Friday, November 13, 2009

It's just bad luck...knock on wood

Knock on wood, black cats, standing under ladders...all superstitions that probably started centuries ago in faraway places, but we get to thinking about these things when the calendar says Friday the 13th. So I have another superstition story about the number 13 that I found amusing and still makes me wonder about luck and such things...

This is a story from the Vikings (they had their own gods) about the superstition of having 13 people together, say at dinner.

And Loki makes 13...

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 number of dinner guests 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 hurled it at Balder (with Loki's help) killing him instantly. And all of Valhalla was grief stricken. So one might take the moral of this story to be "beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," but the Norse apparently concluded that 13 at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

How many dinner guests were at the Last Supper? That's right, 12 disciples and Jesus makes 13...and one of them betrayed Jesus...bad luck or just plain bad judgement?

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