13 is significant, whether you consider it lucky, unlucky or just plain odd. Many believe it to be unfortunate...
... because there were 13 present at the Last Supper.
... Loki crashed a party of 12 at Valhalla, which ended in Baldur's death.
... Oinomaos killed 13 of Hippodamia's suitors before Pelops finally, in his own shady way, defeated the jealous king.
... In ancient Rome, Hecate's witches gathered in groups of 12, the Goddess herself being the 13th in the coven.
Concern over the number thirteen echoes back beyond the Christian era. Line 13 was omitted form the Code of Hammurabi.
The shivers over Friday the 13th also have some interesting origins:
... Christ was allegedly crucified on Friday the 13th.
... On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and sixty of his senior knights.
... In British custom, hangings were held on Fridays, and there were 13 steps on the gallows leading to the noose.
To combat the superstition, Robert Ingersoll and the Thirteen Club held thirteen-men dinners during the 19th Century. Successful? Hardly. The number still invokes trepidation to this day. A recent whimsical little serial killer study showed that the following murderers all have names that total thirteen letters:
Albert De Salvo
John Wayne Gacy
And, with a little stretch of the imagination, you can also fit "Jack the Ripper' and "Charles Manson' into that equation.
More current-era paranoia: modern schoolchildren stop their memorization of the multiplication tables at 12. There were 13 Plutonium slugs in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. Apollo 13 wasn't exactly the most successful space mission. All of these are things that modern triskaidekaphobes point to when justifying their fears.
For some, 13 is an extremely fortuitous and auspicious number...
... In Jewish tradition, God has 13 Attributes of Mercy. Also, there were 13 tribes of Israel, 13 principles of Jewish faith, and 13 is considered the age of maturity.
... The ancient Egyptians believed that there were 12 stages of spiritual achievement in this lifetime, and a 13th beyond death.
... The word for thirteen, in Chinese, sounds much like the word which means "must be alive".
Thirteen, whether you love it or loathe it, is a pretty cool number all around.
... In some theories of relativity, there are 13 dimensions.
... It is a prime number, lucky number, star number, Wilson Prime, and Fibonacci number.
... There are 13 Archimedean solids.
... There were 13 original colonies when the United States were founded.
Says a lot about the US, doesn't it?
Considering the state of the economy and other worldwide woes, I think we all need a little extra dose of good luck. A sweet, comforting base of dark chocolate and brown sugar with thirteen herbs of good fortune, including nutmeg, Tonka, allspice, star anise, Jamaican and African gingers, devil's shoestring, lucky hand root, and thyme.