What happens when a prophecy is shown to be wrong, as they often are? Do we throw out the baby with the bathwater, or do we try to understand what the prophet was trying to convey?
Who was Nostradamus?
According to Wikipedia, Michel de Nostredame (depending on the source, 14 or 21 December 1503 – 2 July 1566), usually Latinised as 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 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 much of the popular press, credits him with predicting many major world events.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about his methods: “Nostradamus claimed to base his published predictions on judicial astrology—the astrological ‘judgement’, or assessment, of the ‘quality’ (and thus potential) of events such as births, weddings, coronations etc.—but was heavily criticised by professional astrologers of the day such as Laurens Videl for incompetence and for assuming that ‘comparative horoscopy’ (the comparison of future planetary configurations with those accompanying known past events) could actually predict what would happen in the future.”
In my opinion, he was quite proficient at Astrology, as we shall see.
The Prophecies: Century 10, Quatrain 72
“L’an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois,
Du ciel viendra un gran Roy d’effrayeur.
Resusciter le grand Roy d’Angolmois.
Avant apres Mars regner par bon heur.”
Morgana’s Observatory translates this quatrain as:
“The year 1999, seventh month,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror.
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.”
King of Terror: a Solar Eclipse?
Often, we forget how frightened people in the middle ages were of solar eclipses. To them, it was a sign from heaven of God’s disfavour with mankind. Think of it this way: every day, the sun comes up in the morning, and goes down in the evening; it’s so predictable, you could set your clock by it (if you had one). But, suddenly, in the middle of the day, God turns out the light! Wouldn’t that be scary, if you didn’t know the mechanics of the event?
So, when Nostradamus predicts a King of Terror coming in July 1999, he is foretelling of a future solar eclipse and describing the past population’s fear of such events.
11 August 1999 – Total Eclipse of the Sun
We didn’t have a total eclipse of the sun at the end of July as Nortradamus predicted. It happened on 11 August 1999.
I was living in Torquay, Devon at the time of the eclipse, and although we were completely cloud-covered, the event had an eerie quality to it. The birds, who had been singing quite happily throughout the morning, went completely quiet when darkness fell. (No doubt they thought it was nightfall.)
Having never experienced a total eclipse of the sun before, I can say it is a memory I will never forget.
How did Nostradamus get it so wrong?
In September 1752, the Julian Calendar was replaced by the Gregorian Calendar. But in order to get the dates to coincide properly, 11 days were dropped. See the following link for the background:http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/julian-gregorian-switch.html
Now, as Nostradamus, if you make a prediction in 1555, and the authorities lose 11 days from the calendar in 1752, your prediction is going to be out by 11 days. Thus 31 July 1999 becomes 11 August 1999. His prediction therefore is spot on.
Others write about Astrology having no real purpose in modern society: it’s just a bit of fun, to be read as a daily horoscope in the newspaper or on-line over your morning coffee.
I disagree: Astrology has always been a good predictive tool for an understanding of future events. Is there anything more compelling than a 16th Century prophecy of a late 20th Century event? I don’t think so.
The rest of the quatrain has apparently come to pass, as well. China has become a force to be reckoned with in world diplomacy and economics. Could anyone else have seen that happening ahead of time?
And Mars (as a symbol of war) has had a lot of exercise lately, hasn’t he? So much for thinking we are in control of our destiny, eh?