The prophecies of Nostradamus

Nostradamus, Latinized for Michel de Nostredame, (born December 14, 1503 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, † July 2, 1566 in Salon-de-Provence) was a French doctor, pharmacist and astrologer.

Nostradamus wrote a series of ambiguous verses in groups of 100 four-liners (quatrains) over 500 years ago. Even today people try to read the future from the Centuries of Nostradamus. The verses were never clear and can be applied to a variety of past events and future events. Nostradamus' prophecies are comparable to today's horoscopes in newspapers: everyone can interpret their truth into them.

However, it is not exactly documented whether he really completed his medical studies or studied astrology. When creating horoscopes, Nostradamus made serious mistakes such as planets in wrong characters, etc. Nostradamus never called himself an astrologer, but "astrophile" (star friend).

In his prophecies (Centurias) it was found that many of his prophecies are paraphrases of historical texts, e.g. B. from "De honesta disciplina" by Petrus Crinitus, the "Liber prodigiorum" by Iulius Obsequens, or the "Mirabilis Liber" from 1523, a Bible commentary.

In his verse, Nostradamus only mentions a specific date twice: 1999 (solar eclipse) and 3797 ("from today to 3797").

The philosopher Max Dessoir summed it up: "The miracle in Nostradamus is not his text, but the art of interpreting his explaners".

The prophecies of Nostradamus

Even Faust, Goethe's hero, could not avoid Nostradamus in his search for the world puzzles: "And this mysterious book, by Nostradamus' own hand, is it not enough for you?". In vain he searched for knowledge in philosophy, medicine, justice and theology. In the end, scene in the tragedy Part One, an earth spirit materializes from Nostradamus' magic book, but remains guilty of no clear answer.

Voltaire, the enlightenment judge was quite different. For him, he was "the first prophet, the first villain to encounter a fool". There have always been liars like this, "Sybilles and figures like Nostradamus".

The French poet Pierre Corneille probably also thought of Nostradamus when he parodyed the astrologers in "Le Feint Astrologue" in 1680: "He looks at the sky in the darkest night, rolls over a thick book and paints a thousand figures." — Darkness, audacity and summoning of chance.

The Calvinist reformer Theodore de Bèze (1519-1605) went on. He composed a Latin slogan from the name Nostradamus: "Nostra damus cum falsa damus, nam fallere nostrum est; et cum falsa damus, nil nisi nostra damus". Translated, for example: We give ours when we say the wrong thing, because saying the wrong thing is our way; and when we give wrong, we give ours.

What was Nostradamus now? Charlatan or prophet? On his grave slab in Salon it can be read: "The bones of the glorious Michael Nostradamus rest here. He alone was found worthy of all mortals to proclaim the future events of the whole world under the influence of the stars with an almost divinely inspired pen".

For his followers, Nostradamus wrote a kind of course book for the course of the world. The Munich evening paper wrote some time ago: "Humanity has been waiting for this moment for 450 years. We are the ones who will soon find out whether Michel de Notredame, called Nostradamus, the famous French prophet and medic, was a smooth liar he said true, something bad awaits us, because July 1999 has come, that threatening date shortly before the turn of the millennium, about which the seer once expressly reported in his prophetic work "Centuria". "

"Express" is correct in this case. Nostradamus rarely gives specific dates, such as 1999, in his otherwise blurry work. Between 1555 and 1558, Nostradamus 942 wrote four-line verses, so-called quatrains. In each case, he bundled a hundred of them into a "Centurie", the missing 58 four-lines of the VII. Centurie remained unwritten.

Arbitrarily grammatically and in the confusion of a multitude of poetic stylistic devices, the "Centurias" nevertheless give the impression of a mysterious composition of ink and star dust.

This verse sounds like disaster. Close-up panic in view of the magical date 1999 not only affected enthusiasts and apocalyptics, but also the internationally recognized scientist Alexander Tollmann. The former head of the University of Vienna's Geological Institute expected the shocking dynamics of doomsday around August 11, 1999, the day of total solar eclipse in Europe: first World War III, then impact of a giant comet.

When humanity showed up in a specially goggled party mood instead of stepping in front of its creator, Tollmann was stunned: "It is so incredible that none of this has happened," he explained. "Nostradamus has been 100 percent right so far. He has described everything, such as Hitler."

Really? There is no mention of "Hitler" anywhere in the "Centuria", only "Hister", the old name for the Danube. The "great king of terror", however, really appeared in the summer of 1999. His reign lasted exactly two minutes.

Conspiracy theorists could now think that Hitler was born on the Inn, which flows into the Danube. And that is exactly what Nostradamus is about. His statements are so blurred that the verses can be interpreted as a variety of events.

"The fact that Nostradamus has become the most popular astrologer worldwide is a phenomenon that he himself did not predict," explains Jacqueline Allemand, director of the Nostradamus Museum in Salon-de-Provence - and is confirmed by the Internet. In the week after the September 11 attacks, "Nostradamus" was the absolute number one search engine query.

In Salon de Provence, 40 kilometers south of Avignon, Nostradamus moved into a large house in 1547, founded a family and here he became known.

He then published high-volume writings such as "Make-up and smells", "The art of canning" as well as health advice and recipes for love potions. Then the respected doctor earns his money with annual almanacs — a kind of early esoteric literature: It ranges from weather rules to the right time for beard cutting to the fortunes of the rich and powerful depending on the astrological signs — a kind of boulevard Leaf. The success of his "preaching" is easy to understand: in an inconsistent world, predictions form fixed points, provide certainty and are therefore comforting.

The Centuries of Nostradamus

One night in 1555, Nostradamus climbs up to the top floor where his study is located. He drops onto a three-legged brass chair and stirs with a laurel branch in a water-filled divination bowl and begins to write his centurions:

In it, his prophecies appear as daydreams or fantasies. Seen by light, the "Centuria" is about dying kings, falling fortresses and divine adversity, about crime and terror, blood and plague, death and blood.

The interpretation of the prophecies of Nostradamus

Or do they announce Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, the Chernobyl catastrophe, the two world wars, the moon landing and even the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center? It is a death reminiscent of absurd poetry and Dadaistic language games, in which the Nostradamus texts are kept - but which has the advantage for interpretation that almost everything can be secreted afterwards.

An example:

When Jean-Charles de Fontbrune bent over the writings of Nostradamus about 20 years ago, he translated the Quatrain as follows:

"The left will come to power. / One will discover that its enemies are conspirators. / More than ever, their time will triumph, / but after three years and seventy years, they will face certain death." Fontbrune interpreted the verse as follows: The Fifth Republic, ruled by left-wing ministers, would collapse "by September 1984 at the latest". How does Fontbrune get on the left? "La déchassée", he said, is a "dance step that is carried out to the left, in contrast to the chassée, which is associated with a right turn.

It is the same verse in which Théophile de Garenciéres in the 17th century recognized a clear prediction of the happy reinstatement of King Charles II (1660-1685) of England. The judge and murderer of his father Karl I were the approximately seventy or so followers of Oliver Cromwell who were then sentenced to death. (In fact, six were executed.)

However, for the Nostradamus interpreter Charles les Ward (19th century), the seer of Salon in VI, 74 describes the enthronement, reign and death of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). H. Brennan, like Fontbrune an interpreter from our time, has something completely different in mind and translates:

"She who was deposed will return to power. / Her enemies have been found among the conspirators / / Her time will be triumphant more than ever. / Seventy-three until death with great certainty."

This four-liner, according to Brennan, is generally assigned to Elizabeth I, "although she died at seventy and not, as the verse states, at seventy-three. I think Benazir Bhutto, who made history more than Pakistan, would be a much better candidate became the first female prime minister, but was then removed from office by presidential decree."

"The meaning is usually closed and dark, or is absent anyway without it having to evaporate," was how a "cultural history of misunderstandings" dealt with Nostradamus' prophecies as a classic fake. Wrongly: nothing indicates that the murmuring provence was a juggler and a fraud. However, since the disappointment in 1999, Nostradamus fans may have had a hard time claiming real paranormal abilities for their idol.

Nostradamus wrote of "natural instinct" in a letter to his king, Henry II of France. In the preface to the Centuries, he leaves his son César: "One more thing, my son, since I have used the term prophet: I do not want to acquire the title of such great grandeur in this day and age Seer, because the real prophet, my son, is the one who sees things far from any natural knowledge." So not a prophet, but a "seer" in the literal sense?

The career of Nostradamus

When Michel de Nótredame saw the light of day in Saint-Remy-de-Provence on December 14, 1503, as the firstborn of the notary family Notredame, the four horsemen of apocalysis seem to have taken up positions.

The closed Christian worldview falls into ruins. Christopher Columbus discovered America just a decade earlier. In 1491, Martin Behaim made the first globe in Nuremberg. The invention of the printing press triggered the monopoly of knowledge of the monasteries. The three powerful nation states Spain, France and England rule Europe and are bogged down in ever new wars and unclear alliances. The Augustinian monk Martin Luther will soon rebel against corruption in the Roman church and call for radical reform.

According to the wishes of his parents, Michel is to become a doctor. Supposedly his two grandfathers, but probably a private tutor, taught him early in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, mathematics and astrology. What is certain is that Michel's paternal grandfather was a Jewish merchant named Vidono Gassonet, who converted to Catholicism in the second half of the 15th century. Because Vidono Gassonet was baptized in the Notre-Dame-da-Principale in Avignon, the family henceforth called itself Nostredame. This spelling corresponds to the Provencal, in today's French it is called "Notredame".

At the age of 19, Michel de Notredame enrolled at the University of Montpellier and Latinized his surname to Nostradamus. In 1525, black death entered the city, and Nostradamus interrupted his studies to make himself useful as a healing assistant. The young medicus clairvoyantly refuses to bleed the sick — and not only saves many patients, but perhaps also life itself. Because he unwittingly interrupts the infection chain of the plague, which is also transmitted through body fluids.

When Nostradamus finally got his doctorate in medicine four years later, his reputation as an intrepid plague doctor had long been ahead of him. The famous universal scholar Julius Caesar Scaliger calls the 31-year-old to Agen. Nostradamus sets up a lucrative practice and marries a 14-year-old girl, who makes him the father of his son and daughter.

But then the wife and children die of diphtheria. The patients stay away. He throws up with the strict rationalist Scaliger; presumably it was about the exaggerated interest of Nostradamus in astrology. In 1538 he left Agen-de-Provence and wandered aimlessly through the country until 1547 and lived on the production of cosmetics, allegedly potency-enhancing agents and rejuvenation elixirs — through war, plague and religious disruption. Because of his keen interest in the secret sciences, he had to be careful about the Inquisition.

The death of King Henry II — July 1, 1559

Henry II, King of France, holds a double wedding for his daughter Elisabeth and sister Margarethe at the Paris court. The celebrations also include a friendship tournament where Heinrich crosses the lance with a captain of his personal guard, the Scottish Count Montgomery. Under hoof thunder, the two horses dash through the barriers with their armed riders. The king's lance misses its target, and Montgomery's lance hits the king's shield at the wrong angle. It splinters, slips up and penetrates Heinrich's visor.

The king dies of his wounds ten days later. Four years before the tragic event, Nostradamus had written:

"Since this prophetic achievement, the clairvoyant was still alive", even applauded in 1981 the german "Der Spiegel". Really? "The famous Quatrain was not even noticed by contemporaries," claims the renowned French historian Georges Minois. And with good reason: Heinrich II and Count Montgomery were the same age and the latter was not a king, so not a "lion". In addition, the drama by no means took place on a "warlike field".

In 1555, when Nostradamus wrote these verses, Henry II was the "young" and Charles V with his golden helmet — the Roman-German emperor who fought violent wars with the French — was the "old" lion. Nostradamus had meant the opposite of what the interpreters read: namely, that his king Henry II might prevail over the arch enemy.

The fact is that Heinrich's wife Katharina von Medici ordered the Prophet to the royal court of St.-Germain-en-Laye in the summer of 1556 — but certainly not to worry with him about the future fate of her husband, especially about the quatrain I To speak 35. The Florentine, an occult believer, sought advice from fortune tellers and magicians from an early age. She does not seem to have been very impressed by Nostradamus (even if she visited him again in Salon in 1564 on a tour of France and will honorarily appoint the personal physician of the 14-year-old King Charles IX). Because the seer later complained bitterly in a letter to a friend about the miserly fee of 130 crowns, which hardly covered the travel expenses. For the common people he was now the prophet of high rulers. The final triumph for Nostradamus was that his son César rewrote the encounter with the queen and the tragic accident of the king. In 1614 in his "Histoire et Chronique de Provence", 48 years after the death of his father on July 1, 1566.

Since then, the next better interpreter has appeared every year, overexposing the dark words of Nostradamus. The "fiery lady" from V, 65? Of course Marilyn Monroe — because she played in the film "Some like it hot". The "big butt" from verse VI, 40? Of course Helmut Kohl — because he liked to avoid problems. So it is understandable why Nostradamus can only be misinterpreted but can never be wrong — and thus remains unassailable.

"He had the principle in front of all his competitors that he never ventured too far out of his prophetic cover, but instead asserted himself in a lack of clarity saturated with names and bogus data, which could reveal everything but not reveal anything," writes Frank Rainer Scheck in his Nostradamus -Biography.

The immortal myth about the Renaissance sky stormer also includes: A legend of origin, on which his brother Jehan and especially his son César knitted and which mistakenly turns the grandfathers of Nostradamus into "doctors and consultants" - even though the two merchants or tax collectors were noble gentlemen.

"Nostradamus was a very interesting, humanistically and universally educated personality, the typical scholar of his epoch, although he gave himself to the study of ancient authors and was also willing to experiment with new natural research," analyzes psychologist and Nostadamus researcher Elmar R. Gruber: "In his preoccupation with occult things and prophecies, he is a representative of the historical interface at which mythical and rational thinking fell apart. He was committed to both worlds, and only from this point of view can we understand his work." And so Nostradamus puzzles that can be solved again and again.

For example, the mystery of the "great terror king". A UFO, the star astrologer Elizabeth Teissier suspected in 1999 at the Prophet's beard. A new Genghis barge from the east warned the authors of a lexicon of "prophets, seers, futurists".

In fact, in verse X, 72 Nostradamus only reflects the hopes and aspirations of the 16th century: on the appearance of a future great, just, peace-loving monarch ("King of Anolmois") whom Nostradamus vaguely moved close to the Angouleme-Valois dynasty.

And behind the "Dread King", which previously appeared in the sky, hides only the total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999, which the astrophilic scholar was able to calculate with the astronomical Saros cycles almost to the month. The date 1999, close to the third millennium, symbolizes the hoped-for change of times. Or?

A Nostradamus experiment

Clifford A. Pickover carried out a modern Nostradamus experiment ("The Antinoüs Prophecies" in Skeptical Inquirer, 25 (2001), 32 to 36). Here, Pickver randomly generated absolutely nonsensical verses and sent them to several pribands and had them interpreted. They all found some supposed meanings in these verses, certainly a very interesting psychic phenomenon.

— bra / sw —