Michel Nostradamus (1503-1566) was a 16th century French physician and astrologer. His modern followers see him as a prophet. His prophecies have a magical quality for those who study them: they are muddled and obscure before the predicted event, but become crystal clear after the event has occurred.
Prophetic vision of Nostradamus is contained in 942 cryptic poems called The Centuries. Nostradamus wrote four-line verses (quatrains) in groups of 100 (called centuries). They have enthralled generation after generation of readers. He was often referred to as the prophet of doom because of the visions he had involving death and war. His followers say he predicted the Great Fire of London (1666), the French Revolution, the birth and rise to power of Hitler, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger.
Michel de Nostradame was born on December 14, 1503 (11 years after Christopher Columbus discovered the New World) in St. Remy, Provence, France. Nostradamus came from a long line of Jewish doctors and scholars. His family had converted from Judaism to Christianity in 1502, as a result of persecution on the ascension of Louis the XII (it was the age of the Inquisition).
Nostradamus was the oldest son, and had four brothers; of the first three we know little; the youngest, Jean, became Procureur of the Parliament of the Provence. His father, James, was a notary. Nostradamus’ grandfather, Jean, inspired him to study astrology and the celestial sciences when he was very young. It was then that Nostradamus was introduced to Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology. He upheld the Copernican theory that the world was round and circled around the sun more than 100 years before Galileo was prosecuted for the same belief.
In 1522, at the age of nineteen, Nostradamus decided to study medicine and enrolled at Mont Pellier (the most famous school of medicine in France). He graduated with a bachelor degree and was soon licensed to practice medicine. As a healer, he was active in treating the victims of the “Black Plague” and developed unique and effective methods of treatment which helped to lessen the suffering of many people.
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]On 23rd October 1529, at 26, Nostradamus returned to Mont Pellier to complete his Doctor’s degree.[/pullquote] The academic skill he displayed while working towards his doctorate won him praise and admiration from the whole college. He was recruited as an instructor after his graduation and taught for about a year. Nostradamus had some trouble in explaining his unorthodox remedies and treatments he used in the countryside. Nevertheless his learning and ability could not be denied and he obtained his doctorate. He remained teaching at Montpellier for a year but by this time his new theories, for instance his refusal to bleed patients, were causing trouble and he set off upon another spate of wandering.
While practising in Toulouse he received a letter from Julius-Cesar Scaliger, the philosopher considered second only to Erasmus throughout Europe. Apparently Nostradamus’ reply so pleased Scaliger that he invited him to stay at his home in Agen. This life suited Nostradamus admirably, and circa 1534 he married a young girl ‘of high estate, very beautiful and admirable’, whose name was lost to us. He had a son and a daughter by her and his life seemed complete.
Then a series of tragedies struck. The plague came to Agen and, despite all his efforts, killed Nostradamus’ wife and two children. The fact that he was unable to save his own family had a disastrous effect on his practice. The he quarrelled with Scaliger and lost his friendship. His late wife’s family tried to sue him for the return of her dowry and as the final straw, in 1538, he was accused of heresy because of a chance remark made some years before. To a workman casting a bronze statue of the Virgin, Nostradamus had commented that he was making devils. His plea that he was only describing the lack of aestheticappeal inherent in the statue was ignored and the Inquisitors sent for him to go to Toulouse.
Nostradamus, having no wish to stand trial, set out on his wandering again and kept well clear of the Church authorities for the next six years. We know little of this period. From references in later books we know he travelled in the Lorraine and went to Venice and Sicily. Legends about Nostradamus’ prophetic powers also start to appear at this time.
Over time, circumstances reversed with the Inquisitors. After traveling through Italy and France for six years, Nostradamus returned to his native turf where he was employed by the city of Aix in 1546. For a period of three years he again fought the plague. His services were viewed as invaluable by both his patients and his peers.
By 1554 Nostradamus had settled in Marseilles. In November that year, the Provence experienced one of the worst floods of its history. The plague redoubled in virulence, spread by the waters and the polluted corpses. Nostradamus worked ceaselessly. Once the city had recovered, Nostradamus moved on to Salon de Croux, which he found so pleasant a town that he determined to settle there for the rest of his life. In November he married Anne Ponsart Gemelle, a rich widow. The house in which he spent the remainder of his days can still be seen off the Place de la Poissonnerie. It was during this period of his life that he acquainted himself with the apothecaries and healers of the area in order to include them in his book Traite des Fardmens, the world’s first medical directory, which listed the names, location and specialties of physicians and healers practicing in Europe.
Nostradamus began to write his prophetic verses in the city of Salon, in 1554. They are divided into ten sections called Centuries (which refers to the number of verses in each section, not to a unit of 100 years).
The Centuries were published in 1555 and 1558, and have been in print continuously ever since.
By 1555 Nostradamus had finished the first phase of his book that would contain his prophecies. Upon its publication, Nostradamus’ fame quickly spread throughout Europe. The book contained only the first three Centuries and part of the fourth. His book became very popular among the literate and educated Europeans of the day, so much so that the French Queen, Catherine de’ Medici, summoned Nostradamus to her court in Paris in 1556..
One could only wish that there had been a witness to record their meeting. Nostradamus and the Queen spoke together for two hours. She is reputed to have asked him about the quatrain concerning the king’s death and to have been satisfied with Nostradamus’ answer. Certainly she continued to believe in Nostradamus’ predictions until her death. The king, Henri II, granted Nostradamus only a brief audience and was obviously not greatly interested.
Two weeks later the queen sent for him a second time and now Nostradamus was faced with the delicate and difficult task of drawing up the horoscopes of the seven Valois children, whose tragic fates he had already revealed in the centuries. All he would tell Catherine was that all of her sons would be kings, which is slightly inaccurate since one of them, Francois, died before he could inherit.
Soon afterwards Nostradamus was warned that the Justices of Paris were inquiring about his magic practices, and he swiftly returned to Salon. From this time on, suffering from gout and arthritis, he seems to have done little except draw up horoscopes for his many distinguished visitors and complete the writing of the Prophecies. Apparently he allowed a few manuscript copies to criculate before publication, because many of the predictions were understood and quoted before the completed book came off the printing press in 1568, two years after his death.
On June 28, 1559, quatrain # 1-35 which predicted the accidental death of an “old lion” (an allusion to Henri — the King of France) came true. Some people were upset with Nostradamus, others amazed. His fame grew even more. Nostradamus remained in Salon for a number of years, and continued to work on his writings. He was visited by many people of nobility and distinction during those days.
In 1564 Catherine, now Queen Regent, decided to make a Royal Progress through France. While travelling she came to Salon and visited Nostradamus. They dined and Catherine gave Nostradamus the title of Physician in Ordinary, which carried with it a salary and other benefits.
In 1565-66, Nostradamus’ health began to be troubled with gout and arthritis. His health continued to worsen and he wrote his will on June 17, 1566. Nostradamus is said to have predicted his own death. When his assistant wished him goodnight on July 1, 1566, Nostradamus reputedly pronounced, “You will not find me alive at sunrise.” He was found dead on July 2, 1566.
It was rumored that a very secret document existed in his coffin, that would decode his prophecies. In 1700, the coffin was moved to a prominent wall of the Church. Careful not to disturb his body a quick look inside revealed an amulet on his skeleton, with the year 1700 on it.
One night in 1791 during the French Revolution, soldiers from Marseilles broke into the church, in search of loot. However, Nostradamus had the last laugh. In Century 9, Quatrain 7, he had written:
The man who opens the tomb when it is found
And who does not close it immediately,
Evil will come to him
That no one will be able to prove.
Reputedly, the soldiers who desecrated his tomb for the final time were ambushed by Royalists on their way back to base and killed to the last man.
Prophecies and Predictions of Nostradamus
During Nostradamus’ lifetime the Black Death (today known as the bubonic plague) wiped out over a quarter of Europe. It is no wonder that a sense of apocalyptic terror fills Nostradamus’ quatrains. Nostradamus can indisputably be said to have been ahead of his time, at least in terms of medical practice. His treatment of the Black Death involved removal of the infected corpses, fresh air and unpolluted water for the healthy, a herbal preparation rich in Vitamin C, and (in contravention of contemporary medical practise) not bleeding his patients.
Nostradamus had the visions which he later recorded in verse while staring into water or flame late at night, sometimes aided by herbal stimulants, while sitting on a brass tripod. The resulting quatrains (four line verses) are oblique and elliptical, and use puns, anagrams and allegorical imagery. Most of the quatrains are open to multiple interpretations, and some make no sense whatsoever. Some of them are chilling, literal descriptions of events, giving specific or near-specific names, geographic locations, astrological configurations, and sometimes actual dates. It is this quality of both vagueness and specificity which allows each new generation to reinterpret Nostradamus.
After his death, his son Caesar gathered the remaining prophecies which had been unpublished up to that point, and published them in 1568, two years after Nostradamus passed away.
Nostradamus referred to the ten chapters of his famous book, The Centuries, as “centuries”, although they have nothing to do with 100 year cycles. Each of the centuries (or chapters) contain 100 prophetic quatrains, except for Century VII, which has 42, for a total of 942 prophecies.
The rhymed quatrains of Nostradamus were written mainly in French with a bit of Italian, Greek, and Latin thrown in. He intentionally obscured the quatrains through the use of symbolism and metaphor, as well as by making changes to proper names by swapping, adding or removing letters. The obscuration is claimed to have been done to avoid his being tried as a magician.
Nostradamus intentionally confused the chronological order of his quatrains (a four line prophetic stanza which constitutes one of his prophecies) as a way to make the interpretation of future events slightly more difficult. The interpretation of some quatrains are very specific, others more general in nature. The clearly stated quatrains speak for themselves, requiring little interpretation. Most quatrains, however, require a detailed examination.
Some readers might discover that it takes time to get a feel for reading the quatrains. The more you read them however, the easier it is to make sense of them.
Most readers might be shocked by the perceived contents of some quatrains, for in many ways The Centuries reads like a book of 1,001 future disasters.
Nostradamus stated in the Epistle, that as time goes on, he perceived his prophecies to carry more weight. This is interesting and seemingly correct, especially considering that as time passes, with a little hindsight, we can see the past from a clearer perspective.
In the preface ( a letter dedicated to his son Caesar), Nostradamus stated that his prophetic quatrains were covered with a veil cloud, but are clear enough to be comprehended by men of good intelligence.
Some quatrains were written in a manner that suggests a chronology of time from the beginning of the quatrain to its end. The first line or two of this type of quatrain may pertain to one given period of time, while the lines following it may apply to a time frame later than the lines before it. While this chronological rule does not apply to all quatrains, it seems to apply to some.
The majority of the quatrains pertain to the geographical regions of France, Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. A few quatrains pertain to the New World, one pertains to the Moon, and a few others make references to outer space.
NOSTRODAMUS 2000 by Doug Yurchey
The name Nostrodamus evokes everything from reverence, mystery and the occult to total skepticism. It is easy to be a skeptic. It is far more difficult to truly understand. A man from the 16th Century should NOT have been able to write about these 20th Century things:
* U.S. & its Eagle symbol.
* Free America to the west.
* U.S., French & Russian revolutions.
* WWI & WWII.
* The atomic bomb.
* Air warfare; ‘flying boats and galleys.’
* The submarine.
* Motors & antennae.
* Man-made mountains.
‘Nostrodamus often mentions exact specifics such as ‘Franco’ and ‘Pasteur.’ Even a hardcore skeptic must soften when they realize that somehow…modern events were published in the 1672 edition: ‘The True Prophecies and Prognostications of Michael Nostrodamus.’ In 1946, Henry C. Roberts wrote as he read the 1672 edition: ‘I had perused but a few pages when I was struck by the sense of familiarity that these verses seemed to hold for me. Words that that the author claimed held no significance for him, took on for me a definite meaning, became clearly focused into patterns of events – past, present and future.’
Seer to French kings, Nostrodamus was careful not to be too specific. He understood that this could trouble powerful people in his own time. The result is 4-lined quatrains that serve as enigmatic puzzles. Nostrodamus wrote: ‘They would condemn that which future ages shall find and know to be true…(quatrains) are perpetual prophecies from this year to the year 3797, at which some perhaps will frown, seeing so large an extension of time…’
The following verses are some of the most extraordinary. At times, the seer is very specific and the quatrains are not a matter of interpretation.
How did Nostrodamus predict? We may never know. Although in the very first two quatrains, the prophet described his source of knowledge: ( to read these quatains please visit the link that I have provided for you)
This website also has good information