Seven Sons, 'The Oath has been Awakened'

The Legendary Powers of a Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

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Today is born the seventh one
Born of woman the seventh son
And he in turn of a seventh son
He has the power to heal
He has the gift of the second sight
He is the chosen one
So it shall be written
So it shall be done
– Iron Maiden, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Seven seems to be a magical number in many cultures, and is often imbued with mystical and religious attributes. In the Abrahamic faiths, for instance, it is believed that God created the world in seven days, whilst in Greek mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters who were the companions of the goddess Artemis. Other groups of seven include the Seven Wonders of the World, the Seven Sages of Greece and the Shichi Fukujin (Seven Gods of Fortune) of Japanese mythology. In folklore, seven also has a special role in the order of birth.    

In the Greek myth of the Pleiades, a group of seven sisters were transformed into a cluster of stars, and were chased by a man seen in the Orion stars.

In the Greek myth of the Pleiades, a group of seven sisters were transformed into a cluster of stars, and were chased by a man seen in the Orion stars. Photo source: Wikipedia.

In European folklore, the seventh son of a seventh son is believed to possess special powers. The seventh son must be preceded by six brothers, with no sisters born in between, and whose father is also such a seventh son.  Such a child is said to be gifted with the power to heal diseases. Some doctors in previous centuries even claim that one of their qualities that made them great healers was that they were the seventh son of a seventh son. In Ireland, the seventh son of a seventh son is also believed to have the power to foretell the future, in addition to his healing abilities.

Not all the gifts of the seventh sons of a seventh son are so benign, however. According to one superstition, the seventh son in a family of all boys is prone to fall victim to a curse that would turn him into a luison (also el lobizon or lobisomen). This creature exists in the mythology of South America, particularly in the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The myth of the luison originates with the Guarani, an indigenous people from Paraguay. In Guarani mythology, the luison was the seventh and youngest offspring of Tau, an evil spirit, and Kerana, a mortal woman. In the original story, the luison is said to be the God of Death and had a horrendous figure. His face was long and pale, and much of his body was covered with long dirty hair. He also had frightening eyes and had the stench of death and decay around him. It was perhaps interaction with European colonists that transformed this myth overtime, as the luizon changed from a God of Death into a werewolf.

A model of a luison

A model of a luison ( Wikimedia Commons )

It is believed that on the night of a full moon, especially if it fell on a Friday, the seventh son in a family of all boys, after he reaches the age of 13, would transform into the luison. Like the European werewolf, the luison would terrorise the night by hunting and killing, and spread its curse through its bite. In 1907, another custom associated with the seventh son was incorporated into the luison myth. According to this custom, which originated in Germany, the reigning prince would be the sponsor to a seventh son of any of his subjects. When Enrique Brost and Apolonia Holmann, who were Volga Germans from south eastern Russia, immigrated to Argentina in the early 1900s, they brought the custom along and requested the then Argentinian president, Jose Figueroa Alcorta, to be their seventh son’s godfather. The president agreed to their request, and this tradition has been kept till today.  In 2014, Yair Tawil, a seventh son, became the godson of Argentina’s president , Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Yair Tawil, the seventh son, becomes the godson of Argentinian president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner

Yair Tawil, the seventh son, becomes the godson of Argentinian president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner

The myth of the seventh son of a seven son is still alive today, and has been used variously in films, literature and music. In an age when superstition is frowned upon by many, our fascination with the number seven and the folklore regarding the seventh son of a seventh son still continues, and will probably persist into the future.

Featured image: Seven Sons, ‘The Oath has been Awakened’. Credit: Jenny Dolfen Illustrations    

References

Asuncion Christian Academy, 2006. Paraguayan Myths. [Online]
Available at: http://www.projectparaguay.com/myths.htm

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I am the seventh son of my 10th siblings. When I was born, just months later my mother got pregnant right then but the child died after his 6th months old. According to the doctor, the child who was the 8th of my siblings was actually my twin but the destiny put a space for me to born uncontested as the 7th son.

A year before I was born, a war happened in my country resulted to massive evacuation. The dictatorship risen, the rebellion at peak and my parents moved from 1 place to another to evade the war. They landed to a place named "San Francisco" hoping the place is safe and peaceful but not.. so they run again and hide in the middle of the jungle. I was formed that time and born in the middle of the virgin jungle.. a forest which was not touched that time.. When I was 6th month old, I was kidnap by a dozen of big monkeys while I was crying aloud and my mom was a bit far gathering fresh vegetables in the garden for our breakfast. My older sister who was very young at 7 was told to watch me but she was playing and didn't care that I was crying, The dozen of monkey invaded out small house and took me away for a day hiding at the top of the trees around the house. The Mother monkey took care of me according to my sister. I was fed with her breast milk to stop crying while on top of the tree.. They took me of the whole day and when the sun started to sit, my uncle forced to shot the monkey to save me. I was not harm.

I am a kind of different... it seems like I am not really human.. when someone hurt me, the nature will revenge and hurt back to them.. I have a rare vision, my dreams often tell me what happen tomorrow.. I am always aware what would happen next.. When I will pray to God and talk to them I could feel I am so closed to him. I could ask even material thing and he grant everything...

I am still continue discovering myself because it seems like I am owned by someone. If I fall in love to anyone, they would be driven away from me. I am good looking, and charming but it seems like I am not lovable.. very few became my girlfriend.. seems like the destiny does not want me to be owned by anyone because I am like already owned by unknown. I feel like a super cudgel or a stick of an immortal that being used to change a place I am the 7th son that owned by a supernatural nature. Anyone who loved me would be blessed and anyone who hurt me would suffered... I already avoid my family because more often my sister often hurt me with unpleasant words she is nagger .. and her kids suffered of what she did, I noticed it so I left home... away from them... I dunno me... really.. I already finished my study... I finished information and Technology, BS Accountancy and also finished my Masters post graduate study... but seems I could not see the answer of the questions who really I am... not in the library and not in Scientific theories... now.. what I know I am the seventh son.

Numerology myth.

Also worth noting - 7years old was regarded as he age of reason, when an infant became a child, and could work, or later, the school age (still is in Scandinavia). Fourteen was the church confirmation age, and still is, it was also the school leaving age in some places. And 21 was/is the coming of age, with parties and celebrations, it was the age you could vote (now lowered to 18), and drink alcohol (also now lowered). But interesting - 7, 14, 21. All significant. And lifespan, in the bible, is 3 score and 10 = 70. And the 7 ages of man.....

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