I 84 WARM UP
1555 Lyon Bonhomme
Lune obscurcie aux profondes tenebres,
Son frere passe de couleur ferrugine:
Le grand caché long temps sous les latebres,
Tiedera fer dans la playe sanguine.
Line 3, OF ‘latebres’ reappears in the 1557 Lyon Du Rosne edition and thereafter as OF ‘tenebres’ (obscurity, darkness, total night or, figuratively, an unhappy state). I think it was meant to read something like ‘sous la ténèbres’, in the darkness.
Line 4, OF ‘tiedera/tiedir’ means to warm. OF ‘playe/player’ means to injure or wound. OF ‘sanguine’ means bloody, blood-coloured or, as the other name for OF ‘sagmine/sagmen’, was a sacrificial herb sacred to the Romans.
The moon is obscured in deep gloom,
His brother becomes rust-coloured:
The great one hidden under darkness for a long time,
Will warm the metal in the sacrificing of the sacred matter.
There seems to have been a god-like entity close-by or at least he would have us believe so. Doubtless his study was his star observatory too. (He could have simply plotted a chart or used a mechanical solar system by candlelight but all astrologers are star-gazers at heart and require a clear view of the true night sky.) The Moon and a candle would be his substitutes for daylight.
Is the flame of this candle the brother to his Moon? The candleflame has its signature shape – a teardrop, a leaf or a gash (in gravity-free space a dome) – and heat changes colour on a scale from from red to blue to white. A candle is rarely as low in temperature as red heat (but red-hot metal could take your hand off) whilst a metal pin held in a flame will turn red as do glowing embers in a dish.
Or is the Moon’s brother a visible planet like Mars? Is this a specific memory like Quatrains I 1 and I 2 telling us of a particular experience rather than making a prophecy? Or are all these objects (with ‘sanguine’ as a red-coloured ingredient) a recipe for Alchemy with the crucible being slowly warmed?
The ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus or wedjat (‘Whole One’) is a powerful symbol of protection (i.e. it is not perceived as being passive, it is ‘looking’ rather than ‘seeing’) and was considered to confer wisdom, health and prosperity. Horus was one of the most important Egyptian gods, a sun-god represented by a falcon or hawk’s head (several hunting birds are ferruginous) whose right eye was the Sun and whose left eye was the Moon. Injuries to the left eye served as a mythical explanation of the monthly phases of the moon with its eventual restoration to fullness again.
Nostredame was very conscious indeed of the influence of the Moon. Here’s a telling quotation from the Epistle to the King:
composed and calculated by me in days and hours judicious and well arrayed in as just a manner as my spirit maketh possible and under Minerva the Moon on the most favourable days (“Minerva libera et non invita”) calculating as many adventures of times yet to occur as of eras passed, including a grasp of the present, and of what by the course of time and by all regions one will see to have occurred, all thus by name as nothing misdirecting or superfluous is in there, however one might say: “Truly, the future may not be totally determined”. (“Quod de futuris non est determinata omnino veritas”)
This extract and its surrounding section should be read with the Nostradamus Quatrains
I 1, I 2 and I 84 in order to comprehend better Michel Nosredame’s ‘modus operandi’.