To Women Essay, Research Paper
Understanding the Predictions of Nostradamus
In Regards to Women
Physician and prophet Michel de Nostradame lived in the first part of the sixteenth century. To understand these prophecies one must first understand the position of women in the sixteenth century.
During the sixteenth century there was very little a woman could do. Men dominated most aspects of women?s social, political, and religious lives. Women were treated as if they were inferior to men. They were treated like possessions.
In religion the Catholic Church was the dominant force in the Renaissance. The Church was, of course, run by the Pope, a man. Women were burned as witches ?for ?crimes? that could be as minor as a local act of feminine healing, or even the choice made by a single woman to live alone (9).?
The Reformation brought no relief for women. In fact the Protestant Reformation may have actually harmed women. Catholic leaders took it upon themselves to start Inquisitions in France, Italy, and most notably, Spain. Any kind of deviant behavior could be defined as a crime during this time. Women were considered ?flawed? to begin with?They not only used their sexuality to entice men from the path of God but they also were the daughters of Eve, the originator of sin.
Also many passages in the Bible were mistranslated to be anti-women. Some believe that this ?mistranslation? was a deliberate attempt by the Catholic Church to keep the society male dominated.
Michel de Nostradame was born in 1503 in St. Remy, Provence, France. His family were originally Jewish until they converted to avoid persecution from the Catholics. Although they converted, they, along with many other Christian ?converts?, were viewed with suspicion.
From early childhood Nostradamus was exposed to ?pagan? studies of the occult, alchemy, and astrology. He understood that he had to be careful because the Catholic Church didn?t approve of these studies.
He studied to be a doctor at the University of Montpellier. After he was done with his studies he decided to try to find a cure to the dreaded bubonic plague that continually swept across France. This may have been of interest to him because of the early death of his first wife, who is thought to have died in one such wave. While he didn?t cure the bubonic plague, he did further medicine with the discovery of natural remedies such ?as dried and crushed rose petals in capsules placed under the tongue of the sufferer to release Vitamin C into the blood (15).?
He wrote a collection of ?prophetic rhymed quatrains, written between 1555 and 1558 (15)? called Centuries. Nostradamus predicted the rise and fall of modern Communism and other key events in the future including the twentieth century. He named some individuals such as Napoleon and Hitler.
But the real subject of the paper would have to be how Nostradamus predicted the change of circumstance for women.
Many of Nostradamus? ?prophecies are obscurely written and heavily camouflaged with ancient languages, strange references to contemporary events, which act as metaphors for future significance, as well as anagrams (16).? This was mostly done to avoid detection in his own lifetime and probably to sound more profound.
?New law to occupy the new land
Towards Syria, Judea, and Palestine:
The great barbarian empire of men to decay,
Before the Moon completes its cycle (47).?
It is told to us in the book ?Nostradamus- Prophecies for Women? that the term ?new land? refers to the Americas. The ?new law? can be related to the ?barbarian empire of men? as that it could represent that men will have a different place in the Americas. The moon?s cycle can be construed to have a ?feminine? connection. Phrased a bit more simply: The Americas could be a source of a lunar rising of consciousness at a time when the male dominated religion and law is at its all time peak. The rule of men will start to crumble before the evolution of woman is complete.
Nostradamus also predicted that democracy would replace the autocracies of his time. He also thought that women would start to slowly take their place in these new democracies and that would influence a new order. These women would change the laws to be more equal in gender.
?With a name so timid will she be brought forth
That the three sisters will have the name of destiny:
Then she will lead a great people by tongue and deed,
More than any other will she have fame and renown (75).?
During Nostradamus? time until the earlier part of the twentieth century womankind was associated with weakness in the eyes of men. The three sisters could represent, as they sometimes do in classical myth: the virgin, the mother and the old woman. Possibly Nostradamus refers to the cycles of womanhood in that way as to say that, in the future, all women will have more power. This specific person could refer directly to Princess Diana, of Great Britain, for there seems to be no woman in history to be so well loved and well known as Princess Diana. It could also refer to Margaret Thatcher, the previous Prime Minister of Great Britain or even Hillary Clinton, the first lady of the United States.
?Before long all will be rearranged,
We can hope for a very sinister century,
The estate that was masked and alone will change,
Few will wish to stay as they were (155).?
This can be viewed as the twentieth century as the ?sinister? century. When women started off that century with almost no power and at the end had the beginnings of equality. This verse is almost calling to women to become the leaders of this new twenty-first century. While we have many women in many countries with power we still have to continue the ?fight? for equality worldwide.
These above selections were carefully chosen to illustrate a point. That point being that, while women have come a long way they still have not reached true equality in most places. Women still are considered a ?minority? in the United States government even though they make up more than half of the population. In some Middle Eastern and African countries women are not even allowed to work outside the home.
Lorie, Peter, and Manuela Dunn Mascetti. Nostradamus: Prophecies for Women. London: Bloomsbury, 1995.