magine being so famous that your name is spoken around the world centuries after your death, with a fan club that has been following your work since the 16th Century. Most people would be content with one career during their lifetime, but for Nostradamus being a physician was not challenging enough (even if it was during one of the most challenging times in history when the bubonic plague was killing more than half the population in Europe). Fame and fortune knocked on his door when he became an astronomer, a prophet, and a poet.
Nostradamus – The physician and astronomer
Michel de Notresdames was born either on 14 or 21 December 1503 in Saint Remy de Provence in the South of France. His paternal parents converted from Judaism to Catholicism around 1460 to conceal their Jewish heritage. The family took the surname Notresdame which means Our Lady in honor of the Saint on whose day the conversion had taken place.
Michel was an enthusiastic and gifted student, with exceptional mathematical ability and a great love and mastery of astrology (known then as “celestial science”). His grandfathers, Jean de Rémy and Pierre de Notresdame (both doctors) taught him daily a wide range of subjects, including classical literature, history, medicine, astrology, and herbal folk medicine.
At the age of 14, Michel was sent to study in the City of Avignon, the capital of the papal in Provence (la Cité des Papes,) which gave him the opportunity to access some hidden knowledge via some rare books tucked away in an obscure corner of the library. He was taught medicine, philosophy, grammar, and rhetoric by catholic priests but in his free time, he studied the occult and astrological books in the renowned papal library. His parents were alarmed by his open defense of the astrologer Copernicus (who was the first to venture the idea that the Earth was not the center of the Universe); they were afraid that this may draw too much attention to them. But Michel was very au fait with the political trend of the moment after witnessing with horror his nanny being burned at the stake for being a witch. He knew that he had to tread carefully when dealing with the occult and he went to great lengths to elude the Inquisitors later in his life.
After a year of study, the University closed because of an outbreak of the bubonic plague. In 1521 he began an eight-year journey through the countryside where he worked as a pharmacist for several years. During his travels through France and Italy, Nostredame started making a name for himself as a physician who cured an impressive number of patients. His treatment contravened established medical practices since he opposed the traditional treatment of “bleeding” patients to rid them of the disease and prescribed them the equivalent of a vitamin C supplement (rose pills made by himself) that enhances the immune system; he also taught his patients how to improve their hygiene and diet, which was a very innovative way of doing things for this period. Later in 1529, he enrolled at the University of Montpellier to complete his studies in medicine.
Nostradamus – The Prophet and Poet
Upon his return to France, having survived the plague, the Inquisition, and the wrath of the medical establishment he settled in the picturesque village of Salon de Provence where he continued to treat plague victims and started focusing on his occult practices tucked away in his basement.
He wrote his first almanac in 1550 and latinize his name to Nostradamus. His almanac became very popular, which encouraged him to write one every year. Counting all of his almanacs, there are at least 6338 prophecies that he wrote during this period. The prophecies are written as four-lined rhymed verses (quatrains) in vague, poetic, and often cryptic and coded language (a way to protect himself from trolls and unfriendly attention.)
After the success of his almanacs, Nostradamus decided to write a book in 1555 with 1000 French quatrains entitled The Prophecies. The book gained him many admirers among the French nobility. Catherine de Medici wife of King Henry II of France turned out to be one of his biggest fans as she shared his penchant for astrology. She summoned him to Paris to become a counselor and common physician at the court of Henry II.
His predictions that her husband would be killed in a joust, and that she would outlive each of her sons, were proven true. It was largely as a result of his protection by Catherine de Medici that Nostradamus was allowed to remain free to pursue his scientific and esoteric studies and publish his dire and accurate prophecies.
Fast forward a few centuries and many of Nostradamus’s prophecies materialized. He foretold the French Revolution, the rise of Hitler, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and many more world events.
The French Revolution Prophecy. “From the enslaved populace, songs, chants, and demands. While princes and lords are held, headless idiots. Be received as divine prayers.”
The Rise of Hitler Prophecy. “From the depth of the West of Europe. A young Child will be born of poor people. He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop. His fame will increase towards the realm of the East. Beast ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers. The great part of the battlefield will be against Hitler.”Nostradamus
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing Prophecy. “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 assassination of John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy Prophecy. “The great man will be struck in the day by a thunderbolt. An evil deed foretold by the bearer of a petition. According to the predictions another falls at night time. A dead innocent will be accused of the deed. The true guilty party remains in the mist.”
If you want to know what your future holds read The Prophecies, learn to decode quatrains, or pay a medium to look into a crystal ball; alternatively, you could look into your future and see choices.
Author, Blogger & Storyteller with an urge to write about history, philosophy, and human nature. You can find out more about myself, my book “This Is Your Quest” and my blog at https://authorjoannereed.net/. I welcome the opportunity to engage directly with my readers so feel free to contact me should you feel the urge to do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. A good story makes history!