Updated May 19, 1999 to reflect current events
[Caution to readers: Insert tongue firmly in cheek. Do not remove while reading, unless necessary to laugh. Or stock up on a couple of barrels of salt.--Ann]
About a year ago, I stumbled across a web site with Nostradamus' quatrains and translations of them. I noticed that some of them parallel my Empire to a surprising degree, so I went looking for more that might have connections. Oddly enough, I actually found more -- enough to say that it looks as though, except for some minor disturbances that would have seemed more major to someone in the sixteenth century, we're in for a pretty good future under the Empire.
One thing that a lot of interpreters seem to forget is that in the Preface, Nostradamus states very plainly, "The work comprises prophecies from today to the year 3797." Most if not all seem to try to apply everything in the quatrains to the past or near future, which I suppose is understandable for someone who isn't a science fiction writer, or at least, a fan. So some of my interpretations are far from the conventional ones!
The Nijweide page where I originally found the quatrains doesn't seem to be there any longer, but I was able to find them elsewhere; as of the first of May, the following site was still working: http://www.astrologer.ru:8001/Nostradamiana/centuries-eng.html To save space, I'm not posting the French versions of the quatrains, since that's so easily available. The English versions I use are combinations I've made of from one to six translations. These are the most obvious pointers to the Empire; there are others, but this is supposed to be an article, not a book.
A little background. The Empire has controlled inter-universe travel, and Empires in various universes combine to aid other universes on occasion. There's this nasty enemy called Ravagers, you see, that tends to attack various universes, and if they don't have Empire-level tech, the Ravagers wipe them out. Defeating the Ravagers means no other universe will be attacked for several years, so it's in the Empire's enlightened (read long-term) self- interest to help others attain that tech level. A link to the Concordance, and another to the stories, is at the end of the article.
Long-term self-interest has a lot of interesting corollaries, like governmental honesty with the governed (shocking concept, I know), but this isn't the place to go into that; the Concordance and stories will give you all you need on that subject, particularly Resurrection.
On to the prophecies!
From the Preface:
"And now that we are in a republican era, with Almighty God's aid, and before completing its full cycle, the monarchy will return, then the Golden Age. For according to the celestial signs, the Golden Age shall return, and after all calculations, with the world near to an all-encompassing revolution -- from the time of writing 177 years 3 months 11 days -- plague, long famine and wars, and still more floods from now until the stated time. Before and after these humanity shall several times be so severely diminished that scarcely anyone shall be found who wishes to take over the fields, which shall become free where they had previously been tied. This will be after the visible judgement of heaven, before we reach the millennium which shall complete all."
The date given was Rousseau's entry into Paris, which led to the French Revolution. Monarchies have been declining since Nostradamus' time, not returning, yet he clearly calls for the return of monarchy, followed by a Golden Age. "The millennium which shall complete all" cannot, given the thousand years of peace he predicts, be the upcoming one.
The first three quatrains I'm going to cite are the primary ones, and will give a dated overview; the rest are "supporting" quatrains.
From the sixth bright celestial light it will come to thunder very strongly in Burgundy. Then a monster will be born of a very hideous beast: In March, April, May and June great wounding and worrying.
This quatrain took on sudden significance for me at the end of March, though I didn't originally see it as applying to this subject. Cheetham suggests that the first line indicates a time ruled by Saturn, and a friend of mine who knows astrology tells me we are indeed in such a time. In March, NATO attacked Yugoslavia for the stated purpose of stopping Milosevich's "hideous beast" of ethnic cleansing. The monster could be either the stepped-up pace of the cleansing, or the war itself; line 2 and the following quatrain lead me to the second opinion, with the war continuing at least through June and spreading, perhaps as far as France.
Mars and the sceptre will be in conjunction, a calamitous (or chaotic) war under Cancer. A short time afterwards a new king will be anointed, who will bring peace to the earth for a long time.
Cheetham, taking this quatrain alone, identifies the sceptre with Jupiter, but taken in conjunction with several other quatrains (and Nostradamus' repeated theme of a single ruler for the entire world, I see it differently. It fits in like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle with the one above and below if you read it as war and the king coming together during the war under Cancer (June 22-July 23). So we have the war that started in March lasting at least into late June, possibly early July. The last two lines are quite clear and speak for themselves, tying in with possibly the most famous of the quatrains, below.
The year 1999 (and) seven months, from the sky will come a great King of terror (or great and frightening King, or frighteningly powerful King); to resuscitate the great King of Angoulmois, before (and) after Mars to reign fortunately (or luckily, or by happiness).
King of terror could simply mean one who rules over terror -- see 10-42, below. Of course, a king arriving from the sky would be frightening, almost by definition. Resuscitating the King of Angoulmois ... Angoulmois was a French province invaded by assorted Visigoths, Huns, and Mongols, then ruled by all sorts of sovereigns. So which one? And why would a king, even assuming it to be possible, resuscitate one who would probably be his rival?
So perhaps a less conventional interpretation, tying in with the Preface section and 6-24, above, is in order. The resuscitation (note he did not use resurrection) could be of the idea of monarchy. It's also possible the Great King (Emperor) names a lesser king to rule under him. "Before (and) after Mars" appears to be the NATO/Yugoslavia war, with a reading that adds some punctuation (erratic at best in Nostradamus' time) makes the last two lines read more sensibly:
To resuscitate the great King of Angoulmois, before, after Mars (warfare), reigning through happiness.
So, in outline, we have a war starting in March, running into late June or early July, and ended by the arrival of a Great King in July, who names a lesser king to rule peacefully for a long time -- the thousand years he mentions elsewhere, probably.
And now for the supporting quatrains which give some details of what it will be like under the Emperor and King (Baron, in my stories).
The leader who will conduct people infinitely far from their sky, to strange mores and language, five thousand will finish (or die) in Crete and Thessaly, the leader briefly saved in a sea-barn (or supply ship).
Coming from another universe to this one would certainly be conducting people infinitely far from their skies; the fleets going from Alpha Prime to Sierra did hold great numbers of people.
Before the change of Empire happens, a very wonderful event will take place. The field moved (literally "shed"), the pillar (or mainstay) of porphyry put in place, changed on (or moved onto) the gnarled rock.
I can't be certain of the details here, but it does make sense that they would do some preparatory infrastructure work, tuning the energy shields to act as concealment, rather like cloaking devices. Pillar or mainstay could well be the Palace itself, which I always visualized as having at least a stone facade. The gnarled rock fits with the Complex's location at the foot of the Sentinel Mountains. Assuming my location is right, we can expect to hear of a huge building appearing in Antarctica, probably in the middle of a temperate landscape. There may or may not be some way to see the weather dome protecting it.
The great Empire will soon be exchanged for a small place, which soon will begin to grow. A small place of tiny area, in the middle of which he will come to place (or set up) his sceptre.
Most interpreters translate "poser" in the last line as "lay down", but according to my dictionary, it doesn't have that meaning at all -- it says "to place; arrange; ask (a question); set up (a principle)". Perhaps the "lay down" is a mis-translation due to trying to apply it to Napoleon or Japan. The Terran Empire coming to this universe will be centered in the Palace Complex, an area of approximately 3000 square miles, with the Palace itself located at the center. The Palace, of course, is where the Emperor will come to establish his reign. After its appearance in that tiny area, it will definitely expand.
The humane realm (or reign) of angelic engendering, will cause its realm to hold peace and union; captive war half (or war half- captive) of its closing out (or enclosure), for a long time its peace will be maintained.
A realm of "angelic engendering" -- from another universe? The rest definitely sounds like the Empire.
The newcomers will build a place without defenses, occupying a place uninhabitable until then. Meadows, houses, fields, towns will be lived in with pleasure. Famine, plague and war (lit. famine plague, war) extensive arable land.
Or a place without visible defenses -- the Palace Complex has defenses in the form of energy shields. It is set in Antarctica under a weather dome, and is quite large enough for what is described. And knowing the Empire, I would say the bit about "famine plague, war" -- given Nostradamus' chosen verse form -- may be the closest he was able to come to a war on famine and plague.
The change will be very difficult: city, province will gain by the change: heart high, prudence given, chased out by skill, sea, land, people will change their state.
Oh, it would be a difficult change, certainly! And the change of state from planetary nations to part of an interstellar empire should have people excited (or heart-high).
The imprudent (or aimless) army of Europe will depart, collecting itself near the submerged isle: the weak fleet will bend the phalanx (or fold up its standard), at the navel of the world a greater voice substituted (or will take over).
Europe doesn't have a uniform army of its own, and doesn't have time before July 1999 to form one, so I agree with Cheetham that this is probably NATO. The submerged isle would be Antarctica, submerged under its ice sheet, and the "greater voice" would of course be the Empire's; the "navel of the world" could refer to either the entire complex or to the Palace itself.
Under one man peace will be proclaimed everywhere, but not long after will be looting and rebellion. Because of a refusal, town, land and sea will be broached. About a third of a million dead or captured.
For the world there will be made one monarch, who will not long be at peace or alive: at the time, the fishing boat (the Papacy) will be lost, ruled to great detriment.
The above quatrains, taken together, don't sound too promising for the first Emperor -- or for the Catholic church. Given that other prophecies indicate only two Popes after John Paul II, I don't think I'm wrong to assign these three to the first Emperor's time. (Hopefully, they'll have a Successor along; I can't see anyone from here being able to soak up the information and abilities needed that quickly.)
The following are more difficult to interpret, very possibly because the background simply isn't available yet, but they do have aspects that point to the Empire.
A founder of sects, much trouble for the accuser, a beast in the theatre prepares the scene and plot. The inventor (or author) ennobled by acts of older times; the world is confused by schismatic sects.
Beast preparing scene and plot = non-human intelligence? Could be Irschchan, Traiti, cloudcat, Araneid, Traiti ... World confused by schismatic sects -- Omnism is the Empire's commonest religion. [An article on Omnism is in The Cauldron's Article Library.]
When the animal domesticated by man, after great pains and jumps will come to speak: the lightning will be harmful to the virgin, taken from earth and suspended in the air.
This sounds a lot like the Sandeman war dogs, genetically engineered to be able to speak after the Shapers fled Alpha Prime's Terra via hyperspace jumps.
At forty-five degrees the sky will burn, fire to approach the great new city: In an instant a great scattered flame will leap up, when one will want to demand proof of the Normans.
This feels like it fits, even though I can't quite figure the interpretation for more than ship-borne laser weaponry. If the "new city" is the Palace Complex, it would seem to show the Empire under attack. (Maybe by Ravagers, which some of the verses I haven't included seem to indicate.)
Those who will have undertaken to subvert an unparalleled realm, powerful and invincible: they will act through deceit, nights three to warn, when the greatest one will read his Bible at the table.
Unparalleled, powerful, invincible realm sounds a lot like my visions of the Empire. Who's going to try to subvert it, though? Rebels, Ravagers?
The "great cow" at Racenna in great trouble, led by fifteen shut up at Fornase: at Rome there will be born two double-headed monsters, blood, fire, flood, the greatest ones in space.
Someone messing with genetic engineering, and a prediction of disasters mostly in space -- the Empire doesn't tolerate non- medical genetic engineering on humans (or intelligent non-humans).
He will come to go into the corner of Luna, where he will be captured and put in a strange land: the unripe fruits will be the subject of great scandal, great blame, to one great praise.
Into the corner of Luna -- somewhere in a Lunar settlement. (Not necessary to have an Empire for this, of course, but it sure doesn't look like we're going to be doing it on our own.)
There will be peace, union and change, estates, offices, low high and high very low: to prepare a trip, the first offspring torment, war to cease, civil process, debates (to take over).
All but the trip and first offspring, which I can't guess at, is exactly what would happen under the Empire. I can easily see the Baron of Terra removing liars from national offices; lying is acceptable by an Imperial official only when it's essential to the Empire's survival. Not its comfort, not its convenience -- only its survival.
The ship's veil will hide the sail galley, the great fleet will come the lesser one to go out: ten ships near will turn to drive it back, the great one conquered the united ones to join to itself.
Ship's veil = force screen or hyperfield?
Garden of the World near the new city, in the path of hollow mountains; seized and plunged into the vat, forced to drink water poisoned by sulfur.
Garden of the world near the new city sounds like the Imperial Palace garden, with the new city the Palace Complex itself. Hollow mountains are apparently moving, with this in the path; perhaps large spacecraft? The rest I don't quite get.
In the time of mourning the feline monarch will make war upon the young Macedonian: Gaul to shake, the bark to be in jeopardy, Marseilles to be tried in the West a talk.
Feline monarch ties in nicely with an Irschchan Sovereign like Corina Losinj.
For more about the Empire, see the Terran Empire Concordance.
For the stories and novels themselves, see the Terran Empire Fiction page.
Article copyright © 1998, 1999 Ann Wilson
Editor's Note: While Ann intended this article as humor, it does point out two things about prophecy. First, that it is very easy to read into prophecy exactly what you want to see. Second, and less obviously, that interpreting prophecy is very much limited by the knowledge available to the person doing the interpretation. It's unlikely that anyone not familiar with Ann's science fiction could have interpreted Nostradamus this way. Which points out that the key to interpreting prophecy may well be to have the correct pieces of knowledge needed to make sense of it. -- Randall
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