1.4 The art of concealment

“My quatrains”, Nostradamus said, “were not totally in French; there are some Latin influences”.
“I usually used anagrams whenever I was writing about something that was politically sensitive and would be somewhat untactful to use the straight words. In my time, the noblemen carry a lot of power. I would not want to get them angry with me because they would have me arrested and then I couldn’t write any more quatrains. So I’m willing to go to certain lengths to disguise what I write, so long as it does get written.

Now in some of the other quatrains I use anagrams because the subject matter is very sensitive for the time that it’s referred to. It would not be good for the general public to know what I’m writing about, because I might cause a panic or something like that. So I use anagrams so that those who are knowledgeable on such things can figure it out; because those who are knowledgeable are usually in a position to do something about it.

Some of the skeptics have been questioning me about both my medical work and about my work with these prophecies; they’ve been putting out negative forces and influences which would interfere with what I was trying to do. Skeptics are as eternal as weeds, and about as viable. You must realize that I had to deal with a lot more ignorance than you have ever had to try to conceive. There have also been some threats made by the church.

They’ve tried to get me not to publish certain predictions or trap me with some of my predictions, trying to make it sound like I had committed heresy. They’ve tried to bribe and blackmail me with money. And they’ve tried to get me to alter certain predictions to suit their needs. The church is not a religious institution. It’s one of the largest political institutions on the earth. They don’t care, they don’t give a fig about the religious aspects. They use that to help carry out political manipulation. And they do so to make things more convenient for themselves.

So far as I can tell, the priests really were not ever very effective at changing my quatrains. I know that if I word them the way I do they don’t really make sense to the priests and such who would be reading it. So they wouldn’t know where to change it in the way that they want it.
Some of the changes that have taken place in the quatrains have been due to poor typesetting rather than deliberate errors. I assume that you know there has been some poor translation as well. This is also due to the fact that I was using names of towns to refer to those countries where the event would take place. I used symbology to confuse the Inquisition but not to make it too puzzling to future generations. I also used classical references so that the Inquisition thought I was merely making a comment on history.

I also want to remark, with a touch of humor, that whatever puzzles mankind keeps his attention the longest. Two examples are Atlantis and myself. I have been surrounded by a mystique that has persisted for 400 years. This is undoubtedly part of the reason my works have survived. Some of my prophecies are written in puzzle form. Some others are disguised, out of fear. Some just seem nonsensical, to confuse and misinform. Others, if you had depth and awareness, you could understand.”

Sitting alone at night in secret study;
it is placed on the brass tripod.
A slight flame comes out of the emptiness and
makes successful that which should not be believed in vain. (I-1)

This is simply a description of what I do in my laboratory. I put that one at the beginning as a word of explanation as to where I got the things that I was writing.

The wand in the hand is placed in the middle of the tripod’s legs.
With water he sprinkles both the hem of his garment and his foot.
A voice, fear; he trembles in his robes.
Divine splendor; the god sits nearby. (I-2)

The first quatrain explains my instruments and the second quatrain explains how I start the process of opening myself up to the other realms. Fear does not mean afraid, fear means respect. I am in wondrous awe of what I see because I don’t understand all that goes on. And I know I have to work cautiously to make sure I don’t make a mistake.