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Happy Birthday, Nostradamus!

Gaze into the life and predictions of Michel de Nostredame

by Karen A Kay

In light of Nostradamus' birthday on December 14, it's time to examine the life and predictions of one of the greatest prophets of all time. Meet Nostradamus, the famed French seer -- and did you know Michel de Nostredame was a Master Astrologer, too?!

We should also point out that Nostradamus was a Sagittarius, born December 14, 1503 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. There's some speculation that he may have been born another day between December 14 to 20, but whatever his actual birth date he's clearly full of spirited Archer energy.

Sagittarians are known for an open-minded approach to life. They are natural philosophers, always eager for new adventures and higher learning, which is evidenced by Nostradamus' accomplished and varied life as a serious scholar, author, healer and psychic of choice to the European nobility of his time.

Nostradamus also embodied the optimistic and enterprising side of Sagittarius by taking his medical knowledge into the sickly streets to help his fellow Frenchmen fight bubonic plague. This kind of “fighting for the underdog” mentality is perfectly typical of Sagittarius. But, what's also typical of Sag is... idealism -- as proved when Nostradamus failed to cure the plague and in fact lost his own wife and children to the disease.

Ok, but what of Nostradamus' predictions?

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Nostradamus, the Master Astrologer

It's a little known fact that Astrology played a huge role in the prophecies of Nostradamus, first seen in his yearly Almanacs and later in The Prophecies. His predictions in these publications were based on astrological aspects, and considered highly accurate in his time.

As an expert at what was then referred to as “celestial science,” Nostradamus employed astrological techniques along with other divination tools -- one reportedly included a small brass bowl filled with water in which visions would appear when he would go into a trance-like state.

Nostradamus' Centuries, his greatest collection of prophecies, was completed in 1555 and contained more than 900 predictions about his native France, the fate of the world and the people of his time. However, because the predictions are arranged in quatrains of four-lined verses in a cryptic code comprised of Latin, Hebrew, Portuguese and anagrams, they are nearly impossible to translate.

Some interpreters say Nostradamus has successfully predicted such things as the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon, Hitler and World War II… all the way up to John F. Kennedy's assassination, AIDS and 911. Others say his prophecies are more hit and miss.

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Does Nostradamus predict the end of the world?

One of Nostradamus' best known prophecies became yet another failed doomsday prediction in 1999 when Armageddon didn't happen. The misinterpreted quatrain reads "The year 1999, seventh month / From the sky will come great king of terror." And while this didn't happen, many Nostradamus fans still believe another of his quatrains predicts the end of the world in 3797. Guess we probably won't be around to see if that comes true.

Of course, it's important to remember that any qualified Astrologer -- including Nostradamus himself -- would tell you straight up that Astrology cannot be used to predict exact dates or particular events. But it is an incredibly insightful guidance tool that points to which cosmic influences are affecting us and how they might affect people or things. 

From that, it's possible to divine overall periods of cosmic peace or upheaval, and guide our lives toward making the most of it all with insight and positive intent. Which frankly is a lot more valuable than the spotty 500-year-old predictions of one man.

But what do you think? Was Nostradamus a gifted prophet? Or was he just a somewhat hasty Sagittarius, charging ahead with grandiose predictions without stopping to consider the implication of his words on generations to come?

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