Portrait de Nostradamus
Gravures Actualité



Horary chart for the theft of sacred objects
from the cathedral of orange, february 3, 1562

by T. W. M. van Berkel

   Some horoscopes, calculated by Nostradamus, have been preserved. One of them, dealing with a theft of sacred objects from the cathedral in Orange, has been published in two books. In 1961, this chart was published by Edgar Leoni in Nostradamus and his Prophecies. In 1972, this chart was also published by Edgar Leroy in Nostradamus: ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre.1

   Both authors base themselves upon the same source: a copy of the letter from Nostradamus to the canons of the Orange cathedral, dated on February 4, 1562. This copy was made on June 19, 1714, and is preserved in the Arles library.

   Leoni presents, besides the chart, the complete text (in old-French) of the letter from Nostradamus and its translation in English. Leroy presents, besides the chart, fragments from the letter. He also describes the circumstances around the time of the theft.

Religious riots in Orange in 1561

   Using the title “Nostradamus détective avant la lettre”, Leroy describes the situation in Orange around the time of the theft. On December 20, 1561, between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening, around three hundred armed men entered the Orange cathedral. They destroyed all altars and images, the fonts and the metal vessal for Holy Water. The next day, a burning took place of the relics of a number of churches and the great Crucifix of the Franciscans was destroyed. Also the (guarded) treasure of the cathedral was stolen. This treasure included a.o. an image of Mary and her child, images of saint Florence and saint Eutrope, the protector of Orange, a great crucifix with Christ and a great calix. Lots of silver were used during the production of these objects.

   The canons suspected two of their colleagues, who were in contact with protestants. However, they could not find the offenders. They turned themselves desperately to Nostradamus.

The nature of the chart

   Nostradamus calculated a chart in order to answer the question what happened. This chart was not calculated for the date of the theft or its time. The chart was calculated for the moment Nostradamus started to analyze the problem, in February 1562. This way of practicing astrology is named: horary astrology. According to this technique, the answer to the question is hidden in the moment the question is asked or the problem is analyzed, provided that certain conditions permit the astrologer to give the answer.

The published charts

   In the book by Leoni, a copy is published from the horary chart as it has been preserved. In the book by Leroy, the preserved horary chart has been drawn again.

Horoscope Leoni

Horary chart according to Leoni (source figure).
Date: iii febroarii 1562
Time: hora 7 post meridiem

Horoscope Leroy

Horary chart according to Leroy (source figure).
Date: ii febroarii 1562
Time: hora 4 post meridiem

   Leroy tried to make a copy of the source figure in the most accurate way. In both charts, Saturn and the Caput Draconis have no degree remark. Saturn is in the eleventh house in Cancer, the Caput Draconis in the sixth house in Aquarius. In both charts, the Moon is in the sixth house on 3 Aquarius. This is wrong. The zodiacal longitude of the cusp of the sixth house is 18 Aquarius; the Moon should be in the fifth house.

   There are also differences. The source figure is dated on February 3 (iii febroarii) 1562. The figure by Leroy is dated on February 2 (ii febroarii) 1562. According to the source figure, the time is: hora 7 post meridiem. According to Leroy, the time is: hora 4 post meridiem. If the horary chart was calculated for February 2, 1562, 4:00 pm, Mercury and Venus would be in the sixth house, Sun, Moon and Caput Draconis in the seventh house, Mars and Jupiter in the tenth house and Saturn in the eleventh house. This leads to the conclusion that the date and time, given by Leroy, are not correct.

   In a horoscope, the Ascendant and the Descendant are two poles of one axis, as are the cusps 2 and 8, 3 and 9, the IC and the MC, 5 and 11 and the cusps 6 and 12. If the zodiacal longitude of for example the Ascendant is 12 Virgo, the Descendant is also on the 12th degree, but in Pisces, opposite 12 Virgo.

   In the chart by Leroy, the zodiacal longitude of cusp 3 is 1 Scorpio and the zodiacal longitude of cusp 9 is 4 Taurus. One of these longitudes is not correct. The source figure shows that the zodiacal longitude of cusp 9 is 1 Taurus. In this chart, the number 1 is not that clear, but it is readable as such. If the zodiacal longitude of cusp 9 would be 4 Taurus, Mars on 3 Taurus should be in the eighth house instead of in the ninth house.

   In the chart by Leroy, the zodiacal longitude of the IC is 7 Sagittarius; the zodiacal longitude of the MC is 1 Gemini. One of these longitudes is not correct. The source figure shows that the zodiacal longitude of the MC is 7 Gemini.

   The chart by Leroy turns out to be not an exact copy of the source figure. Anyone who thinks that the chart by Leroy shows that Nostradamus used different degrees for cusps who are in opposition with each other, has a wrong idea. The source figure shows the same degrees.

Present-day software

   Neither Leoni, nor Leroy checked the correctness of the horary chart. In this article, the chart has been recalculated with present-day software.

   Brind'Amour noted that Nostradamus estimated the zodiacal longitudes of the cusps instead of calculating them by means of interpolation.2 During recalculation, this became also clear in the case of this chart. A time of 7:00 pm (19:00 True Local Time, Salon-de-Provence) would have resulted in different zodiacal longitudes of the cusps. The MC for example would be on 10 Gemini instead of 7 Gemini. In the recalculation process, the zodiacal longitudes of the cusps were recalculated on the basis of the Mean Sidereal Time for the zodiacal longitude of the MC (7:00 Gemini). The time of the chart: 19:00 True Local Time.

Horoscope AstroScoop Plus

Horary chart according to AstroScoop Plus (source figure).
Date: February 3, 1562.
Time: Time: 19:00:00

MC 07:00 Ge
Cusp 11 15:18 Cn
Cusp 12 16:22 Le
Cusp 12 10:54 Vi
Asc 10:54 Vi
Cusp 2 04:09 Li
Cusp 3 01:30 Sc
Sun 24:39 Aq
Moon 25:16 Aq
Mercury 29:38 Ca
Venus 29:09 Ca
Mars 03:11 Ta
Jupiter 22:28 Ta
Saturn R 28:26 Ge
Caput Draconis 14:08 Aq

   In the next table, the zodiacal longitudes, given in the three charts, are listed.

Leoni Leroy AstroScoop Plus
Date February 3, 1562 February 2, 1562 February 3, 1562
Time 19:00 16:00 19:00:00
MC 7 Ge 1 Ge 07:00 Ge
Cusp 11 17 Cn 17 Cn 15:18 Cn
Cusp 12 18 Le 18 Le 16:22 Le
Asc 12 Vi 12 Vi 10:54 Vi
Cusp 2 4 Li 4 Li 04:09 Li
Cusp 3 1 Sc 1 Sc 01:30 Sc
Sun 24 Aq 24 Aq 24:39 Aq
Moon 3 Aq 3 Aq 25:16 Aq
Mercury 17 Ca 17 Ca 29:38 Ca
Venus 29 Ca 29 Ca 29:09 Ca
Mars 3 Ta 3 Ta 22:28 Ta
Jupiter 23 Ta 23 Ta 22:28 Ta
Saturn Cn Cn R 28:26 Ge
Caput Draconis Aq Aq 14:08 Aq

   The zodiacal longitudes of the cusps in the recalculated horary chart are calculated according to the Regiomontanus system of house division. They correspond almost perfectly with the longitudes in the source figure.

   In almost every way, the recalculated chart corresponds with the source figure, published by Leoni. This confirms that Leroy made mistakes during drawing his chart.

   There are also differences between the recalculated chart and the source figure. In the recalculated chart, the Caput Draconis is not in the sixth house, but in the fifth house, on 14:08 Aquarius. Saturn is not in the eleventh house in Cancer, but on 28:26 Gemini in the tenth house, retrograde.

   In the recalculated chart, there is an almost perfect New Moon in Aquarius, almost 10 degrees before the Caput Draconis. This points to an invisible Solar Eclipse (it takes place beneath the Ascendant-Descendant axis). Mercury and Venus are conjunct on the last degree of Capricorn.

The interpretation of the horary chart

   It is almost impossible to derive from the letter by Nostradamus which astrological factors are discussed. He confirms the idea of the canons that two of their colleagues are involved in the theft en writes that the booty is divided among priests who look like soldiers. This might refer to Mars and Jupiter. He predicts that Orange will become victim of the plague if the sacred objects are not returned to the canons. It is not clear on which astrological factors he has based this prediction.

   The interpretation is most likely based upon the source figure, as published by Leoni. Some positions in this chart do not match with the results, obtained by means of present-day software. There is no reason to assume that there are great differences between present-day software and ephemeredes from the 16th century. Present-day software shows that the source figure contains several important mistakes: Saturn in the wrong house and sign, not being retrograde, Mercury not conjunct Venus and the Sun not conjunct the Moon. Interpretation of the recalculated chart results in another explanation than the one, based upon the source figure.

Summary and conclusions

   Leoni and Leroy present, each in their own way, the horary chart by Nostradamus regarding the theft of sacred objects from the Orange cathedral. Their charts are different. Verification shows that Leroy made mistakes during drawing and dated the chart wrongly. Leoni copied the source figure.

   Present-day software shows the date, the time and the place for which the chart was calculated. The date is the one of the source figure. The time is almost the one of the source figure, the slight difference is caused by the way Nostradamus determined the zodiacal longitude of the house cusps.

   Compared with the recalculated chart, the source figure contains mistakes, which nullify the explanation in the letter by Nostradamus.

   It is almost impossible to relate the explanation by Nostradamus to the source figure in terms of “this explanation is based upon...”

T. W. M. van Berkel


      - Pierre Brind’Amour: Astrologie.

      - Edgar Leoni: Nostradamus and his Prophecies. New York, 1982 (1961).

      - Edgar Leroy: Nostradamus: ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre. Saint-Rémy de Provence, 1993 (1972).


1 Leoni, p.768 - 771 and Leroy, p.88 - 92. Retour

2 Brind'Amour, 1993. Retour


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Tous droits réservés © 2003 T. W. M. van Berkel