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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Thirteen

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Puck (folklore) - Wikipedia

12 + 1 = 13.

12 Jurors + 1 Judge = 13.

12 Witches + 1 “Devil” = 13.

Here in Minneapolis, during the lead-up to the Derek Chauvin trial, we've been thinking and talking much about juries. I had never spent much time thinking about the jury as a cultural institution before, but suddenly I'm seeing some interesting parallels with, shall we say, yet another institution.

Think of that next time you get together with the coven.

The twelve-person jury in the US is an inheritance from English Common Law. A deliberative body, the purpose of which is to determine truth—truth, at least, for legal purposes—it ideally constitutes, in effect, a microcosm of the society.

Why twelve to make a microcosm, and not ten, you ask?

Easily told. There's evidence that early Germanic-speaking societies were duodecimal—twelve-based—rather than decimal. That's why to this day we count “...eleven, twelve...” and then get to the teens.

To the Hwicce, the original Anglo-Saxon-speaking Tribe of Witches, twelve was the “long ten,” just as 120 was the “long hundred.”

Think of that next time you get together with the coven.

To those used to reckoning on fingers, a ten-based mathematical system seems more “natural” than a twelve-based one, but of course it's perfectly possible to count to twelve on your fingers as well.


How to Count to Twelve on Your Fingers

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Witchiest Number

Call it triskaidekaphilia.

Lucky thirteen.

Thirteen is an oddball number, which is why witches like it so much. The ideal coven: the god and his twelve companions.

“Six and seven,” witches used to say: a greeting, back in pre-Blessed Be days. For reasons obvious to those in the know, this was a covert expression of Craft identity. In Italy they said “Five and eight” instead, for the same reason.

The ancestors counted in tens and twelves. Twelve was the “long ten,” as 120 was the “long hundred.” That explains why the teens don't start til thirteen; it used to be “three-ten.”

So thirteen means, “the cycle begins again.” Thirteen is both an end and a beginning.

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  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    We used to have Triskadelaphilia parties in our homw every yoear on any Friday the 13th. It was fun! I wrote an article on it just

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Burning Yule

In some places, Yule goes out with a blaze.

Where my parents live, there's a drop-off point in the parking lot at one of the local malls. Yule trees, wreaths, and swags of greenery—now beginning to dry—accumulate there.

And on the Saturday after Thirteen Night—brought to you courtesy of the local fire department—old Yule goes out in a blaze of glory.

Bold Yuletide is past, Thirteenth Night is the last.

So we bid you adieu: great joy to the New.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Warlock Songs

On the morning of Thirteenth Day, the warlocks sit in the sauna and sing their warlocks: varð-lokkur, their songs of power.

They sing up the Sun, in its years and days.

They sing up the seeds, and the harvest to be.

They sing up the lambing, the calving, the fawning.

At the turning of winter, the warlocks sing summer.

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