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Contribution to the symposium L'astrologie et le monde; Paris
- T.W.M. van Berkel -

Nederlandse versie

Poster MAU 2004For the 30th time, the annual congress of the Mouvement Astrologie Unifié (MAU), founded in 1975 by Jacques Halbronn D.Litt., took place in Paris, on November 12-13, 2004.
The theme of the congress was: astrology and the world - from the astrological vision on the world and from the vision on the world on astrology. The congress was also meant as a tribute to Jean-Charles Pichon, French author, film director, poet and scholar.
The afternoon of November 12 was dedicated to Nostradamus. There were presentations by Jean-Christophe Pichon, a son of Jean-Charles Pichon, who described the decodation of the quatrains as developed by his father; Roger Prevost, author of Nostradamus - la mythe et la réalité, who discussed the way quatrains are related to events which occurred in Nostradamus' era; Bernard Chevignard, author/compiler of Présages de Nostradamus, who discussed his further research on De Chavigny; Gérard Morisse, who illucidated the forthcoming publication of his research on the Budapest-variant of the Du Rosne publication of the Centuries, dated in 1557; Yves Lenoble, who discussed astrological elements in the quatrains and the correspondences between on the one hand the quatrains 01-16 and 01-54 and on the other hand some parts in Roussat's Livre de l'estat et mutation des temps (1550 [1549]) and Theo van Berkel, who presented four problems regarding authenticity.
According to the attendants that afternoon, the best presentation was given by Lenoble.


The text of the contribution by Theo van Berkel

Ladies and gentlemen,

Which problems do I want to present and discuss? They are dealing with the sources we use during our research, the intervention of others in the process of writing or compiling a book, and the image of Nostradamus, which seems to me decisive in the investigation of his person and oeuvre. You will see that these problems are not isolated from each other, but that there is a connection between them.

I want to start with the image of Nostradamus. Almost all over the world, he is known for the Centuries, but one does not remind enough that he calculated birth charts, horary charts and practiced mundane astrology, i.e. wrote predictions about events in the world, their fulfilment dates and the place, region or country which is involved. In the Almanachs and Pronostications, all these elements: the event, the fulfilment chronology and the place of fulfilment, are present. It is exactly there that they are basically different from the Centuries, because in the Centuries the chronology of events is missing, next followed by the lack of places of fulfilment.
The question is how to discover the sources of the Centuries, in order to determine the origins of the predictions in the quatrains. How must one determine if the sources are astrological or otherwise, such as historical or prophetical? Like this, we also occupy ourselves with the question of the astrological tools which are present in the Almanachs and Pronostications are fit to compile the Centuries, if these tools are adequate for such a project, a series of hundreds of predictions for hundreds of years.

After the decease of Nostradamus in 1566, it has been tried to attribute to him important predictions regarding the circumstances in France during the religious wars in the second half of the 16th century. According to the "Recueil des Présages Prosaïques", these wars were preluded by the decease in 1559 of Henry II, predicted in a.o. "Les Significations de l'Eclipse 1559", known for the reply to contemporary critics of Nostradamus.
I have tried to make this clear by demonstrating that in "Les Significations...", there are two non-identical horoscopes of the September 1559 Lunar Eclipse. One of them contains an error: Mars in Sagittarius conjunct Antares. In a clandestine English translation of the "Almanach pour 1559", and in some parts of the "Recueil des Présages Prosaïques", one can read that for the period of September-October 1559, Mars is described as being located in Capricorn. It is hard to imagine that an astrologer, two or three months after the completion of an Álmanach, writes texts with contradictional data. Neither in the English translation, nor in the "Recueil des Présages Prosaïques" regarding 1559, there are traces of a horoscope of this Lunar Eclipse and it is almost not imaginable that an astrologer first calculates a horoscope and next replaces it by a horoscope which is not identical to it. 
The addition of text from "Eclipsium omnium..." by Leovitius means that it has been tried to attribute to Nostradamus that he predicted the decease of Henry II.
During a discussion of this matter on "Encyclopaedia Hermetica", dr. Gruber, a German Century-scholar, supposed that such a contradiction is characteristic for the nostradamian oeuvre. In other words: the presence of such contradictions in publications, attributed to Nostradamus, together with other factors, implies that Nostradamus is the author, also because of his "prophetism".
The question is: how to analyse and interprete contradictional elements in the nostradamian oeuvre in order to determine if a certain publication is authentic or fake?

Let us also have a look to the Epistle to Henry II, as we know it from several publications, such as the one by Le Pelletier. This Epistle is dated on June 27, 1558, and does not contain one single prediction about the decease of Henry II. Like this, the Epistle to Henry II corresponds with the English translation of the "Almanach pour 1559", compiled in March-May 1558, which also does not contain one single prediction about the decease of Henry II
The authenticity of "Les Significations..." can be contested, especially because of its contents regarding the decease of a king. Does this mean that the Epistle to Henry II is authentic, because this Epistle corresponds with other predictions for 1557 in the sense that there are no predictions about the decease on a certain moment of Henry II?

The last problem deals with the possibility that certain parts of the nostradamian oeuvre are edited or revised by others, with or without Nostradamus' permission.
Jean Brotot, a Lyonese publisher, wrote a letter to Nostradamus, dated on September 20, 1557. The day before, he received two manuscripts of Nostradamus with predictions for 1558. In his letter of September 20, 1557, Brotot wrote that the readers would not find the texts in these manuscripts attractive and that he had decided to publish only one of these manuscripts, adding elements of the other one. Next, he would add lunar calendars and "philosophical lines".
The contents of this letter reveal one of the causes of the differences between lunar phase data in the calendars and the text: the intervention of a publisher. The contents also show that the sequence of the predictions etc. in the book which finally was published, does not correspond with the sequence in the manuscript.
What is most interesting, is the reference to the "philosophical lines". Is this a reference to the short phrases in the lunar calendars, or is this a reference to the quatrains for each month? In other words: were these quatrains written by Nostradamus or added by Brotot in order to beautify the edition and to make it attractive for the readers?


Paris, France, November 12, 2004
T.W.M. van Berkel

J Halbronn and TWM van Berkel

Jacques Halbronn D.Litt. and Theo van Berkel
Bibliotheca Astrologica, Paris, November 12, 2004


  1. See Les Significations de l'Eclipse 1559 and Les Significations de l'Eclipse 1559 and the Pronostication for the year 1559. [text]

  2. See Astrological anomalies in Almanachs, Pronostications and correspondence. [text]


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