On this day in 1503, Nostradamus, a French apothecary, seer, and astrologer, was born.
Nostradamus is best known for his series of books titled “Les Propheties” (“The Prophecies”). Divided into ten “centuries,” “The Prophecies” were long-term predictions, many of apocalyptic nature, with each prediction written as a rhyming quatrain. Nine of the centuries contained 100 prophecies while one contained only 42.
In order to prevent himself from accusations of being a magician, Nostradamus was not only cryptic in his writing but wrote in a variety of languages through out the series. Yet, overenthusiastic believers of Nostradamus’s predictions have misinterpreted, mistranslated, or twisted the predictions to “prove” that Nostradamus predicted such events as the French Revolution, the Great Fire of London, the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Princess Diana, and even the 9/11 attacks. Nostradamus is even linked to predictions that he didn’t even write, including the 9/11 “prediction.”
What’s more, the interpreting is always done after the fact, with the benefit of hindsight, and with the concerted aim of proving the relevance of a given passage to an actual event.”
- David Emery, About.com guide on Urban Legends
Many people are also linking Nostradamus to the Mayan prophecy that many believe marks the end of the world (December 21, 2012.) However, the Mayan prophecy, the Mayan calendar, 2012, December 21, and anything else related to December 21, 2012 are mentioned nowhere in Nostradamus’s works.
Celebrate Nostradamus’s Birthday by reading “The Prophecies” and making your own interpretations. To really get in the Nostradamus spirit, make some predictions of your own and compile them into a journal to pass down to the next generation.
And if you haven’t learned enough about Nostradamus already, check out these strange facts about the apothecary turned seer.