A Key to Developing a Perspective of Nostradamus

My recent articles about Jane Roberts and 'Seth' show how transcendental communication cases can encompass prophetic statements and circumstances.  This article presents English translations of the 1562 correspondence between Francois Berard and Nostradamus (1503-1556).  Nostradamus's letter in response was translated in English and posted to the alt.prophecies.nostradamus newsgroup on August 31, 2000 by author Peter Lemesurier (1936-2016) with the notation: "So far as I know, this letter has not been translated into English before.  I'll leave you to adjust for any mechanical transcription errors."  The article headline is "Nostradamus's letter to Francois Berard of 27 August 1562."  The letter contains acrostics of the two men's names.  Peter Lemesurier also included the translated letter in his final books about Nostradamus. 

Here are Peter Lemesurier's introductory comments and then the Nostradamus letter to Francois Berard.

Letter 41 of Nostradamus's private correspondence [as collected and published by Jean Dup├Ębe] is the one that contains most of what we know about his nocturnal esoteric practices and the sort of raw material that they produced.  The copy appears to be in Chavigny's hand.

The original letter seems to have been delivered personally by the seer to Francois Berard, lawyer and Procurator Fiscal to the Papal Legation at Avignon, a keen alchemist and would-be disciple and assistant of the mage of Salon, on or about 10th September 1562.  It concerns (among other things) a golden magic ring that the latter had recently acquired.  As a magician in his own right, Nostradamus naturally had such a ring of his own (in his case, one inset with cornelian, subsequently bequeathed to his son Cesar), and its purpose, like Berard's, was to help bestow on him power to summon up the spirits and to assist the general alchemical magnum opus.  Such, at all events, was the known function of such rings, and the precise methods of making them were likewise well-known and in print.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Nostradamus devotes most of his letter to his 'reading' of Berard's ring.  It's Latin syntax is notably vague and inconsistent, but with Nostradamus this does not necessarily argue any kind of drugged or trance-like state.

To the most learned Francois Berard, Doctor of Law, from Michel Nostradamus, greetings.

Most learned Berard

Since leaving you, I have often reflected in my mind both on your letter and on what passed between us, but was unable to satisfy all your requirements in this great heat.  Accept therefore that for nine nights in succession I have sat from midnight until about four o'clock both with my brow crowned with laurel and wearing the [ring with its] sky-blue stone and, as it were on the [prophetic] tripod, have wrung out of that good spirit [everything I can] about your ring.  Therefore, having plucked a swan's quill (for he thrice refused a goose one), and with the spirit dictating to me, as though carried away by a poetic frenzy I launched myself into the following verses:

For thee the suspect potions Leontine
Refused are by the voice.  Thy field is free.
And PARPALUS, 'spite slain burnt offering
No ring shall grant.  Yet, bare-head, now rejoice.
Crushed all your enemies.  Stern spearman, he
In fluid air who lives, shall be that seer.
Shall come that ring when, splitting rocks, the ram
Colchis's fig trees shakes with furious horns,
Or cypresses on tombs far from the sun.
Bathed be the hideous limbs with blood of frog.
Enmired the nightly ghoul in Thracian gore.
Render the cedar charcoal in the censer
And seek the half-gnawed bones of fasting dog.
Ring-saved thou from every whirling cyclone.
Dearer the gods be blood November-sprinkled.
On folk though fall Carina, now rejoice!

Turning now to our own good spirit in person, and excellent in every point, I prayed that for the sake of his most faithful Achates [i.e. friend and follower] Francisco Berardo, an alchemist who succeeds admirably in the transmutation of metals and is a supreme investigator of them, he might teach me how and in what manner he might bring forth ELICIUM and gold and purify pyrites, which we call emery.  Thus I, laurel boughs having been laid upon the pillow, and my head girt with a crown of laurel and daphnoides which we call periwinkle:

"Angel who art my guardian and who guideth me in piety, grant that on matters touching the transformation of natural substances I may prophesy as on the brazen tripod, according to the courses of the stars.  Grant these things, I beseech thee, through the friendly silences of the moon, and through these shades as Mars shines at his rising.  Grant them, I say, for the sake of the most good Christ and his Holy Virgin Mother, and of Michael the Archangel my invincible patron.  Above all, grant that by your guidance I may increase both the resources and the favour of nature, transform with mercury the basest metals, even the slightest traces, into the veritable solar image that is gold, and make this gold itself potable for the prolongation of the lives of emperors, Kings and the greatest princes: [grant also] that these metals, along with the gold, may flow easily through the tubes of the still, without any of these liquids evaporating and [without] the gold, separated both from the watery and from the earthy, sinking to the bottom, but that all may be distilled at once by subtle artifice."

And he, in my dreams, seemed to me to reply:

Not Amaltheus' horn raise at the door:
Olenus' goats let thou not prance within.
So let the twin-born blow the fires alight.
Turbid the wind hydraulic that thee gives
Rare gold; the dewy moonstuff pour in th' cup.
Aesgynum press, lest ought of it escape.
Do thou add cadmia, some pompholix
All fresh; of summer myrtle add the oils.
Mix in, with sulphur, scraped molybdenum,
Upon this, burn cucii and ciphii stalks.
So shall thy fleece catch Tagus' precious lees.

Furthermore, on the subject of your destiny, of your life and its length, of your death and the manner of it, of your foes, of the spirit hidden in the ring receive, among other jewels of your recompense, the following:

Make me some statues in a rustic place,
In gold a magic image and a wand
Carved round with mice that in these vast abodes
Have dwelling: this shall be our offering.
And mix with styrax, myrrh and purest blood
Incense, and add to sacred thymiama,
Laurel-entwined, within a bough of green.
Night shall it be when He Who Thee Rewards
Opens the age of gold, swan-quill in hand,
Stroking thy beard, though strangely hairless thou.
Then shall descend on thee, sprinkling its dew,
Rose-fingered dawn, granting the ring-empowered
Aglaia's grace by him whose spirit wild
Dwells in pyropes.  Free from demons foul
And pure that solar ring!  And as dread Saturn
'Midst Libra walks, soon shall the sprites attain
Unto thy blissful brow; then pullets' entrails,
Spring's fair burnt-offering, roast o'er steady flame.

These, then, learned Berard, are the things that I have been able to glean from that good spirit, as from the [oracular] cave, according to the most profound judgement of the stars.  And for it, in truth, I had to await the rising of Mars, which appeared in the first hour after midnight, when the moon was in conjunction with the Tail of the Dragon and the sun in fortunate conjunction with the Tail of the Lion, while Mercury was in quadrature with the right shoulder of Orion.  This is why you did well, who are nevertheless outstanding in wisdom, unequalled in erudition, virtue, eloquence and knowledge of the occult, to think of addressing yourself as it were to the oracle of Apollo in respect of these questions that are exacting, difficult and remote from the common [understanding].  For in every deliberation that touches on things great and exacting it is [only] pious to implore the aid of the Gods, since without it the human [variety] can achieve little.  It is meet to imitate Xenophon who called Socrates in counsel as to whether he should follow Cyrus after his departure from Athens.  For the rest, all those things that you desired to know you can easily obtain by detailed examination: for the stars promise you the greatest things.  But in matters of occult philosophy, you shall not yet obtain your desires, for Saturn in Cancer stands most greatly in your way, and even opposes it all diametrically.  But truly that recompense promises you (apart from the baldness from the ring, and apart from the good [indwelling] spirit) safety from all terrors, and shall confer on you a life of good fortune for as long as it shall last.  I have recently sent you some thymiama, which some call Vulpinacea occidentalis Arabica, at the same time as our astrolabe which I received from the Prefect of Provence, Baron [...]: if this bears on your concerns, use it as you wish, I have nothing against it; otherwise see to it that everything is returned to me as soon as possible.  As far as the thymiama is concerned, various people think different things — some call it amber, others something else — but be  persuaded that what I have sent you is the true thymiama thanks to which Medea, once she had [gathered it], forced old men to grow young again.  I hope soon to complete your birth-chart and to send it to you.  And in following through your [astrological] revolutions, I have discovered that in this year of 1562, from mid-July to the beginning of August, there were serious events in your life and dangers for your honour and repute.  Be therefore of good courage, since hereafter the stars promise you prosperity.  Farewell and live happily.  From Salon-de-Crau, 27th August 1562.

Done by M. Nostradamus 1562

Other extant Nostradamus correspondence includes the letter from Francois Berard to Nostradamus.  The letter may be read at http://archive.is/TY9U (as follows).

Francois Berard to Nostradamus:

To the most eminent master of all sciences, remarkable for his merits, Michel Nostradamus, his incomparable friend, greeting.

Most eminent master, I have urgently asked your companion hereby to remind you of the conversation that we had [while you were] here:

First, to the effect that you would entrust him with your astrolabe, together with the book of Hermes and various associated pieces, so that he can forward them all to me.

Secondly, that you would provide me with a little thymiama.

Thirdly, that you would work on my birth chart as soon as you have a quiet moment in your house.

Fourthly, that you would draw up a chart on the basis of whatever you can find out about my ring.

Fifthly, that you would send me a full and detailed commentary on the birth-chart that I myself have drawn up, so that the subject of it may by God’s grace anticipate the ills to come as best he may to the best of your satisfaction.  I hear that he will shortly be back, [so] my sister is pressing me to insist that you hasten on his account.

Sixthly, I request that you devote yourself to a study of the chart of my cousin Paul Seguin, who is ready to pay you generously for your work.

Finally, you know what it is that I want above all and that torments me. I beg and implore you in your incredible mercy to gratify your friend Berard, to support him, stand by him and help him in this; for he will for ever hereafter feel obligated to you and your descendants.  Let your friends participate in your work.  Remember what you predicted for me on the basis of the stars, in particular because of Mercury in Aquarius.  Let what you said not be in vain!

This messenger is trustworthy: have no fear of confiding to him whatever you wish to convey to me, I know him and his background.

While I await your prophetic writings, I implore God almighty to maintain you and your family in health and in happiness.  Farewell and love me as ever.

(This letter’s purpose is to refresh your memory.)

Avignon, 13 August 1562.

Your all-devoted,

Francois Berard.


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