In Defense of Nostradamus
by Michael D. Fortner
Some people accuse Nostradamus of using astrology to get his prophecies, but that is not true. You cannot get the name of a future leader through what we call astrology today. His references to astrology had to mean something different because he spoke of the divine influence:
. . revealing in writing that which the Divine Spirit has made known to me . . . Only those divinely inspired can predict particular things in a prophetic spirit. . . . Hidden prophecies come to one by the subtle spirit of fire, sometimes through the understanding being disturbed in contemplating the remotest of stars, while remaining alert. The pronouncements are taken down in writing, without fear, without taint of excess verbiage. But why? Because all these things proceeded from the divine power of the great eternal God, from whom all goodness flows. . . .
He also spoke against the use of magic:
I caution you especially against the vanity of the more execrable [detestable] magic, condemned of yore by the Holy Scriptures and by the Canons of the Church.
However, judicial astrology is excepted from this judgment. For it is by this, together with divine inspiration and revelation, and continual nightly watches and calculations, that we have reduced our prophecies to writing. Although this occult philosophy was not condemned, I did not desire that you should ever be faced with their unbridled promptings. I had at my disposal many volumes which had been hidden for a great many centuries. But dreading what use might be made of them, after reading them I consigned them to the flames. As the fire came to devour them, the flame licking the air shot forth an unusual brightness, clearer than natural fire. It was like the light of lightning thunder, suddenly illuminating the house . . .
Some Christian authors claim that the constellations of the Zodiac were originally ordained of God; see E. W. Bullinger’s Witness in The Stars and other books. Nostradamus said the books that provided him with information on how to know the future were a “great many centuries” old. In the Old Testament God ordained the use of the Urim and Thummim when inquiring of God, perhaps Nostradamus utilized something similar, perhaps even originating from that. He was a Jew who’s family had converted to Christianity and was clearly a believer. Urim means “light” and Thummim “perfection.”
Therefore, since the means and method that Nostradamus used to arrive at his prophecies was a secret that he took with him to his grave, it cannot be said that he used what we refer to as astrology today.
In the epistle to King Henry, he stated; “I have mixed therewith no divination coming from fate. All from God and nature, and for the most part integrated with celestial movements.” One of the uses he made of the planets was for telling time. There were two calendars in use in his time, the Julian and Gregorian. Rather than include a date he would say that an event was to take place when Saturn is in conjunction with Jupiter, and such.
Leoni, Edgar. Nostradamus and His Prophecies. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 2000. (reprint of 1961 edition)
Hogue, John. Nostradamus: The New Revelations. Rockport, MA: Element, 1994.