How to interpret the prophecies of Nostradamus? First, we can thank the great scholarship offered by past writers on Nostradamus for allowing his writings to be easily available for anyone to examine. However, a few scholars suggested without intimate knowledge of linguistics from his era, one was unqualified to understand his writings and hence his predictions. They cited Nostradamus’ own “Incantation of the Law Against Inept Critics”:
Those who read these verses, consider them with maturity
Let not the profane, vulgar, and ignorant attracted
All astrologers, fools, and barbarians stay afar
He who does otherwise, subjected to the sacred rite.
Some commentators of Nostradamus created elaborate systems in an attempt to interpret his cryptic quatrains. In the 21st century, I disagree with an elitist approach towards understanding Nostradamus. Thankfully we have the scholarship already in place. Now the task is solving the puzzle presented in his quatrains.
I suggest the secret to understanding Nostradamus is to understand clairvoyance. Genuine clairvoyance is usually a rare and spontaneous experience happening once or twice in a lifetime (if we are lucky). It has been reported as visual, audible or both. It can also be a feeling, an emotion like a panic when someone feels their loved one is in danger.
The prophecies of Nostradamus are murky, vague, and frustrating. Nostradamus was said to use vagueness on purpose. We assume to protect him from the inquisition. Successful predictions could have been considered witchcraft, a dangerous sin in his era. I suppose if a quatrain came true in his lifetime he’d have reason to worry. But why care for future predictions after he had passed away?
Skeptics say he was hedging his bets with his predictions. It’s an old trick…make hundreds of predictions, make them vague, and hope a few works out, taking credit for successes while ignoring all the misses. Still, Nostradamus stood the test of time. His few bull’s-eyes are truly uncanny.
I suspect much of Nostradamus’ murkiness was not intentional, but a natural result of clairvoyance. Nostradamus was not all knowing. No human can possibly be. Even the greatest possible prophet may have only brief glimpses of the future. Can they be so elaborate they translate into incredibly ingenious riddles?
It depends if a clairvoyant intellectualizes his visions. Suppose someone had a vision, and then tried to make sense of it. Instead of only expressing his experience, he used his intellect. Perhaps Nostradamus used his logical mind to understand his visions and then write down his quatrains. He was likely no wiser in comprehending his visions as we are today when examining them.
But when he stuck with describing what he witnessed in his visions, we have an undiluted look into his clairvoyance. Sights…sounds…clairvoyance…clairaudience. Even his anagrams may be based on sound…hearing something that sounded familiar to him. Hister…Hitler. Or using the anagram “Pax Ney Loro” as his way to describe the sound of Napoleon’s name.
Here is the quatrain that informed my understanding of Nostradamus.
Century I, Quatrain 64
At night they will think they have seen the sun,
when they see the half pig man:
Noise, screams, battles seen fought in the skies.
The brute beasts will be heard to speak
It reads like gibberish.
Written in the 1960s, Edgar Leoni in his “Nostradamus and His Prophecies” described the quatrain this way:
“No commentator has gotten any really bright idea as to the identity of the pig-man. Fighting in the sky sounds very modern, perhaps Nostradamus had “signs in the heavens” in mind. Or perhaps scientific developments of the 1960s offer a solution: A Soviet illuminated, giant, propagranda-transmutting satellite balloon constructed in the image of porcupine big brother of the soviet animal farm, Nikita Khrushchev.”
Later, Erika Cheetham in her “The Prophecies of Nostradamus” described the same quatrain:
“This seemingly nonsensical quatrain is one of the most interesting. Nostradamus describes a vivid picture of a battle in the air. The sun, appearing at night, is the searchlight piercing the sky, or possibly bombs exploding. The pig-like man, which no commentator to date as ever deciphered, seems a clear picture in silhouette of the pilot in Oxygen mask, helmet and goggles.”
Ms. Cheetham hit the nail on the head with her interpretation. Instead of using logic, she used her intuition and imagination to finally see what Nostradamus must have seen.
Nostradamus likely didn’t comprehend everything he saw. How often did Nostradamus try to interpret his own predictions, instead of only transcribing what he witnessed? Or mix the two together? How often did he use his imagination thinking it was precognition? We don’t know. I believe if even 10% of his quatrains contain true clairvoyance, then his words are worth examining. The problem is we don’t know which quatrains offer clues to the future, and which don’t. Part of the trick is to think like a clairvoyant.