Nostradamus remains history’s most famous astronomer and seer nearly half a millennium after his death. His number-one ranking is even more impressive when you realize his writings’ odd and mysteriousness.
Les Propheties, published in 1555, gives out his visions through poems known as quatrains. For decades, these have been read and re-read, with generations of readers believing that Nostradamus prophesied everything from the Great Fire of London to the nuclear catastrophe of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
But what hints has he given us about current events and our immediate future?
In recent years, the world has been rattled by seismic economic developments, with rising living costs affecting everything from food to fuel. Nostradamus seemed to foresee this with his terrible prediction: ‘So high will the bushel of wheat soar / That man will be eating his fellow man’.
Fortunately, this forecast has stayed largely symbolic, although it undoubtedly refers to the current everyday financial problems, with headlines last year noting how many individuals on low incomes have to choose between ‘feeding and heating’.
Climate disaster in 2024
We don’t need Nostradamus to warn us that climate chaos is in full swing, with extreme storms, wildfires, and spiking temperatures all over the news this year. But what’s fascinating is how he seems to have predicted these cataclysmic occurrences centuries ago.
‘The dry soil will become more parched, and there will be tremendous floods,’ he prophesies in one quatrain. He also warns of a ‘ very large hunger through pestiferous wave,’ which could relate to tsunamis destroying farmland and causing illness and malnutrition to take hold. If such predictions come true, we may face far more disastrous climate catastrophes in 2024 than many now dread.
A showdown with China in 2024
Journalists, economists, and geopolitical specialists have written entire books about China’s ascent as a global force and how it is radically reorienting the world’s power balance. Many have gone so far as to claim that the rivalry between the US and China amounts to a new Cold War.
Of all, as with the Soviet Union, a Cold War with China has the terrifying possibility of a “hot war.” And some lines by Nostradamus may allude to this happening soon.
He writes in a quatrain that begins with a picture of ‘fighting and naval battle’ that the ‘Red enemy will go pale with terror / Putting the big Ocean in dread.’
Royal Turmoil in 2024
In a book published in the mid-2000s, bestselling Nostradamus commentator Mario Reading claimed that Nostradamus predicted Queen Elizabeth II’s death in 2022. While this did occur, it is likely due to Reading’s clairvoyance rather than Nostradamus’, given there is little in the quatrains that might be taken as pointing to the Queen’s death.
Having said that, Nostradamus does refer to someone he refers to as the “King of the Isles,” who suffers a contentious divorce and is “forced out.” Furthermore, he is replaced with “one who will bear no king’s mark.”
In 2024, will there be a new Pope?
Pope Francis is in his mid-80s and has recently experienced health issues. Is there a change afoot in the Holy See? In one quatrain, Nostradamus addresses this issue explicitly, and it does not bode well for the Catholic Church.
‘Through the death of the extremely old Pontiff will be elected a Roman of excellent age,’ he adds. While the coming of a younger, more vigorous Pope appears to be a good thing, Nostradamus goes on to predict that the new leader will ‘weaken his see’ and will be Pope for a long period.
Of course, the precise meaning of ‘weaken’ is debatable. Is he implying that the church’s influence will wane, or that a worse scandal is on the way? Time will tell, but if Nostradamus is correct, the 2020s will continue to be ‘interesting times’ for us all.