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Did Nostradamus know the Transaturnian Planets?
by Patrice Guinard
-- translation E. P. --
Since 1984, and then approximately every 3 years, some essential works have been published and have transformed the very fragmented views that one could forge concerning the work of the Salon prophet. Let's mention for the record the facsimile reproduction of the Propheties (Lyon 1555) by Robert Benazra based on the Albi copy and with the variants of the Wien copy (Lyon, Les Amis de Michel Nostradamus, 1984), the Bibliographie Nostradamus XVIè-XVIIè-XVIIIè siècles by Michel Chomarat (Baden-Baden, Valentin Koerner, 1989) and the work of Robert Benazra, the Répertoire chronologique nostradamique (Paris, La Grande Conjonction, 1990), the facsimile reproduction of the 1557 edition of the Prophéties (Lyon, 1993) by Michel Chomarat, based on the copy of the Széchényl library of Budapest, the work of Pierre Brind'Amour (1941-1995), Nostradamus astrophile (Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa, Canada & Paris, Klincksieck, 1993), followed by the critical publishing of the first part of the quatrains by the same author, Nostradamus. Les premières Centuries ou Propheties (Genève, Droz, 1996), and above all the recent edition of the Recueil des Presages prosaiques (Lyon, ms 6852) of Nostradamus' secretary, Jean-Aimé de Chavigny, by Bernard Chevignard, the Présages de Nostradamus (Paris, Le Seuil, 1999).
These works tend to ignore the two most original attempts to clarify the Nostradamic corpus : the works by the Peruvian Daniel Ruzo and the Romanian Vlaicu Ionescu. The former has worked on deciphering the order of the quatrains, demonstrating in 1975 that the testament left by Nostradamus was an integral part of the prophetic corpus (in Le testament de Nostradamus, tr.fr., Monaco, Le Rocher, 1982), while the latter has put forward in various works sensible interpretations, with a precision which leaves behind the amateur efforts of astrological predictions. Ionescu entitled one of the chapters of his first work : "1991, the year of the collapse of the Soviet regime", followed by this assertion: "It shall happen in June 1991." (in Le message de Nostradamus sur l'ère prolétaire, Paris, Dervy, 1976, p.777-778). On June 12th 1991, Boris Eltsine was elected president of the Russian Federation with universal suffrage, until the U.S.S.R. disintegrated a few months later.
In an essential paper ("Nostradamus et les planètes trans-saturniennes", in Atlantis 325, 1983, p.205-241), Ionescu puts forward the idea that Nostradamus refers to the discovery of 3 transaturnian planets in the quatrains VIII 69, IV 33 and I 84 of Centuries.
The quatrain VIII 69 : the discovery of Uranus
Aupres du jeune le vieux ange baisser,
Et le viendra surmonter à la fin:
Dix ans esgaux aux plus vieux rabaisser,
De trois deux l'un l'huitiesme seraphin.
Beside the young one the old angel falling,
And will come to rise above him at the end:
Ten years equal to most the old ones reducing,
Of three two the one the eighth seraphim.
Ref. : Les propheties, Lyon, Benoist Rigaud, 1568
le vieux ange baisser in the Lyon copy (Bibliothèque Municipale, rés 811 007 ; Benazra, éd n° 11, p.84) and se vieux ange baisser in the Aix copy (Bibliothèque du Musée Paul Arbaud, S 389 ; Benazra, éd n° 18, p.89).
The chart of the discovery of Uranus is drawn for March 13, 1781, Bath, 21h10 (at this time, the sun and the moon are under the horizon and cannot disturb the observation)
Position of the planets involved in the quatrain : Uranus : 84° 27, Mars 263° 23, Saturn 259° 42
The interpretation of this quatrain, as well as the following ones, is based on a double reference system: mythology and astronomy (cf. Ionescu, p.212, p.214...)
Aupres du jeune le (se) vieux ange baisser,
Et le viendra surmonter à la fin:
The old god Ouranos (vieux ange), the starry sky, depreciated (se baisser) by his son Saturn (the Greek Kronos), the youngest Titan (le jeune), who mutilates him and gets hold of his throne (and astronomically Saturn is the last planet of the Septenary, occupying the "seventh sphere"), will finally recover his rights in the discovery of the planet which will be named for him by the astronomers (Et le viendra surmonter à la fin).
Dix ans esgaux aux plus vieux rabaisser,
De trois deux l'un l'huitiesme seraphin.
By reducing (rabaisser) the value of 10 Saturnian "years" (10 cycles), the longest cycle known up till then (Dix ans esgaux aux plus vieux), - which is also the famous cycle mentioned by Albumasar, and at the end of which Pierre d'Ailly predicted the accession to the throne of the Antichrist - , approximately 295 solar years, that is by switching the second and the third digit (De trois deux) of the total number of the entire cycle (l'un), the figure 259 is obtained, which approximately corresponds to the ecliptic position of Saturn (259°), and one can see that the ecliptic position of the new planet Uranus (l'huitiesme seraphin), 84°, is a number equal (l'un) to the length of its cycle, being 84 years.
I would like to add that, Uranus being the planet of unification, (cf. thesis meae sequentiam), this term, l'un, is of special significance in the quatrain. It is the key to the multiple meanings of the quatrain, and Ionescu somewhat omitted it, since for his text he refers to a later edition, which leads him to interpret the expression l'un huitiesme seraphin globally, rather than to separate l'un from l'huitiesme seraphin. However Ionescu appropriately shows (p.218) that the Uranus-Mars axis divides the configuration of the planets in two groups, representing the emblem which will be attributed to Uranus.
Moreover, the first and the last terms of the quatrain, Aupres du and seraphin contain the following anagram: Uranus de phi pares, that is "Uranus, you show through (the number) Phi" or "Uranus, you submit to (or you obey) the number Phi". The sidereal revolution of Uranus (84 years) equals 52 times the number phi (approximation 0.15%), or, expressed in days, 19 000 times the number phi (approximation 0.19%).
The quatrain IV 33 : the discovery of Neptune
Juppiter joint plus Venus qu'à la Lune
Apparoissant de plenitude blanche:
Venus cachée soubs la blancheur Neptune,
De Mars frappé par la granée branche.
Jupiter joined more to Venus than to the Moon
Appearing of white fullness:
Venus hidden under the whiteness Neptune,
Struck by Mars through the white graininess.
Ref : The first editions do not agree on the 4th verse: Les Propheties (Lyon 1555), éd. et préface Robert Benazra, Lyon, Les Amis de Michel Nostradamus, 1984 gives De Mars frappé par la granée branche
The reproduction by Michel Chomarat (Lyon, 1993) of the 1557 text, Les Propheties (Lyon, Antoine du Rosne) gives De Mars frappée par la granée branche
The Benoist Rigaud edition, 1568 (already mentioned) gives De Mars frappée par la gravée branche
Paradoxically, this quatrain, which explicitly mentions the name of Neptune, remains enigmatic, since it refers to a date which is different from the generally accepted discovery date. The chart of the discovery of Neptune is drawn for August 8, 1846, Cambridge observatory, 0h (midnight). This date, chosen by Ionescu (and which would also have been chosen by Nostradamus), is the date halfway between August 4 and August 12, 1846, the two dates when the planet was observed by the English astronomer James Challis (based on Nigel Calder, The comet is coming, New York, The Viking Press, 1980; ref. Ionescu). On this symbolic date, the planet is in conjunction with the Moon, and in occultation. Moreover the tangle of very startling circumstances coinciding with its discovery is in good accordance with the astrological character of the planet, and the file containing the correspondence between George Airy and John Adams (which could provide information regarding the role of James Challis in the discovery of Neptune) has presumably disappeared in the archives of the Greenwich observatory.
Position of the planets involved in the quatrain : Jupiter 71° 33, Venus 102° 43, Mars 145° 59, Moon 325° 43, Neptune 327° 05
The quatrain describes the chart drawn for the symbolic date of the discovery of Neptune: 106° separate Jupiter from the Moon, but merely 31° from Venus (Juppiter joint plus Venus qu'à la Lune) ; it is full moon (Apparoissant de plenitude blanche) ; Venus is under the horizon (Venus cachée) ; Neptune, whose name is mentioned , is in conjunction with and occulted by the Moon (soubs la blancheur Neptune) ; Mars is opposed to Neptune (Neptune, De Mars frappé par la granée/gravée branche).
It is worth noting that Ionescu, who uses a later, probably truncated, edition, interprets the expression gravée blanche. The Latin word granatus (grained, with a many grains, with visible grains) could precisely be referring to the Milky Way, which Nostradamus refers to in this quatrain according to him (p.224). The other word, gravatus (burdened, weighed down) is also possible. With regard to the word branche, and not blanche, it seems to be referring to the trident which is the attribute of Neptune. The chart presents indeed a double trident : Saturn-Neptune-Moon and Mercury-Mars-Sun, showing twice the symbol that will be attributed to Neptune. The fourth verse can thus be interpreted as follows: Mars opposed to Neptune (Neptune, De Mars frappé), burden (gravée) one another (Neptune, De Mars frappé(e) and Mars frappé par), using a fork (branche), crossed by the Milky Way (granée branche). This quatrain thus seems to be built on the theme of duality: whiteness is mentioned twice (whiteness of the full Moon and whiteness of the Milky Way); Venus, the double planet, the planet of dissociation (cf. thesis meae sequentiam), is mentioned twice, Neptune being considered as the higher octave of Venus by astrologers; double name granée/gravée and double adjective frappé/frappée, double trident.
Nevertheless, the insistence on Jupiter and Venus remains somewhat problematic, since these two planets are not part of the double-trident configuration, even though astrologers understand that the new planet gathers in a way the characteristics of both. The first verse, Juppiter joint plus Venus qu'à la Lune, in addition to its obvious mythological meaning (Venus/Aphrodite remains in the close surrounding of Jupiter/Zeus, unlike Diane/Artémis), the Latin name of the god Neptunus appears in the letters composing the names of the 3 planets. But Juppiter and Venus have each 4 letters in common with Neptunus, whereas Lune has only 3.
Ionescu (p.225) links the cycle of Neptune to the position of Venus and to the number PHI : 164.79 = 1.618034 times 102.72 (approximation : 0.86%). Moreover, Juppiter, with two p's, is composed of 8 letters, and Venus of 5, which shows again the proportion of the golden number. As 12 (lunar) months form a solar year, similarly 12 times phi Venus months form a Jupiter year : 12 x 1.618034 x 0.615 = 11.94 ~ 11.86 (approximation : 0.67%). This solves once and for all the enigma of the first verse.
The sceptical interpretation of the Nostradamus quatrains is generally a complete fiasco, as shown for example with the interpretation by Pierre Brind'Amour (1996, p.513) for the Neptunian quatrain : "Jupiter (tin), joined more closely to Venus (copper) than to the Moon (silver), will appear in white plenitude; Venus (copper), hidden by the whiteness of Neptune (water), will be hit by the burdened branch of Mars (by the iron-reinforced masher) (…) A tin and copper alloy is formed during an alchemy experience ; it is then cooled in water, and sprayed using an iron masher." !
The quatrain I 84 : the discovery of Pluto
Lune obscurcie aux profondes tenebres,
Son frere passe de couleur ferrugine:
Le grand caché long temps sous les latebres,
Tiedera fer dans la playe sanguine.
Moon obscured in deep gloom,
His brother becomes iron colored:
The great one hidden for a long time under the shadows,
Will grow warmer iron in the bloody wound.
Ref : Les Propheties (Lyon 1555), éd. et préface Robert Benazra, Lyon, Les Amis de Michel Nostradamus, 1984.
Variant of the copy of the Wien library : Son frere pasle
Le chart of the discovery of Pluto is drawn for January 23, 1930 pour le 23 janvier , Lowell Observatory of Flagstaff (Arizona), 21h. Position of the planets involved in the quatrain : Moon 242° 04, Sun 303° 27, Mars 289° 31, Pluto 108° 14
The quatrain described the chart drawn for January 23, 1930, date of the first photographs taken by Clyde Tombaugh : the Moon is under the horizon, at the IC (Lune obscurcie aux profondes tenebres) ; the Sun (Apollo, who personifies the Sun, is the twin brother of Artemis, who personifies the Moon) has passed Mars, the red planet associated with iron, 14 days ago (Son frere passe de couleur ferrugine) ; Pluto, invisible for a long time (Le grand caché long temps sous les latebres) is opposed to Mars (Tiedera fer dans la playe sanguine).
Ionescu underlines that at the dates of their respective discoveries, Mars was opposed to each of the planets involved (p.212), which confirms the astrological meaning of Mars, the releaser, the awakener of tensions. Moreover, and as in the two previous charts, the configuration of the chart shows the sign which will be attributed to the planet, with its anchoring point, formed by a cluster of 5 planets, with its two branches in the direction of Neptune and Jupiter, and with its transversal branch, slightly inclined (Moon and Uranus), and Pluto, the invisible planet. It is worth noting that by adding the ecliptic positions of the Moon (242°) and of Uranus (8°), one obtains the approximate length of Pluto's sidereal revolution. On the other hand, as noticed by Ionescu (p.237), the ecliptic position of Pluto, 108°, is equal to 9 times 12 (solar) months and 4 times 27 (lunar) days, which seems to justify the choice of the sun and the moon. I add to this the equation 9 x 4 = 108 / 3 , which confirms the idea of triplicity surrounding this quatrain.
The cluster of planets Mars-Venus-Mercury-Sun evolves in the direction of Uranus, explaining the anagram of the second verse (which is only provided here as a curiosity) : Son coeur (that of the Sun) l'espère : figer Uranus de fer. The Latin word latebra means "shelter, hiding place", and the Greek word Aïdès/aïdès designates at the same time the god of Hell, Aïdès (who will become Hadès), and the quality of remaining invisible, aïdès. Ionescu notices that tiedera is the anagram of tri-aïdé, which could underline the triple opposition of Pluton to Mars, to Saturn, and to the group Sun-Mercury-Venus, but also, of course, the fact that Pluto is hidden 3 times: once as an invisible planet (much smaller than Neptune and Uranus), once in the sign which represents it, and once in its name (see below).
This leaves us with the problem of the grand caché : why this attribute, when Pluto is a minuscule planet ? In quatrains II 59, II 78, III 1 and in the omen for May 1559, the grand Neptune is referred to, which suggests that this planet, rather than Pluto, is the leading figure in the last two verses : Neptune, long hidden, in dominant position at the Ascendant and forming a trine with Saturn, will moderate (tiedera) the discordance of Mars (fer) inside the cluster in Capricorn-Aquarius (dans la playe sanguine). This interpretation reinforces the status of Pluto as hidden planet, since it would then not even appear amongst the leading figures of the quatrain dedicated to it. There is however another interpretation according to which the word caché, and no longer the word grand, is the substantive which the adjective grand refers to. This leads us back to the first interpretation, but also suggests that Pluto, the grandement caché, trois fois invisible, could henceforth occupy the function of the "three times great", Hermès, and this way give birth to a new hermetism, precisely the one initiated by the Salon prophet.
As the first quatrain, related to the first transaturnian planet, was governed by unity, and as the second, related to the second transaturnian planet was governed by duality, the third one, related to the third transaturnian planet, is governed by triplicity. Ionescu, who notices (p.234) that the word playe starts with the first two letters of Pluto (which are also the initials of the observatory where the planet was discovered), fails to notice that the first letters of the words of the first verse (3 for the planet which is at the beginning of the verse, and 3 for the other terms, if the preposition, which does not exist in Latin, is omitted), form an anagram of Pluto : LUNe Obscurcie aux Profondes Tenebres = PLUTON. A new coincidence, the sceptic would probably say, but I invite him to check whether other verses exist in the entire corpus where these conditions are verified.
A demonstration more arithmetico of the legitimacy of the interpretation of Vlaicu Ionescu
"The three quatrains form a unit and whatever way is indicated for one of them is at the same time an implicit invitation to follow this way regarding the other ones." (Ionescu, p.225)
In Virgil's Aeneid (10.175-177), a passage has to do with a seer, diviner and astrologer, named Asilas : "the famous interpreter of men and gods, to whom the bowels of animals, the heavenly bodies, the birds' tongues, and the prophetic fires of lightning obey and are revealed." This mythical seer is the ancestor of the Salon prophet, since the three heavenly bodies which were unknown up until they were revealed to him. The first two verses of the three quatrains form an almost unhidden acrostic: A E I A L S, that is Asilae, "to Asilas", to whom this group of quatrains is dedicated.
The names of the three transaturnian planets appear in the quatrains dedicated to them: that of Neptune is explicit, the names of Pluto and Uranus appear in the coded form. The assignment of the 3 transaturnian names by astronomers was a completely incredible story, and the functions of the mythological gods closely coincide with the meanings which will later be assigned to the planets by astrologers. It is just as striking that the signs which henceforth represent these planets bear a very peculiar resemblance with the figure of the chart drawn for the respective moments of their discovery, and this coincidence has not escaped the author of the Centuries.
Quatrain I 84 (dedicated to Pluto) clearly indicates the duration of Uranus' cycle (84 years), but also the fact that Pluto was discovered 84 years after Neptune..
Quatrain IV 33 (= 333) indicates the periods of the two other planets, and underlines their harmonies : indeed 333 = 84 (Uranus) + 249 (Pluto) = 165 (Neptune) + 2 x 84 (Uranus). The equation of the sidereal periods (Uranus + Neptune = Pluto) is striking, since the approximation is lower than 0.1%. Moreover, the figure 333 approximately equals 2 times the Neptune's period (with an approximation of 1.04%), which confirms that the quatrain seems to be governed by duality, as shown above.
Finally, quatrain VIII 69 (= 769), dedicated to Uranus, indicates the duration of the Plutonian cycle (249 years), as quatrain I 84, dedicated to Pluto, indicated the duration of the Uranian cycle. Indeed, 769 = 249 (Pluto) + 520 (or 84 (Uranus) + 165 (Neptune) + 520), this last figure of 520 being nothing else than the sum of the ecliptic positions of the three planets at their discovery : 84° 27 + 327° 05 + 108° 14 = 519° 46, rounded up to 520°.
Thus the interpretation of all three quatrains shows that Nostradamus knew the names of the 3 trans-saturnian planets, the duration of their sidereal periods, and their respective ecliptic positions on the days of their discovery.
Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677), the amoralist, atheist, and generous philosopher, was excommunicated in 1656 by the Jewish community of Amsterdam. It mattered little to him, as long as he could write, live his philosophy, drawn to the image of his being : vital matter consisting in escaping tyrants and priests, as well as voluntary servitude. "Because Spinoza is part of the living-seeing. (…) Spinoza did not believe in hope and not even in courage ; he only believed in joy and in vision." (Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza, P.U.F., 1970, p.20)
It is better to obey the heavenly bodies, and to know the real limits of his own power in the world, than to find oneself swindled by the sordid agitation of an engine driving in nothingness and leading its physicians, its politicians, and its financiers straight into the wall. The certainty and the credibility of authorised specialists are ways to counteract the lack of reason and the torpor in front of the unknown. Large and small powers, state, social, economic, and cultural powers, external or internal powers, these petty tyrants which subject consciousness, feed on the stupid feeling of everyone's free-will, on the fear of losing this illusion, and on the general ignorance regarding the nature of Reality.
If Nostradamus has seen the future event burning in the flame, if he transcribed it in a style which bring Surrealist texts back to the level of simple schoolboy exercises, and that half a millennium of philosophical analysis has not yet dared to confront it, if he encrypted it so that his work would go through announced centuries of dark rationalism (despite the doggedness of public libraries in erasing the traces of the first editions), then history which has melted into the show since a few decennia, is only the ratification of the contemplation of the poet. And if history, since five centuries, still really follows in the wake of Nostradamus' Centuries, then the will to change matters, the arrogant dogma of modern ideology, is nothing more than a bait (which Spinoza theorized), and these two thinkers of Jewish ancestry, the first one prophet and thinker, the second one philosopher and seer, are probably the first sworn opponents to Judeo-Christian ontology, whose unique thought is the ultimate and most pitiable avatar.
It makes no difference that the main quality of the Quatrains and of the Présages is or is not to be subject to interpretation, if the attention and the emotion that they awaken are fully satisfied by the echo they inspire in one's conscience, and only in a conscience which can respect the area of immanence generated by the prophetic work: that one of vision.
(French version: May 2000 ; revised 14-05-2011)
All rights reserved © 2003-2011 Patrice Guinard