AstroAriana AstroAriana
Association for Research and Information
in Natural Astrology

Nostradamus, astro-prophet or mythomaniac clairvoyant?
by Richard Pellard
English translation by Julien Rouger

Michel de Notredame, alias Nostradamus, is a real bestseller of the 20th century. No less than 300 books (biographies, translations, essays) have been devoted to him throughout the world. At this turbulent end of the millennium, faced with a worrying future, we are witnessing a new upsurge in publications, each author striving to find the tracks of the future in the famous and mysterious centuries of the Provençal doctor-astrologer. Who was Nostradamus really? A charlatan or a mage? A madman or a sage? Does modern astrology allow us to precisely date its prophecies?

The astrological origin of prophecies

In his preface to the famous prophetic centuries, dedicated to his son Caesar, Nostradamus leaves no doubt about his source of astrological inspiration: “Your late arrival, […] prompted me to print my long moments of continual nocturnal vigils, in order to leave the memory, beyond the death of your father, for the benefit of humanity, of what the divine essence gave me to know through the movement of the stars […], not by delusions, as in a state of intoxication, nor by being taken in the trances of a fit of madness, but by astronomical affirmations […] Because the comprehension resulting from the intelligence cannot see the hidden things, if it is not by what says the zodiacal circle.” Michel de Notredame even takes the trouble to underline the difference between magic and astrology: he urges his son not to confuse “the vanity of magic more than execrable” and the “judgment of judicial astrology: that by which, and by means of inspiration and divine revelations, I have, after continual calculations, written down my prophecies”.

The Centuries themselves are dedicated to King Henry II of France. Here again, Nostradamus makes no secret of the astrological origin of his predictions: “All these images are in exact agreement, by means of the divine writings, with the things visible in the sky, namely Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the others, as will be seen more widely in these quatrains.

The Nostradamus phenomenon therefore directly concerns astrology. But what astrology? The one that astrologers practiced according to the knowledge acquired towards the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance. The astrological and astronomical knowledge and practices of this period being very different from those of this end of 20th century, it is essential to describe them briefly before attempting to decipher the Centuries from this angle.

Predictive astrology at the end of the Middle Ages

From an astronomical point of view, let us first note that at the time when Nostradamus finished writing his prophecies (27th June 1558), the most distant known planet, that is to say visible to the naked eye is Saturn. Uranus, the first planet orbiting outside Saturn’s orbit, would not be discovered until 1781, 223 years later.

These are the slow planets that allow astrologers to make their medium and long term forecasts. Jupiter (12-year cycle) and Saturn (29-year cycle) were therefore the only “slow” known at that time. History was therefore for astrologers before 1781 punctuated by what they called the “great conjunctions”, that is to say the conjunctions Jupiter-Saturn. These conjunctions occur approximately every 20 years (19.859 years exactly).

They also attached the greatest importance to them when they occurred in the same Zodiac Sign, which only happens about every 60 years. Taking into account the slow planet-Sign interaction, the longest zodiac-planetary intercycle they could refer to was therefore 60 years… which is very far from the almost half-millennium of the longest known zodiac-planetary intercycle, that of Neptune-Pluto: the historical scale is not at all the same.

Astrology and prophecies

Due to their ignorance of the existence of the trans-saturnian planets, late medieval astrologers found themselves singularly limited when it came to making long-range predictions. Nostradamus was no exception to this rule, he who wanted to mix up the millennia by cutting them into periods of 20 to 60 years maximum. His ignorance of future astronomical discoveries could only mislead him.

You should also know that at that time, few astrologers did not confuse biblical prophecy, magic and astrology. Princes and kings pensioned them so that they could foresee the success or failure of their marriages or their wars. The best and/or the most worldly forecasters, whatever the gifts or techniques that underlay their predictions about the future, could make a fortune. For the most gifted or the most subtle of them, the highlighting of their astrological knowledge allowed them to play the crucial role of occult adviser or diplomat. If they excelled in these last two types of activity, in addition to the profession of doctor which was most of the time linked to that of astrologer, the rulers did not hold them against their erroneous astrological predictions… which were largely dominant in numbers, to the point of making Voltaire say, almost 200 years later, that “astrologers cannot alone have the privilege of being wrong”!

Astrology is not Catholic!

If kings and princes gladly welcomed many astrologers to their court, and paid them comfortable emoluments when they were satisfied with their services, the opinion of the clerics of the Church was more ambiguous. On a personal level, some of them, priests, bishops and even sometimes popes, were quite favorable to astrology, studied it or taught it. But the official doctrine of the Church—which at the time wielded immense intellectual power and effectively controlled the universities—condemned the practice of predictive astrology, which she considered not only a pagan superstition, but also a serious attack on the free will that God had granted to Man.

As a result, astrologers frequently found themselves the target of harassment and other witchcraft trials orchestrated by Rome. One could certainly exercise the function of astrologer… but by remaining discreet when one was not placed under the express protection of a prince of the Church or a secular sovereign, otherwise the trials, the prison, the confinement in a monastery (at best) or the stake (at worst) were never far away. This state of mind explains to a large extent the enigmatic, obscure and veiled character of the prophecies of Nostradamus, who was also of Jewish descent, which was not very well seen at the time… Delivering a calendar too precisely dated could have landed him in serious trouble from a Church which postulated the dogma that supernatural Divine Providence could at any moment radically change the course of History without allowing itself to be limited or hampered by cosmic rhythms and cycles and natural.

The Astrological Centuries

The fact remains that, lost in the midst of verses of mysterious significance, written in Old French and subject to the constraining rules of versification of the time, a certain number — in fact very limited — of quatrains or sixains constituting the prophecies of Nostradamus expressly refer to astronomico-astrological phenomena (interplanetary aspects or positions of planets in Signs) and that an even more limited number of them indicate dates which a priori seem ultra-precise.

In order not to fall into the delusions of interpretation indulged by the too numerous and too ignorant prophets (and not the pro-facts) of this end of the millennium, we will only be interested in these sixains or quatrains. In fact, for an astrologer at the end of the 20th century equipped with a computer equipped with astrological calculation software, the task is not very complicated: it is quite simply a question, taking into account the precise indications given by Nostradamus himself, of identifying at what times precise correspond to the planetary and zodiacal configurations that he mentions in his writings.

The exercise is beneficial and demystifying. Since the publication of Centuries, the decipherers of Nostradamian riddles of each century have endeavored to match the sibylline prophecies of the doctor-astrologer of Aix-en-Provence with past, present and future events according to the time in which they themselves were located. Most of them having little knowledge of astronomy and astrology — which is a shame, given that Nostradamus expressly claimed to be an astrologer! —, they have never taken the trouble, to my knowledge, to systematically use the astrological indications of the prophet to seriously date the prophecies.

Planetary intercycles and predictions

To check the validity between the zodiaco-planetary configurations explicitly described, the prophecies contained in the Centuries and the events which would have actually occurred on the date or at the time range indicated, it is better to retain only the quatrains or sixains stating positions of Saturn, the slowest planet known at the time of Nostradamus. Indeed, it is only every 29 years that this planet occupies the same Sign. If, moreover, the prophet gives, in the same quatrain or sixain, additional indications concerning the aspects formed by fast planets and their positions in Signs, it is very easy to proceed to an extremely precise dating.

The great misfortune of Aries

This is for example the case of sixain 46:

Le pourvoyeur mettre tout en desroute, Sangsue & loup en mon dire n’escoute, Quand Mars sera au signe du Mouton Joint à Saturne, & Saturne à la Lune, Alors sera ta plus grande infortune, Le Soleil lors en exaltation.

Translation: these verses mention a Moon-Mars-Saturn conjunction in Aries. Moreover, the Sun is also found in this Sign since, for medieval astrology, Aries is the Sign where it is found in “exaltation”. Only one date corresponds to this astronomical event after the death of Nostradamus: it is 28th March 1998. What happened on that day?

The end of March 1998 saw the appearance of a major historical event: the collapse of Asian countries idolizing the market economy following the explosion of the “speculative bubble” which artificially stimulated their incredible growth since the early 1980s. It did not happen in a day – the 28th – but this event did take place then. Apparently, the vocabulary used in the sixain describes this phenomenon quite well: the “provider” could be the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, which pressed these countries, like “wolves” in the sheepfold or “leeches”, to liberalize and restructure their economies, and who are therefore partly responsible for this collapse. This is undoubtedly a major economic crisis, which will make its effects felt for a very long time (which are only beginning at present), and which will most likely be for Western and Eastern economies a “great misfortune”.

Very well: if we look no further, this prophecy has apparently been fulfilled. But how and why would such a zodiac-planetary configuration correspond to a major economic crash? The huge stock market crash of 1929, for example, did not occur under the same astralities at all, nor will the soon to occur one.

To try to see more clearly, let’s go back in time. On 15th April 1616, the same Sun-Moon-Mars-Saturn conjunction could be observed in Aries, and nothing similar happened, and the year 1616, moreover, is remarkably empty of significant historical events.

But the real question is not there. It is as follows: does astrology in itself make it possible to make this kind of prognosis centuries in advance, especially in the ignorance of the majority of the planetary intercycles in which Nostradamus was? The answer is no. Such predictions, if true, are within the clairvoyance or a gift of prophecy. Moreover, from a strictly astrological point of view and taking into account only the astronomical indications given by Nostradamus, it is strictly impossible to know whether the prophecy in question concerned 15/04/1616 or 28/03/1998. All the current translators-adapters (Fontbrune, Luni for example) of Centuries Nostradamians who claim that this sixain applies to the year 1998 are swimming in arbitrariness. But let’s take a new example…

Mars-Saturn in Leo capture Spain

Here is the text of quatrain V.14 of the Centuries:

Saturne & Mars en Leo Espagne captive, Par chef libyque au conflict attrapé, Proche de malte, Herredde prinse vive, Et Romain sceptre sera par Coq frappé”.

The planetary configuration referred to is therefore a Mars-Saturn conjunction in Leo. It is much less characteristic than the previous configuration, since it is much more frequent. During the 20th century, for example, it could be observed in October 1917 and November 1947, and Spain was not captured by anyone during these two periods. So why do the contemporary translators-adapters of Nostradamus decide that this prophecy applies exclusively to 18/06/2006, the next date on which this aspect will occur? Possible and cumulative answers: either they know nothing about astrology and they talk nonsense, or they skilfully surf the prophetic wave of this end of the millennium to make best-sellers.

Ironic prognosis: I prophesy that at the beginning of the summer of 2006, Spain will very probably not be invaded by the armies of Gaddafi (the “Libyan leader”), but by hordes of tourists rushing to its concrete shores… like all previous years! More seriously: all the zodiaco-planetary configurations mentioned in the Centuries correspond to multiple dates, and it is strictly impossible, from a rational and astrological point of view, to decide to assign such a prophecy to one of them. rather than another.

Universal peace war?

According to Charles de Fontbrune, the quatrain V.19 would also allow a relatively precise astronomical dating. Here is the text:

Satur au bœuf iove en l’eau, Mars en fleiche, Six de février mortalité donra: Ceux de Tartaigne à Bruges si grand breche, Qu’à Ponterose chef Barbarin mourra”.

Here is how Fontbrune translates the first two lines of this quatrain: “When Saturn is in Taurus, Jupiter in Scorpio, war will increase and 6th February will be especially deadly.” Let us first note that this translation is tendentious and incomplete. A more faithful translation would be the following: “When Saturn is in Taurus (‘ox’), Jupiter (‘Jove’) in Water Sign and Mars in Sagittarius (‘arrow’), a 6th February will be particularly deadly”.

Saturn is in Taurus every 29 years. According to traditional astrology, the zodiac is divided into 3 Fire, 3 Earth, 3 Air and 3 Water Signs. The duration of a sidereal revolution of Jupiter being about 12 years, this planet therefore spends 12/4 = 3 years on average in Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) during a complete cycle. There are about 8 cycles of Jupiter per century, which means that Jupiter is in Water Signs for about 25 years per century. In other words, the astronomical dating of this prophecy is almost impossible. Let us admit, however, like Fontbrune, that “iove en l’eau” means “Jupiter in Scorpio”, Saturn being well in Taurus, but let us keep the mention of the position of Mars in Sagittarius. The only date after the prophecy that agrees with these astronomical positions is 29/01/1911, a few days before this fatal 6th February.

According to Jean-Charles de Fontbrune, “the advent of universal peace” will take place around 2025. There will therefore be no more wars from this date. However, 29/01/1911 is the only date on which we can observe the astronomical phenomena retained by Fontbrune. This quatrain describing a state of war, it cannot logically concern a date later than 2025. It would therefore concern 29/01/1911, and therefore the Italo-Turkish war or the civil war in Mexico which broke out this year- there…

Let us now admit, still like Fontbrune, the elimination of the mention of Mars in Sagittarius, while keeping Jupiter in Scorpio and Saturn in Taurus and the date of 6th February. The next time this configuration will occur on this date is 06/02/2030, which is five years after “the advent of universal peace”… Translation: “There will be a murderous war in the early years of the era of universal peace.” It is simply absurd.

Nostradamus succeeded in at least one true-false prophecy, since in the preface dedicated to his son, he predicts the discovery of Uranus, “the shining planet of the eighth sphere”… but completely mistaken about the date of its appearance, which he places at “the approach of the eighth millennium”. However, religious people like astrologers at the end of the Middle Ages calculated the time elapsed based on the idea they had of the date of the creation of the world. For reasons that would take too long to explain here, the year 0 of our current calendar (hypothetical date of the birth of Jesus Christ) corresponded for them to (approximately) the year 4760. When Nostradamus evokes the the year 7000 to date the appearance of Uranus, he actually speaks of the year 2240 (7000 − 4760), ie a dating error of around 459 years… Imagine the accuracy of his other predictions!

Article published in issue No. 12 of the Fil d’ARIANA (October 1999).

This article was brought to you by Richard Pellard
English translation by Julien Rouger

See also:

▶ L’astrologie peut-elle prévoir l’avenir ?
▶ The world according to Claudius Ptolemy, astronomer-astrologer and lighthouse of Alexandria

Les significations planétaires

par Richard Pellard

620 pages. Illustrations en couleur.

La décision de ne traiter dans ce livre que des significations planétaires ne repose pas sur une sous-estimation du rôle des Signes du zodiaque et des Maisons. Le traditionnel trio Planètes-Zodiaque-Maisons est en effet l’expression d’une structure qui classe ces trois plans selon leur ordre de préséance et dans ce triptyque hiérarchisé, les Planètes occupent le premier rang.

La première partie de ce livre rassemble donc, sous une forme abondamment illustrée de schémas pédagogiques et tableaux explicatifs, une édition originale revue, augmentée et actualisée des textes consacrés aux significations planétaires telles qu’elles ont été définies par l’astrologie conditionaliste et une présentation détaillée des méthodes de hiérarchisation planétaire et d’interprétation accompagnées de nombreux exemples concrets illustrés par des Thèmes de célébrités.

La deuxième partie est consacrée, d’une part à une présentation critique des fondements traditionnels des significations planétaires, d’autre part à une présentation des rapports entre signaux et symboles, astrologie et psychologie. Enfin, la troisième partie présente brièvement les racines astrométriques des significations planétaires… et propose une voie de sortie de l’astrologie pour accéder à une plus vaste dimension noologique et spirituelle qui la prolonge et la contient.

Téléchargez-le dès maintenant dans notre boutique

Pluton planète naine : une erreur géante

par Richard Pellard

117 pages. Illustrations en couleur.

Pluton ne fait plus partie des planètes majeures de notre système solaire : telle est la décision prise par une infime minorité d’astronomes lors de l’Assemblée Générale de l’Union Astronomique Internationale qui s’est tenue à Prague en août 2006. Elle est reléguée au rang de “planète naine”, au même titre que les nombreux astres découverts au-delà de son orbite.

Ce livre récapitule et analyse en détail le pourquoi et le comment de cette incroyable et irrationnelle décision contestée par de très nombreux astronomes de premier plan. Quelles sont les effets de cette “nanification” de Pluton sur son statut astrologique ? Faut-il remettre en question son influence et ses significations astro-psychologiques qui semblaient avérées depuis sa découverte en 1930 ? Les “plutoniens” ont-ils cessé d’exister depuis cette décision charlatanesque ? Ce livre pose également le problème des astres transplutoniens nouvellement découverts. Quel statut astrologique et quelles influences et significations précises leur accorder ?

Enfin, cet ouvrage propose une vision unitaire du système solaire qui démontre, chiffes et arguments rationnels à l’appui, que Pluton en est toujours un élément essentiel, ce qui est loin d’être le cas pour les autres astres au-delà de son orbite. Après avoir lu ce livre, vous saurez quoi répondre à ceux qui pensent avoir trouvé, avec l’exclusion de Pluton du cortège planétaire traditionnel, un nouvel argument contre l’astrologie !

Téléchargez-le dès maintenant dans notre boutique

Follow our astronomical, astrological, educational and funny news on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

You can also support us by making a donation that will allow us to keep this website alive:
Thank you for your contribution.

All rights reserved. © 2003–2024 Richard Pellard. Prohibited reproduction.
Webmaster: Julien Rouger
AstroAriana — Website realized with SPIP