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Nostradamus

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions.

By Dario Poli. Early morning, 1791, and hundreds of ragged, hungry Republican soldiers descend upon the picturesque Provencal market town of Salon, while the unsuspecting inhabitants are deep in sleep’s secure embrace. A wild orgy of terror ensues, as the undisciplined soldiers smash down doors to steal food, drink and valuables before intimidating the terrified populace. The orgy of violence and drinking continues throughout the day until the thugs reach the church believing it to be ripe for pillaging. There, they come upon the tomb of Michel de Nostradame the famed prophet. One Soldier recalls the local superstition that states that anyone who dares drink blood from Nostradamus’s skull will attain his psychic powers. Roused by the news, the drunken guards use picks to smash through the three-metre slab of stone that protects the coffin. The dismembered skeleton of Nostradamus is scattered around the church and a sneering soldier, ignoring the warning picks up the skull, fills it with wine and, to loud cheers of his men, drinks from it. During this act of desecration, the mayor of the of the town manages to frighten the guards by telling them the accuracy of Nostradamus’ predictions. In panic, the bones are hurriedly collected and reinterred. The following day, a force of Royalist cavalry ambushes and wipes out the same guards and the soldier who drank from the skull is killed by a single shot through his head. 235 years after his death and Nostradamus’ predictions were still having an impact; one that may not yet be over. If the legendary figure himself is to be believed, his last and greatest legacy is still to be discovered. Michel de Nostradame was born on December 1503 in St. Remy, France, and was the eldest son of a Provencal family of part-Jewish decent that had previously converted to Christianity. One of his grandfathers, on discovering the boy’s sharp intellect, commenced his education in the rudiments of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, mathematics and astrology, as well as introducing him to mysticism and the secrets of the Kabbalah. Outgrowing his grandparent’s teaching, young Nostradamus was sent to Avignon to study philosophy and, in 1522, he began his training in medicine at the renowned University of Montpellier where he gained his degree – although, surprisingly there appears to be no record of his time there. Anxious to practise his skills, he travelled the countryside for four years, visiting towns, experimenting with herbs and ministering to the sick. His treatments while successful, were unorthodox, especially when dealing with the plague that ravaged Provence. Few people survived ‘le charbon’, yet Nostradamus’ rose pills – containing large doses of vitamin C – often miraculously cured this fatal condition and, with each success, his fame began to spread, much to the displeasure of the Faculty Doctors. Finally fully-qualified as a doctor, Nostradamus felt stifled and discontented by the orthodoxy of the medical practices in Montpellier and dressed in his medical robes and distinctive doctors square hat – toured the region, testing and dispensing his own medical hypotheses. At 30 years old, tired of wandering, he met and married a beautiful, young girl of high born estate and settled in the town of Agen where, with the help of her family’s generous dowry and connections, he established a comfortable practice that became famous and profitable. His wife bore him a son and a daughter and his life appeared blessed until the plague broke out again and Nostradamus – fearlessly exposing himself to the contagious disease – tendered to the sick and dying, managing, it is said, to save scores of townspeople. Tragically, however, the plague infected and killed his wife and two children.Nostradamus Drawing Dario Poli With their death, his world collapsed and, to make matters worse, his patients deserted him because he had been unable to save his own kin. His in-laws sued him for the return of the dowry, insinuating that he had deliberately allowed his family to die. The final straw came when he was also accused of heresy by the authorities, due to a chance remark he had made regarding a religious statue some years earlier. The inquisitors ordered him to appear in Toulouse; instead Nostradamus fled from France and spent the next six years roaming around Italy. During the Renaissance, Italy was the epicentre of business and intellectual life that influenced the rest of Europe and the ever-curious Nostradamus gained valuable knowledge and expertise in numerous skills. He acquainted himself with apothecaries and healers, whose ideas he noted in his book the Traite des Fardmens, and he learnt how to make various cosmetics, skin creams and love potions, as well as dabbling in alchemy. In Sicily he studied Mysteries of Egypt and, after meeting Sufi mystics, he read The Elixir of Blissfulness. It was during this Italian period that Nostradamus’ prophetic powers began to manifest, including one legendary tale in which he approached a group of monks and, upon seeing one of them who had once been a swineherd, he knelt down and called the monk ‘Your Holiness’. In 1585, long after the death of Nostradamus, that monk – Felice Peretti – became Pope Sextus V. A In 1554, Michel de Nostradame settled in Marseilles and, following the worst recorded flood in its history, the polluted corpses floating in the water led to yet another virulent outbreak of the plague that reached Aix and, later, Salon. According to his memoirs, all the local doctors fled, leaving Nostradamus to fight this epidemic alone. For his dedication to the sick, he often received valuable gifts, which he invariably gave to the poor. The plague abated and Nostradamus, now 44, decided to settle down after choosing another rich, well- connected woman – the widow Anne Ponsart Gemelle. They married and made a comfortable home with an attic that Nostradamus filled with magical equipment and books. There, he deliberated on astrology, contemplated the stars and discovered a method of entering into a trance-like state in which he was able to foretell the future. As he received visions, he carefully wrote all he saw and prepared the material for his future forecasts. The first publication of his Almanac was in 1552 and it featured monthly predictions based on these prophetic insights. Having a penchant for money – as his two marriages show – and enjoying the good life, like any smart entrepreneur he expanded his output, creating recipes for jams, preserves and cosmetics for the rich, who believed that his cream contained magic ingredients that made them irresistible. Arguably, he even anticipated the inception of Viagra with his love portions which, he claimed and guaranteed, enabled a man to satisfy all his sexual inclinations. His books and concoctions made Nostradamus rather wealthy. In1555, the first editions of The Centuries were published in groups of a hundred quatrains, written in four line verses, each containing a prediction. Nostradamus arranged the quatrains into ten ‘centuries’ of 100 verses that totalled 965 verses, as Century VII was incomplete with only 42 verses. Such occult practises, he deliberately confused the time sequence, of the prophecies by writing in code form. The were an immediate success with the upper classes, however the superstitious common folk declared them the work of the devil. Nostradamus’ fame spread throughout France as his works became all the rage in the court and, in 1556 he was urgently summoned to meet a very worried Queen Catherine de Medici to explain Century 1 “The young lion will overcome the old one, In a field of combat in a single fight, He will put out his eyes in their golden cage, two wounds from one he will die a cruel death.” Unfortunately, this prediction came true when the Queen witnessed her husband being unhorsed while jousting and dying painfully after ten days, killed by the young Earl of Montgomery – Captain of the Scottish Guard – whose lance had pierced the king’s golden visor. Both men’s shields were embossed with lions. Happily for Nostradamus, however, the inquisition could no longer touch him, as the Queen became his staunch supporter and, by the time of his death, she had made him Counsellor and Physician in Ordinary. All of us are familiar with Nostradamus’ name and renown, yet few are actually aware of the predictions he made that have come true and those that remain; in fact, fewer than you may think. In line with biblical Old Testament prophecies – particularly those of Ezekiel – most of the quatrains deal with disasters, including earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, plagues, famine, wars, invasions, murders and bloody battles. In a letter dedicated to Cesar, his son, dated March 1555, Nostradamus wrote: “…in many countries there shall be such a scarcity of rain and such a great deal of fire, and burning stones shall fall from heaven, that nothing unconsumed shall be left.” However, the predictions are mostly unfathomable and the curious can interpret them as they see fit with little fear of contradiction. During World War II, for example, both the British and German governments spent enormous amounts dropping crude forgeries of various quatrains all over France as propaganda, with each side claiming the predictions acted as evidence of their final victory. Many Nostradamus enthusiasts and ‘experts’ credit him with predicting numerous historic events and his name has, once again, come to the forefront over the past few years as one reading of Centuries is that Nostradamus predicted World War III to break out around 1999; he may even go as far as to suggest that the war would be a religious one and that its start would not be noticed by the majority of people. Given such amazing insights into today’s religiously, politically and socially antagonistic situation, it is hardly surprising to learn that Nostradamus is commonly believed to have predicted the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. More startling, perhaps, is that he may have also written about UFOs and humans encountering extraterrestrials in the not-too-distant future. Since his death in 1556 (which was, of course, self-predicted), there have been hundreds of publications and translations of his work, including many forgeries. Even his son Cesar attempted to make a living from his father’s legacy, masquerading as a prophet. However, he was considered by most as a charlatan. Nostradamus may well have been a genuine prophet, however profit has been the end result for  his personal writings and for those that have released books, films, videos, musicals and CDs about the remarkable and inventive man. And Nostradamus may well have the last laugh; all the meaning and import that has been placed on his forecasts may prove completely erroneous as he himself predicted that his code would not be broken or fully understood until the year 2055 – 500 years after the publication of The Centuries. Taking his predictions at face value, enthusiasts are wasting their time unravelling them, as we have a further 40 years to wait: “For five hundred years more no notice will be taken, Of him who was the ornament of his time, Then suddenly a great revelation will be made, Which will make people of that century most pleased.” However, Nostradamus’ most inspirational (and, perhaps, ultimately enduring) message has been widely overlooked in favour of the media-friendly hyperbole of his foresights. He once wrote: “The one who is reasonable can learn from my prophecies to find the right path as if he would have found footprints in the sand from someone who had gone before,” suggesting that his predictions were not intended as definite events but as warnings if people failed to learn the lessons of the past. Nostradamus spoke of a time when there would be a change in consciousness that would lead to a happier and more fulfilled existence among mankind. It is a pity that, before that golden age occurs, mankind has to suffer the horrors mentioned in his quatrains. As scientific warnings on the dangers of global warming increase weekly and the horrors that we have subjected our planet – and each other – to for centuries begin to  their toll, it is perhaps this universal warning from Nostradamus that is the most significant: “Time is running out – the future salvation of humanity and of the planet is in our own hands.” The Gospel According to Nostradamus Over the years, Nostradamus enthusiasts have claimed that his prophecies predicted many of history’s most monumental events. His writings may be difficult to interpret and, without doubt, such generalities can be made to fit a variety of occurrences, but they certainly provide food for thought. The Great Fire of London (September 1666) The blood of the just will be demanded of London, Burnt by the fire in the year 66. The Rise of Napoleon (lived 1769 – 1821) An Emperor shall be born near Italy, who shall cost the Empire dear. The French Revolution (1789 – 1799) From the enslaved people, songs, chants and demands, The princes and lords are held captive in prisons. The Rise of Hitler (lived 1889 to 1945) Out of the deepest part of the west of Europe, From poor people a young child shall be born, Who with his tongue shall seduce many people… 111 He shall come to tyrannize the land. He shall raise up a hatred that had long been dormant… The Kennedy Assassination (November 1963) And from the roof evil ruin will fall on the great man, They will accuse an innocent, being dead, of the deed. Kennedy was shot from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository by Lee Harvey Oswald (could this be ‘the roof’?) who was then shot. Conspiracy theories have abounded ever since. The Death of Diana Princess of Wales (August 31, 1997) God… Takes the Goddess of the Moon for his Day & Movement, A frantic wanderer and witness of Gods Law. The Roman Goddess of the Moon was Diane -giving the verses added impact. The Death of Mother Theresa (September 1997) Way of a saint, a deliverer of the mud, a French Saints order, a dwarf nun, deformed, a traveler, worm of the fruit. Mother Teresa – born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was named after the French Saint Theresa. Nostradamus.org — nostradamus-repository.org — sacred texts.com/nos

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