The How Nostradamus worked.


How did Nostradamus work?

The world of psychics today is a huge money-making business with psychics claiming that they can tell someone their entire future over the course of a thirty minute phone call, without even having met the person before! But the industry continues to make money because people need to believe that there is a reason for these horrendous happenings and it provides comfort to know that what happened was not in vain. But the world of psychics and prophecy is not a new business by any means and in fact, has been around at least since the sixteenth century. This was the time of Michel de Nosterdame, who has been come to be known as the Latin translation of the name, Nostradamus.

Nostradamus is an important and yet very mysterious figure in history. He still has many followers today and those followers closely study his work and try to decipher meanings and take away knowledge that they can then pass on to others. However, even after so much study of his life and work, the details of his life are not only unknown but they are very heavily debated. There is one story that is the most commonly told story of Nostradamus’ life and it is this story that theorists and researchers base their facts on.

Nostradamus was born in 1503 to wealthy grain traders. He began studying at a very early age and his lessons always included a mixture of sciences, maths, languages, and astrology. He also learned a lot about religion, mostly Christianity and Judaism as his mother’s side of the family was Roman Catholic and his father had been a Jew but had given up that religion to join Christianity with his wife. However, the exposure to both religions peaked Nostradamus’ interest in learning about both the New Testament and the Jewish scriptures. When studying the Christian scriptures, he was mostly interested in the Book of Revelations, which speaks of the end times and when studying Jewish scriptures, his interests went first again to the prophetic passages. He was also very interested in the practice of Kabbalah, which is a little-known Judaism practice and another one of his studies that is becoming more prevalent today.

In 1522, Nostradamus left the wealth of the grain fields to go study medicine in Montpellier. He remained there to complete his studies and then took up work as a professor of medicine before he moved to southern France and began practicing in the science himself as a physician. It was during this time that he made huge medical advancements in treating the bubonic plague and this was how he first began to make a name for himself. He was however, unable to save his wife and son from the plague. Then in 1522 Nostradamus became married once again and moved to another city in France, Salon, where he began to focus his concentration on foretelling the future and prophecies. His prophecies included different aspects of life but he mainly kept to prophecy studies that included natural disasters and catastrophic events. It was this work that began to make him very well known and respected throughout Europe.

Nostradamus’ mostly known work of prophecies is now called ‘The Centuries’ and is found all in one book however, they weren’t actually released all at once. The work, which was mainly one thousand, four-line verses that had been grouped into groups of one hundred had actually been published over a period of several years. The title is a reference to the way these verses are grouped and do not indicate spans of time. Nostradamus also did not create this title himself. He had called the work “The Prophecies of Nostradamus” and ‘The Centuries’ replaced it after his time. Nostradamus strongly believed that there is a strong connection between heavenly bodies and what happened on earth. He claimed that it was through a combination of what he saw in the stars as well as divine intervention that he could foretell the future. He also claimed that an angelic body would come to him to help him understand this connection and that when he would meditate late at night, he would have visions of near and distant future events and happenings. He also claimed to not only have the ability to see what was going to happen but to also fully understand it. It’s thought that it was during these meditations that Nostradamus used mild hallucinogens, such as nutmeg.

The quatrains, or the four-line verses of his work, each tell about one specific event or happening. There seems to be absolutely no structure to the work as there are not many dates included within the work and there are almost no geographical references. Although most of them are written in French, some are also written in Latin, Greek and Italian and the confusion does not end here. Although Nostradamus’ works are widely believed, they are written very cryptically, with references that seem to have no place in the work and with the quatrains not appearing in any kind of chronological order. The work is also full of anagrams and metaphors, making the verse even harder to translate.

Nostradamus once wrote a letter to his son, Cesar, and explained that the work was meant to be confusing. He knew how frightening some of his predictions were and he was living in a time when foretelling could be linked to witchcraft, which was a punishable offence. He wrote the work in a strange manner so that if any of the political authorities should obtain a copy, he would be highly persecuted. He believed however, that his work would live on and that those at a later time would be able to correctly decipher his work. It is generally the scholars of Nostradamus that believe that possess the knowledge that Nostradamus thought people would need. They have claimed to have found within their studies many of Nostradamus’ predictions that have already come true.

One of the most well-known claims that followers believe to be true is the prediction that Hitler would gather an army and begin a massive war. The quatrains that Nostradamus writes about it appear to name Hitler directly, with the exception of two letters in the name being incorrect. In the writings, Nostradamus referred to ‘Hister.’ He also described a battle in which most of the soldiers would be fighting against Hitler. Those who are suspicious of the accuracy in this passage say that it is merely coincidence and a misinterpretation of the quatrains that leads to this conclusion. This is one of the largest areas of debate within Nostradamus’ writings as skeptics point to the area near the Danube River that is called Hister. They believe that Nostradamus was most likely referring to this geographical area rather than a person. However, followers counter that with the fact that Hitler was born near the Danube River and so, the prophecy could still hold true.

One of the biggest criticisms of Nostradamus’ work is that is widely subject to interpretation. Because the language was different, not only in foreign terms but in the way of common words and phrases, there are many quatrains which contain terms that could have many possible meanings. What they meant at the time they were written and what they could mean today could have endless possibilities. Another criticism is that the quatrains all contain four lines but there are about a thousand of them. There is at least one prediction per quatrain, totaling at least one thousand predictions. Each prediction contains very little description or describes it in such vague terms that it is extremely difficult to obtain specific details.

Nostradamus also played a big part of news stories shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York City. Followers came out with many quatrains that they supposed predicted the horrible events. One email circulated throughout the entire world that seemed to clearly depict the events in a quatrain but it came out later that the writing in this email was not even of Nostradamus’. It was in fact a paper written by a student at Brock University in Canada that had written it to disprove that Nostradamus was predicting those events. However, there are two actual quatrains in “The Centuries” that loyal followers do predict the events. The passage speaks of “the year 1999 and seven months,” which would be fairly close to the actual date of the attack on America. In another passage, Nostradamus speaks of fire within the new city and how it will happen at a forty-five degree angle. Not only is the piece on fire fairly obvious but on a map, New York is located at approximately forty-five degrees longitude.

However, critics are still eager to point out that there are still many parts of both passages that do not seem to be a prediction or have anything to do with the terrorist attacks. They argue that followers are simply choosing what they want to fit and disregarding the rest. Also in the actual writings before translation, ‘new city’ is actually referred to as ‘Villeneuve’, which does mean ‘new city’ but is also a city located in France. Critics say that Nostradamus was most likely referring to this city instead of New York.

The debate of Nostradamus is one that will continue until the end of time. It is interesting to pull apart the writings and determine what could be predictions of what but it does seem that the works do only seem to be interpreted after the event so in any case, it most likely doesn’t matter if they were actual prophecies except to say that this is one pretty cool guy!



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