Never heard of a Trestella Cross before?
Tre comes from the Latin tredecim, which means 'thirteen', stella is Latin for 'star', and 'Trestella Cross' is just a name we've made up for the 13-pointed star and cross on this page. But we did not make up the meaning of this symbol.
The religious meaning of the cross is well understood. But what significance does the star have, and particularly a star with 13 points. Isn't 13 supposed to be unlucky?
Countless movies and novels have capitalised on the nightmarish nature of the number 13.
We all seem quite comfortable with 12. The zodiac is based on 12 constellations and we have 12 complete lunar months in the year; the 13th month being pathetically short in comparison, giving this poor number not only a lower class status but also something rather sinister.
Consider XIII, for example; the tarot card for Death. Friday 13th is feared in many cultures and the 13th room is often renumbered in hotel corridors (but it is still the 13th room).
Why? Nobody knows. And as our friend Mr Rumsfield pointed out1, the unknown is scary just because it is unknown.
Paradoxically, odd can sometimes be more balanced than even.
An asymetrical pattern, such as the 13-pointed star shown above, happens to be an ideal engineering template for certain applications. For the wheelwright, an odd number of spokes mean the top and bottom of the wheel are not diametrically opposed.
Odd numbered fan blades, ball bearings, etc., are less likely to set up harmonics. Usually gear teeth have an odd number of teeth and jet engines minimize aerodynamically induced resonances by having a prime number of blades on disks, and a prime number of vanes on their corresponding stators.
Spinning away from engineering towards religion, we note that Judaism considers 13 favourably. The Torah explains that God has 13 Attributes of Mercy, which are referrred to by the circles in the Kabbalistic Metatron's Cube. In fact there are no Biblical references to suggest that 13 is bad or unlucky; quite the contrary.
Thirteen at the Last Supper
Neither is there anywhere in the Bible that mentions "the last supper". It was not the last time Jesus will keep that supper; he promised he would eat with the twelve Apostles again2.
We all know that there were twelve Apostles, but let's review what happened after the betrayal by Judas Iscariot. Acts 1:15-26 says that Judas "fell by transgression ... from this ministry and apostleship". The office of apostleship was filled by both Matthias and Paul. There were still twelve apostles figuratively but thirteen literally.
Similarly with the tribes of Israel, which began with twelve. Later, the tribe belonging to Joseph were split into two tribes and named after Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Mansseh3. So there were physically thirteen tribes but still referrred to figuratively as the "Twelve Tribes"4.
Jesus crowned the twelve apostles to the twelve thrones of the twelve tribes of Israel5. This again is figurative; the apostles were to look after all nations in all the earth6.
The thirteen points on the star of the Trestella Cross remind us of the "Not The Last Supper". It reminds us of the future meal promised by the exalted Christ in his heavenly kingdom.