1555 Lyon Bonhomme

Nouuelle & pluie subite impetueuse
Empeschera subit deux excercites.
Pierre, ciel, feuz faire la mer pierreuse,
La mort de sept terre & marin subites.

The sudden new and violently impelled rains
Will immediately hinder the dual excercises undertaken/the two armies.
Hail from the sky, lightning on the ice-strewn waters,
The sudden death of seven by land and sea OR The swift demise of seven continents and their seas.

A land is only habitable if it is watered by rivers. A society is watered by rivers of culture, religion and philosophy. Muddy or dry, the terrain is familiar under our feet. It’s all a matter of degree. Either this is a little local occurrence with two armies stalled and seven non-survivors or the permanent balance between water and land here is being shifted severely. Or perhaps their nature is changing unfathomably. Or maybe Time unravels in the deluge. Whichever, there seems to be no warning save this quatrain.

Line 1 describes a sudden onset of highly destructive weather and is the clearest.

Line 2, though, is obscure. When and if this happens there will scarcely be a moment to spare for referring to this quatrain in the Opera Nostradamus, let alone arriving at an interpretion of it, as this scenario looks as if it could be the end of everything.

OF ‘exercites’ should mean armies or practical activities/excercises but ‘deux excercites’ may be the dualities of the practical world: Time and Space, Energy and Mass, Height and Width, Latitude and Longitude, the Sun and the Moon or even Good and Evil. Take your pick. All our interpretations must stop at the ultimate paradigm shift, the final revelation of Chronic Reality. After all, Time is not compatible with Eternity and so may cease relatively abruptly when it reaches its inevitable far point. A world turning into stones is reminiscent of authentic sci-fi novelist J.G.Ballard’s ‘The Crystal World’ wherein time grinds down and the material crystallizes by stages into glittering gems.

Line 4 is a factoid event-marker or else the full Hebrew/Biblical power of the number 7 is appearing here. Is this a Ballard-like version of the description in Genesis when ‘the windows of heaven opened and the waters poured over the earth’? An ultimate flood transmuting into stone so as to complete the Adamic cycle?

For those of us who have never lived down Tornado Alley, here’s a gentle reminder that the hail can get as big as the largest poultry eggs/smallest grapefruits and the blade-like wind may scythe and rip all above surface at over two hundred kilometres per hour.

Line 2 may be a time clue if ‘exercite’ means army here. Most wars have been prepared for well in advance and then kick-off at a pre-rainy season as heavy rain destroys all their plans.

In this quatrain the word ‘subite’, sudden, appears in three lines. This is a deliberate emphasis. Nothing in Line 1 or the other three lines is foreseen let alone planned against. It seems the future world will not recall this quatrain or else this is a past occurrence such as that described as the Deluge.

An offbeat yet apocalyptic reading of Line 2 could provide, “Suddenly blocking-out the dualities”. A perverse reading of Line 3 (pierre as pere, mer as mere) might suggest ‘Ice and fire are the very parents of the sea of stones’, these being the collapsed building-blocks of the centuries. Line 4 can even be interpreted (via the theme ‘solid earth is suddenly subsumed into the sea’) as ‘The sudden Earthly death of the seven strands of the chord of time’.

A Mock Apocalyptic End Time Translation:
Sudden new and violently impelled rains
Suddenly  blocking-out the dualities (such as)
Ice and fire (which are) the very parents of the sea of stones
The sudden Earthly death of the seven strands of the chord of time.

Exactly how Nostredame accessed his visions is not altogether clear. (Though he gives some good information on this in the Epistle to the King.) Some say his description in the Nostradamus Quatrains I 1 A SLOPING FLAME and I 2 ALL SYSTEMS GO has been imported from the prior works of others, even as a blind to his readers. Certainly, Nostradame was a near-contemporary of Engand’s famous Dr. Dee (advisor to Queen Elizabeth I) who spoke out to non-human entities in the spirit and thought he ocassionally heard a reply but heavily depended on tricky Kelly – his actual scryer – to monitor matters with any precision. Today we can surf the web or ask a friend to try if we don’t have a connection. Is that akin to how those two would have managed matters? Searching out things that were already floating somewhere, somehow, and then inserting them into their Sixteenth Century manuscripts?

The agar-plate is a Twenty First Century petri-dish derivative. It is invented to culture cells in a mixture of nutrients and amino acids with seaweed extract and salt in a way that provokes the mostly liquid contents into mostly solid states (after a microbe-loaded agent is poured upon it from above). The plate may be reused but only once it has been sterilised by heat. (How good an analogy is that for the fate of the planets should everything return towards a ‘primal stew’ condition?)

A down-to-earth analogy for these petri-fying word games here would be that of aerial combat, streams of missiles, out-of-control aelerons, fiery crash landings on land or sea with either seeming as hard as stone, and the deaths of seven pilots/crew members as masses converge.

Some bits and pieces strewn around the subject:

Medical. The ‘petrous’ is one of the anatomical parts of the two irregular temporal bones that contain the organs of hearing.

Literary. In French verse a ‘septain’ (a cord or chord of seven strands) is made up of verses grouped into four and three. The choral version, a strophe, is in three parts held together by the feel of a particular combination of rhymes and is very likely octosyllabic. How the lines of this Nostradamus quatrain would have been proclaimed, especially by Michel Nostredame, is quite unknown to us but they each seem amenable to an octosyllabic delivery. (For example, Line 1, ‘Nouuelle & pluie subite impetueuse’, may read like ten beats to an English native-speaker like me but breaks up as ‘Nou-velle-et-pluie-subi-t’im-pet-ueuse’ in fluent French.)

(Also see the Nostradamus Quatrain I 84 WARM UP)