moon goes through 13 months every year, as does the female reproductive system. This is more than enough to tie it to the Goddess, and to femininity. However, there’s more.
For the planet Venus and our planet, Earth, to align with one another in the same position of the sky, they must cycle through different numbers of orbits around the sun:
As the video showed, for every 8 orbits that Earth makes, Venus must make 13 in order to come back into alignment with the Earth. The resulting pattern played out in the cosmos is a 5-pointed star, or the flower of life, or the Pentacle. All of those symbols are associated with Goddess and all of them refer to the secret of new life.
So how did the Church demonise this aspect of deity? They called the “devil” Lucifer, which meant the Morning Star. Venus is the first star we see at night and last one we see before morning, which makes it the Morning Star. If you want to run a smear campaign against feminine deity, turn it into the devil.
They also turned the number 13 into an omen of evil. They refer to Judas as the 13th member of the last supper, and therefore it becomes a number of betrayal. The King of France arrested the Nights Templar on Friday the 13th of October 1307, again perpetuating that number as unlucky or cursed in some way.
As witches, both male and female, it is important for us to reclaim this number and to remember what it truly represents.
The last important aspect of the relationship between Venus and Earth is that for every 13 orbits of Venus, we orbit 8 times. This ties into the pagan observance of 13 lunar months cycling through the Wheel of the Year, or the 8 festivals. Once more, 13 is the goddess (Venus and the Moon) and 8 is associated with the Earth (planet and seasons).
If you live the pagan tradition of 8 Sabbats and 13 Esbats you will cycle through a harmonious year of balance between masculine and feminine energy. This balanced way of approaching the divine allows both male and female to co-exist as partners rather than adversaries, free from oppression or rejection.