Thanks to AOAND collaborators, here's an updated, expanded version of yesterday's post:
It's Friday the 13th here in the USA, a transformational gateway, as 13 always is ~ if we can transcend the superstition around the number.
Here's an article I wrote as part of a series on the Mayan Calendar and living on natural time. If you'd like to read other articles in the series, please email me
Scared To Sacred: A Subtle Shift
In high school English I learned a wonderful, 64-carat word for a common ailment: triskaidekaphobia, "fear of the number thirteen." The elevator in my grandparents' New York City apartment building omitted the thirteenth floor. Apparently the assumption was, nobody would have wanted to live on it. It was a fashionable Upper West Side address; fear and loathing cross all perceived boundaries. I also recall a series of horror movies with "Friday the 13th" in the title.
A society steeped in superstition and a materialistic value system will find it easy to assign anxiety to anything that threatens the status quo. Thirteen is the number of movement, of change—a wild card—and that can be very scary. But it's our lost connection with the Divine in everyday life that gives rise to such distress. Divorced from our origins, terrified of our own power, we profane the sacred: thirteen becomes unlucky, evil, a curse; symbolic scapegoat of all we're afraid to embrace.
When we can take the thirteenth step, however, we're on the first step of the Stairway to Heaven. With the courage to look, we find that thirteen is stitched into the very fabric of our culture. Thirteen colonies gave birth to a nation. The first American flag bore thirteen stars and stripes. We were on the right track back then, still grounded into the roots of our heritage.
Think about it: thirteen has traditionally been cause for celebration. The thirteenth year signifies a coming-of-age, also across all perceived boundaries. In the Jewish religion, boys are Bar Mitzvahed at thirteen. This ceremony, which involves reading from the holy Torah, marks a boy's entrance into manhood. And, of course, girls generally begin to menstruate at age thirteen. Cross-culturally, it's common to commemorate the first blood with an initiation rite; here in the West, this significant threshold is at last beginning to be recognized as a powerful, sacred passage.
In fact, there are even thirteen sun signs in the Real Solar Zodiac — which is not the one used in conventional astrology. Ophiucus, the serpent bearer, has been omitted from the oversimplified Tropical Zodiac used in the West. Yet the serpent denotes transformation — and on the Winter Solstice of 2012, a date prophesied to catapult humanity into the next stage of consciousness, Earth we will be directly aligned with both Ophiucus and the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Thirteen, then, is a fundamental Earth rhythm, manifested in our physical bodies as well as the heavenly ones. To reject thirteen is, perhaps, to reject or deny some core aspect of ourselves as human beings.
How can we reawaken to our true purpose and potential, beyond the fear and perception of separateness? By reclaiming our native knowing.
One way that resonates deeply for me is following a Thirteen-Moon Calendar, woven together with the Mayan Sacred Tzolk'kin. The Thirteen Moon Calendar shows us a path to walk to restore right relationship in our lives, to re-member (make membership again) our journey as one family, one species, one destiny of origin. Based on an annual solar cycle of 13 moons (months) of 28 days each (the female menstrual cycle), plus one "day out of time" in which to reflect and regenerate, the Thirteen Moon Calendar is synchronized with Earth rhythms and human biology. It's expansive, intuitive, juicy, flowing: life, in all its harmonious chaos. The beauty of this apparent paradox lies in learning to honor the both/and: life is orderly and messy, pragmatic and unpredictable, spiritual and material. Living in tune with these innate contradictions, we breathe in our own magnificence, and feel nourished and held in the body of the Great Mother.
Our Gregorian calendar, by contrast, models scarcity, so we always subtly feel that we're starving: if you get what you need, there might not be enough for me. Living a compressed, alienating, sterile existence, our spiritual lungs squeezed for air, we evince these invisible shackles in the way we treat each other and Gaia. Time is money, me-first, bigger-better-best, I want it yesterday, are the credos of mechanistic time. Pursued by the clock, separated from our humanity, we've forgotten that time is creativity, that women carry time in their bodies, and have come to accept the clock as king.
José Argüelles, author of The Mayan Factor
, who deciphered the evolutionary course correction embedded in the Mayan mathematical codes, calls false time "Satan's last curse." One awakening soul, upon hearing this, suggested to Argüelles that the first twelve moons of the Thirteen-Moon Calendar are like the twelve disciples of Christ, and the thirteenth moon is Christ himself. This has nothing to do with religious dogma or superstition, and everything to do with Truth: by following the Thirteen Moon Calendar, returning to true time and the ever-evolving, nurturing, life-giving essence of the natural world, we all get to participate in the Christ principle.
It's a path beyond technology, to borrow the subtitle of Argüelles' seminal work. The man who offered the above analogy was — surprise! — the grandson of the founder of Sony. So it's not about trashing our high-tech toys and tools, but rather, rethinking how we use them. We've lived in an either/or, black/white, win/lose world of our own design for too long. The Thirteen Moon Calendar teaches us to become inclusive not exclusive, to cooperate rather than compete. Because none of us is truly free until all of us are.
Another Earth-based analogy may further illumine the value in retrieving our native wisdom. I've observed a fairly rampant homeowner disgust with the "lowly dandelion", scourge of well-manicured lawns — when in truth, dandelion is one of the most healing herbs available to humanity, offering itself in abundance wherever we dwell. It's a supreme liver tonic, known to help detoxify the body's "processing plant." If you want to release that pent-up rage in a healthy way, the remedy is probably available, free and easy, right in your own backyard.
Dandelion is so plentiful outside my rural cottage that it also acts as de facto compost within me: gently surrounding and helping to decompose back into rich loam that which no longer serves. Yet we curse the weed and uproot it, spray poison to keep the green carpet unsullied. When we can stop "livin' for the lawn," focusing predominantly on the external, and make the subtle shift from ego mind to Universal Mind, we see with such great clarity the incredible gifts all around us!
In Argüelles' Dreamspell Calendar, the number thirteen, like dandelion, grows everywhere; it's the key thread on which the harmony of the calendar is woven. Thirteen tones of creation form a "wavespell," a galactic tide cycle that is the flow of natural time. A wave is motion in time; a "spell" is what can be cast, known, or experienced during that time. Any cycle of thirteen — days, months, years, or centuries — is a complete wavespell. And on the Thirteen Moon Calendar, there's always a Friday the 13th — in a 28-day month, every second Friday is Friday the thirteenth!
As our evolutionary readiness dissolves old superstition around the number thirteen — and all it represents — our collective mindfield makes a quantum leap from mindless fear to aware acceptance of thirteen as the sacred number of the spiral, the energy of kundalini awakening, the step to transformation and growth. Unified in time, living on purpose, a metamorphosis occurs as we attune to a higher frequency.
Metamorphosis means not only change, but a going above, beyond what existed before. The Sufi mystic Rumi said, "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there's a field; I'll meet you there." In this quantum field, we midwife moth into butterfly. Scared into sacred. Each of us into our true purpose and potential.
What is this time of transmutation helping you bring to birth? Whatever it is, may it be in beauty, for the greater good of all.