Rationale underlying my work on Nostradamus.
Copyright Allan Webber, 2007 (subedited 2012)
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There is a mystery to Nostradamus' Prophecies. To those with faith in prophets its main essence is 'What did he reveal?' but even to a cynic some mystery must be attributed to Michel de Nostredame for his work is self-evidently in code.
Many analysts seem to imply the code is a protective device to prevent the authorities from judging him a heretic but the nature of the work belies this; he did not need to fear the inquisition beyond the time of his death and certainly not 500 years into the future. It also seems popular to claim that there is a degree of 'derangement' or 'incoherence' in the writing. It is further suggested that the inclusion of inconsistent names and language are an accidental product of his mind and the publishing house.
I am interested in the solution to the code. I am interested in it regardless of its outcome, whether it be mundane or esoteric. My interest also lies in the nature of the code since its nature is a window to the past. The answer to this code has to come from Nostradamus himself and there is evidence that he did make such a provision for he constantly left clues in his writings. These pointers concern astronomy and the rules of poetry and imply a tradition of poetic coding to transmit knowledge of time and the stars. A tradition so ancient that it precedes writing and has its roots in oral techniques; mnemonic devices built within and by poetic form.
For example he stated in a letter to his son Cesar on 1 March 1555
"But when judgment comes to perfection with the celestial judgment that you wish to show: you will gain knowledge of future causes. Rejecting distant fantasies from the imaginations that will happen limits this feature [of future-seeing] to the premises suited to supernatural divine inspiration. And giving celestial figures, places, and the time the property held by a hidden virtue lies in this power and divine understanding. In the presence of these the three times comprise eternity because the revolution that causes them is the past, present and future:"
..and three years later in a letter to Henry, second king of France he states:
"The Astronomic calculations are given to the best of my knowledge because the space of times of our first ones, those who came before us, are handed to me needing the correction of my own healthier judgement."
..and near the end of the Epistle
"And for this [reason], Sire, by this discourse I present these predictions with confusion as to when they will be and the event involved for the enumeration of time that follows has no more than a little consistency in it.. Much that is superior is seen to be astronomical and is the same as in other sacred writings, using both means I can not fail at all. If I had wanted I could have put the enumeration of time in each quatrain. I might do this but not all would appreciate it, not least those interpreting them. "
"Thus I have dedicated my nocturnal and prophetic prognostications, composed thanks to a natural instinct, with the aid of poetic transports, according to the rules of poetry and for the most part in accordance with the calculations of Astronomy corresponding to the years, months and weeks. of the regions countries and most of the towns and cities of all Europe including Africa and part of Asia where most of all these coming events are to transpire. They are composed in a natural manner.."
Another statement by Nostradamus on his prophecies in the Cesar letter of 1555 added to these ideas by suggesting he had condensed his work into an astronomical coded form.
"But being surprised at how sluggishly time flows, I have made make long calculation and during the time of night's sweet odours I have composed books of prophecies each containing a hundred quatrains of astronomic prophecies, which I have intentionally arranged a little obscurely. They contain perpetual predictions for (the period) from now until the year 3797."
These are just a few of the statements by this 16th Century prophet that state the nature of the code is understood through laws of poetry in relation to astronomy. The use of names and places that are in accord with these principles reveal his writings about the future.
The above supplies the reasons why I have pursued this code for such a long time and below I discuss some of my insights into this quest during the current century. It starts with the events on June the 1st 2007 which marked a truly significant day in my thirty-seven year quest to discover the real astronomy-code in Nostradamus' quatrains (four line verse) prophecies. In 1992 there was an equally significant day. It was then that I found the key to the puzzle but it took fifteen years before I felt ready to declare "I know how the code works."
Nostradamus wrote a book of ten chapters (Centuries). Although nine of them each have 100 verses (quatrains), Centuries VII has only forty two. Nostradamus gave no explanation as to why there are 942 quatrains separated out in this peculiar manner. Nostradamus' did write that they were encoded.
"And thousands of other events will come to pass, because of floods and continual rains, as I have set forth fully in writing my other Prophecies, which are drawn out in length, in prose, setting the places and times so that men coming after may see them, knowing the events to have occurred infallibly. This we have noted in connection with the others, speaking more clearly. For although they [the quatrains] are written under a cloud, the meanings will be understood. When the time comes for the removal of ignorance, the event will be cleared up still more." Nostradamus at the end of his preface to his Prophecies 1555.
This paper is about the trail that has brought me to the point where the truth in the last part of Nostradamus' statements given above can be established. There is a detailed story in prose hidden under the visible text. My paper starts with one small piece of the simple evidence that I have built up over the past fifteen years and then shows how for the first time, I was able to progress along a clearly defined, unambiguous trail. It takes one line with an unusual pair of anagrams hidden in it, examines why I chose this line and then shows each step along the way. It achieves a highly significant result because it gives a pinpointed date which didn't exist before this analysis. In doing this it establishes far more than one hard bit of evidence, it establishes that the veil that obscures Nostradamus' writing can be shattered. I show my methods and I set out when and how my views changed. I have done this in order that the reader be able to see with far more ease, that which has taken me thirty-seven years to achieve.
The history behind my interest is the logical starting point since it reveals the attitudes that spurred my work.
In 1970 after having read Erika Cheetham's book "The Prophecies of Nostradamus" I made a choice that went against all that I had previously held true. The choice was to investigate the unlikely case that Nostradamus could actually see into the future.
There has been no other person with claims to be a prophet that has ever aroused my interest in the same way. I am not given to belief in the supernatural whether it be religion, science or secular based. However, in 1970, faced with his actual writings I felt there was a case to answer since it seemed that on too many occasions his words were uncannily close to real events. At that time I could easily retain my cynicism for I was looking for the means to explain how these writings could seem to be true.
Over the years that followed I noted that, despite the claims of other cynics, various events came about very much as anticipated from interpreters of Nostradamus' work. One of the most spectacular of which was that of the collapse of the Soviet Union. A year before it happened I remember observing that this looked like a spectacular failure for there was nothing in the press of the day that foresaw the ending of the Soviet system before the year 2000. My reason for the comment was that there were strong claims by interpreters of Nostradamus' work that various verses meant he foresaw the rise of Communist Russia and its fall then taking place before the end of the last century.
In 1992 I was given a present by a well-meaning relative. It was not a good read for me since it was full of almost laughable techniques, many of them based on very loose reworking of Nostradamus' words through the use of anagrams and the undisciplined interchange of lettering. It's techniques were not unlike that used in "The Bible Code" (which I was also given and which I found equally as flawed). There is a lot of pseudo-science and overzealous presentation within these works and the predictions that they made reveals how hard it is to actually gain creditability as a prophet by using vague and loose wording. There is nothing memorable that came out of my reading of their predictions.
However, I don't dismiss things lightly so I worked on the problem of what was wrong with these approaches. In particular I asked myself what evidence of code would I look for and where would an encoder put it. The conclusion I reached was that Nostradamus would have put key words such as his name and references to his work and code in cornerstone verses. These were likely to be verse 1 in the the first of his chapters (Centuries), other early verses, verse 100 at the end of the sixth chapter and those verses which were dismissed as most obscure. I expected to find there was nothing in those verses. I was wrong (see my analysis of Centuries 1 Quatrain1).
This was an over-excited time because, having found these critical words and having seen some of the import of others, I thought I had found the key to his code and it would be days before Nostradamus message would be unveiled . I was certain it would turn out not to be prophetic but a historical record of his efforts. At that time I was employing French anagrams and soon the trail disappeared. It was evident to me that I had not cracked his code. Nostradamus methods and defences were far greater than a simple two days effort could break. However, I now believed that Nostradamus' text didn't merely contain an occasional anagram, it was anagrammatic throughout and that there was a massive cryptic puzzle to be solved. I loved that idea.
Rationale justifying my use of English anagrams.
There was, however, one major surprise in these discoveries for I found that I had gained a clearer result when I looked for English anagrams. This seemed ridiculous until I worked through the logic that I was finding the code and that if this was true and Nostradamus could see the future then he was capable of encoding it in a modern language. I didn't believe it but I realized it was bad science to analyse Nostradamus' work with a premise that he couldn't see the future when that was the proposition being questioned. Rather I had to assume he could and to design tests based on the full gamut of possibilities.
In order to find the hidden code I have applied a method and then converted it into a series of computer programs to enable extensive investigation and testing throughout Nostradamus' text. Through my anagram research I identified a strong possibility that there are English anagrams in the French text and my research into the Prophecies has not yet shown it to be false. There are however difficulties in working with an ancient publication that every interpreter of 16th century papers finds. Published works are very different from the original manuscripts. However my computer analyses can help find the strong theme in a text even when it is distorted from the original. (Just as astronomers' programs can detect weak stars despite noise from the galaxy). There are other difficulties which are covered more fully in my paper called Centuries and I will not set them out here where it would break up the story I wish to unfold.
What is relevant is that I set out to find all weaknesses in my findings. Usually it is easy to realise how overconfident one has become through mistakenly viewing only a small set of events. It's only when you try to find further evidence that the trail goes cold. It's when you put faith in an outcome based on the past and find it doesn't happen that you know your premise is false. This hasn't happened in the fifteen years of my investigations of English anagrams. One of my strengths is the ability to program computers and so over the years I have built increasingly stronger tests and constraints into my investigations in order to prove that this English anagram pattern is an illusion. Again my efforts at disproof failed and all of my earlier observations were reconfirmed (see Anagram Research 1 and Anagram Research 2 for some of my later efforts where I did extensive computer analysis on several ancient texts.)
Over time I have deliberately made it increasingly difficult for me to find anagrams of relevance. I have set harder and harder rules so that what is found is less likely to be due to chance alone. Below are my rules:
My working framework is achieved by:
Why has the code remained hidden if the method is as simple as both Nostradamus and I suggest? Because it involves one single mind-boggling step and three commonly used moves to transform the original message into the new. The mind boggling step is that Nostradamus’ anagrams appear to be in modern English, something unacceptable unless Nostradamus could truly see into the future. The three moves are much more pedestrian as they have been in use since ancient times. The following lists the moves in order of performance.
ADDENDUM: Feb 2013
It took fifteen years to bring me to this point and I consider none of that as wasted time. I couldn't have achieved the result that I will shortly set out without the background that these years have provided.
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