Tuesday

January 11th

In years gone by, an old ritual to ward off Witches was performed annually on January 11th in many fishing villages along the coast of Scotland.  At sunset, a barrel of tar would be placed on top of a pole, set on fire, and allowed to burn throughout the night.  Afterwards, charred pieces of it would ten be used by the villagers and fishermen as protective charms.

According to the historian Annemarie Schimmel in her book "The Mystery of Numbers,"  medieval numerologists – people who searched for the cosmic significance of numbers – within Christian, Muslim, Chinese and Indian schools of thought all considered the number one to represent divinity, unity or God. Just as everything emerged from God, they claimed, all numbers emerge from the number one.

At the same time, though, scholars had absolutely nothing good to say about the number 11: "While every other number had at least one positive aspect, 11 was always interpreted in medieval [analysis] in a purely negative sense," Schimmel wrote. The 16th-century numerologist Petrus Bungus even called 11 "the number of sinners and of penance."

Peace be with you. 

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