Reclaiming Friday the 13th
The Goddess Kali
How many merry months be in the year?
There be thirteen, I say…
The Ballad of Robin Hood
In any age, whether we consider it modern or not, we can rest assured that for our species superstition trumps intellect. The next time you’re in an elevator try to press the number 13, although more than likely you won’t find it. For a split second you’ll be glad it’s not there because unspeakable horrors await anyone who alights on that floor: Demons and witches and blood baths.
Blood does play a role in the creation of the Friday the 13th myth, but not in the bloody, axe-murder way portrayed on television, in film, songs, and books. No, it exists in an even more unspeakable, unprintable terrain, that of menstruation. And really, what could possibly be more bloody and mysterious than the fact that one day a woman begins to menstruate and one day she stops?
In between, she may or may not become pregnant and have a child. But if she does, she can tell you that during the bloody, birthing process her body trumps mind and even as she tries to control the process she must give in to it.
So what does any of this have to do with Friday the 13th? It’s as if the poet Robert Frost’s sister Roberta set off on the road not taken by he in the “yellow wood” of their youth.
Friday is named for the goddess, Freya, the great mother goddess of northern Europe. It is said that the god Odin learned everything he knew about magic and divine power from her. But she was not all kindness and benevolence. In her sacred hall, Folkvangr, Freya received half of those who died in battle, while her consort Odin, received the other half at Valhalla.
An older story involves the great and bloody Indian goddess Kali. The cognate of her name, Ka, name means black, but also time. She dwells in the dark cycle of the moon as the first creation before light itself. Therefore she not only gives birth but swallows her creation, too, only to give birth again.
As every woman (and the lover in her life knows), there are 13 lunar months tucked into a solar year. Women menstruate on average 13 times per solar year in line with a lunar calendar. In fact, the word menstruate comes from the Greek word men, meaning moon. Women have relied on the moon calendar since we rose from the sea. It’s how we chart our menstrual cycles, which along with the waxing and waning of the moon occur roughly every every 28 days. In fact, the Catholic Church’s recommended form of birth control, the rhythm method, relies on a lunar calendar.
When Friday the 13th rolls around, I believe we are tapping into a memory embedded deep in our limbic system, one that cannot be drawn into language, one that exists before we were born into time, when life began and the first cells (called daughter cells) replicated and replicated into carbon copies. Until, something happened, a divine spark? “impregnated” those cells and they began to differentiate.
According to the old lunar calendar model, heading into the dark, moonless part of the 28 day cycle, reminds us that we are meeting our subconcsious selves, the part of our beings where the most mischief can and does occur.
Maybe we should think differently about Friday the 13th as a day to acknowledge all that we don’t know, as a day to step onto the thirteenth floor and open our eyes.
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul