Number 12

Meaning of Number 12

number 12

Twelve is a symbol of cosmic order.

Twelve is the number of space and time.

There are 12 months in a year.

Time is measured in two groups of 12 hours

The 12 Year Cycle in Asia

12 animal signs chinese

The twelve Animal-Signs of the Chinese Zodiac are:

Rat – Ox – Tiger – Rabbit – Dragon – Snake – Horse – Goat – Monkey – Rooster – Dog – Pig

Cat Lovers will appreciate that in the Vietnamese Zodiac the rabbit is replaced with the cat.

The year 2011 was the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac and the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese zodiac.

The 12 Signs of the Zodiac

There are twelve signs in the Zodiac. Pisces is the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac. (February 18 to March 20

12 zodiac star signs

Fire Signs: Aries Leo Sagittarius

Earth Signs: Taurus Virgo Capricorn

Air Signs: Gemini Libra Aquarius

Water Signs: Cancer Scorpio Pisces

The Twelfth Card of the Tarot

tarot 12 card

In the Tarot twelve is the card of the hanged man.

The Hanged Man is symbolic of self-sacrifice and meditation.

Reversed it represents selfishness.

Twelve Sage Leaves

There was an old saying in England that if a young maiden wanted to see her future husband she must pick twelve sage leaves as the clock strikes 12 o’clock midday on St. Mark’s day (April 25th).

The 12 Tribes of Israel

Jacob had twelve sons; they are considered the ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The names of Jacob’s sons were: Ruben – Simeon – Levi – Judah – Dan – Naphtali – Gad – Asher – Issacher – Zebulun – Joseph – Benjamin

Bat Mitzvah

Bat Mitzvah

In Judaism is girl becomes Bat Mitzvah when she is twelve years old. Bat Mitzvah means “Daughter of the Commandment”.

She is now obligated to keep the mitzvah which is related to Jewish women.

The Flag of the European Union

European Union flag

The flag has 12 stars. The number of stars does not have anything to do with any number of countries that are members.

The number 12 was chosen for the symbolism it represents.

The number 12 is found in cultures and religion in all of Europe.

The number 12 reflects to the ancient meaning of 12 being the number of perfection.

The number 12 is the result of 4×3, 4 elements – 4 corners of the earth – 4 cardinal points. When these are multiplied 4 x 3, three being the sacred number of God, the result is 12 – the perfect number.

The official description states:

“Against the blue sky of the western world, the stars represent the people of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity. Their number shall be invariably set to twelve, the symbol of completeness and perfection.”

The design of the flag seems to be enthused by the Bible verse in Revelation 12:1:

“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;”  Revelation 12:1

Madonna in Glory - Doci 1670

The Italian painter, Carlo Dolci (1616-1686) was inspired by the same Bible verse and painted “Madonna in Glory” in 1670.

Reading the Bible verse and looking at Dolci’s painting may answer some questions about the design of the flag.

The European flag was officially adopted on December 8, 1955. It may just be a coincidence, but December 8th is also the Catholic Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Cleopatra’s Needle and the 12 Beautiful Women

Cleopatra Needle London

When Cleopatra’s Needle was raised on the Embankment in London (1878), a time capsule was buried at its base.

The time capsule contains among other things: newspapers, Bibles in different languages, coins, railway timetables, a box of hair pins, a razor and pictures of the twelve most beautiful women in England.

The identities of these twelve gorgeous women are kept a secret.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

In Christian tradition there are twelve days of Christmas. These are from Christmas Day (December 25th) to Epiphany.

The end of the twelve days is often marked by the feast of Epiphany, usually on January 6.

Epiphany is the celebration of the arrival of the wise men. They were the first people outside the Jewish world, to see and believe in the infant Jesus Christ.

There are twelve gifts that “my true love” sent in the traditional Christmas song: The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The song came in printed form about 1780.

12 Grapes for Good Luck

12 New Year Grapes

If you want to ensure good luck for the coming year, you must eat twelve grapes as the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve.

Each grape represents one month of the coming year.

This tradition is found in Spain as well as in South America.

Apollo 12

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 was the second manned spacecraft to land on the moon. It launched November 14, 1969 (Lunar landing November 19, 1969)

Twelve people have walked on the moon.

Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin

Apollo 12: Peter Conrad and Alan Bean

Apollo 14: Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard

Apollo 15: David Scott and James Irwin

Apollo 16: John W. Young and Charles Duke

Apollo 17: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt

There are usually twelve people (jurors) on a jury.

The Hawaiian alphabet has twelve letters; 5 vowels (a – e – i – o – u) and 7 consonants (h – k – l – m – n -p – w).

Magnesium has the Atomic number 12.

North Carolina became the 12th state of the United States. (November 21, 1789)

The Twelfth President

Zachary Taylor Presidential coin

Zachary Taylor was the twelfth president of the United States. 1849 – 1850.

Taylor was the last President to hold slaves while in office.

He was only President for 16 months. He died of stomach flu.

The Twelfth

The Twelfth is celebrated among the Protestants in Northern Ireland. It is also called the “Orange Fest” and “Orangemen’s Day”.

It is in remembrance of the Battle of Boyne on July 12, 1690. William of Orange (Protestant) won over King James II (Roman Catholic). William of Orange was married to King James II’s daughter Mary, making him the King’s son-in-law

King James II (known as King James II in England and Ireland and as King James VII in Scotland) was a Roman Catholic, his daughter Mary was a Protestant. He was the last Catholic King.

William and Mary would later reign was King William III and Queen Mary II.

Sonnet 12 By William Shakespeare

Number 12 in the Bible

The 12 Sons of Jacob

12 sons of Jacob
Painting of Jacob and Rachel by William Dyce 1806 – 1864

Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham.

He was the twin brother of Esau.

Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel.

He loved Rachel the most.

Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter. The name of his daughter was Dinah and her mother was Leah.

The twelve sons of Jacob would become the ancestors of the well-known Twelve Tribes of Israel.

Genesis Chapter 29-30 and Chapter 35

DanBilhah(Rachel’s maid)
NaphtaliBilhah(Rachel’s maid)
GadZilpath(Leah’s maid)
AsherZilpath(Leah’s maid)
Benjamin Rachel – Rachel died during childbirth

Twelve Pillars – Twelve Tribes

“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.” Exodus 24:4

The 12 Sons of Ishmael

12 sons of Ishmael

Ishmael was the first born son of Abraham. Abraham was married to Sarah. The mother of Ishmael was Hagar, she was Sarah’s maid.

Later Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Sarah then demanded that Abraham should cast out Hagar and her son, Ishmael. Abraham sent them away.

Hagar and Ishmael ran out of water in the desert. When Hagar thought they were dying, God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. Genesis Chapter 21.

Ishmael had twelve sons who became princes according to their tribes. They dwelt from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. Genesis 25:12-18

The Twelve Sons of Ishmael:

The names of Ishmael’s sons were: Nebaioth – Kedar – Adbeel – Mibsam – Mishma – Dumah – Massa – Hadad – Tema – Jetur – Naphish – Kedemah

The story of Ismael and Hagar has an important role in Islam. Muslims will drink from the Zam Zam well (near Mecca) in memory of Hagar. See Number 7

Jesus was twelve years old when he went to Jerusalem with his parents to celebrate the feast of Passover. His parents lost him and searched for three days.

They found him in the temple among the teachers. All who heard the twelve year old boy were astonished. Luke 2:41-52

The 12 Apostles of Jesus

number 12 in the bible

Peter (birth name: Simon)

Andrew (brother of Simon/Peter)

James (son of Zebedee)

John (brother of James)





James (son of Alphaeus)


Simon of Zealot

Judas Iscariot

“The Twelve Apostles” from the Siysky Gospel – 1339

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and killed himself.

Matthias became one of the twelve after Judas was gone.

Twelve years of blood

“And a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, came up behind him (Jesus), and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased.” Luke 8:43

The 12 stars of the crown

The twelve stars of the crown on the women in Revelation 12:1 is the foundation for the design of the European Union flag.

The 12 Gates of Jerusalem

“It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed;

on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Revelation 21:12-14″..through the middle of the street of the city, also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit yielding its fruit every month..” Revelation 22:2

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is mentioned by name twelve times in the Bible.

1. “among who were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” Matthew 27:56

2. “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulcher.” Matthew 27:61

3. “Now after the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher.” Matthew 28:1

4. “There were also women looking from afar, among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.” Mark 15:40

5. “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.” Mark 15:47

6. “And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that them might go and anoint him.” Mark 16:1

7. “Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.” Mark 16:9

8. “and some of the women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,” Luke 8:2

9. “Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles;” Luke 24:10

10. “So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” John 19:25

11. “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.” John 20:1

12. “Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:18

12 in Islam – The Twelvers  –  Shi’a Islam

number 12 in Islam Husayn Mosque

The Twelve Imams are successors to Muhammad, the profit of Islam.

They are infallible and have a close relationship with God.

They keep the Devine Law and therefore they are able to guide believers.

Each of the Imams was the son of the previous Imam except Husayn ibn Ali, who was the brother of Hasan ibn Ali.

There are special prayers for each of the infallible Imams during the weekdays. Shi’a Muslims believe that pilgrimage to their tombs will bring favorable rewards.

The first eleven Imams were murdered.

The last and twelfth Imam disappeared as a young child.

The Twelvers believe he is still alive and is in occultation.

When the twelfth Imam returns he will bring justice and peace to the world.

The Twelvers do wait for the promised return of the twelfth Imam, the Promised Mahdi.

Who were the Twelvers?

1. Ali   (600 – 661)Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.He was married to Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.Sunni Mulims consider him the fourth Caliph. Shi’a Muslims consider him to be the first Imam.He was slashed with a poisoned sword while praying in the mosque of Kufa . He died from the wounds.
2. Hasan (625  669)He was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, the son of Fatima and Ali.Both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims regard him as a martyr.He was poisoned by his fourth wife, Ju’da. 
3. Husayn  (626 – 680)He was the grandson of Fatima and the Prophet Muhammad.He was the brother of the second Imam, Hasan ibn Ali.Husayn was beheaded in the Battle of Karbala. 
4. Zayn al  Abidin  (659 – 712)Aayn al Abidin was the great-grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, son of Husayn ibn Ali.He survived the Battle of Karbala because he was too sick to fight. He became the fourth Imam.He was murdered by poisoning. 
5. Muhammad  al-Baqir (676- 743)He was the son of the previous Imam.He was well respected among Muslims for his Islamic scholarship.He was murdered by poisoning. 
6. Ja’far al-Sadiq (702 – 765)He was the son of the former Imam.He is known among other things as the founder of the Shia fiqh, an expansion of the Sharia Islamic law.He was murdered by poisoning. 
7. Musa al-Kazim ( 745 – 799)He was the son of the sixth Imam.He was murdered by poisoning. 
8. Ali al-Rida  ( 765 – 818)He was the son of Ali al-Rida.It is believe he was murdered by poisoning. 
9. Muhammad al-Taqi ( 811 – 835)He was only eight years old when he became Imam.He died at the age of 25.He was poisoned by his wife. 
10. Ali al-Naqi (828 – 868)He was only a young boy when he became Imam.The son of Muhammad al-Taqi.He was murdered by poisoning. 
11. Hasan al-Askari  ( 846 – 874)   He died by poisoning only 28 years old. 
12. Muhammed Mahdi (873 – ???)The son of Hasan al-Askari. He went into hiding as a young child.Shi’a muslims believe he is still alive and they are waiting for his return. 

Number 12 in Mythology

The Twelve Olympians  – Greek mythology

The twelve Olympians were the twelve principle gods that resided on Mount Olympus.

Zeus  (Roman=Jupiter)The supreme god. God of the sky 
Hera  (Roman =Juno)Sister and wife of Zeus. Queen goddess.Hera means “Lady”. Goddess of marriage.
Poseidon (Roman=Neptune)Brother of Zeus. God of the ocean, earthquakes and horses.
Ares (Roman=Mars)Son of Zeus and Hera.God of war.He was violent and aggressive.
Hermes (Roman=Mercury)  Son of Zeus and Maia (one of the Seven Pleiads, daughter of Atlas). Messenger god.Enjoyed playing tricks.He protected travelers, merchants and thieves.He also guided the dead to the underworld.
Hephaistos (Roman=Vulcan)  Son of Hera.God of craftsmanship, metal and fire. He was the smith god.He was a crippled, deformed god.Married to Aphrodite.
 Aphrodite (Roman=Venus)    Goddess of love and beauty.Aphrodite emerged from of the foam made from the genitals of Uranus (the first ruler of the universe) and the waves, on the shores of Cyprus.Married to Hephaistos.
 Athena (Roman=Minerva)Daughter of Zeus and Metis (wisdom).Goddess of wisdom and science.Also goddess of war.
 Apollo (Roman=Apollo)Son of Zeus and Leto.God of the sun, the arts, music, fortune-telling.He could spread diseases, but could also cure illness.
 Artimis (Roman=Diana)Daughter of Zeus and Leto. Twin sister of Apollo.Goddess of hunting and the countryside.Patron of the wild animals.
 Demeter (Roman=Ceres)Sister of Zeus.Goddess of agriculture, the earth and grain.
Hestia  (Roman=Vesta)Sister of Zeus. Goddess of the home and the hearth.

The Twelve Labours of Heracles – Greek Mythology

Heracles was the son of Zeus (the chief god) and the mortal woman, Alcmene.

He was a great hero in Greek mythology.

At one time Heracles was set to do twelve tasks that seemed to be impossible.

He managed to complete all the twelve tasks using wit and strength.

The 12 Labours of Heracles were:

1.Kill the Lion of Nemea.This was a lion that had a pelt that could not be wounded by metal or stone. 
2.Kill the Hydra of Lerna.The Hydra was a water-snake with nine heads and it was extremely poisonous. 
3.Capture the Cerynian Hind.The Hind was sacred to Artemis, the goddess of hunting. 
4.Capture the Erymanthian Boar.He was to bring the wild and fierce boar back to Mycenae. 
5.Clean the Augean Stables in one day.These stables had not been cleaned for years. 
6.Drive away the Birds of Stymphalus.The birds had feathers with metal tips and they attacked humans. 
7.Capture the Cretan Bull.The bull had been terrorizing the island of Crete. 
8.Capture the Mares of Diomedes.The king of Diomedes had fed these mares with human flesh. 
9.Fetch the girdle of Hippolyta. She was the queen of the Amazons, the female warriors. 
10.Herd the Cattle of Geryon. Geryon was a giant with three heads, three upper bodies and six arms. 
11.Fetch the golden apples in the Garden of the Hesperides. 
12.Capture Cerberus. Cerberus was the three-headed dog that guarded the Underworld.The dog belonged to Hades, god of the underworld.

21 thoughts on “Number 12”

  1. Ridiculous. 12 is significant for for one, simple reason going back millennia: the LUNAR CALENDAR. For centuries, until ol’ Ceasar came along, the western world functioned on, effectively, a lunar calendar. 12 cycles of the moon almost equaled a full year. It was vitally important for hundreds of years to know what season it was and the moon goes through its phases every 30 days, or 12 phases in a year. Thus 12 months to complete a year. The Judeo Christian religion and countless other religions based in astronomy all see the number 12 as some form of completion or perfection for this reason alone. Which is ironic because it’s far from perfect: there are 5.25 days left over to complete a year.

    12 became a number for measuring: time, space and commodities (a dozen and a gross).
    That being said, 12 is GREAT for division not completion. 12 can be divided in half, in thirds, in fourths, in sixths, pretty easily in eights; and ANY number in the can be divided easily by 10 in a decimal system Which is exactly why there are 12 inches in a foot. So if anything the number 12 should be the number of division.

    And all these other number games to make 12 seem significant… oh I can run circles around that with the number 23. WAY more potential for clever number gimmicks there.

  2. The number 12 refers to the 12 pairs of cranial nerves which operate the endocrine system in the human body. The Pineal Gland is the place we seek to become enlightened or filled with wisdom. To accomplish this we must move the energy through 7 energy centers in the body up into the center of the brain. The Pineal Gland is also called the epiphysis.

  3. I am currently writing a book on the significance of the four numbers 3 6 9 12. I am finding it fascination and would appreciate it if I could use some of your points mentioned on these pages. If so, who do I make the acknowledgements to?

    I am an author of 85 books, most of which can be found on amazon, however, I have never done anything of this nature, but the subject of the above four numbers I have always found intriguing. Please reply and let me know your thoughts.
    Keith Argyle

    • Dear Keith Argyle,
      Thank you for your request. I haven’t worked on this website for a while now,
      it has been a crazy couple of years.
      You have given me encouragement to get back to work and do some more research!

      You were not kidding. I went to Amazon and checked out your name
      and found lots of books you have authored. I’m impressed!

      If you use information from this website, I expect you to
      give credit to this site;

      If you have any questions, please
      email me using the contact form and I will get back to you.

      Best of luck with your new book project, it sounds fascinating!
      I am sure our readers and many more will love to get your book once it’s published!
      Best wishes from I. Johanne

      • My father passed away on 12-12-12, I have been thinking of getting a tattoo with this date this year as it will be 10 years since his passing. This information was great as I search for a design to go with the date- thank you!

    • Ever heard of someone having the number 12 appear on their wrist slowly by the veins poking out . on my right wrist and my 1st and last initial on my left wrist in same spot. Virgil Haataja.

  4. Thank you for this interesting article! My mother’s birthday is 12/27 mine is 12/15 and both of my son’s… my eldest was born on 12/21/12 and is an extraordinary young man, some say an old soul… My youngest was born 12/29.

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  6. The number 12 is also very important in the Indian culture. Please include those as it is very different from the far eastern interpretation.

    • Thank you so much for taking time to write this positive comment. I really appreciate it!
      I wish your nephew the best birthday ever! Happy 12th Birthday! Have a great day!

  7. Pingback: What is the symbolism of the number 12? - Quora

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