12/12/12 is a date that comes around every hundred years. Today should have been a mystical day, a momentous occasion with awesome happenings all over the world, though for the most part, it seemed to be a day like any other.
Twelve is a number steeped in our culture, in our heritage, in our very lives. To the ancients, it was a divine number. There were twelve major heavenly bodies in our solar system (the sun, the moon, the planets, which included Pluto and a far-flung planet as yet unknown to modern man, though currently hypothesized as Planet X). There were twelve gods. There are twelve signs of the zodiac, each representing 30 degrees of the heavenly arc. (Thirty is another divine number. If you are expecting the present era to end this month as the Mayans supposedly claimed, you will be disappointed. The Mayans used a mystical calendar with 360 days — 12 x 30 — rather than our 365.25 days. Hence, the so-called Mayan apocalypse won’t happen until 2087.)
There were twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, twelve disciples of Mithras, twelve stations of life in Buddhism, twelve labors of Hercules, twelve sons of Odin in Norse mythology, twelve knights of the King Arthur’s round table.
Twelve is also a practical number, the lowest number with multiple divisors, making it a preferred method of organization, such as a dozen doughnuts or a dozen eggs; twelve colors on a color wheel; the twelve numbers on a clock face, the twelve inches to a foot, the twelve months in a year.
I’m sure there are dozens more instances showing the specialness of twelve, so why isn’t this day of twelves a momentous day of mystical happenings?
Well, for one, our calendar is arbitrary. The year could have started at a different time, perhaps in tune with the seasonal cycles where the first day of the year was the first day of spring. In certain cultures, the new year does begin on different dates, for example, the Chinese New Year was on January 23 this year, and the Jewish New Year was September 16th. The year itself is an entirely arbitrary number. Though this common era supposedly begins on the birth of Jesus, he was born no later than 4BC. (Though of course, back then, they would not have called it BC since the current calendar had not yet been invented.
And for another, this is a momentous day of mystical happenings. We are alive, aren’t we? That in itself is an awesome, momentous, and mystical experience.
Wishing you a wonderful and wonderfully mystic day.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+