The seventh son of a seventh son
This phrase has varied meanings in different cultures.
Seven sons is rare
In the cover photo are seven brothers and one stands out because he is dressed differently from the others and does not have a mustache as the six do. In our society, there is another reason that one brother out of seven is considered to be significant. I was recently watching the movie The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and heard a man say that someone among the group was the seventh son of a seventh son.
I’ve heard this wording before and assumed it meant there was something special about the seventh of a group of brothers. I decided to investigate and found out some things that were quite interesting. This phrase is a concept from folklore, myths, and legends during the days when women were more likely to give birth to a large number of children.
The slogan implied that special powers are given to, or obtained at birth by a male who is the seventh son of a father who is also son number seven. The young men must be in succession with no female siblings born between them. The number seven has a long history of significance based on traditions and faith communities.
Seven is said to indicate a cycle of completion with the number 8 meaning a new beginning. There are those who believe the earth was created in seven days, that there are seven virtues, seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins, and we know there are seven days in each week.
A blessing and a curse
Some people believe that special powers are inborn, and inherited simply based on birth order. Others say the powers are granted to the seventh son by the Creator because of his placement in his family. In Ireland, it is believed that the seventh son of a seventh son has the gift of healing in his saliva. In Scotland seventh daughters are said to have ESP or second sight.
In some Latin American countries, however, the seventh son of a seventh son is considered to be cursed and will turn into a werewolf. In order to prevent this from happening, it is recommended that the newborn be baptized in seven different churches. In Transylvania, it once was said that seventh sons were doomed to become vampires.
In Argentina, every seventh child born, both sons and daughters become the godchild to the president. In Italy, there is a legend that a man named Ciarallo was a seventh son of a seventh son who had power to enchant snakes. It was also said of him that he was immune to snake venom. Ciarallo is supposed to have experienced a special initiation ceremony that was called “inciaranazione.”
Whenever someone found a snake in their home Ciarallo was called and like the Pied Piper, who spirited away the mice by playing a flute, Ciarallo charmed the snakes and led them away by blowing a whistle. Ciarallo also performed the inciaramazionr rite on others to protect them from snakes by rubbing a special oil on their arms.
Well known seventh sons
In addition to these legends, there are also a few real people who were seventh sons of seventh sons. Abram George was a Mohawk faith healer from Akwesasne who claimed in news reports that he was a seventh son of a seventh son. Archille Noé Baillargeon from Tecumseh, Ontario, was a seventh son of a seventh son who many believed had an extraordinary power to heal and had the ability to foretell the future.
Singer Perry Como discussed being a seventh son of a seventh son during interviews. He had two older sisters and only one older brother to survive until they were adults. He had three siblings who died in infancy and I assume they were boys.
If the girls in Como’s family were the oldest and Perry the youngest, this would indeed qualify him for the honor with six brothers who preceded him. Some say his birth order is why he was so successful as an entertainer. In today’s society it would be pretty rare for anyone to say they were the seventh son of a seventh son as family sizes are smaller than they used to be.
There was a time when it was normal to see couples with 10 or 15 children, but not anymore. Whether or not seventh sons possess extraordinary power might never be proven, but there is one thing that can be taken from this information that indeed is very rare. For a woman to give birth to 7 sons in a row, and her seventh to later have seven sons in succession is pretty spectacular all on its own.
About the author
Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, published author and former Newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psycology and Biblical studies. She enjoys sharing natural cures, and Nostalgia related info. Tips are greatly appreciated.