left biblioblography: “As Predicted By NostraDumbass…” Diary Of A Madman

Sunday, October 17, 2010

“As Predicted By NostraDumbass…” Diary Of A Madman

Cross posted at the Atheist Oasisnostradamus-bush

Recently, the super at my apartment complex responded to my usual rant about how “there’s no such thing as psychics” with the usual crap about “What about Nostradamus?” (I think he just likes to watch me get worked up about it, I doubt he’s really that stupid). He blatted on about how Nostradumbass predicted Henry the Second’s death in a jousting tournament, and brought up the usual crap (predicted JFK’s assassination, the WTC towers, etc.)

I threatened to address this, and as usual, I wasn’t bluffing.

Michel de Nostredame (14 December or 21 December 1503[1] – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised to Nostradamus, was a French apothecary and reputed seer who published collections of prophecies that have since become famous worldwide. He is best known for his book Les Propheties ("The Prophecies"), the first edition of which appeared in 1555. Since the publication of this book, which has rarely been out of print since his death, Nostradamus has attracted a following that, along with the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events. The prophecies have in some cases been assimilated to the results of applying the alleged Bible code, as well as to other purported prophetic works.

Most academic sources maintain that the associations made between world events and Nostradamus's quatrains are largely the result of misinterpretations or mistranslations (sometimes deliberate) or else are so tenuous as to render them useless as evidence of any genuine predictive power. Moreover, none of the sources listed offers any evidence that anyone has ever interpreted any of Nostradamus's quatrains specifically enough to allow a clear identification of any event in advance.[2]

The general (and ridiculous) address to the messiness of  ‘Les Propheties’ is that he was under scrutiny and feared the inquisition. As a counterpoint, I have chosen a website, Nostradamus 101 (googling renders 5.6 million hits, so I picked one at random using the same eenie-meenie-miny-moe methodology of the crazy Frenchman we are discussing, haha), and will hereto forward deconstruct the mess.

He was a practicing physician, astronomer and astrologer who lived in the mid 16th century (1503 ‚ 1566) who turned his hand to prophecy later in life. As a physician he treated those suffering from the Bubonic plague and then in a twisted irony lost the members of his family to the disease. He was a devout student of pagan methods of divination at night who wore the mask of a devout Catholic during the day to avoid persecution from the Spanish Inquisition. In the end he predicted his own death, and some say also cursed the marauders from the French Revolution that he foresaw would desecrate his own burial tomb.

This automatically tells you this person is wrong. The Spanish Inquisition was exclusive to Spain, and he was using methods like leeching in order to treat the Plague.

After he resigned from treating the victims of the bubonic plague and settled down in a psychic studio in Salon, France, this self-styled soothsayer was in the habit of writing long letters to world leaders warning them of future events, that is until the Vatican decided that magicians were evil. The fact is that Nostradamus did indeed qualify as a magician according to the definitions of those days, which was anyone who produced visions and predictions through scrying.  Scrying was considered to be a form of conjuring spirits and Nostradamus taught himself this skill by reading ancient texts about Egyptian and Alexandrian magic.

Prophecies and astrology actually were allowed by the Church, and he had a great relationship with them.

Unfortunately this great prophet also lived during the time of the Spanish inquisition. Conjuring spirits (or channeling as we call it today) was a crime punishable by death, which meant that he was force to scramble up the meaning and the order of his quatrains so that he could not be tried and executed for being a soothsayer. Even though his quatrains are divided up into books called Centuries they do not chronologically represent the timeline of any centuries. Scrambling the quatrains so that they did not follow a time line was one of the tricks that Nostradamus used to disguise his work as the ramblings of a mad poet. This explains why when you read the quatrains, he seems to be referring to incidents from all of the centuries at the same time.

Yes, because Torqemanda would most likely take a ship over to France and come get him. Sheesh.

The rhymed quatrains of Nostradamus were written mainly in French with a bit of Italian, Greek, and Latin thrown in to throw the Spanish Inquisition off if they should ever discover his manuscripts. This is because the Spanish Inquisition had been dealing with metaphysical literature by holding public burnings in the public squares.

Even in France. Wait, what? And he mixed up languages too? How does this resemble sanity, exactly?

To disguise his own metaphysical manuscripts also used words from the “Languedoc” or Provencal dialect of southern France and swaps words around so that the quatrains don’t make sense. That is why so many of his prophecies are left wide open to interpretation and also great debate, particularly among English speaking scholars who have a habit of interpreting the quatrains with the French phrases that suit them best. In this book we are using the public domain verses of Charles Ward, an English scholar who was one of the first to translate the quatrains from the original Latin, French and other dialects and leave them as naked as possible.

So let’s get on to the mad babblings, shall we?

King Henry the Second:

Here is the quatrain:

The young lion will overcome the older one,
On the field of combat in a single battle;
He will pierce his eyes through a golden cage,
Two wounds made one, then he dies a cruel death.

(Century 1, Quatrain 35)

In June 1559, Henry II ignored all warnings that Nostradamus gave him and participated in a jousting tournament against the Comte de Montgomery. Both men used shields embossed with lions. Montgomery was six years younger than Henry.

During the final bout of fighting in the tournament, Montgomery failed to lower his lance in time. It shattered, sending a large splinter through the king’s gilded visor (golden cage). The result was two moral wounds (two wounds made one and then he will die a cruel death.) One splinter spliced eye; the other impaled his temple just behind the eye. Both splinters from the lance penetrated his brain. Henry lived for ten days in agony, thus fulfilling the Nostradamus prophecy that he would die a cruel death.

The issue with this ‘prophecy’, is the complete and utter lack of attestation. There’s no proof that old Nosty wrote this before the accident. We’re just supposed to take this on faith.

2. The Fire of London

This is one of the few prophecies in the quatrains where Nostradamus actually got the year dead on!

The blood of the just will be demanded of London,
Burnt by the fire in the year 66

(Century 2; Quatrain 51)

On Sunday morning, the 2nd September 1666, the destruction of medieval London began with one simple spark. In five days a cataclysmic fire destroyed the city of Shakespeare. An area of one and a half miles by half a mile lay in ashes; 373 acres inside the city walls and 63 acres outside, 87 churches destroyed (including St. Paul’s Cathedral) and 13,200 houses. Although the blood of the just in the quatrain was demanded of London, only six people died.

Some people see the blood of the just as it was translated from the French to mean that justice was done to the Black Death. This fire did the city a great service by destroying the millions of rats that were carrying the Black plague through the city’s population.

Let’s just hypothesize for a second: Nostril predicted in the year 66 – he died in 1566 and I’m sure that destroying an entire city because of the black plague is hardly what one could call justice. Besides which, it didn’t originate in London, so the whole idea is stupid.

There are many quatrains referring to the French Revolution in the Centuries but these are the quatrains that most interpreters of the quatrains agree are seminal proof of the predictive abilities of Nostradamus.

From the enslaved people, songs, chants and demands,
The princes and lords are held captive in prisons:
In the future by such headless idiots
These will be taken as divine utterances.

(Century 1, Quatrain 14)

This quatrain aptly describes the serfdom of the French peasants (enslaved people) and their subsequent imprisonment (The princesses and lords are held in captive prisons). The headless idiots portion of the quatrain may refer to the fact that they were all beheaded.

Actually, this is entirely vague – it could be used easily to describe serfs under the vassels of any European aristocracy.

Before the war comes,
the great wall will fall,
The King will be executed, his death coming too soon will be lamented.
(The guards) will swim in blood,
Near the River Seine the soil will be bloodied.

(Century 2, Quatrain 57)

On July 14th, 1789 the people stormed the walls of the Bastille, the prison that stood as a symbol to the detested monarchy. This was a precursor to the revolution that shook France, and to the rise, and fall, of the guillotine, that stood on the banks of the River Seine. (The guards will swim in blood near the River Seine.)

The French Revolution WAS the war, a prison isn’t a wall (the Bastille still stands), and European monarchs were ALWAYS getting slaughtered. The ‘bloodied soil’ could be a sacrificial calf for all we know.

3. Emperor Napoleon

This is one of those classic Nostradamus quatrains where a scrambled name (an anagram) is used to refer to Napoleon.

PAU, NAY, LORON will be more of fire than of the blood,
To swim in praise,
the great one to flee to the confluence.
He will refuse entry to the Piuses,
The depraved ones and the Durance will keep them imprisoned.

(Century 8, Quatrain 1)

PAU, NAY, LORON” when rearranged becomes NAPAULON ROY, or Napoleon the king, given the Corsican spelling of his name, Napauleone. The text also describes him as a man of ‘fire’, or of war, rather ‘than of the blood’, or of royal lineage. The ‘Piuses’ of the third line are the Popes Pius VI and Pius VII, who were both imprisoned by Napoleon as is implied by the last line.

An…anagram? Are you joshing me? There were two Piuses prior to Old Nostril, do we know if he was referring to them? I’ve tried looking up the variant names for Napoleon, but the internet is polluted with this crap.

Here’s one of the wonkier nonsenses:

The following quatrains from various Centuries are widely agreed upon as being the quatrains that predict the rise of Hitler and World War II. Nostradamus misspelled Hitler’s name referring to him as “Hister.”

From the deepest part of Western Europe
A young child will be born to poor people
Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude,
His reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East”

(Century 3, Quatrain 35)

This particular quatrain is believed to describe Hitler’s childhood (a young child born to poor people), his charismatic personality (who will by his speech seduce a great multitude) and Germany’s alliance with Japan (his reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East.

Umm…no, the name Hister refers to is the Latin name for the Danube

Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
When the child of Germany observes nothing.

(Century 2, Quatrain 24)

Beasts ferocious with hunger will swim across the rivers is generally interpreted as Adolf Hitler and the German Army invading France. The greater part of the army will be against Hister is interpreted to mean the alliance that eventually defeated him. The cage of iron may refer to his bunker or to tanks, which Nostradamus would have no words for or ways of describing back in the sixteenth century.

Seriously? It’s a war against the river? And really, tanks would be described as ‘great metal beasts with long noses shooting fire that destroys’ – it’s not that hard, really.

Oh, and here’s the World Trade Center prediction:

Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river.

We all know that the towers were hit by airplanes. So the ‘earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth’ is out. ‘New City’ – new cities are always being built. ‘Two great rocks’? That could literally mean anything. The Arethusa reference completely shatters the illusion.

Here’s the atomic bomb ‘prediction’:

Near the gates and within two cities
There will be scourges the like of which was never seen,
Famine within plague, people put out by steel,
Crying to the great immortal God for relief.

The ‘people put out by steel’ shatters the ‘prophecy’. How were they put out? How was the steel employed? Too vague by half.

Louis Pasteur:

The lost thing is discovered, hidden for many centuries.
Pasteur will be celebrated almost as a God-like figure.
This is when the moon completes her great cycle,
But by other rumors he shall be dishonored.

‘Pasteur’ translates from French to English as the pastor, or clergyman. So that’s out.

The JFK/RFK assassinations:

The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt,
An evil deed foretold by the bearer of a petition.
According to the prediction, another falls at night time.
Conflict at Reims, London and a pestilence in Tuscany.

Too vague, and what conflict is old Nostril pontificating about?

Hurricane Katrina:

The cities of Tours, Orleans, Blois, Angers, Reims and Nantes
Are troubled by sudden change.
Tents will be pitched by (people) of foreign tongues;
Rivers, darts at Rennes, shaking of land and sea

Obviously this is way off. French and English aren’t foreign tongues for old Nostril, there’s no Tours, Angers, Reims or Nantes in Louisiana, and Rennes is a city in France.

Let’s summarize, since the post is getting overlong:

Nostradamus was a medieval doctor (he may as well have been a barber, for all the good it did), he wrote some agonizingly vague and esoteric poetry that anyone could apply to anywhere and any time, has been mistranslated and misconstrued as a ‘prophet’ (there are no such things), and his gibberish is a cottage industry that has spanned the centuries.

It is to weep, to think that people actually believe this nonsense.

Till the next post, then.

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