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Nostradamus The 21st Century and Beyond

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The present — which is still unfolding, is cloudy because we’re too close to that forest to see the trees as they emerge from the mists of time.

But the thing all of us are most intrigued by is this: What does Nostradamus tell us about our own future —which, after all, is where we’ll be spending all our time?

Is it to be all doom and gloom as some read into Nostradamus? Or were those frightening scenarios merely reflections of the prophet’s own gloomy character and the superstitious, medieval mind-set that produced him?

Any discussion of Nostradamus’ predictions about our future has to deal to some extent with what appear to be doomsday forecasts and the coming of the third Antichrist. That is too much a part of the Nostradamus saga. But only a part. He also had a lot to say about the glorious, golden days that lie before us.

However, the one prediction that preoccupies most Nostradamus scholars to the point of obsession — and chills some to the bone — is the one he recorded in CX Q72 which reads:


“In the year 1999, and seven months from the sky

will come the great King of Terror. He will bring

to life the great King of the Mongols.

Before and after war reigns happily.”


Most experts have interpreted this famous quatrain as the prophet’s vision of an Antichrist. If Napoleon was the first and Hitler the second, the big questions obviously are: Who’s the third Antichrist? Is he/she/it among us today? Or still decades, even centuries, in the future?

According to Christian legend, the Antichrist is a person or power that will come to corrupt the world but will then be conquered by Christ’s Second Coming.

The key word here is power.

To Nostradamus and his contemporaries, the Antichrist was definitely a real person who possessed extraordinarily evil powers.

In the late 20th century, the concept of Antichrist and evil included people, political power or, more likely, terrorist movements. In other words, the Antichrist might be something intangible rather than a flesh-and-blood devil incarnate.

Also, to the people of the Middle Ages, the Antichrist was more likely to be a non-Christian who opposed the power of the Church. The Turks of the time were prime candidates, for example. That’s why some experts conclude that Nostradamus was talking about a real person — probably a Middle Eastern warlord — when he foretold the coming of the final third Antichrist.

One thing is certain, CX Q72 contains one of Nostradamus’ most precise dates. It is one of only 17 out of hundreds of his quatrains in which Nostradamus gives a specific year for an upcoming event.

Since we’re still here, it’s easy to dispute those who argue that this quatrain was Nostradamus’ prediction that the world would end in 1999.

He was talking more about the change of millennium, which to people of his day was a highly symbolic and superstitious event. And while he did predict war, what’s often overlooked is that Nostradamus says it will occur both before and after the coming of the king of the Mongols, so obviously he didn’t foresee this as the end of the world.

Besides, there are all his other predictions in which Nostradamus foretells a future of peace and joy for humankind that lasts for thousands of years.

Scholar Stephen Skinner contends that Nostradamus provided additional clues about the millennium in his epistle to Henry II in which he writes:


"This will be preceded by an eclipse of the sun,

more obscure and tenebrose (dark and gloomy)

than has ever been since the creation of the world,

except that (eclipse) after the death and passion of

Jesus Christ.”


Scientists say that the total eclipses of the sun after the one that occurred on August 11, 1999, will occur on September 23, 2090, and October 7, 2135.

“One will mark the arrival of the Antichrist,” Skinner insists.

Most experts favored 1999. But their reading of Nostradamus may have been flawed or their timing off.

If 1999 did, in fact, signal the coming of another Antichrist, it must indicate the year of his or her birth.

Nostradamus also suggests that this Antichrist will be around for 27 years.


“The third Antichrist soon annihilates everything,

twenty-seven years of blood his war will last.

The unbelievers dead, captive, exiled

with blood, human bodies, water and red hail

covering the earth.” (CVIII Q72)


But after his/her/its passing, the world will enter a new golden age or the true Age of Aquarius as measured by some astrologers who date its beginnings in the mid-2020s.

To understand some of Nostradamus’ predictions dealing with the third Antichrist, the millennium or Armageddon, it helps to recall his own deeply held religious belief — even superstitions — that influenced the things he wrote about and predicted.

For example, even though Nostradamus’ family converted to Christianity, they didn’t abandon their Jewish roots, especially Nostradamus’ two grandfathers who passed along the ancient creeds and teachings to the eager young clairvoyant.

The Coming of Armageddon

Among those traditions was the belief that seven major incidents, occurring around the same time, will foretell the coming of Armageddon — or, in Nostradamus’ view of things —the millennium.

According to Cheetham, Nostradamus included the seven signs in his predictions as a sort of advanced early warning system. His hope was that if we pay attention to the omens, we can do something about them and, thus, change our future.

1.) For example, Nostradamus’ first sign is a decline in the strength of the three major religions of the world and a sharp rise in false beliefs and bizarre cults, and a reliance on the occult.

2.) The second of Nostradamus’ warnings involves revolutions and internal turmoil in nations around the world.

This one is hard to overlook in our time.

For instance, not only did the entire USSR collapse in ruins, but the ethnic states that once comprised the Soviet Union began demanding control of their own destinies, often to the point of bloodshed. And the insurrection through the former Yugoslavia among the Croats, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims — coupled with other Nostradamus predictions for this troubled area — may be one of the major red flags the prophet was waving in our faces.

3.) In addition to internal revolutions, the third sign Nostradamus says to look for is war and the rumor of war.

Needless to say, every century in history has had its share of wars. The 20th century was really no different except perhaps in the astonishing scope of warfare at our disposal.

These range from full-scale world wars to limited actions such as the Gulf War to the genocides one ethnic majority imposes on a minority — in Africa, in Bosnia, in Southeast Asia, the terrorist warfare in the Middle-East.

4.) Famine, in Nostradamus’ time, was seen as one of the seven deadly disasters mainly because there were few, if any, methods of easing it. That’s why Nostradamus included famine in his warning signs.

Recently, famine has swept over many Third World countries, especially those occupying the Horn of Africa — Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia.

But unlike the limitations of Nostradamus’ time when famine was as big a threat as the plague, we have the means and the technology to relieve famine through massive international aid. Still, it’s one of the seven major signals which Nostradamus hoped we’d pay attention to.

5.) Sign number five, according to the experts, is the pollution of the earth. This may be the 20th century’s greatest sin and one with profound consequences that will help determine what quality of life we can expect in the 21st century.

On the plus side, much of the world has already recognized this dire warning sign and is taking steps to correct it. And that response to cleaning up our own mess is exactly what Nostradamus hoped would happen when we became aware of his warnings.

6.) Nostradamus also spent a lot of time fussing over the possibility of widespread and devastating earthquakes. “In various places there will be great earthquakes,” he wrote.

So it’s not surprising that he listed quakes among his seven warning signs. There have been numerous and destructive earthquakes around the globe in recent decades, which should be enough to get our attention.

The fact that the long-awaited Big One did not level the West Coast of the United States in May 1988, as thousands of Nostradamus buffs anticipated, doesn’t mean it won’t happen sometime. In fact, the truly zealous Nostradamus fans merely chalk it up to faulty interpretation.

7.) To complete the list of seven warning signs, he warns of plagues and diseases around the world. Obviously, Nostradamus was deeply influenced by the terrible Black Death of the Middle Ages. Even his amazing ability to ease the suffering with his futuristic prescriptions was a drop in the bucket. And not even Nostradamus imagined the major medical breakthroughs that eliminated such horrors as plague, polio and smallpox as major health threats.

On the other hand, we have our own appalling plagues to deal with as the 2lth century begins. Namely, AIDS, Ebola and the constantly mutating, mysterious and deadly variety of viruses that scientists. say will be the result of our own abuse of the environment. (See warning Number Five.)

The Third Antichrist

Some scholars believe that Nostradamus cleverly planted one of his tricky clues about the identity of the third and final Antichrist in CII Q62 that’s often referred to as the “Mabus” quatrain. It reads:


"Mabus will soon die and there will happen a

dreadful destruction of people and animals.

Suddenly, vengeance will appear, a hundred

hands, thirst and hunger, when the comet passes.”


Most agree that “Mabus” appears to be an anagram masking the name of the third Antichrist, but critics are split in their interpretations of who or what that may be. Erika Cheetham thinks that it really stands for a forerunner and not the actual Antichrist.

But John Hogue argues that “Mabus” really is the name of the Antichrist that for reasons of his own Nostradamus decided to cloak in mystery.

The problem is that so far no on1 has broken the anagram’s code and come up with a specific name. Most likely, that’s because “Mabus” has not yet appeared on the world stage, so this is a future quatrain that awaits fulfillment.

However, Nostradamus does narrow the time frame for the appearance of “Mabus” when he again mentions a comet, Halley’s Comet, which shows up in the earth’s sky every 75 years. The last time Halley’s comet paid us a visit was in 1986.

It’s due for a return engagement in 2061. Does that mean that “Mabus” — the Antichrist — arrived in the mid 1980s, but is still unrecognized? Or will our descendants in 2060 experience this apparent terror?

Only time will tell — but Nostradamus’ prophetic handwriting is already on the wall.

A current view is that Nostradamus predicted that “Mabus” or Antichrist would come out of the Middle East or North Africa. That may be because the region today is our only source of “popular” villains. The Russians are now our buddies. The Chinese are slowly coming over. But with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and Arab nationalism, suddenly there’s a whole crop of would be Antichrists — Bin Laden of Saudi Arabia, Qaddafi of Libya, the ayatollahs of Iran and, of course, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Recently, several experts have focused on CX Q86 to support this Middle Eastern link:


"The King of Europe will come like a giffon,

accompanied by those of the North. He will lead

a great troop of red and white. They will march

against the King of Babylon.”


On the surface, at least, it seems clear that this relates to the Gulf War when a huge coalition from the North, lead by the red and white stripes of the American flag, set out to save Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and their rich oil fields. Present day Baghdad is only a stone’s throw from ancient Babylon and Saddam Hussein remains the undisputed King of Babylon.

In his epistle to Henry II, Nostradamus also drops some other baffling hints about the third Antichrist and the signs that might accompany his coming:


"... The Antichrist returns for the last time...All

the Christians and infidel nations will tremble . . .for

the space of twenty-five years. Wars and battles

will be more grievous than ever. Towns, cities,

citadels and all other structures will be

destroyed... So many evils by Satan's prince will

be committed that almost the entire world will find

itself undone and desolated. Before these events,

many rare birds will cry in the air, ‘Now! Now!'

and sometime later will vanish.”


In Nostradamus’ time, the infidels were always the followers of Islam and he seems to be saying here that neither side in any religious conflict instigated by the Antichrist will come out a winner. All will suffer.

What has puzzled the experts for more than 400 years, however, is Nostradamus’ curious reference to the “rare birds.”

He often used animal riddles and animal symbols to refer to persons or events — for example, the swarm of bees and an eagle that depicted Napoleon’s coat of arms.

Some experts believe that this passage means that some special visionaries (rare birds), either religious or secular, will take to the world stage to alert us to the dangers we face and perhaps help avert the disasters mentioned with their “Now!” warnings.

This may be another example of Nostradamus telling us that “forewarned is forearmed” and that if we pay attention to the signs and take steps to short-Circuit them, the terrors predicted for the Antichrist can be avoided.

According to Hogue: “The message may be antiprophetic in that the key to avert disaster may come from abandoning both the past and our obsession with tomorrow. Instead we should focus all our intelligence and energy on ‘NOW!”

One of the benefits Nostradamus interpreters have today is that they have the tremendous advantage of hindsight over earlier decoders — even if it is only a matter of a few years.

For example, Peter Lemesurier published Nostradamus: The Next 50 Years in 1993, only four years after Cheetham’s The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus - but in that short time span the Soviet Union collapsed.

Suddenly, the threat of nuclear war between the superpowers vanished and that forced some translators to revise their interpretations of Nostradamus’ quatrains that seemed to foretell such a war between the United States and the USSR. Lemesurier himself observed:

“For years, the would-be commentators have been using Nostradamus to predict nuclear Armageddon and a third world war involving the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and West Germany, yet nothing of the kind has ever happened.

“Moreover, there is virtually no chance now that it will. Not only has there been insufficient time for the predictions to exert their spell; the proposed participants no longer exist to fulfill the predictions in the first place. Where circumstances do not allow, in other words, the law of self-fulfillment simply cannot operate."

As he did in the past, Nostradamus continues to be preoccupied with earthquakes in our future. Some of his quatrains are very specific.

For example, in CX Q67, he writes:


A very mighty trembling in the month of May,

Saturn in Capricorn. Jupiter and Mercury in

Taurus. Venus also in Cancer, Mars in Virgo, then

hail wilI fall greater than an egg.”


Astrologers say this conjunction of planets is extremely rare — and is always bad news. Nostradamus further zeros in on the timing by predicting that it will occur during the month of May — some May and obviously not the May of 1988 that plunged so many Californians into a panic.

Nostradamus says that extraordinary weather conditions, including floods, famine and hail larger than eggs, will accompany an increase in earthquake frequency that he predicted would begin in the 1980s, if most interpretations are correct.

He seems to pinpoint the West Coast of the United States as the site of a major quake so powerful that its shock will be recorded around the world. That prediction continues to baffle the experts considering the New World was still largely a mystery during Nostradamus’ lifetime.

But Nostradamus is hardly alone in his prediction of a big California quake. For years, scientists have been warning that a monster earthquake somewhere along the San Andreas fault is a virtual certainty. What they can’t predict is precisely when it might occur. Neither, apparently, could Nostradamus.

Some Nostradamus experts like to tie in his predictions of earthquakes and other natural disasters to the beginning of the 21st century.

They use a prediction found in Nostradamus’ epistle to Henry II to support their contention that the earth will shift on its axis in the first few years of this new millennium. That cataclysmic shift will trigger massive earthquakes and other natural terrors, they claim, that passage reads:


“There will be omens in the spring, and

extraordinary changes thereafter, reversal of

nations and mighty earthquakes.... And there

shall be in the month of October a great

movement of the globe, and it will be such that

one will think the earth has lost its natural

gravitational movement and that it will be

plunged into the abyss of perpetual darkness.”


Many scholars associate this prediction with some of the following quatrains which also seem to warn of a global rock and roll occurring near the start of the century:


"The sun in twenty degrees of Taurus there will

be a great earthquake. The great theater, full, will

be ruined. Darkness and trouble in the air, sky

and land when they call upon the faithless God

and the saints. “(CIX)


In this quatrain, Nostradamus gives us the date — if not the year — of a great earthquake. The sun in 20 degrees of Taurus makes it May 21 according to our current calendar, or May 1 by the Julian calendar in effect when Nostradamus lived.

Another famous quake quatrain reads:


Earthshaking fire from the center of the earth

will tremors around the New City. Two great

immovable powers will war for a long time, then

Arethusa will redden a new river.“ (CI Q87)


Cheetham thinks this refers more to an awesome volcanic eruption rather than an earthquake in which lava flows like red river from the center of the earth.

And in nearly all his writings, Nostradamus’ “new city” is generally taken to mean New York City. But a volcano erupting in the heart of Central Park seems unlikely.

Rather, Cheetham thinks this quatrain described the massive explosion of Mount St. Helens on May 12, 1980. She points out that in other predictions, Nostradamus links this eruption with a city at 45 degrees latitude. New York City lies near the 45th, but, Cheetham says, so does the Oregon town of Newberg, which is close to Mount St. Helens.

This, therefore, may be a prediction of an event that’s already happened. But then again, maybe not.

Hogue interpret this to read that the earthshaking will “cause the towers around the New City to shake” which seems to be a much more precise reference to New York City.

However, he also cautions that Nostradamus famous earthquake prediction doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen any time in our near future.

In a much more comforting interpretation, be points out that the rare astrological configuration of “Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter and Mercury in Taurus, Venus also in Cancer, Mars in Virgo,” will occur in the far distant future — 42 years before 3797 A.D. when Nostradamus hints the world will end.

“When the sun expands into a red giant the earth will experience tremendous gravitational and climactic stresses,” Hogue writes. “Rather than scaring California every May with prophetic cries of ‘Wolf!’ for the next 700 years, interpreters might consider the ‘Big One’ hitting L.A. or San Francisco next May but on some May over 1,800 years hence in the spring of A.D. 3755.”

As for Nostradamus many references to the “new city, experts say it could mean Los Angeles or San Francisco, as well as New York City. And for those who tend to dismiss Nostradamus’ frequent earthquake warnings let them take heed of “prediction from today’s scientists which sound suspiciously like those Nostradamus outlined long ago.

For example, in July 1995, noted geologist Dr. Roger Bilham told the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics:

“It’s virtually certain there will be catastrophes the likes of which we have never seen in the next several decades.

“A major earthquake in a capital city, Mexico City or Tehran, for example, would not only have the potential to kill a million or more people but jeopardize that nation’s entire economy... Fifty percent of an urban population can be lost in a single earthquake.”

Nostradamus himself cautioned: “In various places there will be great earthquakes. Earth-shaking fire from the center of the earth will cause tremors around the New City.”

Sometimes it seems that Nostradamus was peering into a very cloudy crystal ball. But, his supporters insist, that’s probably because our own vision is distorted or the prophecy is still unfulfilled.

Perhaps those clouds in the old crystal ball will evaporate as the future unfolds.

In addition to the quatrains predicting earthquakes, wars and ultimately a golden age in our future, there are several other, apparently unfulfilled quatrains that continue to puzzle interpreters. While most agree they are telling us something about our future, not everyone agrees on precisely what — or when.

In CIII Q94, for example, Nostradamus offers this prophecy:


For more than 500 years they will

take notice of him who was the adornment

of his age. Then suddenly a great revelation

will be made which will make the people

of that century well pleased"


Cheetham interprets it this way: “Almost all commentators on Nostradamus’ works have seen themselves as the source of the great revelation to be made... The great revelation I feel is not a commentator but an event which will occur during this century. An as yet unfulfilled quatrain.”

Hogue takes a jab at others like himself who believe they are the only ones who hold the key to Notradamus’ puzzling and deliberately garbled prophecies. He says this quatrain could be a clever trap laid by Nostradamus “. . . to expose the delusions of grandeur of most interpreters of Nostradamus. . .“

Hogue adds: “Counting 500 years from the publication of The Centuries gives us until A.D. 2055 to ponder whose occult understanding of Nostradamus is right."

According to Lemesurier, Nostradamus is boasting this quatrain that by about 2055, the truth of his prophecies will be recognized and embraced by the entire world. “This would suggest that most of the major ones will have come true by then,” Lemesurier adds.

Another mysterious future quatrain that the experts argue over is:


“When twenty years of the moon’s reign have

passed another will take up his rule for seven

thousand years. When the sun takes up his flnal

cycle then will my prophecy and warnings be

accomplished.” (CI Q48)


Nostradamus is obviously talking about his own prophecies in this quatrain. But what puzzles scholars is that he also seems to imply that his work will be around for 7,000 years.

In other quatrains, Nostradamus talks about world events occurring over the next 7,000 years. Some early Christian writing that didn’t make it into the modern Bible also dated the end of the world at the end of the seventh millennium, a view that was still quite widely held during the Middle Ages when Nostradamus was alive.

Lernesurier labels this quatrain”.. . Nostradamus’ culminating prediction.” He predicts that all his prophecies will have come true by the year 7,000, but by Lemesurier’s interpretation that’s 7,000 years after the world was created. And since Nostradamus believed that the creation occurred 4,173 years before the birth of Christ, that means his seventh millennium will end sometime around 2827.

Many of the studies about Nostradamus’ work have focused almost entirely on the terrible destruction and worldwide disaster the seer prophesied. 

Heaven on Earth

But along with all that doom, Nostradamus also had lofty visions of a new spirituality and the flowering of a great new religious awakening that seems to lie just around the corner.

Several scholars have found this positive theme of spiritual growth and development among all people in at least 60 of Nostradamus’ quatrains. For example, in two of those quatrains Nostradamus predicts:


“The body without a soul is no longer at the

sacrifice. At the day of death it comes to rebirth.

The divine spirit will make the soul rejoice seeing

the eternity of the world." (CII Q12)


“The divine word will give to the sustance (that

which) contains heaven and earth, occult gold in

the mystic act. Body, soul and spirit are all

powerful. Everything is beneath his feet, as at

the seat of heaven. (CIII Q2)


The doom-and-gloom view that interpreters usually read into Nostradamus’ predictions about our immediate future is nowhere to be found in these quatrains. Instead, the prophet seems to be sharing his ultimate vision of a heaven on earth and an era of spiritual unity in which our finest and highest ideals — even political! — finally become a reality.

Hogue believes that in these 60 or so quatrains, Nostradamus scattered some clues about the nature of this new religious or spiritual awakening and maybe even something about its visionaries who will lead us into the Millennium of Peace.

As one example, he cites the following passage that Nostradamus included in his epistle to Henry II:


"...The Antichrist returns for the last time...

All the Christian and infidel nations will

tremble. . .for the space of twenty-five years. Wars

and battles will be more grievous than ever.

Towns, cities, citadels and all other structures will

be destroyed... So many evils by Satan’s prince

will be committed that almost the entire world

will find itself undone and desolated. Before these

events many birds will cry in the air. 'Now!’

'Now!’ and sometime later will vanish."


At first glance, this sounds like just another doomsday prediction which Nostradamus is famous for, one in which he foresees massive destruction around the world and the final appearance of the Antichrist. (It’s interesting that in this quatrain, Nostradamus refers to the Antichrist as “Satan’s prince” and not Satan himself.)

In Nostradamus’ medieval hierarchy that means someone of lesser power. Perhaps he is hinting that the third Antichrist, while still an imposing figure, may not be the great, irresistible force. that he’s been made out to be and thus is vulnerable if we detect his coming in time.

And Nostradamus has left us plenty to ponder. The difficulty lies in deciding if a particular quatrain is a failed prediction, or if it is a future prophecy yet to be fulfilled. The following are a few examples of the many future quatrains whose fulfillment may unfold tomorrow, next year or even sometime in the far-distant future.


“From beyond the Black Sea and great Tartary

there will be a king who will come to see France.

He will pass through Alania and Armenia, leaving

his bloody rod in Byzantium. “(CV Q13)


Many scholars interpret this quatrain as being on the brink of fulfillment. And as events continue to unfold in the Middle East and the Balkan states, they may be right.

They say that in several other cryptic quatrains, Nostradamus talked about seeing a new figure either the Antichrist or someone/something who comes first to pave the way, much like John the Baptist did for Jesus.

Elsewhere, Nostradamus also mentions the route this “king” will follow as he rolls through Western Europe — from China, through southern Russia, into Turkey (Byzantium) and up the Balkan Peninsula that continues to be a powder keg waiting for the right spark to touch off a conflagration.

Erika Cheetham states: “Definitely a quatrain of the future.”

Another one of those companion quatrains that seems to refer to the same thing is (CII Q29):


"The Eastern man will come forth from his seat

and cross the Apennines to France. He will cross

through the sky the seas and the snows and he

will strike everyone with his rod.”


This might sound like the ranting of an eccentric trapped between two millennia and unable to go forward or backward.

And in a way, that’s exactly what it is.

As the year 1000 flipped over on the calendar heralding the start of a new millennium, the majority of the people of the time firmly believed that with the new date, Satan would gather his legions and come from out of the East to destroy the world.

Since Nostradamus was greatly influenced by such beliefs, it’s reasonable to assume that he might project that superstitious thinking onto the present millennium. That also might explain why so many of his doomsday predictions focus on the world as we know it.

After all, the year 1000 followed the rise of Attila the Hun and preceded the period when the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan overran Europe. Therefore, it was only natural that Nostradamus and his contemporaries viewed the ruthless and bloodthirsty barbarians from the East as Satan’s army whose coming would trigger, the end of the world.


"The king will want to enter the New City, they

will come to subdue it through its enemies.

A captive, falsely faced to speak and act.

The king will be outside, he will stay far from

the enemy.“ (CIX Q92)


This appears to be a prediction involving New York City that Nostradamus sees as under attack. According to Cheetham: “This has not happened to date, so this quatrain must be regarded as futuristic and probably a millennium quatrain as well.”


“The garden of the World near the New City, in

the road of the hollow mountains. It will be

seized and plunged in the tank, forced to drink

water poisoned with sulphur.“ (CX Q49)


Nostradamus experts say this quatrain probably is a continuation of the previous one in which New York is being attacked, this time through its water system that has been “poisoned with sulphur.”

This is a sensational quatrain that works on several levels, The garden of the World could easily refer to Central Park in the heart of Manhattan and the vast water reservoir kept there.

The World might mean the soaring World Trade Center which dominates the skyline, and that certainly would have caught Nostradamus’ eye during one of his ghostly visions. This complex was the target of the terrorist bombing in February 1993 “Hollow mountains” is the kind of image a 15th century clairvoyant might use as he struggled to describe the overwhelming skyscraper canyons of Manhattan.

The fact that no water supply has been poisoned by sulphur means this may be a future quatrain. And even if it occurs, by our standards today, it might consist of nothing more than a fuel spill or chemical leak, either of which is easily contained through today’s technologies.

Another quatrain that seems to predict the coming of a powerful new leader of the East or Mideast is this one:


“In the fortunate country of Arabia will be born

one powerful in the laws of Mahomet.

He will trouble Spain and conquer Granada

as well as most of the Ligurian nation

from the sea “(CV Q55)


The experts are sharply divided over this prediction Cheetham labels it a failed forecast.

But Peter Lemesurier sees something more sinister in this shadowy figure from Arabia who takes over an Eastern army marching into Europe.

“Thus,” writes Lemesurier, “he is no doubt directly responsible for the dire event predicted by Nostradamus... The new leader’s projected military achievements look distinctly worrying.”

That same difference of opinion spills over into (CV Q84):


“He will be born of the gulf and the immeasurable

city, born of dark and obscure parents. He will

wish to destroy the power of the great, revered

king throughout Rouen and Eureux.”


Cheetham, one of the world’s top authorities on Nostradamus, abruptly dismisses this quatrain by announcing: “I cannot decipher this quatrain further.”

But Lemesurier, who spent years studying Nostradamus’ mysterious writings, says this quatrain”... reveals the full extent of the new Muslim leader’s disturbing ambitions... He is determined to destroy... European Christendom, not merely in the south, but all the way to Normandy in northern France.”

In addition to his many other gifts and skills, Nostradamus was also a master of astrology probably the best of his time.

That’s why many of his predictions are based on what the heavens revealed to him. The knowledge of the stars coexisted with his astounding clairvoyance/clairaudience powers like no other prophet before or since. For instance, in CI Q51, Nostradamus tells us:


"At the height of Aries, Jupiter and Saturn,

eternal God what changes! Then after a long

century the bad times will return; great upheavals

in France and Italy.”


According to astrologers, conjunction of these heavenly bodies occurred in 1702 during the War of Spanish Succession. Others say it will happen again in the next few years.

If his astrological insight is on the mark, is Nostradamus alerting us to some kind of trouble in — or between — France and Italy, possibly causing more trouble in the Balkans? Is it another warning for us to heed his predictions and take charge of the situation, and our future, before it’s too late?


"Throughout Asia there will be great proscription

also in Mysica, Lycia and Pamphalia. Blood

will flow because, of a young dark man, filled

with evil.“ (CIII Q60)


Most critics still can’t identify the young, “dark” man who makes another appearance in this vision. Perhaps it’s the young Antichrist?

Erika Cheetham thinks it’s more likely that the man filled with evil is that mysterious stranger who comes before the real Antichrist. He will set in motion momentous events — then vanish into time. The quatrain also predicted a great call to arms, beginning in the East and spreading through Asia Minor. Mysica, Lycia and Pamphalia were all once ancient regions of Asia Minor.

“This quatrain is certainly not fulfilled,” Cheetham adds.


“The third Antichrist very soon annihilates

everything, twenty-seven years of blood his war

will last. ‘The unbelievers dead, captive, exiled

with blood, human bodies, water and red hail

covering the earth.“ (CVIII Q77)


This is the quatrain that alarms casual readers of Nostradamus — and delights moviemakers with the fearful images it arouses. It certainly sounds like the end of the world beginning sometime around the turn of this century.

But many who study the prophet say there’s really no reason to jump to such a dreadful conclusion because Nostradamus’ doom-and-gloom image has been overrated.

One reason has to do with the time in which Nostradamus lived. He had to explain the visions he saw of strange new worlds in terms of his contemporary events and experiences. Things such as electricity and skyscrapers and Antichrists had to be deciphered in terms of his own frame of reference.

That’s one reason why Nostradamus seems so obsessed with the theme of the Antichrist, experts say. In his day, just about any non-Christian or non-believer — at least those few who dared to speak out and risk the fierce and certain wrath of the Inquisition might be labeled an Antichrist. And that extended to political leaders who were merely hostile to the all-powerful and traditional Christian church.

Plus, there’s another possibility that Nostradamus fans and supporters don’t like to mention — that his visions were nothing more than muddled rantings and hallucinations of a half-crazed paranoid schizophrenic. But they are the minority. The proof of Nostradamus’ accuracy about the future lies in his amazing track record foretelling things that are now in the past.

The Vatican

During Nostradamus’ lifetime, the influence of the Vatican was as powerful as that of any major government or military state.

That’s why scores of his predictions that have already come true were related to the workings of the church and the popes.

That’s also why a number of quatrains that experts can’t decipher probably are predictions about the Vatican’s future that await fulfillment. This is one:


After the See has been help for seventeen years,

five will change within the same period of time.

Then one will be elected at the same time

who will not be too agreeable to

the Romans.“ (CV Q92)


The Vatican throne often is called the See, or seat. Here, Nostradamus says that after a pope has reigned for 17 years, five new popes will assume the throne of St. Peter during the next seventeen years. According to church officials, there hasn’t been a pattern similar to that until the recent past, and here the Nostradamus experts tend to fudge the figures a little bit.

They concede that Pius XII was in the Vatican for 19 years, a near miss for Nostradamus considering he was trying to make sense of events 400 years in the future. Pius XII died in 1958 and until 1978, there were four new popes — not five — and not in a span of 17 years but not bad considering four popes in 20 years represents an unusually large turnover in the lifetime job. And when John Paul II was elected pope in 1978, he became the first non-Italian pope in centuries — a fact that was not at all agreeable to the “Romans” in the Vatican.

Maybe this is a failed or only partially accurate quatrain, but consider this: John Paul II has now been pope for more than 17 years! Does that mean we’re just starting that 17-year cycle’ of popes that Nostradamus foretold? And what kind of pope will succeed John Paul II?

For those worriers who are convinced Nostradamus accurately foretold that the end of the world would begin in 1999 or thereabouts, the seer himself saw a different tomorrow stretching out many more millennia in our future:


"When twenty years of tile moon’s reign have

passed, another will take up his rule for seven

thousand years. When the sun takes up his final

cycle then will my prophecy and warnings be

accomplished." (CI Q48)


Unlike some of his other difficult predictions, Nostradamus clearly implies here that his predictions —and thus the world — will last for another 7,000 years.

Hogue goes further than most experts in trying to decipher some of Nostradamus’ murkier predictions that seem to reach thousands of years into the future.

He breaks them down into astrological ages — the Age of Aquarius (2000-4000), the Age of Capricorn (4000-6000) and the Age of Sagittarius (6000-8000).

We’re just moving into the Age of Aquarius, and according to Hogue: “Aquarius’ air element is forcing mankind’s imagination toward the sky and new frontiers of space. . . In this age, we may make contact with other civilizations and begin to live as members of a galactic community. Nostradamus therefore predicts a millennium of peace and wisdom..."

The Age of Capricorn will mark the destruction of the world that Nostradamus described in detail in the preface to his epistle to Henry II:


"Before the universal conflagration, the world

will be deluged by many floods to such heights

that there will remain scarcely any land

not covered by water, and this will last for so

long that everything will perish except the

earth itself. Furthermore, before and after these

floods, many nations shall see no rains and there

will fall from the sky such a great amount of fire

and meteors that nothing will remain

unconsumed. All this will happen a short time

before the final conflagration.”


That seems to fit Nostradamus’ time table in which he dates the Earth’s demise in or about the year 3797. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of everything. Says Hogue: “The Capricorn epoch will see man either destroyed or transcending the material (earth) plane.”

Even in light of this great disaster, Nostradamus continues in the epistle: “The world will be approaching a great conflagration, although, according to my calculations in my prophecies, the course of time runs much further .. Some will assemble in Aquarius for several years, others in Cancer for a longer time.”

This, according to Hogue, is Nostradamus’ way of telling us that the human race will indeed survive in the end, perhaps through migration to the stars and the colonization of space.

“Perhaps,” Hogue says, “this is an indication of where we shall be living — orbiting the stars of the constellations of Aquarius and Cancer.”

However, Nostradamus seems to hint that before the world enters that enlightened millennium of peace, love and star-voyaging, it will have to go through some catastrophe first, possibly even another great war or world war.

But as with all of Nostradamus’ predictions, those who have studied him closely say his forecasts of havoc and ruin are also intended as warnings to people of future ages, including our own. According to the scholars, Nostradamus is giving us two choices: Either accept his predictions as inevitable and just roll over and play dead; or turn his warnings into opportunities to make the necessary changes in order to prevent the dreadful future that Nostradamus hinted about.

For example, in CVI Q24, Nostradamus writes:


“Mars and the Scepter will be in conjunction, a

calamitous war under Cancer. A short time

afterward a new king will be anointed who will

bring peace to the earth for a long time.”


Astrologers say the “Scepter” represents the planet Jupiter and this unusual conjunction will appear June 21, 2002. But, Nostradamus continues, before that happens there will be a “calamitous war” during the sign of Cancer — June 22 to July 23.

But the flip side is that Nostradamus also foresees a long period of world peace and spiritual advancement — even if it comes with a high price.

“There is a future for the world after the millennium,” declares Erika Cheetham.

Many believe that here Nostradamus is predicting “a promise of redemption” following that “calamitous war in Cancer.”

Hogue also interprets this to mean some great natural disaster and not necessarily a nuclear war which others believe Nostradamus was warning us about. He also thinks the “new king” could be a modern Messiah who initiates that millennium of peace on earth that Nostradamus promises.

In another quatrain, Nostradamus continues the same positive and inspiring theme:


“There will be peace, union and change,

estates and offices low become high those

high are very low. To prepare for a journey

torments the first child. War to cease, legal

processes debates.“ (CIX Q66)


Some Nostradamus-watchers say this quatrain could apply to any post-war or post-disaster period when great changes inevitably occur. But Hogue sees something far more profoundly uplifting in this prediction: “An occult interpretation identifies the ‘first’ as the children of a new mankind who are about to embark on a new era of exploration of space and the inner exploration of the soul,” he writes.

Another quatrain that specifically describes an era of joy and peace following the millennium is CX Q89:


"The walls will change from brick to marble,

seventy-five peaceful years. Joy to humankind, the

aqueduct reopened. Health, abundant fruit, joy

and mellifluous times.”


In his interpretation of this quatrain, Peter Lemesurier tells us that “...humanity can look forward to a period of some centuries during which the world may not always be nice, but whose major problems and triumphs are at least likely to be of a very different order from anything than has been experienced before.”

Sometimes it seems as if Nostradamus was peering into a cloudy crystal ball. But maybe our own vision is distorted or, more likely, incomplete. Perhaps those clouds in the old crystal ball will evaporate as the future unfolds.

In the movie, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, narrator Orson Welles asks:

“How accurate is he? Can we dismiss it as coincidence? If we accept the past evidence as proof of his accuracy, then there is a fair chance that what he said about our own future might also be true. If so, then we must listen very carefully. If, by heeding the warning, we can alter our future for the better.

“If we heed Nostradamus and face up to the challenges of the future, it may not be too late.”

Nostradamus believed the future can be changed. He said so himself when he wrote: “The one who is reasonable can learn from my prophecies how to find the right path to take as if he would have found footprints in the sand from someone who has gone before.”

And in Nostradamus: The New Revelations, Hogue concludes: “As long as human beings are provoked into thinking about their tomorrow, they may find the courage to change it today.” 


Cheetham, Erika, The Future Prophecies of Nostradamus: 1985 and Beyond (Perigee Books, 1985)

Cheetham, Erika, The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus (Perigee Books, 1989)

de Fontbrune, Jean-Charles, Nostradamus: Into the Twenty-First Century (Henry Holt and Company, 1982)

Hogue, John, Nostradamus: The New Revelations (Element Books, 1994)

Randles, Jenny, Time Travel: Fact, Fiction & Possibility (Blandford Books, 1994)

Skinner, Stephen, Millennium Prophecies (Carlton Books Limited, 1994)

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