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Born in the December of 1503 to a grain dealer and his wife, Michel de Nostredame seemed to have an unexceptional childhood.  He entered Avignon University at the age of fifteen and within a year was forced to leave due to the plague. After spending some years working as an apothecary he started to attend Montpellier University in 1529 to study medicine.  Forced to also leave this university as they discovered he had been working as an apothecary, which was very much frowned upon, he went back to being an apothecary.  He is credited with making a medicine, the rose pill, which was considered by many to offer protection against the plague.

Drawn to the Occult

After two marriages and eight children Nostradamus set aside medicine and turned towards the occult.  His first published almanac was in 1550 and it was so well received that he went on to produce at least one annually.  All together his almanacs are believed to contain almost six and a half thousand prophesies.  However the prophesies for which he is famous today come from the thousand or so four line quatrains he wrote.  These were not incredibly well received; he was accused of being in league with the devil, or worse a fake.

The elite section of society generally regarded his information as having been delivered to him by spirit, and soon he was giving audiences to nobles from all over the land.  They came to Nostradamus for their horoscopes and life advice.  By 1566 Nostradamus was counsellor and physician in ordinary to the King.  Whilst he has been credited with entering into a trance like state to gain his information, it would appear, through reading his own words about clearing his mind and gaining mental calm and clarity that it was meditation that was his avenue of communication rather than trance.

His Work

The Prophecies were published in three volumes in 1555, 1557 and 1558, but his works that have proved to be the most popular with centuries of readers have been the almanacs.  Nostradamus’s Almanacs were published annually from 1550 up until his death, occasionally there would be two or even three editions each year.  Though he was well known for his many predictions Nostradamus was also widely regarded as a healer, and is credited with writing a number of medical books.

Modern Sceptics

It is said that many of his prophesies are only accurate because they are proven so in retrospect, that those who want to believe find a way of making his words fit events from history.  This retroactive clairvoyance is evident because no one has ever interpreted one of his quatrains before an event has occurred.  None the less Nostradamus is still regarded as both prophet and healer and his quatrains are still studied by scholars around the world, in the hope that the natural disasters and manmade events that he prophesises do not come to pass.  Nostradamus has of course been misquoted and hoaxes have been constructed to seemingly predict events, but even so the ancient works still stand as evident of his influence on the world.

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