Portrait de Nostradamus
Gravures Actualité



A supposed correspondence
between a présage and a quatrain

by T. W. M. van Berkel

The Présage for June 1555

   The Almanacs of the year 1550 and of each year between 1552 and 1567 are for a major part preserved and annotated by De Chavigny.

   In 1999, Chevignard published “Présages de Nostradamus”. The contents of this book :

      - A detailed introduction by Chevignard.
      - “Présages en vers 1555 - 1567”, containing the text of 154 Présages (four-line verses) as published in the Almanacs of 1555 and 1557 - 1567, with annotations by Chevignard.
      - “Présages en prose 1550 - 1559”, containing discussions by De Chavigny of the predictions in the Almanacs for the years 1550-1559.
      - Appendices, among which predictions of Nostradamus for 1557 and 1558 and a booklet about a Lunar Eclipse in 1659.

   The ideas of De Chavigny about the meaning of the Présage for June 1555 (P7[8]) are remarkable. This Présage reads as follows :

Loin près de l’Urne le malin tourne arrière,
Qu’au grand Mars le feu donra empeschement.
Vers l’Aquilon, le midy, la grand fiere.
Flora tiendra la porte en pensement.

   De Chavigny explains :

   Saturne retrograde loin & près du signe d’Aquarius. Il remarque noz troubles de 1585 & plus outre, Sat[urne] estant en l’Urne 1580 & 81. C’est ce qu’il dit en ses Centu[ries], En l’an cinq cens octante plus & moins, On trouvera le siecle bien estrange [06-02].1

   Translated in English :

   Saturn retrograde far from and close to the sign of Aquarius. He points to our troubles in 1585 and later, Saturn in Aquarius in 1580 - 81. This is what he says in his Centuries : In the year five hundred and eighty, more or less, one will find a very strange century [06-02].

   De Chavigny connects the Présage for June 1555 with the first two lines of quatrain 06-02. He writes that this Présage and the first two lines of quatrain 06-02 were fulfilled in 1585 and later. His astrological thesis is that Nostradamus based both this Présage and the first two lines of quatrain 06-02 on the position of Saturn in Aquarius in 1580 - 81.

   The idea that the name “Urn” is another name for Aquarius, is also favoured by Brind'Amour and Leoni. However, neither of them refers to De Chavigny.2

   In quatrain 06-02, the years 580 and 703 are given. In his comments, Leoni states that Nostradamus wrote about the years 1580 and 1703.3

The Almanacs versus the Centuries

   Theoretically, it is possible that parallels exist between predictions in the Almanacs for the years 1555-1567 and quatrains in the Centuries. However, the composing processes of the Almanacs and the Centuries differ entirely from each other.

   The Almanacs are written for the years 1550 - 1567. The time span of the quatrains in the Centuries runs from March 1555 to 3797.4 This time span converges for only a small part with the time span, covered by the Almanacs.

   In the Almanacs, Nostradamus uses zodiacal longitudes and aspects, which occur in the years he described: 1550 - 1567. He determines the nature of the events, the fulfilment place and the fulfilment date by (judiciary) astrology. In the Centuries, he uses zodiacal longitudes and aspects, which occur in the period October 1524 - February 1554. In the quatrains, the nature of these events is not indicated by astrology, but by what he calls “imaginations” (visions, revelations).5 Astrology serves to determine the place and fulfilment date of the events.

   The Almanacs and the Centuries are two different sets of predictions. They aim at different fulfilment periods. They are based on different periods of astrological data and different techniques of determination. Therefore, regarding the nature of the predicted events, it is not possible that there are parallels between the Almanacs and the Centuries.

Some principles of judiciary astrology

   The explanation of De Chavigny implies that the effect of Saturn in Aquarius in 1580-81 was noticeable in 1585 and later. This is an unusual way of applying judiciary astrology. In judiciary astrology, it is usual to describe the effect of a planet in a sign for the period in which this planet is located in a sign. It is also usual to estimate the period in which an astrological aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) will have its effect, for example in the case of solar eclipses. De Chavigny is mistaken when he states that the effect of a zodiacal longitude manifests itself more than four years later. It is also irrational to suppose that an Almanac, written in 1554, dealing with 1555, contains a prediction for thirty years later.

The constellation Crater

   In June 1555, Saturn moved from 10:06:57 Aries to 11:32:35 Aries. Mars, the other “malin” (malefic), moved from 20:48:50 Virgo to 5:38:35 Libra. On June 4, 1555, on 22:24:11 Virgo, Mars was in square with the Sun on 22:24:11 Gemini. Mars was conjunct the Fixed Star Labrum, located on 21:13:22 Virgo. Labrum belongs to the constellation Crater, which in the time of Nostradamus stretched from the 8th until the 25th degree of Virgo.6

   The constellation Crater was known to both Ptolemy and Roussat.7 It represents the cup, given by Apollo to a crow. Once upon a time, Apollo gave a feast to Jupiter and sent a crow with a cup to fetch some water. On his way, the crow noticed a fig tree. He rested there until the figs became ripe and feasted himself upon them. When he remembered his errand, he feared the anger of Apollo and picked up a snake. When he met Apollo, he gave as an excuse that the snake had prevented him from filling the cup. Apollo ordained that the crow should never drink as long as figs were not ripe and placed the crow, the cup and the snake in the heavens as memorial : the constellations Corvus (crow), Crater (cup) and Hydra (snake).8

   In disharmonic sense, the effect of the constellation Crater is a disordered life, full of sudden and unexpected events, and great danger of unhappiness, but usually some eminence.9

   In “Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible”, the astrological thesis regarding the Présage for June 1555 is that the first line indicates the square aspect of Mars with the Sun, while Mars is conjunct the Fixed Star Labrum. This thesis is confirmed by the “Présages en prose”. In the first book, the Présage for June 1555 is listed as #359.10 The next item, #360, describes a Lunar Eclipse. According to present-day software, this eclipse occurred on June 4, 1555, after Sun square Mars. Nostradamus writes that the effect of this Eclipse is noticeable in places and regions, ruled by Sagittarius. This is a reference to the zodiacal longitude of the Moon during the Eclipse: the 23rd degree of Sagittarius.

   The astrological data, given in the “Présages en prose” do not sustain the explanation of De Chavigny. On the contrary, they weaken his explanation. The first line of the Présage for June 1555 does not refer to Saturn in Aquarius (Saturn is actually in Aries), but to Mars in Virgo conjunct the Fixed Star Labrum, i.e. located in the constellation Crater, which Nostradamus called “the Urn”.

Quatrain 09-73 : the secret of the Urn

   The name “Urn” is given in the quatrains 06-52, 09-73 and 10-50. It is only in quatrain 09-73 that the astrological indications are sufficient to determine the fulfilment date as well as the composing date. This quatrain reads :

Dans Fois entrez Roy ceiulee Turbao,
Et regnera moins reuolu Saturne,
Roy Turban blanc Bizance coeur ban,
Sol, Mars, Mercure pres la hurne.

   In the fourth line, Nostradamus refers to a conjunction of Sun, Mars and Mercury close to “the Urn”. This means : close to the beginning of the constellation Crater, the 8th degree of Virgo.

   A basic thesis of “Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible” is that Nostradamus composed the quatrains between October 16, 1524, and February 27, 1554, the “imagination period”. The astrological data in this quatrain sustain this thesis. In this imagination period, only once there was a conjunction of Sun, Mars and Mercury close to the 8th degree of Virgo. At midnight Greenwich Mean Time on August 18, 1530, the zodiacal longitude of the Sun was 3:42:30 Virgo, the zodiacal longitude of Mars was 4:24:00 Virgo and the zodiacal longitude of Mercury retrograde was 5:23:37 Virgo. These astrological data correspond in full detail with the fourth line, also regarding the order of the given planets.

   The composing date of this quatrain is August 18, 1530. According to the CD4-system, the progression system by which fulfilment data for the quatrains are calculated, the fulfilment date of this quatrain is October 4, 2006, Gregorian calendar. The second line indicates a period shorter than 29 years and 167 days, an average rotation period of Saturn. This line means that the reign period starts at October 4, 2006, and ends before April 2036.11

   The astrological indications in the quatrains 06-52 and 10-50 are not sufficient to determine the composing date of the fulfilment date.

   In quatrain 06-52, the fourth line reads : Le Sol à l’vrne feront prins fleuues en glace. The indication “Sol à l’vrne” means that when this quatrain was composed, the Sun was somewhere between the 8th and the 25th degree of Virgo. This means that the composing date is between August 22 and September 12 in one of the years 1525 - 1553. The frost period, described in the second half of the fourth line, indicate that this quatrain will be fulfilled in the winter in one of the years between 1555 and 3796.12

   The first two lines of quatrain 10-50 read : La Meuse au iour terre de Luxembourg, Descouurira Saturne & trois en lurne. The second line indicates that there are three planets between the 8th and the 25th degree of Virgo, i.e. the constellation Crater. In the imagination period, this happens countless times. Saturn might even be the fourth one. The indication in line two is too vague to determine which composing date or fulfilment date is at stake.

The year 580 and the “reference number system”

   In the quatrains 01-49, 03-77, 06-02, 06-54, 08-71, 10-72 and 10-91, Nostradamus gives years in quite a peculiar way. The earliest year is 580, given in the first line of quatrain 06-02. In this quatrain, also the year 703 is given. The latest year is 1999, given in quatrain 10-72. The other years are 1607 (occurring in two quatrains), 1609, 1700 and 1727.

   The time span of the quatrains runs from March 1, 1555, until 3797. It is not clear why Nostradamus gives the years 580 and 703 while the time span begins in 1555. De Chavigny and Leoni think he meant 1580 instead of 580. This might be a kind of abbreviation, which in Nostradamus’ time was normal. Leroy describes a document, in which Cesar, the eldest son of Nostradamus, writes about the year “546”, meaning the year 1546.13 However, his thesis does not explain why Nostradamus gives complete year figures in the other quatrains.

   The Epistle to Henry II reveals that Nostradamus intended to calculate as accurate as possible. He writes that his calculations deal with years, months and week regarding countries, regions and cities in Europe, Africa and part of Asia.14 This means that his prediction accuracy is up to one week, while he sometimes predicts with an accuracy of one day. He also writes that his calculations do not give more than one result.15

   The time span of the quatrains starts at March 1, 1555, and ends in 3797. The years 580 and 703 are far before this time span. The other years are within this time span, but far before the end. The time span covers a period of almost 2242 years. In “Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible”, the thesis is that the years, given in the quatrains, refer to the time span of 2242 years. The year 580 for example refers to 2132, the 580th year in the series of 2242 years, counting from March 1, 1555. The year 1999 refers to 3554, the 1999th year in the series.

   This way of thinking is called the “reference number system”. According to this system, the fulfilment years of the involved quatrains are as listed below, while these quatrains are put in chronological order because of their supposed fulfilment year :

Quatrain Given year Reference number system
06-02, first two lines around 580 around 2135
06-02, last two lines 703 2258
06-54 1607 3162
08-71 1607 3162
10-91 1609, beginning 3164, beginning
01-49 1700 3255
03-77 1727, October 3282, October
10-72 1999, 7 months 1999, October

   The idea behind the reference number system originated while analysing quatrain 03-56, which reads :

Montauban, Nîmes, Avignon et Bésiers:
Peste, tonnere et grêle à fin de Mars
De Paris pont, Lyon mur, Montpellier:
Depuis six cens & sept vingt trois pars.

   The fourth line of this quatrain indicates a period of 607 years and 23 days. Added to March 1, 1555, the beginning date of the time span of the quatrain, this results in March 24, 2162, Julian calendar, the fulfilment date of this quatrain. This fulfilment date corresponds with the second line, in which it reads that the events will take place at the end of March. This quatrain confirms the thesis that the time span of the quatrains begins on March 1, 1555.

   In three other quatrains, periods are given. These are the quatrains 03-57 (290 years), 03-94 (500 years) and 10-100 (more than 300 years). These quatrains do not contain references to March 1, 1555 as quatrain 03-56 does. There are no other indications by which one can connect these three quatrains to March 1, 1555. Therefore, in “Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible” there are no fulfilment data given for these quatrains.

   In a strict sense, it cannot be proven that Nostradamus used this “reference number system” as a way of referring to fulfilment years. One argument for maintaining this thesis is that the series of given fulfilment years (580, 703 etc.) looks more rational.

Quatrain 10-72 and the Solar Eclipse of August 11, 1999

   Quatrain 10-72 is known because of its supposed reference to the Solar Eclipse of August 11, 1999, which was visible above Europe. This quatrain reads as follows :

L’an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois
Du ciel viendra un grand Roy d’effrayeur
Resusciter le grand Roy d’Angolmois.
Avant après Mars regner par bon heur.

   Some commentators explained this quatrain while referring to this Eclipse and the transition of the second millennium into the third: 1999-2000. For many years, the frontispiece of the Dutch facsimile edition of the 1941-Vreede-translation depicted a horoscope chart, calculated for the date and time of this Eclipse, for Paris. This chart contained a “cross” in the fixed signs, i.e. a Mars-Saturn opposition in Scorpio-Taurus squaring the Eclips-Uranus opposition in Leo-Aquarius.

   The connection of this quatrain with the Solar Eclipse of August 11, 1999 is based on a number of mistakes. What happened, was that commentators started counting from January 1, 1999 and added seven months, according to the indication in the first line. This resulted in August 1, 1999. This date was supposed to be according to the Julian calendar. In order to convert this date in a date, according to the Gregorian calendar, they added 10 days. The result was August 11, 1999. The quatrain was linked to the Solar Eclipse and the fixed cross, as if Nostradamus would have precalculated all this.

   In the investigation on which “Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible” is based, not a single element came up on which can be based that Nostradamus knew about the transsaturnial planets. In fact, all astrological calculations in the investigation are based on the seven classic planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), the Caput Draconis and the Fixed Stars.

   Next, for someone in the 16th century it was impossible to calculate accurate zodiacal longitudes for a date, 444 years later.

   Third and closing, the conversion from the Julian calendar into the Gregorian is wrong. In France, the Gregorian calendar was introduced on October 5, 1585, which date was converted into October 15, 1585, a difference of ten days. In the course of the centuries, this difference increases. In 1999, this difference was increased to thirteen days. Converting August 1, 1999 into a “Gregorian calendar date” should have resulted in August 14, 1999.

T. W. M. van Berkel
De Meern, May 15, 2003


      - T. W. M. van Berkel, Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible - a lecture on his prophecies and letters, De Meern, 2002.

      - P. Brind’Amour, L’astrologie chez Nostradamus, Ottawa, 1993, available at

      - P. Brind’Amour, Les premières centuries ou prophéties (édition Macé Bonhomme de 1555). Edition et commentaire de l’Epître à César et des 353 premiers quatrains, Genève, 1996.

      - B. Chevignard, Présages de Nostradamus, Saint-Amand, 1999.

      - E. Leoni, Nostradamus And His Prophecies, New York, 1982 (1961).

      - Dr. E. Leroy, Nostradamus, ses origines, sa vie, son œuvre, Saint-Rémy de Provence, 1993 (1972).

      - M. Nostradamus, Les prophéties, Lyon, 1568, Lyon, 2000.

      - R. Roussat, Livre de l’estat et de mutation des temps, Paris, 1981 (1548 / 1550).

      - W.N. Schors (publishers), AstroScoop Plus voor Windows 9x / NT, versie, Amsterdam 1999 (1997).

      - V. Robson, B.Sc, The fixed stars and constellations in astrology, Wellingborough, 1976 (1923).

      - Mr. Dr. W.L. Vreede, De profetieën van Nostradamus, Amsterdam, 1980 (1941).


1 Chevignard, p. 116. Retour

2 Brind’Amour, 1993, and 1996, p. 311 - 312; Leoni, p.456 - 457. Retour

3 Leoni’s comment : “1580 and 1703, of course” (Leoni, p. 281). Retour

4 In his letter to Cesar, Nostradamus writes that the time span of the quatrains starts on March 1, 1555, and ends in 3797 (Nostradamus, p. 33). Retour

5 Van Berkel, p. 9 - 11. Retour

6 In the investigation on which Nostradamus, astrology and the Bible is based, the zodiacal longitudes of the Fixed Stars and constellations have been recalculated for 1550. Retour

7 Roussat, p. 71 - 72. For Ptolemy : see Robson, p. 26 - 67. Retour

8 Robson, p. 40- 41. Retour

9 Robson, p. 41. Retour

10 Chevignard, p. 233. Retour

11 The CD4-system : the moving of the Caput Draconis over one degree of arc equals 4 years in the fulfilment period of the quatrains. From October 16, 1524, the beginning date of the imagination period, to August 18, 1530, the Caput Draconis covered a distance of 112:53:24. Multiplication by 4 results in 451 years and 204 days. Added to March 1, 1555, the beginning date of the time span of the quatrains, this means that the fulfilment date is September 21, 2006, Julian calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, this is October 4, 2006. Retour

12 Discussing the fourth line as a whole, Brind’Amour wrote that Nostradamus described a period of frost in January. Brind’Amour did not specify the fulfilment date or the composing date of this quatrain (Brind’Amour, 1993). Retour

13 Leroy, p. 66. Retour

14 Epistle : “…correspondant aux ans, moys et sepmaines des regions, contrees, & de la pluspart des villes & citez de toute l’Europe, comprenant de l’Affrique, & vne partie de l’Asie…” (Nostradamus, p. 154). Retour

15 Epistle : “…que par aenigmatique sentence, n’ayant qu’un seul sens, & unique intelligence, sans y avoir rien mis d’ambigue n’amphibologique calculation…” (Nostradamus, p. 158). Retour


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