Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 16. September 8th 1971
[Discussion of the prophecies of Nostradamus]
Nostradamus lived in Provence, in Southern France and first published his book of prophecies in 1555, calling it The Centuries. At first sight these verses are obscure and difficult, written in a doggerel mixture of French, Latin and Old Provencal. They seem to tell of nothing but the usual gloomy forecasts of death, destruction, famine, plague and pestilence — just like any other crank. But suddenly, a line catches the eye: The London Parliament shall put its king to death,' The great fire of three times twenty and six,' 'An Emperor shall be born near Italy,' 'Hister, Captain of the Greater Germany,' A king who shall abdicate because of a divorce. Three brothers who shall come to power in the New Land of America,. . . 'A wall dividing a city'. . . yet a third antichrist to come after Napoleon and Hitler whose war shall be more dreadful than any yet known . . . All these references mean something to the present day reader, and if they do, isn't it reasonable to assume that some of the other things that Nostradamus foresees for our future may also come true?
Nostradamus writes of generalities such as the failing of Christian beliefs and financieal inflation in Europe, but he also sees much more specific things as the changing of geographical boundaries, new people in power, new alliances and new wars to come Writing over 400 years ago he tells of Israel's fight for her newly created country, and an eventual defeat for the U.A.R.
'A new law shall occupy a new land near Syria, Judea and Palestine. The great Barbarian Empire (that is, non-Christian Empire) shall crumble before the century of the Sun is finished.' Astrologically the 20th century is the century of the sun!
The present Vietnam talks in Paris, started when de Gaulle was still in power, seem to be clearly seen, together with their outcome. Nostradamus even realizes how the Vietnamese will travel — by aeroplane! The man from the East shall leave his land, cross over the Appenines (Italy) to see France. He shall pass through the sky (over) the seas and the snow, and with one blow shall strike each with his staff.'
Many of the prophecies that have not obviously been already fulfilled are concerned with a third war in this century. This is linked with the birth of three brothers in America, a wall across a city, a Pope named Paul and an alliance between Russia and the West which shall so terrigy the East that it shall be forced into declaring war. Maybe this all sounds very general, but what about this verse?
Nostradamus clearly foresaw the installation of the Polaris missiles at Holy Loch, and even the influence brought to bear on Macmillan at the time. The London premier, through American power shall burden the island of Scotland with a cold thing . . . which shall lead everyone into trouble.' There isn't much need to comment on the fact that this last line expresses the views of many people, not least the C.N.D.
Certainly the Cuba crisis, followed by John F. Kennedy's assasination was clearly seen, as Nostradamus visualises these two things happening before the removal of the Berlin wall and the next war. 'Before the war the great wall shall fall. A great man shall die, a very sudden and grieved death. The fleet, incomplete, shall travel the greater part of the way.' Could this line be bettered in describing Khruschev's fleet carrying the remaining missiles to Cuba, and its subsequent turn about when faced with the American blockade? And this was indeed closely linked in time with John Kennedy's assassination.
Edward Kennedy shall come to power in America within the next decade. He will, inevitably, be accused of seeking office and power on the strength of his late brothers' name. 'The successor shall avenge his handsome brother and take power beneath the shadow of vengeance.'
It is during the era of the three brothers that Nostradam[unclear: fdg]ees America as enjoying a time of great prosperity, as indeed it is. But it is also at this time that the seeds of war shall be sown — The nation in comfort shall suddenly be cast down — the wo [unclear: I] put into difficulties by three brothers.'
Nostradamus seems to foresee the escalation of the tensions of the cold war during this present time leading to a gradual shift in the balance of world power. The three brothers are also linked with a Pope Paul, the present Pope is Paul VI, and with France. He can't refer to other than this Pope Paul and Paul V ruled in the 16th century. Could the link with France refer to Jacqueline Kennedy whose maiden name, Lee Bouvier, is French? Here is the quotation: 'Pope Paul shall die three leagues from Rome (or Rhone, the texts vary); then war shall take on its most terrible aspect. The cock and the eagle, France and the three brothers.'
He also links the Kennedy's with trouble in the East. In their lifetimes we have already suffered the Korean War and Vietnam and there is probably a future war with an expanding China to come. 'Near the water shall three be born; their full fame shall grow and cause terror in the East.' A political motive seems to lie behind the deaths of all three brothers. It is interesting to note that Nostradamus sees clearly that' only two of them shall actually come to power, but all three shall be assassinated. 'L' antichrist trois, bien les trois annichilz.' The third antichrist shall indeed kill the three.'
Nostradamus is quite certain that war shall start in the East as the result of an alliance formed between Russia and the West, which shall cause China's leader to reassess his situation and allies. 'One day the two great leaders shall be friend; their great power shall be seen to increase. The New Land (America) shall be at the height of its power and the man of blood shall reassess his allies.'
It has often been said by both political and military commentators that too great a build up of defence forces creates an aggresive situation. Nostradamus certainly thinks that the West should diminish rather than increase its nuclear build-up. Those of the Arctic Pole shall be united together. There shall be in the East great fear and dread.' It is fear that shall force China into war. The East shall quake for fear of the two brothers of the North who are not brothers,' and so, 'Men shall be conscripted over all of Asia.' Even Africa shall be drawn into the war, surprisingly perhaps, on the side of the West 'Black and white shall join together. But the red and yellow ones rfiall violate their people, blood, fire, etc. . .'
The war shall apparently break out three years after the formation of the Russian Western alliance. 'The power left to two men shall last a very short time. Three years and seven months having passed they shall make war.' Here we have a dating problem because elsewhere in The Centuries Nostradamus states that the next war shall begin in 1999. I think that like all medievals he was greatly influence by the idea that the end of the century would bring the traditional end of the world, or at least, the end of our civilisation. After all, what is thirty years or so out over a period of more than four centuries? I feel that a truer date is in the 1970's.
When Edward Kennedy is in power' in America, Britain's relationship with France shall greatly improve and this new state of affairs will last for an appreciable time. With the British entry into the Common Market. 'For a long time Britain and France shall page break become allied' and France shall be criticized by the other members for her refusal to let us join earlier 'France shall be accused of neglect by her five partners.'
Although Nostradamus gives us the names of Napoleon and Hitler almost exactly (Napoloron and Hister) the name of the third Antichrist doesn't seem to be in The Centuris, or if it is, it isn't one that is immediately recognizable. But this was often the case with other predictions interpreted in advance of their time. Until the 1930's all commentators thought the name Hister to be meaningless and usually interpreted it as the river Danube — from its old name Ister, or as meaning a comedian, from the Etruscan word. I think the name is probably somewhere in the verses as Nostradamus refers so often to the antichrist from the East.
Nostradamus visualises the war quite as dreadful as we know an atomic war will be, one that escalates as each side strikes in turn. This is exactly how the American nuclear expert Kahn predicts that modern wars will develop, each side making a strike in exact proportion to the damage inflicted by the other.
'Twice on top, twice cast down, the East shall also weaken the West.' Apparently lack of sea power shall be an important factor in the final defeat of the East. Finally, however 'the victor shall be born on American soil.' Then the principal Eastern ruler being moved for the most part by men of the West and North, shall be conquered.' The Eastern ruler shall be driven away and brought to nothing, not altogether by means of the strength of the North.' What this last cryptic line refers to we can only guess — internal political struggles, natural disasters, some new factor has yet to appear.
There are too many linking factors that have already happened. Pope Paul, the wall across Berlin, the two Kennedy brothers who are already dead; all we have to wait for is the Russian Western alliance and the emergence of the third antichrist whom he states is responsible for the Kennedys' deaths. Then we shall know exactly how close to war we may be. After all, even five years ago President Nixon's diplomatic visit to Rumania would have been unthinkable. One realises how quickly we are moving towards this new balance of power as predicted by Nostradamus.
Conditions during the war period are bad and seem to describe our nuclear age and fallout very vividly. Nostradamus talks of a pestilence raining down upon the northern areas of the world, which brings to mind the deadly black atomic rain which fell over Nagasaki and Hiroshima, an after effect of the atom bombs.
There shall be great famine because of a pestilence that shall rain down for a long time along the Arctic Pole.' And again, 'the dreadful war that is being prepared in the West, the following year shall come the pestilence so very dreadful that neither young nor old nor even animals (shall survive).' You must realise that by pestilence Nostradamus couldn't mean Bubonic plague. He worked as a doctor among the plague-stricken towns of southern France and was renowned for his famous cures. As a doctor he would know that normal diseases do not kill large animals (beste) as well as people.
New York seems likely to suffer an attack though its main water supply — an idea more natural to James Bond than a sixteenth century seer! The Garden of the World, near the New City, in the road of hollow mountains, shall be seized and plunged into trouble by being forced to drink water poisoned by sulphur.' I wonder if the hollow mountains are sky scrapers — it seems a pretty apt description of them.
The northern part of the world shall suffer greatest devastation and the northern governments shall be forced to shift their seats of power to the Southern Hemisphere. The new world in desolation shall be moved to the Southern Pole.' Apparently due to the rotation of the earth and the consequent winds and ocean currents any radiation would be carried in definite bands around the earth, and the Southern Hemisphere would be comparatively much safer. When eventually the war drags to an end after 27 years of sporadic fighting, Nostradamus predicts an era of peace for a united manking. Perhaps those of us who are-left 'two parts out of three of the world having failed' shall have learnt some sort of lesson?
It is hard to see much further into the future other than in a very general way. Nostradamus may foresee space travel in these lines. The great motor (moteur) at the renewal of the century . . . in the sky shall be seen flying a long shining tail of light.' But equally, this could apply to Hailey's Comet which is due to reappear towards the end of this century. Having foreseen aeroplanes perhaps 'machines of flying fire' are bombs, or rockets. These visualisations, general though they are, are pretty remarkable when one thinks of the date when they were written.
I am sure a lot of people will want to dismiss Nostradamus and The Centuries as rubbish, to regard any interpretation of them as wishful thinking. I admit that it is easy for any one who studies them to be tempted to read more into the verses than is there. But very few people realize that several 20th century governments have taken his writings very seriously indeed. During the early part of the last war Goering and Himmler believed strongly in astrology and predictions, and they financially subsidized a man called Ernst Krafft who published his authorized interpretation of Nostradamus' Centuries early in 1940; paying particular attention to the Hitler verses. This publication was takes so seriously by British Intelligence that at the advice of Sefton Delmer 50 fake Nostradamus quatrains were printed in Britain and dropped over Germany — interpreted as predicting Germany's final downfall. France herself was so afraid under the Petain government of offending the occupying German forces that it suppressed all publications of Nostradamus, and neutral Switzerland would only publish them without a commentary, on the grounds that the verses were 'too specific.'
Nostradamus was important in his own lifetime too. He was a renowned European scholar, he had a doctorate at Montpelier University and he wrote a paper before Gallileo stating that the earth was round and circles round the sun. The Queen of France. Catherine de Medici, consulted him on several occasions because of various prophecies he had made concerning her husband and children — all of which came true. Many people were present when the royal family travelled Southwards through France and heard Nostradamus predict that the young page in the Queen's retinue, Henri de Navaue, would one day be King of France. At that time Catherine had six children living!
Nostradamus's predictions were quoted by ambassadors in their dispatches — he probably influenced various foreign policies — and the people were so afraid of him that he was burnt in effigy in Paris when advising the Queen. During his lifetime forgeries of The Centuries were already appearing in France, and many editions of The Centuries also appeared in England. One cannot just dismiss Nostradamus simply as a crank who dabbled in magic. He was surely a prophet of some kind, possibly in as much as we can explain prohecy by telepathy, clairvoyance and extra sensory perception. Nostradamus tells the reader in the preface that he has deliberately muddled up the verses and the chronology to protect himself against charges of witchcraft.
Some of his predictions are very obscure, but others seem to me to be extremely clear. The amount of predictions that have come true certainly exceed the mathematical bounds of probability. He would have had to have written millions of verses for that not one thousand.
Will this gloomy future that Nostradamus foretells come true? Most fortune tellers believe that the future can be changed and that predictions are only to be understood as warnings. If the person involved takes heed he can change his future. It seems too much to hope that the world, having obligingly fulfilled so many of Nostradamus's predictions to date, will pull itself together and change the possible course of history.