“The mesh of the Universe is the Universe itself.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man
Empirical science ― the only kind of science which is deemed “respectable” in the eyes of the World ― is the fatuous endeavor to explain the Universe without God and without Man. From its origins in the Enlightenment, demonstrative science assigned to the Deity the marginal role of “first Cause”. At best He is the Master Craftsman who sets the clockwork mechanism of the Universe in motion, and then graciously cedes His dominion to the operation of immutable physical laws. Faring even worse under the rationalist dispensation, the Human Spirit has been condescendingly relegated to the class of “subjective” phenomena. The “subjective” realm is deemed peculiar to the “individual human being” and his/her interior experiences ― an atomized interior without definitive connection to the greater Universe or even, indeed, to the interior lives of other “individuals”.
While it claims to abjure a priori assumptions, empirical epistemology is in fact so laden with them that the effective ambit of genuine thought is all but obliterated. Among these is the unshakable faith in the absolute externality of the “real”. The true essence of things supposedly reveals itself exclusively in the praxis of their exterior interactions. Seen from this perspective, Man is just another thing ― a billiard ball best defined by the relative elasticity of its collisions with other human particles and with the cushions of social restraint. As for the immeasurable Interior ― apart from its undeniable presence as an embarrassing aberration unique to Man himself ― its reality is dismissed. Denied is all knowledge which comes to Man from within himself, all truth which does not manifest itself in a manner detectable by some non-human instrumentality. Vehemently denied, moreover, is the slightest possibility that the timeless Interior exists not only in Man, but lies also hidden in the deepest workings of Creation in its entirety.
Creation, like Man, is real only in its entirety. While the complete edifice of “analytical” science rests on the categorical rejection of this axiom, its validity nonetheless asserts itself ever more persistently as technologically-refined observation plumbs the abyss of subatomic matter. At some level a line seems to be crossed, beyond which experimental results contradict not only the known laws of physics, but the basic premises of rationalism itself. As the observer proceeds progressively downward in scale, supposedly discrete things at once appear to be present everywhere ... and yet nowhere at all. Ultimately, the continuity of Time and Space itself dissolves, uncovering the vista of an archipelago of finitude scattered across a dimensionless, ineffable Ocean more ancient than Time. Still more disconcerting, even the limited terra firma of this archipelago becomes submerged, Atlantis-like, beneath a swirling froth of statistical indeterminacy the moment the human observer averts his/her gaze.
The chaotic realm of ultimate Matter adheres to only one law, a principle which science calls “symmetry”. Symmetry demands that all Things be created in pairs having physical properties which cancel each other out. Thus, it is a law which follows directly from the premise that God fashioned the Universe out of nothing. So if we create a pair of particles, they must move away from each other at the same velocity in opposite directions, in order that their linear momentums may add up to zero. Likewise, their angular momentums ― i.e. their “spins” ― must also sum to zero, so that if one particle spins “up”, the other must spin “down”. But, under the bizarre ground rules of quantum mechanics, until somebody actually comes along to measure one of the particles, not only is it impossible to know which one spins up and which one down, but each particle is potentially spinning in both directions at the same time! Until the conscious Mind appears on the scene, therefore, it is as if each particle is a coin tossed in midair, not yet “committed” to either heads or tails. In theory, we may allow these two particles to travel across billions of light-years of space before we actually measure the spin of one of them to be ― let us say ― “up”. But symmetry then dictates that, at the exact instant we make such an observation, the other particle, albeit on the other side of the Universe, will immediately assume the “down” spin configuration. To put it another way, the knowledge of the first particle’s settling into the “up” mode is transmitted across the Universe instantaneously, as evidenced by the second particle simultaneously assuming the “down” orientation.
This instantaneous dissemination of knowledge across the entire Universe is a phenomenon which physicists call “nonlocality”. What does nonlocality tell us, then, about the structure of the Universe? First of all, it tells us that knowledge is not transmitted via a physical medium, since Einstein’s relativity sets light-speed as the upper limit for such propagations. This in turn implies that the Universe contains a knowing Interior whose processes transcend Space and Time. Further, we may infer from nonlocality that the fabric of this Interior realm is not built up, like that of its exterior counterpart, from a network of interconnected units, since the transfer of information across such units would require a finite time. Hence, this Conscious infrastructure must be an indivisible entirety, the order of which appears only in the whole.
The surreal world which empirical science has discovered on the submicroscopic scale is mirrored, on the other end of the dimensional spectrum, by an equally paradoxical cosmology. As our instrumentation reaches the requisite degree of sophistication, we have become capable of detecting and measuring something astrophysics terms the “cosmic background radiation” ― the remnants of the original stuff out of which the Universe was created. Now, a very intriguing proposition has been gleaned from the observed distribution of this “background radiation” in the Universe: The prima materia of Creation underwent its initial genesis outside of Space/Time! In fact, science is compelled to acknowledge that the first moments of their theorized “Big Bang” (a hopelessly convoluted scenario in which the Universe generates itself) unfolded in a sort of netherworld which can be described as a “Hilbert Space”. But “Hilbert Space” is not Space at all, at least in any palpable sense, but is instead a pure mathematical abstraction comprising “points” of infinite dimension, each one of which is itself the center of the entire space. Thus, Hilbert Space is an apt mathematical rendering of St. Bonaventure’s mystical perception of the Mind of God: the Intelligible Sphere whose Center is everywhere and whose Circumference is nowhere.
And so a rigidly materialistic science sets about to paint the picture of a Universe external to Man and independent of God. Ironically, however, as the fine details of the painting begin to be filled in, the impersonal landscape transforms itself into a portrait with human features ― features which ultimately merge into the face of God. Indeed, the common observation that the Creator has left His imprint on Creation ― while true as far as it goes ― still falls far short of recognizing His living presence within Creation ― a Creation which continues to unfold from out of the bosom of that divine Immanence. In short, therefore, what we find at the heart of the material Universe is not just the fingerprint of God, but His vital Emanation, His supernal Light.
As the Universe has developed over the aeons, this luminous Immanence has acted as its internal gyroscope, directing its genesis toward a very specific goal: the eschatological uncovering of the glorious Interior Itself. This uncovering is a future event we know as the Apocalypse. Man represents a great milestone on the way to that goal, since in human Consciousness is realized the very first reflection of the divine Light. From within the human Mind, the heretofore hidden Interior of the Universe first announces its presence, first lays claim to a manifest domain of its own. Man thus becomes the true Microcosm of the greater Universe, containing within himself the immensity which is the Interior of the Macrocosm. When religious tradition speaks of the Body of Man as God’s Temple, therefore, it is not meant in the purely metaphorical-ethical sense in which it is commonly interpreted. The dwelling of the divine Emanation within us is not only real, it defines our Being.
Since the Indwelling Light is not divisible, neither is its Temple in the Body of Man. But with the Fall of Adam, that Temple was reduced to rubble, the sublime unity of the Body sundered. From the deluded perspective of the atomized human Mind, it appeared as if Man had been severed from his Body of Light, his infinite form atrophied to shriveled branches lopped off from the Tree of Life. These severed branches ― the dwarfish insular egos of the postlapsarian World ― would descend into a phantasmal subreality, an inside-out bubble from which the universal Interior appears distant, alien, and sinister. Out of this spectral abyss has emerged the entire host of Hell, all of them deformed projections of the Eternal images of the Indwelling Light.
If the Temple of the Light were truly destroyed, however, then wouldn’t Man have ceased to exist? The answer is yes, and hence Man’s survival is compelling evidence that the Temple yet abides somewhere. But where? Well, going back to our quantum physics primer, we know that the mathematical formulation of the Interior ― a.k.a. “Hilbert Space” ― stipulates that each point is the Center, i.e. every particle must contain the blueprint of the entire edifice. In this sense, it has been said that the Interior is like a hologram, into every part of which is indivisibly enfolded the full image. Consequently, even when the Temple walls are thrown down, the Interior as a whole can subsist in just one stone. And that stone, though it had been originally rejected by the builders, then becomes the cornerstone of the Temple. This imagery, of course, now begins to resonate with Scriptural themes which invite our exploration.
In the Scriptures, the destruction of Solomon’s Temple furnishes a metaphor for the dissociation of human Consciousness caused by the Fall of Adam. The rebuilding of the Temple comes to symbolize the great historical task of cleansing and reintegrating the collective Mind of Man, so that it may again become the Sanctuary of the supernal Light. Quite appropriately, therefore, the great apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah use the chronology of the Second Temple as a sort of temporal grid onto which they project the events of the end-Time. Delimiting the overall boundaries of this grid are the four empires which Daniel foresaw ― each in its turn ― subjugating Judea: Assyria-Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome.
We nowadays tend to view the Roman Empire as something which expired in ancient times. While the Empire broke up during the Middle Ages, however, active vestiges of it ― most notably the Holy Roman Empire ― actually surviving into the 19th Century. Ironically, as we have discussed earlier, the Church became heir, though quite illegitimately, to the sovereignty of Rome. As the Empire split along East-West lines, the imperial legacy was likewise divided along the lines of a parallel ecclesiastical schism. Thus, in the 21st Century, remnants of the Imperial Rome remain intact, if somewhat moribund. On one hand, the Roman Pontificate survives as claimant to the legacy of the Western Empire. On the other hand, Russia carries on as the center of Eastern Orthodoxy and successor to the Byzantine Empire.
The Eastern Empire, which ultimately succumbed to the Turks in the 15th Century, actually was a continuation of the previous Macedonian-Greek empire established by Alexander the Great. After Alexander’s sudden death at age 33 (oddly foreshadowing the life span attributed to Christ) his domains were divided four ways by competing generals. Daniel likened this scenario to the snapping of a great goat’s horn, with four lesser horns sprouting in its place. Eventually, the rulership over the fragment which included Palestine devolved upon one Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC). He forbid the daily sacrifice in the Temple and defiled its Sanctuary with a statue of Zeus ― the “abomination of desolation” against which Daniel declaimed. In this sense, Antiochus certainly prefigures Antichrist ― suggesting that the latter will also emerge as ruler of a piece of the disintegrated Eastern Empire.
Looking at our own times, the correspondences to this Scriptural chronology simply abound. Beginning in 1917 ― as announced by Our Lady of Fatima ― the Eastern Empire is reconstituted as the Soviet Union. Also starting in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration, the Jews begin to reclaim their homeland, exactly as they had done in the centuries before Alexander’s conquests. And just as suddenly as the “great horn” of Alexander’s empire snapped, so did the Soviet Union, likewise leaving four principal fragments ― Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the Tartar states. Following the prophetic pattern, therefore, we can anticipate the new Antiochus as a leader of one of these four “horns”. If we project the actions of the historical Antiochus into our own future, moreover, they reveal another important insight. Perhaps the most execrable deed committed by Antiochus IV was the assassination of the High Priest of Jerusalem, whom he replaced with a puppet who acquiesced in the suppression of the traditional rites of the Jewish faith. Manifestly presaged for the end-Time, therefore, is the supplanting of the “High Priest”, i.e. the legitimate Pope, by a collaborator of Antichrist.
As to the details of this ecclesiastical coup, the prophecy of Zechariah picks up where Daniel’s leaves off. In a series of visions, Zechariah sees Yahweh judging the “four horns” ― which now symbolize the Gentile Nations as a whole ― and restoring “Jerusalem” as the object of His loving favor. I place quotation marks around the city’s name, because it is essential to understand that the prophet is referring to the New Jerusalem, not the mundane metropolis in modern Israel. Indeed, Zechariah speaks of a City without walls, a City in which the divine Glory visibly dwells. It will be the heavenly Jerusalem of a new people of God, drawn from among all of the Nations:
And on that day many nations will be converted to Yahweh. Yes, they will become his people, and they will live among you.
The prophet next envisions the investiture of “Joshua” as High Priest. By design, we may assume, the name invokes the type of the sacred king, the Messianic figure who leads the people of God into the Promised Land. On one level, this Joshua is surely Christ ― the Son of Man both in his past human incarnation and in his looked-for Parousia at the end of Time. But here we should recognize that Jesus of Nazareth, himself a Jewish rabbi, did not come to save the Jews, but rather to bring the Gentiles into the great tabernacle of Redemption. Thus, it is not true that the Jews have rejected their Messiah, for their Messiah has not yet come. He will come, however, on the Day of the Lord, and he is the Anointed One who the prophet calls Joshua. Joshua will be both a priest and a king, and through him the Jews will return to Yahweh. He will also be the Son of Man who will come for the Gentiles, because the faithful remnant of the Gentile Nations, as we shall see, will have grafted itself to the Olive Tree of Israel.
In the prophet’s vision, Joshua appears before the Most High wearing dirty clothing and a soiled turban. He stands before the Father almost as a defendant would before a court, and at his right side stands Sitan ― the Accuser. After listening to Sitan’s most artful calumnies, Yahweh commands that Joshua be washed and anointed, dressed in the finest robes, with a clean turban to be placed upon his head. This scene will be enacted on earth when the Angelic Pope is denounced by Antichrist and flees for his life, a wretched fugitive. Having lost his “dirty turban”, which is the soiled miter of the Bishop of Rome, he will receive a clean new miter, as the first among the great Episcopate which will reunite the Churches of East and West. Pope Peter II will not be Joshua, but he will be one of two prophets who will precede Him ― the two Witnesses of the end-Time whom Zechariah represents as two Olive Trees. The prophet depicts these Olive Trees producing a continual, unending flow of oil to the seven-branched candelabra which light the Sanctuary of the Temple.
What are we to make of this strange image of the endlessly flowing lamp oil? Understanding it requires of us a shift in cultural perspective. While we nowadays think of olives primarily as a dietary item, to the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean, they were first and foremost the source of oil to burn for illumination. As such, the Olive Tree came to symbolize Light, from the ordinary table-lamp variety to the Most Sublime ― the Limitless Light which, according to the Hebrew Zohar, shines above the highest branch of the Tree of Life. What better metaphor could there be for this Ain Soph, this Limitless Light, than the never-ceasing flow of oil from the Olive Trees? “Granted,” my reader is doubtless thinking, “but why two Trees?” It’s because the source of the Light is ― incredibly ― material Creation itself, the realm of duality. When the grapes are pressed, they become the wine which is the blood of the Lamb of God, and when the olives are pressed, they become the Infinite Glory which will come to dwell in His Temple.
This Glory is not Christ the Bridegroom, but it is Redeemed Man, the Bride of Christ, whom the Hebrews called Shekinah. She is the very same as the Blessed Mother, the only human who has not shared in the Sin of Adam. She is also Mary the wife of Joseph, a Jewess, because it is in the Jews, and in their return to God’s Love, that all of humanity will be blessed. On the plane of manifestation, the Shekinah will, in the end-Time, act through two of her Angels, who Zechariah calls the two Olives Trees. According to Revelation, these two will be martyred ― in other words, they will be capable of suffering death. Therefore, we know that they are mortal Angels, i.e. they are Angels with incarnate bodies. Scriptural tradition recognizes only four inhabitants of Heaven who have carnal bodies: Jesus, Mary, and the two Old Testament prophets who were translated into Heaven ― Enoch and Elijah. Ipso facto, then, the two Olive Trees are Enoch and Elijah. With respect to the latter, the Hebrew prophet Malachi wrote that Elijah would return at the end of history to preach the advent of the Messiah to the Jews.
As for Enoch, he was the seventh Patriarch after Adam, which reminds us of the seven-branched candelabra which is fed by the Olive Trees in Zechariah’s vision. Seven is the number of the sublunary World, swayed as it is by the seven-day phases of the Moon. Because of its tidal pull on the oceans, the Moon actually reshapes the Earth from one lunar phase to the next. Hence, it is no accident that the sea-faring peoples of the Mediterranean built the seven-day tidal cycle right into their calendar. To the extent that these peoples retained a notion of the limitless Interior of the material Universe, they associated it with the Ocean ― boundless and timeless. Consequently the Moon, the shaper of the tides, was identified with the source of the movement, and hence the Life, of the universal Interior. In the depth psychology of Carl Jung, this lunar archetype corresponds to the feminine Anima. She is the aspect of the Mind that imparts Life by furnishing the umbilical link between the barren individual psyche and the nourishment of the “Collective Unconscious” ― another name for the Microcosm, the Infinity that dwells within Man.
In mythology, the Anima ― which roughly corresponds to what we call the Soul ― was commonly represented by a tree. In the earliest calendar systems, each lunar month took the name of a tree, because each portion of the Sacred Year was thought to confer something essential to the Life of Man. Out of the Olive Tree came Wisdom, just as Logos was born out of the womb of the Heavenly Virgin. Greeks fables tell of a time when civil Chaos threatened to submerge the budding civilization of Attica ― a dilemma allegorically depicted by the Sea-god Poseidon thrusting his Trident into the Acropolis. To prevent this calamity, Athena, the goddess of Wisdom, planted her sacred olive tree on the Acropolis. The grateful city named itself in her honor and raised a temple to her where her tree stood. A similar Biblical story tells of Judith saving Israel from disaster by beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes. In her triumphal procession, she was crowned with a wreath of olive leaves.
In the foregoing tales, the heroines represent Shekinah, who Zechariah describes as “seven eyes of Yahweh which run to and fro throughout the earth”. Like her mythical counterparts, she alone can avert the shipwreck looming before humanity today. She is the Glory of the Olive Tree, the Indwelling Glory which appeared first in the Tabernacle of Moses and then in the Holy-of-Holies of King Solomon’s Temple. In those days, She manifested herself between the two covering Cherubs which enclosed the Ark of the Covenant ― Cherubs whose figures were carved of the wood of the wild olive tree. Similarly in the end-Time, She will appear in the unity of God’s people to be accomplished between Her two Olive Trees, the prophets Elijah and Enoch. It bears emphasis that this spiritual unity of mankind ― which Christ demands as a precondition to his return ― will not be achieved by the conversion of the Jews to Christianity. The Jews remain the people of the Covenant emblemized by Noah’s olive branch, and Yahweh does not breach His Covenants. The conversion of the Jews is their return to Him, whereupon they ― mankind’s “first-fruits” ― will bring His blessing upon all of God’s people:
When the first-fruits are made holy, so is the whole batch; and when the root is holy, so are the branches. Now suppose that some branches were broken off, and you [the Gentile] are wild olive, grafted among the rest [the Jews] to share with them the root and the rich sap of the olive tree; then it is not for you to consider yourself superior to the other branches, for it is not you that sustain the root, but the root that sustains you.
St. Paul, who had been Saul the Pharisee, could not have been more unequivocal in his choice of words: The children of Israel are the Lord’s first-fruits, now and forever. It is to their root ― the root of the Olive Tree of Israel ― that the Gentile branches must attach themselves. Please bear in mind that the author of this book is himself a Gentile, and so I am not making these interpretations based upon any ethnic chauvinism. Our salvation as Gentiles depends inseparably upon the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob turning back to the I AM whom Moses encountered in the Sinai desert. This is the “conversion” of the Jews about which St. Paul writes.
Yet it is remarkable ― disturbingly remarkable ― that the prevalent view in modern “Christianity” teaches the Gentile flock that they should expect the progeny of Abraham to come meekly one day to worship in their tent! Does a plain reading of Saint Paul even remotely support this position? My reader may be the judge:
For if thou [the Gentile] wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these [the Jews], which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 
Nota bene: It is to “their own olive tree”, the Olive Tree of Judea, that the “converted” Jew needs to be reattached. And it is to that same tree trunk, to that same root, that the Gentile branches must be ingrafted. Mankind cannot be redeemed the other way around, because the “root” ― the umbilicus which leads us back to our primordial unity in Adam ― is the people of Israel. But neither can the Jewish roots and trunk produce the fruit for the enjoyment of the Bridegroom without the Gentile branches, just as the cultivated tree cannot be bear olives unless its branches are engrafted onto the wild olive, or oleander tree.
When we consider how obsessively throughout history mankind’s Great Enemy has sought to destroy the root of our salvation, we now come to comprehend why. The extirpation of the Jew would simultaneously assure the damnation of the Gentile. And let’s be clear about this: the mass conversion of the Jews to Christianity in indistinguishable from their physical annihilation for the purposes we are discussing here. Actually, over the past two thousand years, the forced baptism of Jews in Europe has reduced their numbers there vastly more than the periodic pogroms (excluding the Holocaust, of course). In its traditional form, Christian baptism is a ceremony by which an individual is integrated into the body of a church. Baptism’s connection with the metaphoric “ingrafting” of which St. Paul wrote is evident from the anointment of the head of the baptized with the sacred Chrism of olive oil. Consequently, the coerced baptism of a Jew is in fact the diabolical inversion of the “conversion” on which our salvation depends.
This brings us, at long last, squarely to face with the central theme of this chapter.
Having pored over the preceding background, we are now, God willing, prepared to penetrate the secret of St. Malachy’s perhaps most enigmatic papal insignia ― the “Glory of the Olive Tree”. That motto must describe the Pontiff to follow John Paul II, who Malachy dubbed the “Eclipse of the Sun” (he was actually born during one). As we’ve learned, the Olive Tree ― as distinguished from its branches ― unquestionably represents the people of Israel. That being so, nonetheless, how could a Jew conceivably become Pope? Obviously, no Jew who remained a Jew could ever be elected to the Chair of St. Peter ... but a Jewish convert might.
Today, for the first time in the history of the Church, a converted Jew has risen to the rank of Cardinal and is among the candidates in the papal succession. Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, the Archbishop of Paris, was born Aaron Lustiger to Jewish parents who had emigrated from a Polish ghetto. Sensing the onset of the Nazi Holocaust in Eastern Europe, his parents believed that France would remain a safe refuge, that its refined culture could never descend into the barbarism of the storm troopers. But their trust was tragically misplaced. Soon after the German occupation of Paris, the Lustigers’ property was seized and his mother was deported to Auschwitz, where she would later die. In the midst of this cataclysm, the young Aaron, at age 14, elected to be baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Lustiger claims to have experienced a “spiritual awakening”, and perhaps his later pursuit of the cloth does indeed attest to this. But for many, particularly in the Jewish community, his conversion to Catholicism smacks of moral cowardice of the sort associated with the noncommittal stance of Pope Pius XII during World War II.
It is entirely unfair to require Cardinal Lustiger to account for his conversion, which ― absent any evidence to the contrary ― we must presume to be sincere. After all, the Apostles were all Jews who were selected from among their people by the Son of Man, and I believe that the Son of Man has similarly chosen Aaron Lustiger to play a certain role ― an absolutely indispensable one ― in the lead-up to his return. Unfortunately, however, the part which the French Cardinal is to play is that of the second Beast, the Beast who will arise from out of the Earth ― that is, from out of the succession which claims to have been granted, by the hand of Christ himself, “power on Earth”.
By what authority do I say this?
I say it based on St. Malachy’s motto, “De Gloriae Olivae”. The olive branch is found in the coat of arms of Pius XII, the pontiff who not only failed to anathematize the Nazi regime, but stood by mutely as Germany’s Catholic clerics actually urged “patriotic duty to the Fatherland” upon their flocks. St. Benedict predicted that the penultimate Pope would lead the Church in the hour of its confrontation with Evil, and so he shall. But Benedict did not foresee how the Olivetan Pontiff would fare in that confrontation. Just as the first Beast will blasphemously presume to create a temporal version of the City of God ― the unity of humanity imposed by the Moloch-State ― so the second Beast will be seduced into endorsing a temporal version of the Temple of the Lord ― the false temple of a Universal Faith into which the Jews are to be “absorbed”.
A tree which “absorbs” its root dies. St. Paul instructs us that the Jews are the root of the Olive Tree. Zechariah tells us that the Olive Tree will produce the oil which will anoint the Messiah, the oil which will illuminate the Temple. The “glory” of the Olive Tree is the fruit which the consecrated Tree will bring forth: the Redeemed Man, the New Adam, the Mystical Body of Christ. But that glory cannot be attributed only, or even primarily, to the branches which bear the fruit, because ultimately the fruit is nourished by the root. When we speak of the root of Israel, we speak of the only link which mankind has preserved back to its Collective Consciousness, the Indwelling Light.
This explains why, in the Book of Exodus, Yahweh Himself prescribes the sacred Chrism of olive oil to Moses for the sole purpose of consecrating the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. Yahweh specifically forbids that the Chrism be applied to the body of any person save only His priesthood:
And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured ... whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger [i.e. one who is not a priest] shall be cut off from his people.
Yahweh’s injunction in this regard is part of the Law, the Law which Jesus came to fulfill, not to abrogate. Yet we find the successors of St. Peter, from the 7th Century onward, applying the Chrism to “anoint” the various Gentile kings and emperors who allegedly derived their sovereign powers from the Papacy through the “Donation of Constantine”. Consequently, it is inevitable that this sacrilegious use of the sacred olive oil to invest Gentile rulers will ultimately be the snare by which the Gentile Nations will be ― in the words of Yahweh ― cut off from the people of God. All of the falsely consecrated monarchs of history are patterned after the “anointed Cherub” Satan and prefigure of his eschatological agent ― the Man of Sin to be anointed Monarch over the ultimate World Empire.
And who may anoint Antichrist but one who is himself “cut off from his people”? Under the Law, for a Jew to submit to a ceremony in which his head is anointed with the Chrism ― as in Catholic baptism ― is to be cut off from the people of Israel, from the root of the Olive Tree. How bitterly ironic it is, therefore, that the Antipope who is destined to invest Antichrist should be called by St. Malachy “The Glory of the Olive Tree”. It’s even more ironic that the likely candidate for this role should be a Jew given the name Aaron ― a name forsaken during his baptism with the olive oil reserved by Yahweh for “Aaron and his sons”!
In the preceding chapter, we demonstrated that Man’s collective body of Falsehood is mythically linked to the Greco-Roman hero Hercules. In ancient Greek religion, the Indwelling Glory, which the Hebrews called Shekinah, was associated with the nine Muses ― female deities whose earthly abode was atop Mt. Helicon. Consistent with the pagan practice of representing the Anima as a tree, there was said to be a particular olive tree on Mt. Helicon which was sacred to the Muses. The legend goes on to tell that Hercules, seeking a weapon with which to subdue the Nemean Lion, desecrated the blessed precinct of the Muses by ripping their olive tree up by the roots and converting it into his bludgeon. Could there be a more felicitous metaphor for the Beast who will strive to overcome the Lion of Judah? Could there be a more evocative rendering of the destined perversion of the Olive Tree into an instrument of that vile campaign? Or of the Tree’s unearthed roots as a symbol of the diabolical design to extirpate God’s people?
We now arrive at a juncture at which our Scriptural symbolism dovetails into that of the Provençal seer Nostradamus ― whose own parents were Jews forced to convert to Catholicism. It is not surprising, then, that his anticipations of the “Olive Tree” Antipope are especially intense and prescient. Let us examine some of them in detail.
Through the wild and open desert place,
Will come to roam the nephew of the great Pontiff:
Wearying the seven with his heavy root,
Through those who afterwards will occupy the vacant See.
For those with even a superficial familiarity with Vatican history, the word “nephew” has very specific connotations. Of the assorted corrupt and decadent practices which have disfigured the Holy See over the centuries, perhaps none has been more notorious than nepotism ― a term actually derived from the Latin for “nephew”. From medieval times right through to our own century, many a Pope has used his office to advance the career of his “nephew” ― often a euphemism for a bastard son ― and to assure that the “nephew” would succeed him in wearing the tiara. In this context, therefore, we must consider the “nephew of the great Pontiff”, as used in the foregoing Quatrain, to denote the Pope’s close personal protégé and hand-picked successor.
If we are speaking in terms of the pontificate of John Paul II, this is a description which literally fits Jean-Marie Lustiger to a tee. A relatively obscure cleric until the election of his fellow Pole Karol Wojtyla to the papal throne, his subsequent rise, first to Bishop of Orléans and then to Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, has been nothing short of meteoric. And Nostradamus’ reference to the nephew’s “heavy root” emphatically harks back to the ancestry of Aaron Lustiger and the Scriptural metaphor for the Jews as the “root” of the Olive Tree. Another intriguing aspect of this phrase is found in the French word for “heavy”, lourde ― from which is derived the name of the village of Lourdes, famed for the healing waters which flow from the Blessed Virgin’s grotto. Like his mentor, Cardinal Lustiger is noted for his Marian piety, and we shall see that Lourdes promises to figure in the “miraculous” resurrection of the first Beast as prophesied in Revelation.
Continuing along in our interpretation of this Quatrain, we connect “the seven”, who are wearied by the nephew’s “heavy root”, with the imagery of the seven hills of Rome, and the seven heads of the Beast of Revelation:
The seven heads are the seven hills, on which the woman [the harlot Babylon] is sitting. The seven heads are also seven emperors. Five of them have already gone, one is here now, and one is yet to come; once here, he must stay for a short while. The beast, who was alive and is alive no longer, is at the same time the eighth and one of the seven ... 
St. John is believed to have written the foregoing lines in 70 AD, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who was the sixth in the line of Caesars which began with Augustus. Under his reign, Jerusalem was sacked by the Roman legions under the command of his son and successor Titus. Titus wantonly destroyed the great Temple of Jerusalem which had been rebuilt by the Jews after their return from exile in Babylon. The razing of the Temple fulfilled the prophecy uttered by Christ just days before his death, when he sat on the Mount of Olives and pointed over to the adjoining promontory of Mount Moriah, saying:
There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
After making this startling prediction, Jesus went on to speak of the Last Things and to caution his disciples that his return would be preceded by the appearance of a False Christ and a False Prophet ― those whom John the Divine later depicted as the two Beasts. It was as if Jesus had intentionally prefaced his apocalyptic warnings with the prophecy about the Temple, so that the contemporaneous fulfillment of the latter would give cause for belief in the former.
Let us return now to our passage from Revelation, which informs us that the Beast will be one of the first seven Roman Emperors. Already dead when John wrote these words, this Emperor would be “miraculously” restored to life. Thus, Antichrist would have to be among the five Caesars who were “already gone” in 70 AD. Not coincidentally, the fifth Emperor, who died by his own hand two years before the Evangelist penned these lines, was none other than the odious Nero. As we discussed at length in the preceding chapter, a resurrected Nero ― Nero redivivus ― is a recurring theme in prophecy concerning the Beast. This theme is not ignored by Nostradamus:
The great ruinous deed runs its full course,
The name of the seventh will be that of the fifth:
Over a third of the foreign nations in turmoil:
Reims, Paris, Aix he will not assure.
By this juncture, it should be apparent that “the name of the fifth” refers to the fifth Roman Emperor, Nero, who is destined to return as “the seventh” ― and final ― World ruler. History reminds us that a period of civil war and chaos followed the death of Nero, which parallels the effect the revived Nero will have on a third of the Nations of the earth. With respect to that “third”, the Provençal prophecies once again run parallel to those of Revelation, particularly in their mutual vision of the seven-headed Dragon:
And his tail drew down a third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.
To interpret what these “stars” signify, we are aided by St. John’s description, in the immediately preceding verses, of the Woman ― representing the people of God ― crowned with twelve stars. Twelve is the number of the Tribes of Israel and also the traditional number of the Gentile Nations ― based on the twelve lineages of Japheth as specified in Genesis. Consequently, Nostradamus and Scripture are is accord in foreseeing that one-third of the twelve Nations of the Gentiles will descend into anarchy upon the appearance of the Beast. Among these four benighted Nations will be the United States of America, which, even as the ink is drying on this page, has begun to experience the inevitable implosion of the terrible edifice of violence it has erected over the past five decades.
Those who have studied the Quatrains know that they follow no consistent sequential hierarchy, but rather evince an “associational” order ― much like the dream-images on which they are based. A fruitful mode of exegesis, therefore, is to “jump” from one stanza to another based on “links” ― almost as if we were reading hypertext! In the last verse of the Quatrain quoted above, Nostradamus gives us such a “link” by way of his reference to Reims and Aix ― the latter being short for Aix-la-Chapelle, the modern German city of Aachen. While the cathedral of Reims outside Paris was the coronation site of French kings, Aix-la-Chapelle hosted the investiture of the Holy Roman Emperors ― the German successors to the empire of Charlemagne. The juxtaposition of the two coronation sites thus implies a reunification of Charlemagne’s dominions ― a vision already partially realized in the modern European Union.
The year that Saturn in the Water will be conjunct
With the Sun, the King strong and powerful
At Reims and Aix will be received and anointed,
After conquests, he will murder the innocent.
By now, my readers should quickly recognize the astrological motif of Saturn’s transit through the “Water” (aka “Pond” or “Urn”) region of the constellation Aquarius. The year 1996 began with Saturn in the Water. The Ringed Planet proceeded from there to a triple conjunction with Mars and the Sun at the vernal equinox. Here we find another “link” to a previously discussed Quatrain, which forecasts the appearance of a long-tailed comet at the time of this conjunction:
The year that Saturn and Mars are equally combust,
The air greatly dried long trajectory ...
This Quatrain is strikingly prescient of the arrival of Comet Hyakutake in March 1996, precisely during a time when Saturn and Mars were “combust”, i.e. within six degrees of the Sun. In the ensuing months, a prolonged drought struck the western United States ― perhaps a preview of the Asian drought that followed in the wake of the “long trajectory” of Comet Hale-Bopp.
Let us pause to reflect on the scenario revealed thus far. Late in March 1996, during the apparition of Comet Hyakutake, an event occurred which would ultimately lead to the “coronation” of Antichrist as the leader of a European Union of seven Nations, represented by the seven crowned heads of the Evangelist’s Beast. Based on the timing, we might speculate that this event was somehow connected to the French presidential election of 1996, the tide of which turned decisively in favor of Gaullist candidate Jacques Chirac in March of that year. Of the remaining five Gentile Nations, the prophecies suggest that four ― including Anglo-America ― will begin to unravel in civil discord. Meanwhile, the one remaining Nation ― a spiritually-awakened and consecrated Russia ― will emerge as the last refuge of God’s people. In the role of the prelate who will “anoint” the new Caesar, we find the “nephew of the great Pontiff” ― the successor to John Paul II.
Elected will be the Fox, without sounding the word,
Playing the saint in public living on barley bread,
To tyrannize afterwards so suddenly,
Bringing his heel down on the throats of the powerful.
Because of his avarice, force and violence
The head of Orléans will offend even his own friends,
Near St. Rémy assault and resistance,
Dead in his tent they will say that he sleeps within.
By throwing in with one of the two cross-breeds,
The Nephew will take the throne with bloodshed
The Fox, Renard in French, is another one of the good Doctor’s double entendres. On one hand, medieval symbolism equates the fox with heresy. On the other hand, the French phonetics of Renard evoke the historical figure of René the Good, whose extraordinary tolerance made 15th Century Provence a haven for persecuted Jews. Among them were Nostradamus’ own parents, who settled in the town of St. Rémy. Unfortunately, after the death of René, Provence reverted to the French crown, which decreed that all Provençal Jews be either baptized or expelled. This, then, is a bit of family history which the prophet shares with the subject of his prophecy ― the usurping Nephew, who he also styles the “chef d’Orléans”. Interestingly, our speculative candidate for this role, Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger, served as Bishop of Orléans before being elevated to Archbishop of Paris in 1981. Adjoining the bishopric of Orléans is that of Auxerre:
A great one of Auxerre will die very miserably,
Deposed by those who had been his underlings ...
In the year that Mars, Venus and the Sun are conjoined in summer.
Mars and Venus were conjunct with the Sun at the summer solstice of the year 2000, and this triple conjunction will not be repeated again until August 2019. Accordingly, we might expect the Antipope’s reign to fall sometime within the period between 2000 and 2019. Notably, the conjunction of 2000 also embraced the star Alhena, which marks the heel of the celestial figure of Pollux, a warrior-god mythically linked with the Roman Mars one of the two Twins in the constellation Gemini. From our earlier discussions, the reader will recall that the stellar pair Castor and Pollux are associated in the Quatrains with the theme of imminent “shipwreck” of the Bark of St. Peter and the transference of the seat of the Church away from Rome. Since we have “jumped” to this Quatrain from another which portrays the Antipope crushing opponents beneath his tyrannical “heel”, we may gather some assurance that we are on the right track. As we shall come to know, the imagery of the “heel” in connection with the Nephew is quite portentous. This Pontiff will turn out to be, for Antichrist, both a stepping-stone to hegemonic power and an “Achilles heel” ― the stumbling-block by which that power will ultimately be forfeited.
Alhena is an Arabic name which translates as the “Mark” or “Brand” ― a startling alpha-omega evocation of the “mark of Cain” in Genesis as well as Revelation’s “mark of the Beast”. Imagining the stars surrounding Alhena as forming the body of a camel, the Arab astronomers placed Alhena on the side of the camel’s neck, where the animal was customarily branded. In the previous chapter, we established that Antichrist is astrologically associated with the Sabian symbol of the white man in Bedouin garb riding a camel. This image makes a fitting metaphor for the Deceiver’s relationship with his papal acolyte, the ACamel@. With remarkable serendipity, if we look to the Quatrain following the one we are now scrutinizing, we discover our seer talking about this very “Camel”:
The white charcoal will be chased out by the black,
Taken prisoner and thrown on the dung heap,
The Moor’s Camel gets his feet tangled up,
Then the young hawk will blink.
As with most of Nostradamus’ verses, these convey a vivid mental picture. The young “hawk” ― another of epithet for Antichrist, like “kite-nose” ― will “blink”, in the sense of being compelled to break his hypnotic hold on the World’s collective psyche, when the Camel on which he is mounted trips and falls. As specified in the opening two lines, this Camel is the black-hearted Antipope who will drive the legitimate “white” Pontiff from Rome. This scenario is identical to that depicted in another Quatrain:
Into the Faith entered Blue Turban King,
And his reign will end sooner than Saturn’s next ingress:
White Turban King banished to the heart of Byzantium,
Sun, Mars, Mercury near the Urn.
The last line establishes the precondition for the death or abdication of John Paul II, namely, the procession of planets through the sidereal Urn of Aquarius. These transits of the Sun, Mars, and Mercury were completed just before the 1996 spring equinox. And, according to the second verse, the reign of his Antipope successor will be a short one, ending before Saturn makes its ingress into the next Zodiac sign ― i.e. a period of about two years or less. We should particularly note the prediction in the third verse regarding the exile of the “White Turban” Pope ― the imagery is too close to Zechariah’s to be coincidental ― in the heart of “Byzantium”. Nostradamus uses “Byzantium” to denote the realm of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which was originally centered in the city of Byzantium, aka Constantinople. After the 15th Century conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, the “heart” of Eastern Orthodoxy shifted to Moscow.
By this time we are well aware that, being an astrologer, Nostradamus relies primarily on celestial events to date his prophetic chronologies. Having leaped between a number of Quatrains based on associational links, we now begin to detect the delineation of a definite progression of planetary phenomena. First, we had the long series of Saturn’s transits through the “Water” of Aquarius, from April 1994 to January 1996 ― a period marked by a succession of crises in the personal health and security of Pope John Paul II. Next, our gaze is directed to a conjunction between Saturn and Mars within a few degrees of the Sun at the spring equinox of 1996 ― a conjunction whose significance is intensified by its proximity to the star Scheat, an omen of impending “shipwreck”. It is as if, in a manner of speaking, the “baton” of malevolence passes during this conjunction from Saturn to Mars ― from Set/Satan to his mortal emissary, the bloody Beast who will lead humanity into its Final War. Accordingly, the astrological sequence of the Centuries proceeds onward from March 1996 with the Red Planet as its principal focus. Repeatedly referenced in these Quatrains are a succession of encounters “in the rays of the Sun” between Mercury and Mars ― the two planetary counterparts of Castor and Pollux, the stars of shipwrecked sailors. The first conjunction of the series transpires at the exact position of the “shipwreck star” Scheat.
Coinciding with the ominous appearance of Comet Hyakutake, this conjunction presages the first public manifestation of Antichrist, and thus represents a sort of diabolical “annunciation”, ironically synchronized with the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, 1996.
Stained with murder, enormous infidelities,
The great Enemy of all humanity:
Who will be worse than his ancestors,
In iron, fire, waters, bloody and inhuman.
As we have noted several times before, “iron” typically appears in the Quatrains as a symbol for Mars, so we have here an astrological reference to Mars being “in the fire” (that is, “combust”, or within six degrees of the Sun) and “in the water” (i.e. transiting the now-familiar Water/Pond precinct of the constellation Aquarius). The Red Planet fulfilled these conditions during the period from February 28th through March 11th, 1996. Aside from its celestial connotations, this scenario also suggests the casting of a steel sword ― with the reddening of its iron blade in the fiery furnace followed quickly by its baptismal immersion in water to set its lethal edge. In the case of the Great Enemy of humanity, this “sword” is his deceiving tongue:
A broadsword with the twisted tongue,
Will enter God’s sanctuary:
Opening the door for the heretics,
By inciting the Church Militant.
We cannot avoid drawing the obvious parallels between the language of this Quatrain and that of St. Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, where he pictures the Enemy’s enthronement in the Lord’s Sanctuary as the culminating event of the Great Apostasy. Of course, it is not Antichrist himself who will mount St. Peter’s Throne, but rather his “vicar”, the Antipope through whom Nostradamus tells us he will:
... persecute with increasing ferocity for a period of three years the people of the Church with the seductive Apostasy of he who will wield total absolute power over the Church Militant.
Apostasy is the willful, pride-inspired separation of the Satanic ego-self from the divine Body. It lies at the root of all idolatry, and idolatry is, in turn, the source of all heresy. If we are not viscerally One in the Body of the God-Man, we must inevitably seek the surrogate unifying will of the Man-god. With the precipitous descent of the World back into the Chaos of its material origins, the flood waters of the spiritual Deluge submerge more and more of our collective Body, so that we increasingly perceive ourselves as separate islands, insular “individuals”. Stranded and lost on the shores of this sea of spiritual opacity, we await the emergence from its dark waters of a Superman to rescue us from the living Hell of volition without vision. Our “freedom” has become a hateful prison, and we long to surrender it, to prostrate ourselves before the immortal puissance of a latter-day Pharaoh. Thus does the living Body of Man’s collective divinity become eclipsed by the dead body of the god-King, by the megalithic stones raised to the glory of his sham immortality.
It is not by mere happenstance, therefore, that the dawn of human “history” ― actually the beginning of our six-thousand year episode of collective amnesia ― coincided with an era of monumental architecture still unsurpassed by our modern civilization. Beginning with the Tower of Babel, the “Wonders of the Ancient World” are the colossal mileposts of the progressive fragmentation of human consciousness as it withdrew from the Mind of God. Appropriately enough, the last of these “Wonders” to survive into the end-Time is the Great Pyramid of Giza ― at once tomb and ultimate memorial to the vain pursuit of ego-immortality.
For a society which denies the reality of Death, Death becomes the only reality. From the time of the primeval Fall ― which antedates the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, the Nile, the Indus, and the Yangtze ― human history has been nothing more than the painstaking refinement of the culture of Death. The more mightily does Man struggle to banish the specter of biological death, the more does the psychic reality of Death cast its shadow across Life and negate the ecstasy which is its essential feature. This metaphysical lesson was nowhere more tragically epitomized than in the life of Doctor de Nostredame himself, who deployed his physician’s art to cheat Death time and time again, only to watch helplessly as the plague carried off his own beloved wife and children. In his Quatrains, the visions which Nostradamus lived, as opposed to merely seeing, are set apart by his tell-tale references to his own native land of Provence.
Salon, Mausol, Tarascon, the arch of SEX,
Where is still standing the pyramid,
They will come to betray [to] the Prince of the Year of Mark,
Redemption shamed in the temple of Artemis.
Salon-de-Provence and Tarascon are the two Provençal towns which bracket Nostradamus’ birthplace of St. Rémy. Just outside of St. Rémy stand the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Glanum, which form an important part of Nostradamus’ childhood memories: We know that the young prophet was taken there often by his grandfather Jean, who had been astrologer to the court of Good King René in Tarascon. Dominating the temple complex of Glanum are several votive altars dedicated to the hero Hercules. Hercules is the Greco-Roman counterpart of Moloch and the pagan archetype of ego-immortality ― the wretched immortality of the Fallen Angels. In pagan mythology, such immortality was conferred upon the hero by the great goddess of Love and Death. This goddess was known by many names: Ishtar to the Babylonians, Astarte to the Phoenicians, Aphrodite/Venus to the Greeks and Romans, and Cybele to the Phrygians of Asia Minor. Not surprisingly, the ruins of Glanum also contain a sanctuary dedicated to Cybele and her son Attis, whose annual castration and dismemberment provide the central ritual in the cult of the merciless goddess. The priestesses of Cybele at Glanum, like those of her lunar avatar Artemis at Ephesus, would have been dressed as bees. Their springtime love tryst with a royal consort was followed by his mutilation at midsummer ― just as the queen bee emasculates her drone-lover.
The motif of this depraved ritual appears also in the triumphal arch outside the gates of Glanum, the coffered ceiling of which consists of an array of hexagonal carvings ― a veritable “honey-comb” effect. If we follow the path of this bee-ritual, as we shall in the next chapter, it inexorably leads us to the “sacred” lineage of Antichrist ― himself the ultimate consort of the insatiable goddess. Exactly in the pattern of such pagan heroes as Attis, Adonis, and Tammuz, against whose worship the Hebrew prophets inveighed, the Man of Sin will be ritually slain and “resurrected” in a diabolical parody of Christ’s Passion. This is the shameful mock-Redemption to which Nostradamus refers in the last verse of the stanza above.
Given this mythological context, the “Prince of the Year of Mark”, of whom the good Doctor speaks in the third line of the foregoing Quatrain, must refer to Antichrist. As for the meaning of the “Year of Mark”, we need only recall St. Bridget’s prophecy that the Beast would be born in the year in which the Feast of St. Mark falls on Easter. Using our associational principle of “hypertext” linkage, let’s jump to another series of Quatrains which refer to the “Year of Mark”, beginning with this one:
The earthquake in Mostara,
Half-submerged tin Saint George,
Sleepy peace awakened by war’s reveille,
In the temple at Easter the Abysses yawn.
Mostara is a town near Milan, the city which Nostradamus connects with the last, persecuted Pope ― St. Malachy’s Peter II. In the prophet’s native tongue, mil ans is a thousand years, and milan is a species of kite, thus linking this image both to the Millennial Kingdom and the “kite-nose” Bronzebeard whose brutal reign will precede it. As for the “tin St. George”, Christian iconography depicts the Saint as a dragon-slayer. Legend has it that he appeared in a vision to the soldiers of the First Crusade as their protector in battle against the Saracen Turks. Medieval variants of the prophecy of St. Bridget rephrase the conditions of the birth of Antichrist to include the coincidence of the Feast of St. George with Good Friday. In medieval alchemy, the element tin was a symbol for the planet Jupiter. Tin “half submerged” would represent Jupiter at “quadrature” (i.e. making a 90E aspect with the Earth and Sun) which occurred on Good Friday in 1996. Consequently, the year 1996 fulfills the astronomical requisites for the two prognoses of the foregoing Quatrain: the launching of events leading to the Final War, and the “yawning Abyss” in the “temple at Easter”. The latter is a clear reference to the prophesied vacancy and schism in the Holy See following the death or abdication of the Polish Pontiff. In the very next stanza, we again encounter the “Year of Mark”:
Hercules King of Rome and of the Year of Mark,
With the surname of the chief of triple Gaul,
Italy and the one of St. Mark to tremble,
Monarch renowned first above all.
Hercules, the immortal human Superman, is the mythical prototype of the Scriptural Beast. Antichrist’s earthly incarnation in 1965, the “Year of Mark”, represents the demonic revival of Nero. Nero, of course, bore the surname Caesar after Julius, the conqueror of tripartite Gaul ― which also happens to be the land of the Deceiver’s birth. As if that’s not specific enough, Nostradamus uses the Old French word Guion for “chief”, with the added association of Guienne, the ancient Gaulish province encompassing what is now southwestern France. Another allusion which we should not overlook is the role of St. Mark as patron protector of Venice, the city whose maritime prowess was Italy’s historical bulwark against Turkish domination. A modern sequel to such domination will emerge in the form of a trans-Turkic empire to be assembled by Antichrist, the “Monarch renowned above all”.
Venice also marks the geopolitical boundary of the great East-West schism between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. In this regard, we are reminded of Fatima’s message that the new schism which Antichrist and his Antipope are destined to provoke in the Roman Church will ultimately lead to the reunification of the Eastern and Western rites. Perhaps this explains the juxtaposition of Saints Mark and George in these two Quatrains ― with the former representing the East-West ecclesiastical divide and the latter signifying the bridge which will span that divide. This symbolic theme of Church unification is particularly relevant to St. George, because he was the traditional patron of the Byzantine armies as well as those of the western Crusaders. The cult of St. George remains prominent in both Russia and Britain, which define the faith’s eastern and western limits.
Another intriguing feature of St. George involves his familiar role as the dragon-slayer in the “Golden Legend” of medieval chivalry. One cannot look at Raphael’s definitive portrayal of the mounted Saint piercing the infernal reptile without thinking of the Archangel Michael in Revelation casting the old Serpent down into the pit. A more detailed scrutiny of the lore of St. George also leads us back to the mythical archetype of Perseus, which we touched upon in the previous chapter. George’s fabled dragon emerged out of a large lake in Libya and, after having his appetite appeased for a time by lambs, finally demanded the king’s daughter as his sacrificial bride. Just as Perseus mounted the winged steed Pegasus and slew the sea-monster which menaced Princess Andromeda, so George’s lance dispatched the dragon-suitor of the Libyan princess. With this background, let’s consider the next Quatrain:
The solitary portion of Mary will be mitered,
Rematch war will pass over the trouble,
By five hundred one traitor to be titled
Narbonne and Saulce anoint us using knives.
Double meanings abound in the first verse. It bespeaks, on one hand, the “mitering”, or joining together, of the Marian faithful, East and West. On the other hand, it alludes to the schismatic investiture ― with the miter of the Bishop of Rome ― of a papal pretender whose partial name is Marie. As for the “rematch war”, in the 20th Century setting it can only mean the Second World War, which was literally a rematch of the adversaries of the First World War. Just as clearly, one residual “trouble” which remained as the unresolved legacy of the last great War was Communist Russia, the prime impediment to peace identified by the Virgin of Fatima. We in the West, of course, have tended to view Russia strictly as the source of “the problem”. But this perspective ignores the portion of Mary’s message that assigns to a “consecrated” Russia the redemptive mission as the ultimate solution to “the problem”, as well.
From the last two verses of this Quatrain, we might well envision a synod of 500 bishops convened for the purpose of conferring legitimacy upon a “traitor” to the faith, the Antipope. While the reference to the towns of Narbonne and Salces in southern France arguably points to the locale of such a meeting, we have noted that the prophet often uses French geography as a “grid” of the heavens, with terrestrial latitudes corresponding to celestial declinations. From the latter standpoint, Narbonne and Salces bracket 43 degrees north latitude, which translates astronomically into an equatorial declination of +43 degrees. This is precisely where the returning Comet Typhon (a.k.a. Hale-Bopp) conjoined the star Almach on the Friday after Easter in 1997. If we now jump ahead by two Quatrains, we find the following double entendre verse:
Not far from Easter confusion coup [of the] faith
which may also be rendered:
Not far from Easter confusion blow [of the] knife
Obviously, both of these meanings fit the emerging pattern of this series of Quatrains, namely a chain of events, beginning during Eastertide 1997, later culminating in a violent revolution within the Roman Church and the coronation of an Antipope. Perhaps this chain of events relates to the Vatican’s unexpected announcement on March 10, 1997 ― less than three weeks before Easter ― that it was establishing diplomatic relations with the Libyan regime of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. For Qaddafi, this liaison with the Holy See was just what the odious butcher needed to break out the international isolation imposed on him since the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in1988. From the Vatican’s standpoint, the move reflected an appalling willingness to accommodate a murderous tyrant in the interests of its own ― or, more precisely, Opus Dei’s ― short-term political aims. Such cynical diplomatic maneuvering only sets the stage for the Vatican’s embrace of history’s ultimate “strongman”.
The prophet’s use of the cometary conjunction with Almach to fix the timing of this event tells us something else concerning the “plagues” to be inflicted on the World as a consequence of this usurpation of the Holy See. First of all, the star Almach is part of the constellation Andromeda ― the astral rendering of the archetypal Bride rescued from the dragon by St. George. In this sense, the Bride evokes the dragon-menaced Woman of Revelation Chapter 12 ― the symbol of the persecuted Church of the end-Time under the onslaught of Antichrist. Secondly, Almach marks the point in the sky from which the annual Bielid meteor shower appears to radiate. Occurring in November of each year, this meteor shower takes its name from the comet Biela. The comet disintegrated during its perihelion passage (i.e., its closest approach to the Sun) in 1846 ― the year of the Virgin Mary’s appearance at La Salette ― and left behind a trail of debris which still crosses the earth’s orbital path.
In July 1994, the World witnessed from afar the awesome cosmic consequences of the disintegration of Comet Shoemaker-Levy. For seven days, its fragments bombarded Jupiter and partially “submerged” the planet ― whose symbol that of the element tin ― in towering black clouds which blanketed its southern hemisphere. Again we are reminded of the lines from the first Quatrain of the series we are now analyzing:
Half-submerged tin St. George,
Sleepy peace awakened by war’s reveille
as well as these lines, always among the most discussed in the Centuries:
The large star will burn for seven days,
The cloud will make it appear as if there were two suns
Interestingly, the French word for “cloud” ― nuée ― also means “horde” or “swarm”, as in une nuée de sauterelles ― a “plague of locusts”. Thus, a secondary meaning of these verses refers to one of the plagues of Egypt associated with the Comet Typhon, whose return at the end of the Sixth Millennium is foreshadowed in Revelation:
I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth ... and there arose smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth ...
The Evangelist goes on to describe the locusts as a horde of warriors, under the command of the “Destroyer”, who will sweep westward from beyond the Euphrates River and consume one-third of humanity in his conquests. This army will be invincible, John tells us, because, like a swarm of locusts, it will be of one mind ― the infernal mind of Antichrist, the head of the abominable body which is Moloch.
Thus, this prophecy of “two suns” refers to a cosmic phenomena will be an “early warning signal” of the impending Final War of Antichrist. The origins of this War ― its “reveille”, so to speak ― go back to the “half-submerged tin”, i.e. the bombardment of Jupiter by the debris of Comet Shoemaker-Levy. Within months of that cosmic cataclysm, civil war erupted in the Russian republic of Chechnya ― the opening volley in a gathering wave of pan-Turkic insurgence which Antichrist will ride to power. As for the prophesied portent of the “two suns”, it was fulfilled on March 9, 1997, when the huge Comet Typhon/Hale-Bopp loomed beside the Sun and actually outshone it during an eclipse.
Just as the Comet Typhon was the destroying Angel of the first Passover, so it is, in our times, the harbinger of a “second Passover”, in which the Lord will chastise the Pharisees of Rome. Indeed, the Centuries reveal the provenance of this second Passover, and the word itself even shows up in one of the series of Quatrains we have been scrutinizing:
Rematch war will pass over the trouble,
which equally supports a second meaning:
Return conflict will pass over the roof,
Both renderings are valid, since the French noun tuile can either denote a roofing tile or an afflicting circumstance. Of course, the avenging Angel of Exodus literally passed over the roofs of the Hebrews on his way to claim the first-born of Egypt. Similarly, the word “return” resonates with the 20th Century’s Jewish emigration back to the Promised Land ― a modern Exodus driven by an evil whose sheer enormity is still not comprehended by the Gentile Nations.
Today the Nations smugly congratulate themselves on the defeat of Nazism while at the same time their leaders rush to embrace an even more vicious, albeit more subtle, strain of fascism. Genocidal anti-Semitism, we assure ourselves, died with Hitler’s Reich, but we “pass over” the disease of which the Holocaust was only a symptom. That disease is Apostasy ― the conscious rejection of the Word of humanity’s salvation in favor of the World of ego-aggrandizement. In its ultimate logic, this profound sickness of the soul demands not only the negation of the Lord, but the extirpation of His consecrated people. And who are His consecrated people? They are the children of Israel, who were consecrated to Him on Mt. Sinai, and they are the Nation of Russia, which will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin. Not without reason, therefore, did the precursors of Antichrist ― Napoleon, Stalin and Hitler ― endeavor to destroy the Jews and subjugate Russia.
For Nostradamus, the child of forced-convert Jewish parents, the words “pass over” would not have been casually invoked in his Quatrains. As a student of the heavens, he would have known the ancient import of the Feast of Passover as marking the New Year and the first Full Moon of spring. For two consecutive years, in 1996 and 1997, the Passover/Easter Moon was eclipsed. Moreover, the Passover Moon of 1996 was accompanied by the portent of a “second Moon”, in the form of Comet Hyakutake. We have already seen how the prophet precisely delineates the astrological lead-up to the appearance of this comet ― the celestial Gabriel of a sinister “annunciation”. What was the momentous pre-Apocalyptic event which its apparition heralded?
From all indications thus far, we must anticipate that this event forms part of a sequence of incidents which will trigger the Final War, the war in which Antichrist will lead seven Gentile Nations against Russia. Since the Deceiver would not have himself perceived as the aggressor, there will, of necessity, be a plausible pretext for his belligerent campaign, and we can expect it to build upon the same premise as has justified the invasions launched by his precursors: “Russian expansionism”. Viewed from this perspective, we can well appreciate the significance of the hand-wringing in the West over the Russian parliament’s defiant ― albeit purely symbolic ― repeal of the 1991 decrees which dissolved the Soviet Union. Coming on March 15, 1996, the Duma’s startling action set in motion a series of responses by the Yeltsin regime which culminated, during the peak of the comet’s run, in the signing of accords partially reintegrating the republics of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan with Russia. It’s also of some interest to note that the signing of the four-nation accords took place in the Kremlin’s St. George Hall! Since our prophetic interpretation sees Antichrist during this period pursuing some public role in Central Asia, we may surmise that he has stepped from the shadows to agitate against these accords in his adopted homeland.
Getting back to question of the nature of the “Passover” to occur in the aftermath of the return of Comet Typhon in 1997, we have already stumbled upon several clues in the Quatrains. These hint at a cataclysmic scenario resembling the disintegration of comets Biela and Shoemaker-Levy. At several points during its spectacular passage through the inner solar system, the enormous nucleus of Hale-Bopp was observed to eject great masses of material, thus leaving a trail of debris in its wake. Consequently, the Comet’s orbital path will remain populated with a locust-like “swarm” of thousands of shards, ranging in diameter from 10 to 100 meters, each capable of obliterating a major city.
The orbit of Comet Typhon is nearly at right angles to the plane of the earth’s orbit around the Sun, which astronomers designate as the “ecliptic” plane, because the Moon passes through that plane when it eclipses the Sun. On May 6, 1997, the Comet crossed the ecliptic plane in relatively close proximity (estimated at 16 million miles) to the earth’s orbital path. Because our planet was actually traversing the opposite side of its orbit at that time, the potential swarm of cometary wreckage posed no immediate threat of terrestrial collisions. But, depending on the distribution of the material ejected along Typhon’s path, the earth could encounter a considerable trail of debris when it traverses the vicinity of the comet’s ecliptic crossing point, as it will each year in December-January. Indeed, we may already have encountered a massive chunk of this cometary debris when, in the early morning hours of December 9, 1997, a huge meteor, estimated to weigh 50 tons, slammed into the southern coast of Greenland.
In astronomical jargon, the point at which an orbit crosses the ecliptic is called a “node”. Nodes can be of two types: “ascending”, in the instance of a celestial body crossing the ecliptic plane from south to north, and “descending”, in the case of a crossing in the opposite direction. Hence, the ecliptic crossing of Comet Hale-Bopp in May 1997 would be described as its “descending node”. From the astrological standpoint, the two significant “nodes” are where the Moon’s orbit intersects the ecliptic, and these positions are regarded as especially influential for births occurring close to an actual eclipse event. The birth of Antichrist on April 1, 1965, was followed the next month by a total solar eclipse, which occurred very close to his natal ascending node at 16 degrees in Gemini (Figure 2). It’s an astounding “coincidence” that the descending node of the orbit of Comet Typhon is at this same position! Perhaps we should add to this the detail that the traditional appellation for the descending node ― the “dragon’s tail” ― eerily corresponds to Mayan name for the Yucatan crater created by the cataclysmic comet which annihilated the dinosaurs.
By all indications, therefore, the aftermath of Hale-Bopp’s visit to the inner solar system is apt to be characterized by severe dislocations affecting both social and natural milieus. Since we would expect the Centuries to have something to say about this, let’s review a familiar series of Quatrains:
After great human discord, even greater disorder readies itself,
The Great Mover renews the ages:
Rain, blood, milk, famine, iron and plague,
Fire seen in the heavens, a long spark running.
By now, the reader should be able to spot the astrological allusion in the third verse to “iron”, signifying Mars. In the same line, “milk” refers to the Milky Way, the center of which lies just beyond the tip of the “arrow” of the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer. Marking the head of the astral arrow is the star Al Nasl, whose name means ― aptly enough ― the “point” in Arabic. As one might expect, Al Nasl astrologically signifies a “turning point” of events. Mars crossed this point in the heavens in November 1997 ― just prior to the annual Leonid meteor shower.
The Leonid meteors ― so named because they appear to emanate from the constellation Leo the Lion ― are also cometary fragments. They are offshoots of Comet Tempel-Tuttle., which crosses the Earth=s orbit every 33 years. As a result of the most recent crossing in March 1998, the annual Leonid meteor “shower” became an awesome “blizzard” for the next several years, culminating in the great Leonid meteor “storm” of November 19, 2002. Small wonder, then, that Nostradamus envisions a rain of fire and vividly describes the appearance of a huge bolide ― the “long spark running” ― as it streaks across the sky. Moving on to the next stanza, we encounter the following lines:
The enemy of the great unredeemed mourning murder by poison,
The sovereigns spellbound by the numberless multitudes:
Stones to rain, concealed under the fleece,
At death’s door pleading in vain.
From our discussion in the Chapter One, my reader may recognize the first line above as an alternate translation of a phrase we had previously applied to the death of Michele Sindona, the mastermind of the plot to assassinate Pope John Paul I. In the context of the rendering given above, the “murder by poison” refers to the poisoning of Papa Luciani himself. We may surmise that a future aspirant to the papal throne ― one not aligned with the “great unredeemed” Deceiver ― will threaten to blow the lid off of that long-concealed Vatican atrocity. In classical literature, the metaphor of rain falling on a fleece was often used to describe an important happening that is kept “under wraps”, just as the patter of raindrops is muffled by a sheepskin. Applying this metaphor to the third verse above, we infer that the murderous veil of ecclesiastical subterfuge may begin to dissolve after the Leonid meteor storm of November 2002. With his usual flare for multilingual puns, the erudite Doctor makes the phrase “stones to rain” serve double duty, since pierre is also the name Peter:
Peters to “rain”/reign ...
The plural name here of course intimates more than one Pope Peter, i.e. a Peter II, whose honor will not permit him to uphold the Vatican’s ancient code of silence. In light of all we have learned about Rome’s past responses to such threats, we are not surprised that the new Peter’s integrity will deliver him to death’s door. Turning now to the next, and perhaps the most obscure of this series of Quatrains, we run into a profile of Peter’s dissembling rival:
The great counterfeit who will pass through the mounts,
Saturn in the Archer turning point of the fish Mars:
Venom concealed under salmon-colored heads,
Their hanged-man chief at the edge of Mar’s pole.
Several familiar themes jump out at us immediately: the “counterfeit” pope, the new “passover”, and the juxtaposition of the two malefic planets Saturn and Mars. Since the title assigned to the Antipope by St. Malachy is “The Glory of the Olive Tree”, might not the reference to “mounts” in the first verse refer to the Mount of Olives ― the “mount of corruption” where the blazing alters of Moloch once devoured the flesh of children? But why the plural “mounts”? In part, it’s because the Mount of Olives is one of those bipolar images ― so characteristic of these prophecies ― conveying mutually antithetical meanings. On one hand, it is the emblem of the abominable collective body of fallen Man, while on the other, it is the promised portal of the God-Man’s triumphant return at the end of Time. It was from the Mount of Olives that Christ ascended into heaven, and as he rose two angels appeared to the Apostles and foretold that the Messiah would, on the Day of the Lord, descend upon the same promontory:
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up at heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven’.
This duality ― shared by its cognate symbol, the Olive Tree ― harks back to the prophet Zechariah. He proclaims that, on the Day of the Lord, the Mount of Olives will be split into two “mounts” ― a metaphor for the great schism which will separate the faithful remnant of God’s people from the followers of Antichrist:
Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, ... and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations ... And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives ... and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west...
Contrary to the nonsense dispensed by literalists, Zechariah is speaking here not of the mundane city of Jerusalem, but of the spiritual Jerusalem, the City of God. Hence, the cleavage of the Mount of Olives is the division of humanity in the Final War ― the war which will pit all of the Nations of the World against the last refuge of the faithful. As Nostradamus envisions it, the False Prophet will wield the sovereign power of the Roman pontificate to engender this schism, but ultimately God will use this transient division to create a unified and purified Church. Having digressed a bit, let us now return to the Quatrain at hand:
Saturn in the Archer turning point of the fish Mars:
Venom concealed under salmon-colored heads,
Their hanged-man chief at the edge of Mar’s pole.
As we observed earlier, the Saturn-Mars pair corresponds to Satan and Antichrist, with the former delegating his malevolent powers to the latter. The planet Mars is described as being at the “turning point” of the Archer at the same time as Saturn is at the “turning point” of the Fishes. In other words, the Red Planet will be conjunct with “the point”, i.e. Al Nasl in Sagittarius, just as the Saturn arrives at the midpoint of the constellation Pisces. We find that these two cosmic events actually coincided in November 1997. As for the “salmon-colored heads” in the third verse, any amateur astronomer can attest that the so-called “Red Planet” actually appears in a pale orange-red hue which is quite salmon-like. Moreover, that characteristic color was displayed most brightly when Mars was at opposition to the Sun in March of 1996 ― also the time of Comet Hale-Bopp’s maximum brilliance. In a manner of speaking, then, the spectacular cometary apparitions of March-April 1997 concealed a cosmic “venom” that began to manifest itself seven months later.
Concerning the “hanged-man chief” of the last verse, we are reminded of the fatal head wound from which the latter-day Nero is to be revived. Again in this stanza we are treated to more word play involving “head” ― rendered as tête and chef in French ― a veritable prophetic shorthand for the Beast-cum-Nero. But what are we to make of his presence at the point of “Mar’s pole”? Though baffling at first glance, the meaning of this image becomes quite evident when one visualizes the familiar symbol of the Red Planet, with its circle surmounted by a phallic arrow. With this symbol in mind, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that “Mar’s pole” equates to the “tip of the arrow” ― another unmistakable allusion to Mar’s conjunction with Al Nasl in November 1997.
Apparently, Nostradamus found the alignment of the planet Mars with the arrow of the Archer to be an irresistible metaphor for the arming of Antichrist, the archetypal god of War. Against the backdrop of late 20th Century weaponry, moreover, the “arrow” which the Destroyer acquires at this juncture may be a nuclear missile. If we literally follow the prophet’s “arrow” to the next series of Quatrains to which it points, we are directed to an astonishing sequence beginning with:
Betrayer approaches the portal,
In the glimmer of Selene,
the small great one taken away.
In the first verse we recognize the entry of the Betrayer into the sanctuary of the faith, i.e. the usurpation of the Holy See by the Antipope. The next line speaks of the concurrent banishment of the true Pope Peter ― the “small great one”. Selene was the Greek goddess associated with the darkness of the new Moon, an archetypal symbol of the “dark night of the soul”. An extended “night of screams” ― much like Egypt’s three-day plague of darkness ― promises to be one of the terrible visitations during Antichrist’s reign. It is the new Moon which eclipses the Sun ― a phenomena mythically depicted by Selene “wounding” the Sun with her arrows. In the next stanza, this theme continues to unfold:
Gallic fleet backing the big guard-dog
Of great Neptune, and his trident soldiers,
Provence bloodied withstanding the armed gangs:
Most Mars Narbonne, by javelins and darts.
Previously we encountered several Quatrains where Antichrist was referred to as a “guard-dog”. We have also interpreted the pagan god Neptune as a prototype of the Beast of the Sea, with his trident emblemizing the infernal trinity of Satan-Antichrist-Antipope. Since the “trident” arises here in the context of prophecies concerning the Destroyer’s possible acquisition of nuclear arms, Nostradamus might be intimating that submarine-based Trident-class missiles will fall into Antichrist’s treacherous hands. Such multiple-warhead missiles do indeed resemble “javelins and darts” ― with the long range of the former and the pinpoint accuracy of the latter.
We find Mars among this Quatrain’s imagery of assorted barbed projectiles ― all “pointing” to the planet’s position in the constellation Sagittarius in mid-November 1997. The phrase “most Mars” conjures the image of the brightest apparitions of that malignant orb, which occur when it’s in opposition to the Sun. Such an opposition took place in March 1997 at the same time that Hale-Bopp blazed across the zenith of the night sky at Narbonne in the south of France. The brightest Martian opposition in the past 60,000 years occurred in August 2003 ― a month that witnessed stiffening resistance to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and a break-down of the Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire. Once again, therefore, we discern the cosmic events of spring 1997 projected into the onset of natural and social cataclysms that have evolved in the succeeding years. Since Mars is the cosmic hinge of this tragic scenario, the outbreak of widespread protracted warfare in the Middle East and Central Asia has proven to be part of the script. The following Quatrain holds some clues as to the direction this war may take:
The Punic pledge broken in the East,
Ganges, Jordan, and Rhône Loire, and Tagus will change places:
When the hunger of the mule is satiated...
From other Quatrains, we have already gathered that the Destroyer is partly of Punic-Islamic descent, and that his empire will spread, like Attila’s, from the steppes of Asia. Presumably, then, his “broken pledge” relates to a Munich-style appeasement by which he gains hegemony east of the Euphrates in exchange for a promise not to expand further west. In the second verse, the prophet gives us a list of rivers associated with major faiths ― the Ganges being sacred to the Hindus, as is the Jordan to the Jews. As for Catholicism, a split is clearly suggested between the Rhône-Loire basin — the vicinage of the French Antipope — and the Tagus River that flows below the village of Fatima in Portugal. Implicit in this symbolic matrix is the notion of a unification of the World’s principal religions under the aegis of Antichrist ― a false Universal Church shunned only by the spiritual progeny of Our Lady of Fatima. Finally, the “mule” whose hunger is appeased plainly invokes the image of the malignant mule-eared Set of Egyptian lore. Set is the spirit of darkness who dismembers the divine Body and stands as the adversary of the Son of Man in his mission of Redemption. Thus, the creation of one World Religion will mark the nadir of mankind’s spiritual pilgrimage ― an abominable parody of our true visceral unity in the Messiah.
Turning now to the next Quatrain in this sequence, we arrive at the thematic link ― the foreboding “arrow” ― which led us here in the first place:
Bravo, Tamins, Gironde and la Rochelle:
O Trojan blood! Mars armed with the arrow
At the fortress beyond the river set to scale,
Points to fire great murder in the breach.
While the meaning of “Tamins” has baffled Nostradamus’ interpreters, I regard it as a garbled form of the name of the 14th Century Mongol conqueror Amir Timur, or Tamerlane, as he is known in the West. An obvious historical prototype of Antichrist, Tamerlane swept westward from his Central Asian stronghold of Samarkand, a hub of the ancient “Silk Road”, in what is now the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. With an almost supernatural fury, his hordes subjugated Persia, India, and the Ottoman Empire within the space of barely 15 years, leaving in their wake a path of absolute desolation marked by macabre pyramids of human skulls. Although Tamerlane had universally been regarded as an odious butcher for the past six centuries, it=s noteworthy that the post-Soviet despots of his Central Asian homeland have enshrined him as a national hero and role model for their people!
As for our anticipation of a latter-day Tamerlane, his likely lineage is expressed clearly enough in the prophet’s mention of Trojan ― i.e. royal French ― blood. We also note the references to Gironde and La Rochelle, which are French regions near the Destroyer’s birthplace of Angoulême. We should also note that the Gironde estuary on France=s Atlantic coast is linked to Narbonne on the Mediterranean by a series of rivers and canals. The latitude of Narbonne corresponds to the zenith passage of Comet Typhon at the peak of its brilliance in the spring of 1997. Accordingly, our Provençal seer employs the Narbonne-to-Gironde route as a time-line for the chain of events in Antichrist’s rise to power. At the Gironde terminus of this time-line ― that is, in autumn 1997 ― the second verse of this Quatrain forecasts Antichrist’s acquisition of a nuclear-tipped “arrow”. This weapon was secretly added to his arsenal after Mars conjoined the starry tip of the Archer=s arrow on November 11, 1997.
In Chapter One we discussed an aborted attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II during his visit to the Philippines in January 1995. We mentioned this plot was hatched by an Al-Qaeda terrorist named Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, and that it was part of a broader scheme involving the use of hijacked airliners as flying bombs to destroy large buildings. Though botched, this “Operation Bojinka” provided the basis for the infamous Al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001. As the principal explosives expert of Al-Qaeda, Yousef had also devised the plan to bomb the World Trade Center in New York that was carried out on February 26, 1993. If the 1993 bombing had been executed according to Yousef’s plan, the Twin Towers would have toppled and a huge cloud of cyanide gas would have been released over lower Manhattan. At his trial, Yousef testified that he had hoped to inflict casualties on the scale of Hiroshima. That trial ended with Yousef’s conviction on November 12, 1997 ― the day after the Martian conjunction with the Al Nasl at the tip of Sagittarius’ arrow. Since Nostradamus envisions this conjunction coinciding with Antichrist’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon, we may well speculate that Al-Qaeda played some role in this transaction.
Based on our experience up to this point, we might intuit that the date November 11th in the liturgical calendar holds some clues concerning this emerging “time-line” of ours. That intuition proves to be right on, since the 11th of November marks the feast of St. Martin of Tours, whose cult dominated medieval France. Indeed, the geographic region of our “time-line” is saturated with some 500 French villages and 4,000 parishes named in honor of this 4th Century bishop. What might the life of St. Martin reveal in our prophetic quest? Well, Martin is known to have taken a courageous stand against the Roman emperor Maximus’ use of capital punishment against the Gnostic heretic Priscillian. In spite of the holy man’s pleas, Priscillian became the first of what would sadly prove to be a multitude of honorable, if misguided, men and women put to death for their beliefs.
Rather than extirpate the heresy, the martyrdom of Priscillian embedded it in the remote mountainous countryside of the Pyrenees, where it would erupt again more than eight centuries later as the Cathar movement. Implacably bent on destroying Catharism, Pope Innocent III summoned a Crusade ― the only one ever directed against internal Christian dissension ― and besieged the Cathar leaders in their citadel fortress at Montségur in Languedoc. After holding out for nine months behind the massive walls of Montségur, the Cathar priests— known as Perfecti— finally succumbed. The 200 survivors of their company were burned alive outside of the castle walls. St. Malachy’s 12th Century list of descriptive mottos for future popes assigns to Innocent III the epithet “Comes signato”, which can be translated from the Latin as the “designated accomplice”. This motto perfectly prefigures the Papacy’s end-Time complicity with Antichrist. As a matter of fact, Innocent was the first of the popes to claim for himself the blasphemous title “Vicar of Christ”. Thus do the purported successors of St. Peter claim for themselves an elevated status above the rest of humanity ― a status which mocks the sublime humility of the original Fisherman.
The Church=s pretext for violently suppressing the Cathar movement was their heretical theology ― a form of “dualism”. The Cathars posited an irreconcilable antagonism between Flesh and Spirit and hence rejected the dogma of Christ=s bodily resurrection. But, in truth, it was not the ideas of the Cathars which threatened the Pharisees of Rome, but rather the marked contrast of their humble Perfecti to the haughty princes of the Catholic prelacy. Even St. Bernard, perhaps the most influential Christian thinker of the era, felt compelled to extol the simple, gentle, genuine spirituality of the Cathar preachers. He suggested that the Church had much to learn from them in mending its own corrupt ways. One aspect of the Cathar priesthood which remains particularly relevant to our times is their ordination of women on an equal basis with men ― a practice anathematized by the Vatican hierarchy then and now.
Against this historical background, we can now revisit our time-line, having gained some insight into the significance of the ensuing lines of the stanza before us:
... Mars armed with the arrow
At the fortress beyond the river set to scale,
Points to fire great murder in the breach.
What was hopelessly enigmatic before now reads like a primer. The “fortress beyond the river” represents the Cathar stronghold at Montségur located beyond the Ariège River, which flows down from the Pyrenees to our path form Narbonne to Gironde. And if we follow the prophecy’s explicit instructions by scaling off the distance to the Ariège along this path, we find that it falls one-third of the way to Gironde. Translating this datum onto our time-line, then, we would anticipate an event ― a “sequel” resonant with the theme of the 13th Century repression of the Cathars ― occurring about one-third of the way through the seven-month interval from April to November 1997.
In light of the Cathars= acceptance of women as priests, we might speculate that this “sequel” touched upon the divisive issue of female ordination. As we discussed earlier, Nostradamus foresees the growing dissension in Church on this issue becoming one of the principal causes of the great Schism in the offing. A number of his Quatrains focus attention on the Vatican=s ruling, in November 1995, declaring that the exclusion of women from the priesthood was an “infallible” teaching, not subject to debate or reconsideration. Accordingly, the “sequel” to which the prophetic Doctor seems to be alluding may relate to the startlingly direct challenge to this Vatican fiat laid down by the Catholic Theological Society of America at its meeting in June 1997. It would seem that the battle lines are already being drawn for the historic showdown to follow the reign of John Paul II.
Before leaving this Quatrain, we would do well to note one last astrological allusion in the final verse and retain it for future reference. The phrase “points to fire” conjures the potential thermonuclear immolation to be wrought by Antichrist. We are also mindful of the celestial connotations of the “point” of the Archer and the pointed “pole” of Mar. If we follow the aim of these two arrows at the time of their fateful joinder of November 11, 1997, they direct us along the Zodiac toward the “fire” sign Leo. Thus, our attention is shifted forward to the following summer of 1998, when Saturn began its transit through Taurus. Passing on to the final Quatrain of the current series, we find it sheds some light on Antichrist’s ascendance:
“Mabus” then will soon die, come back
Of people and beasts a horrible undoing:
Then suddenly vengeance will be seen,
Hundred hand, thirst, hunger when the comet will run.
In a prior look at these verses, we connected them to the death of the sinister Vatican financier Michele Sindona in 1986, when Comet Halley made its last appearance. But the first line also indicates that “Mabus” will return. This implies that the corrupt cabal which engineered the assassination of Pope John Paul I will rise again to dominate the Holy See and install its own willing accomplice on St. Peter’s Chair. Once the Antipope’s faction has achieved hegemony, the next two verses suggest that they will vengefully and violently pursue their opponents, in line with the dread premonition of Pius X. When? Once again, the prophet’s notorious obscurities often mask a child-like simplicity. If we consider “hundred hand” in the last verse by simply holding up one of our own hands, what do we see? Why, five fingers of course — five. Then “hundred hand” signifies five hundred. So this Quatrain is predicting that the Vatican’s purge of dissidents is to be initiated 500 days from “when the comet will run”. Comet Hale-Bopp began it’s “run” — in the sense of making its closest approach to the Earth — in early January 1997, and its “run” culminated when it was brightest and nearest to the Earth in late March 1997. The addition of 500 days in accordance with the prophecy, therefore, projects May through August 1998 as the period during which the Antipope=s cabal would have begun their “house-cleaning”.
When we look back at the period from May through August 1998, we find several events that definitely fit the pattern of Nostradamus’ dire prognostication. On May 4, 1998, the newly-appointed commander of the Vatican Swiss Guard and his wife were shot dead in their apartment, located only a few meters from the Pope’s living quarters. The victims, Colonel Alois Estermann and his wife Gladys, were both members of Opus Dei. Within three hours of the murders, Vatican press secretary Joaquin Navarro-Valls — himself an Opus Dei adherent — announced that the killer was a young vice-corporal in the Guard named Cedric Tornay. According to the “official story”, Tornay, in a “fit of madness”, had shot the Estermanns with his regulation Guard pistol and then turned the gun on himself. But the Vatican’s hasty “investigation” of the incident was strikingly reminiscent of the cover-up that followed the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. Italian civil authorities were prevented from examining the crime scene, and several items of evidence initially gathered by the Vatican’s own investigators subsequently “disappeared”. A suicide note supposedly written by Tornay — and produced by the Vatican as evidence of his guilt — proved to be a forgery. And an autopsy performed of Tornay’s body indicated that he was killed with a different gun than that used on the Estermanns. According to a group of disaffected Vatican priests, the murders were actually part of a power struggle for control over the Swiss Guard between Opus Dei and the Masonic cabal within the Curia. This incident confirms an explosive power vacuum in the Vatican — one which has expanded in proportion to the debility of John Paul II. We can anticipate that the Swiss Guard murders are only the beginning of the violent factionalism which will naturally breed in these circumstances.
The tendency of the current Vatican power struggle to spill over into violence was exacerbated during the May-August 1998 timeframe by unprecedented measures aimed at suppressing dissent within the Church. On June 30, 1998, the Pope issued an apostolic letter entitled Ad Tuendam Fidem — “To Defend the Faith”. The document inserted into the Code of Canon Law three new provisions proscribing dissent on “definitively held” Catholic teachings. Under the revised Canon Law, a theologian who argues in favor of female ordination or against a celibate priesthood is subject to “just punishment”, including excommunication. The Church hierarchy followed up with yet another repressive edict on July 23, 1998, this time virtually prohibiting bishops’ conferences from speaking on matters of doctrine without Vatican approval. These actions have set in place the legal mechanisms for a purge of “liberal” prelates who have resisted the atavistic theology of Opus Dei and its allies.
As we might expect, the Centuries have something more to say about the end of this “hundred hand” period, i.e. August 1998. As usual, our astrologer-physician lets the planets define his prognosis:
The Arab Prince Mars, Sol, Venus, Lion,
Reign of the Church by sea will succumb:
Toward Persia very nearly a million men,
True serpent will invade Byzantium and Egypt.
The last three lines of this Quatrain hardly require any explication. Quite simply, the Beast of the Sea will start to secure his grip on the papal throne before he turns from his dominance over Persia (modern Iran and Iraq) to reach northward through the Caucasus toward Moscow and southward through Syria and the Holy Land into Egypt. As the first verse just as plainly indicates, these events begin to unfold with a gathering of Mars, Venus, and the Sun in Leo, which coincides with the solar eclipse of August 22, 1998. Here we begin to see the emergence of the third, and final, phase of the cosmic choreography of the end-Time. What began with conjunctions of Mars with Saturn and then Mercury “in the rays” of the Sun culminates in an archetypal “marriage” between Mars and Venus — one which augurs the Advent of the divine Bridegroom. That this glorious Parousia is immanent even in humanity’s darkest hour shows through in the fact that Venus also conjoins Mars during the latter’s grim encounter with Al Nasl in November 1997.
Nostradamus’ astrological dating bears a remarkable correspondence to events in August 1998 connected with the emerging confrontation between the U.S. and militant Islamic fundamentalism. An inference can be drawn connecting Antichrist to the Al-Qaeda movement that has been in the forefront of this conflict. The movement’s leader, Osama bin Laden can himself be characterized as an “Arab Prince”, since he is of noble Bedouin stock and was born into a wealthy aristocratic Saudi family. For the past 20 years he has been a bitter foe of Russia, particularly in its Asian dominions which once were part of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. He was instrumental in defeating the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and that country continues to be the principal base for his anti-Russian campaigns. Bin Laden is also the principal backer of the radical Islamicist movement in Egypt, which he supports from secret camps in the neighboring Sudan. On August 7, 1998, he used these secret bases to coordinate the terrorist bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. On August 20, 1998, the U.S. attempted to preempt a new wave of terrorist violence by bombing bin Laden's bases in both Afghanistan and the Sudan. The timing of these incidents matched Nostradamus’ astrological criteria “to the tee”. The Sun had entered the sign of Leo on July 23, 1998; Venus followed on August 13th, and Mars on August 20th — the very day the US launched its reprisal raids on bin Laden's camps! The ominous solar eclipse in Leo followed on August 22, 1998, which found the U.S. bracing itself for the terrorist's next strike.
Once more I beg my readers’ indulgence for racing ahead of my story somewhat here, but I believe such occasional excursions serve a useful purpose. For me, few pastimes are more pleasurable than a walk through mountain forests, but I find that I lose my sense of the long path before me if I do not occasionally detour to a lookout for a longer view of where I’m headed. And so, having diverted a bit for the “scenic vista”, let’s backtrack into the thicket and regain the trail of our “Olive Tree” Antipope, who Nostradamus styles the “Leopard”.
When last “spotted” (excuse the pun), the Leopard was preparing to undermine some purportedly “heretical” prelates, among whom he would count the man who will become the next legitimate pope. Nostradamus likens this to the 13th Century auto-da-fé of the Cathars, over which another ruthless “Vicar of Christ” presided. This holocaust occurred not far from the Languedoc village of Tarascon-sur-Ariège. Tarascon is also the name of a Provençal village near Nostradamus’ birthplace, which is always a tip-off to themes which touch the prophet in a personal way. In this instance, the personal nexus derives from the threat of heresy charges which hounded him throughout his life and obliged him to be cryptic in his utterances. This linkage suggests an alternative rendering of a Quatrain we have examined previously:
Mars in the Sun’s rays will die three leagues from the Rhône,
Fled the two near Tarascon destroyed
Pole of a mind with the solar one [who] will die three leagues from the Rhône,
Fled the two near Tarascon destroyed
Mars in the rays of the Sun has, in addition to its obvious astrological meaning, a metaphorical one as well. As to the former, the Red Planet was within the appropriate celestial range (6 to 12 degrees from the Sun) in July 1998. Metaphorically, moreover, we should think of the planet’s dominant brilliance overwhelmed by the splendor of the Sun. If Mars were a man, we should picture him here as being overshadowed by another man, who corresponds to the Sun. In the context of contemporary papacies, the two men of our metaphor look conspicuously like the solar Pope “de Labore Solis” and his protégé Cardinal Lustiger, who has been very much obscured by his renowned mentor. The Archbishop of Paris also fits the bill of our alternate rendering as a Pole — Lustiger’s parents were Polish Jews — who is of one mind with John Paul II in all theological matters. Hence the French prelate will only begin to “shine” in his own right when the solar Pope is eclipsed. This reminds us of Comet Hale-Bopp=s daytime apparition during the eclipse of March 1997, as well as the lines:
When the eclipse of the Sun takes place,
In broad daylight the monster will be seen
Out of all of this, a prophetic pattern emerges which projects Lustiger succeeding Wojtyla —albeit illegitimately — and then launching a violent campaign to extirpate his enemies, especially the rightful claimant to the Papal throne. Which brings us back to the line: “Fled the two near Tarascon destroyed.” Surely the ruined Cathar citadel of Montségur near the Languedoc village of Tarascon is involved here — but how? And who are “the two” in flight?
On one level, we can think of the exiled Pope Peter II. If “ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia”, then the Church, like the Woman of Revelation, will figuratively flee along with its true Pontiff. This scenario figures in the end-Time Exodus of God’s people of which returning Comet Typhon is the harbinger. On another level, however, “the two” reminds us also of the hallmark dualism of Set/Satan and his mortal agents, the two Beasts. Though we have spoken previously of this dualism at some length, we have not even scratched the surface of its metaphysical content. By summoning images of the Cathar heresy, Nostradamus obliges us to dig a bit deeper into this subject.
Before we launch ourselves into the theological errors of the Cathars, let us first be mindful of the historical reality that the 13th Century “Crusade” of Innocent III against them had little, if anything, to do with theology, and much more to do with delivering then-independent Languedoc into the eager hands of the French crown. That much being established, we must also recognize that not everything which is attacked by Evil is Good — a truism that actually gets us to the heart of the Cathar heresy, and of the modern heresy which promises to split the Church at its next conclave. If we regard Evil as a force independent of God, then we must expect that force to consistently subvert the Creator’s plan — but it does not. In fact, the workings of Evil ultimately serve His divine purpose.
Dualists like the Cathars refuse to believe that God created Evil. Their conundrum assumes, however, that because Evil exists, God must have created it. No less dualistic, by the way, is the “non-heretical” doctrine that God tolerates the existence of Evil so that Man might have a “choice”, which is seen as the necessary predicate of real Consciousness or “free will”. Both views, however, are hopelessly at odds with Scripture, which teaches, “Omne malum ab homine” — Man is the source of all Evil. God did not create Evil, but the potential existence of Evil is a consequence of His creation of the physical Universe out of Nothing — i.e. out of that which was “without form and void”. Having no form of its own, the prima materia of the World is like water, ever changing in shape, ever metamorphosing into a different form. Changefulness, then, is the only real quality of the Universe’s basic stuff.
If Creation is an act of God, then it must be perfect in its inception and perfect in its end, perfect in its Alpha and in its Omega. But, to the extent that it is a material Creation, it must change. Inexorably, any change from perfection is a decline, a corruption, the beginning of Death. Thus, the initial purity of the fabric of Creation must become, in the course of Time, interwoven with coarser threads, until Creation itself finally falls away back into the Nothing from whence it came, and only the perfection of the One — the Omega — remains. The grossness of matter increases in proportion as it descends from the perfection of the Alpha, but that very grossness assures its impermanence, so that it may be shed like the chrysalis of a butterfly. Out of this process of corruption comes the incorruptible, the Theotokos, the God-bearer.
It goes without saying that matter resists the plan of Creation — Creation would not have required an affirmative act of God if this were not true. But, properly speaking, Evil is the conscious resistance to the Creator’s will — something that could come only from God’s only self-conscious creature. In his Edenic state, Man was preserved from change and Death by his Communion with God. When Man made the choice of separation from the One Mind in the primeval Fall, he set in motion the process of corruption. In other words, choice engendered Evil, not vice-versa. Consequently, only human choice can negate Evil, which is why Man must participate in his own Redemption. But the choice is not one between “Good” — i.e. God — and Evil, because Evil has no reality apart from Man, and Man has no reality apart from God.
So the duality which Man projects outward onto Creation is actually a duality which exists only within himself, a division of his essential Being which needs be overcome if he is to be saved. Since his true Being is the Messiah, the dualism of fallen Man must conjure up two Messiahs — a Christ and an Antichrist. We see this manifested in the numerous apocryphal stories which speak of Christ’s twin brother, recalling the pagan myths of the Twins, one a god and the other a mortal. Other variants on the theme of a dualized Christ have found their way into folklore involving Christ’s post-crucifixion travels among the Gentile Nations. Some of these tales go on to suggest this “mortal Christ” eventually settled down to a typical family life and sired progeny, to whom he bequeathed the chalice of the Last Supper — the Holy Grail. Related legends surrounding the Cathars assert that the Grail was with them at Montségur and that, before the citadel fell, it was secreted out by two Perfecti. These two supposedly fled along the Silk Road into Tartary — a script which appears to explain Nostradamus’ enigmatic line: “Fled the two near Tarascon destroyed”.
Tartary, of course, is the region to which our prophetic interpretations have led us to look for the rise of Antichrist. By definition, we know that Antichrist will claim to be Christ, and that he will be believed in this claim by the vast majority of mankind. But, as charismatic and eloquent as he might be, how could he possibly succeed in such a patently blasphemous pose? Even allowing for the ample credulity of the masses, such a claim would require a very tangible authentication — perhaps in the form of the fabled Grail? Through his possession of the Holy Grail, the Deceiver might well seek to establish himself as the blood descendent of Christ, as well as his spiritual heir. Still, to be taken seriously, a pretension of such enormity would also require recognition by one of the World’s major religions, and of these only one is sufficiently centralized to make such an “endorsement” conceivable.
All of which would seem to conveniently lead us back to the second of the two Scriptural Beasts, i.e. the False Prophet, papal accomplice of Antichrist. But there is one little snag: The Centuries leave no room for doubt but that the Deceiver will be of the Moslem faith. Even allowing for a doubling of the ecumenical spirit in the Catholic Church, one could hardly imagine any pope anointing an Islamic ruler as World Monarch — unless, of course, that leader were to convert. Just as Henry of Navarre, the 17th Century Huguenot, embraced Catholicism so that he might also embrace the French scepter, we would expect from Antichrist the same sort of opportunism, epitomized by Henry’s famous remark: “Paris is worth a Mass.” This obvious parallel helps explain why Nostradamus often uses an anagram for the name Henry — “Chyren” — to signify the World Ruler. In fact, when the prophet was employed as court astrologer by Henry’s mother, Catherine de Medici, he predicted that young prince Henry would one day unite the thrones of France and Navarre.
He who will succeed to the kingdom of Navarre
When Sicily and Naples will be united:
Bigorre and Landes through Foix-[O]loron he will control
From one too closely linked with Spain.
True to the visionary Doctor’s prognosis, Henry of Navarre became Henry IV, the first Bourbon King of France, and his accession brought Sicily and Naples together for the first time under the French crown. Before being incorporated into the French nation, Navarre had been an independent kingdom straddling the Pyrenees between southwestern France and northeastern Spain. Part of the domains of Navarre was the region of Bigorre, where we find the village of Lourdes, site of the grotto where Our Lady miraculously appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1856. As we discussed earlier, the “Nephew” Antipope is linked to Lourdes through his “heavy root” (lourde souche in French) — i.e. his Jewish lineage — and by virtue of the Marian piety which he ostensibly shares with his mentor John Paul II. Elsewhere in the Centuries, we have seen this protégé of Labore Solis referred to as Pol-mens-sol, i.e. the Pole of one mind with the solar Pope.
By Pol-mens-sol in the grotto of the goat
Concealed and seized, pulled along by the beard:
Led captive like a cross-breed beast
Through Bigorre led to a town near Tarbes.
Clearly evoking Lourdes, the “grotto of the goat” suggests a false apparition, perhaps one in which the infernal Goat himself contrives to assume the shape of Our Lady. From our previous discussion, we readily recognize the Deceiver in the “cross-breed beast”. He is depicted in this Quatrain as an abject prisoner being paraded through Bigorre to the village of Lourdes, situated about 20 kilometers south of Tarbes. For a nobleman of Nostradamus’ time, being dragged along by one’s beard amounted to about as great a humiliation as one could imagine. In the same vein, we should also recall “Bronzebeard” as the surname of Nero, Antichrist’s historical alter-ego, who responded to humiliation at the hands of his insurgent subjects by committing suicide. Might not Lourdes, then, be the scene of a spurious “miracle” in which the latter-day Nero is “restored to life” through the “divine” intervention of a humbug Virgin? If so, then our Antipope Pol-mens-sol seemingly plays the role of authenticating this faux-resurrection and beatifying the risen Beast, a scenario aptly reflected in the very next Quatrain:
Nephew and blood of the saint newly-created,
By the surname sustained the ark and covering:
They will be hunted put to death hunted nude,
Their green converted to red and black.
In the first verse we find the Nephew-Antipope and the “newly-created saint”— i.e. the Aresurrected@ Antichrist — the principal players in our unfolding drama of anticipated events. Likewise, the ensuing line begins with another transparent reference to Nero’s “surname”, which connotes the revived Bronzebeard of our tale. From that point, however, the stanza veers off into a tangle of obscure allusions. Thanks to our introductory analysis of the Biblical connotations of the “Olive Tree” symbol, we can discern the “ark and covering” as applying to the Ark of the Covenant and its two Covering Cherubs. The ark’s Cherubs were crafted out of olive wood and became the models for Zechariah’s two “Olive Trees” — the two Witnesses of the end-Time. Hence, this Quatrain appears to disclose the timing and circumstances for the appearance of the two Witnesses. While the World’s religious leaders, led by the “Nephew” Antipope, rush to prostrate themselves before the abominable “Saint” beatified at Lourdes, Elijah and Enoch will come forward to denounce the sham miracle and reveal the true identity of the Beast. Given this interpretation, we might read the third verse as simply depicting the martyrdom of these courageous Witnesses. But there is more to it than that.
The strange imagery of a victim “hunted nude” sends us back once more to the pages of Greek mythology. There we read the story of the nymph Callisto, one of the hunting companions of the Artemis, bloodthirsty goddess of the dark new Moon. Earlier, we encountered another Quatrain describing the betrayal of mankind’s eternal legacy to the “Prince of the Year of Mark”:
Redemption shamed in the temple of Artemis.
Known as Diana to the Romans, Artemis was armed with a silver bow, symbol of the slender crescent of the new Moon, the lunar phase which eclipses the Sun. According to the myth, Callisto was raped by Zeus, but dared not confide her dilemma to her mistress Artemis, who demanded strict chastity of her nymphs. After concealing her secret for a time, Callisto was eventually obliged to disrobe when the goddess’ company paused during one of their hunts to bathe in a sylvan stream, and her pregnancy was then visible to all. Enraged, Artemis transformed Callisto into a she-bear and set hunting dogs in pursuit, finally transfixing her with an arrow at the end of the chase. Regretting the misfortune caused by his lust, Zeus immortalized Callisto in the constellation Ursa Major, with her unborn son Arcas accompanying her as Ursa Minor.
Manifestly prefigured in this tale is the archetype of the pregnant Woman of the Apocalypse who is pursued by the Dragon, representing Satan, the first person of the infernal trinity. It is no small coincidence, therefore, that the celestial dragon Draco is positioned precisely between the two stellar Bears — and thus, in mythical terms, between the Mother and the Son. We must also be mindful that the astral precinct inhabited by the Dragon and two Bears is unique, being the circumpolar region in which the stars never dip below the horizon. To the ancient mind, this feature of never setting connoted two traits of the circumpolar constellations. The first trait was immortality, since setting was likened to death. The other was impurity, since the waters of the earth were seen as rejecting the stars which never “bathed” below their horizon. Against this background, the starry triad of the Dragon and two Bears begins to very much resemble the trinity of Satan and the two Beasts. This parallel is reinforced, moreover, by Revelation’s symbolic rendering of the first Beast as a leopard with bear paws. Since the two Bears are the archetypal Mother and Son, then the Scriptural Beasts must be the false Mother — the harlot Church of Rome — and her Son, the False Christ.
The constellation Ursa Major is marked by seven bright stars — the “Big Dipper” asterism — which medieval astrologers called the “Septentrion”. As we discussed earlier herein, the seven Nations to be united behind Antichrist are also identified in Scripture by seven stars. Nostradamus invokes this very emblem in projecting a European super-Nation — a modern Holy Roman Empire of sorts:
Plague to the Church by the new united King,
Europe of recent times and Septentrion-like.
To the ancient Egyptians, the seven-starred Big Dipper betokened the leopard goddess Seshat, whose priests enacted feigned prodigies by which the mummies of dead pharaohs would proclaim the name of their successors. In this context we also recall the vision of the second Beast of Revelation making the corpse of the first Beast appear to speak and demanding that all worship this “talking statue” on pain of death. These associations dovetail neatly into the Quatrains’ cryptic script: A mortified, defeated Antichrist appears to die — perhaps à la Nero by his own hand — and then is ostensibly revived at Lourdes in a bogus miracle by which the Leopard Antipope connives to make him the object of world-wide adulation.
Accordingly, the Deceiver is to be anointed by the Antipope as a veritable Sacred King over the seven-Nation domain which Nostradamus dubs “Septentrion”. In his Epistle, as we have seen him do elsewhere, our seer describes the Beast as the youngest of three brothers and portrays him falling in battle only to rise again in the Pyrenees Mountains, where Lourdes is situated. Meanwhile, the Epistle continues, the Church will have spawned two “sons”, i.e. competing popes:
... she will have two children, one faithful to the Catholic Church, the other not. And the other, to his great confusion and late repentance, will wish to ruin her, ... and he will make all render the homage of the ancient religions to the ruler of the regions of Europe and of Septentrion ...
The “homage of the ancient religions” which the Antipope’s flock will render to the Great Monarch unequivocally anticipates a syncretism of pagan and Christian ritual. Indeed, a phrase in the Epistle preceding those quoted above speaks of a tyrannical ruler of the Church “falling into the pagan sect of new infidels”. Such neo-pagan syncretism is at the heart of the pernicious heresy which the “Fox” — cloaked in the mantle of papal infallibility — will inject into Catholic dogma.
In referring to the European super-Nation “Septentrion”, Nostradamus also uses the name “Aquilon”, derived from aquila, the Latin word for “eagle” — the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire of the prophet’s day. Like the parousia of Antichrist, the rise of Aquilon is preceded by the spectacular apparition of Comet Typhon, aka Hale-Bopp:
There will appear about the same time as Septentrion
Not far from Cancer the bearded star...
In fact, the Great Comet of 1997 passed through the constellation Cancer during the months of September and October, which leads us to another passage:
... and it will be in the month of October that some great translation will occur, and such that it will seem that the weight of the earth has lost its innate motion, and that it is plunged into perpetual darkness ...
From the foregoing passage we get the sense of our spinning globe suddenly becoming “heavy” — which resonates with the “heavy root” of the heretical Antipope. The mention of “perpetual darkness” is perhaps related to the “three days of darkness” which a number of prophets have foreseen for the end-Time. But what are we to make of the “great translation” which Nostradamus foresees?
Once again, the good Doctor’s penchant for multiple meanings comes to the fore. In the religious sense, “translation” can mean one of two things: the transfer of a saint’s body from one site to another, or the ascension of a prophet into heaven. As to the latter, the Bible identifies only two historical instances — aside from Jesus himself — and they are Enoch and Elijah, the two Witnesses who are described as “Olive Trees”. St. John the Divine narrates the martyrdom of these Witnesses at the hands of the first Beast, who will direct that their bodies remain unburied in the streets of Rome for three-and-a-half days. We might well surmise that this duration also corresponds to the three-day plague of darkness envisioned by Nostradamus and others, especially when we consider the “translation” of Enoch and Elijah which Revelation depicts:
And after three days and a half the Spirit of Life from God entered them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
The Centuries and Scripture are also in accord that the ascension of the two Witnesses will be preceded by a prolonged drought and will be followed by a great earthquake, which will partially destroy Rome.
As we arrive at the end of this chapter, it is worthwhile to pause for a moment to consider the significance of the eschatological “translation” of Enoch and Elijah. Taken at face value, it most certainly connects with St. Malachy’s motto “Glory of the Olive Tree”, since the pontificate of John Paul’s successor is destined to witness the glorification of the two “Olive Trees” in a manner heretofore reserved for Christ alone. But why then, we must ask, does Malachy not speak of the Glory of the Olive Trees, in the plural? To answer to this question, we must recall the Indwelling Glory, or Shekinah — mankind’s collective Body of Light, the Body which will, at the end of Time, receive Christ as its Head. The collective people of God — who are to constitute this Body, this Tree of Life — are to be drawn from both the Gentiles, as the “branches”, and the Jews, as the “roots”. The propagation of the olive requires a fusion of the wild and the cultivated trees. Just so does the revelation of the Glory which is Divine Humanity demand the union of the faithful remnants to be gathered by Elijah, from among the people of Abraham, and by Enoch, from among the descendants of Japheth.
Hence, we begin to descry a dark side of St. Malachy’s epithet, implicit in the singular “Olive Tree”. The man who fits this emblem would not seek the Oneness of humanity in the conjugal convergence of the children of Noah, but rather would opt for the grim monolith of temporal unification under the Universal Church and its anointed Monarch. Instead of the oil of the two Olive Trees of Zechariah’s vision flowing together to light the seven-branched menorah of Yahweh’s Temple, we behold in Malachy’s symbol for the next pontiff the sterile monad, the solitary and barren Olive Tree. He is the man who would be both Gentile and Jew, but is neither.
The sterile synagogue devoid of fruit
Will be received among the infidels:
In pursuit of the daughter of Babylon,
Who, miserable and sad, will be stripped of her wings.
No Pope, but Antipope he will be — St. Malachy included both in his list. The “Glory” of his reign will not be that of the Limitless Light, but rather that of the infernal “light-bearer” Lucifer and his mortal emissary ... the False Christ.
As limned by Nostradamus, Antichrist will be of mixed blood, partly “Punic”/Islamic and partly descended from the “Trojan” line of French royalty. Insofar as he will convert to Catholicism, the Man of Sin bears comparison with Henry of Navarre, the founder of the Bourbon dynasty of France. Moreover, he appears throughout the Centuries in the guise of “Chyren”, which is an anagram for Henry. Might not, then, Antichrist be a descendant of Henry IV? Perhaps realizing the logic of such an inference, our Provençal seer goes out of his way to disabuse his readers of this notion:
Pau, Nay, Oloron more ardor than of the blood he will be,
To bask in adulation, to vanish at the confluence ...
Once again, the prophet calls upon the geography of the South of France to encrypt his message. Since the hamlet of Pau was the birthplace of Henry of Navarre, the phrase “Pau, Nay” expressly rules out the possibility of the Deceiver being a scion of the Bourbon line which Henry founded. More than a bit intriguing is the fact that Pau also gives its name to a mountain stream — Gave de Pau in the local dialect — which descends to the town from the Pyrenees, passing through Lourdes on the way. Before emptying into the Bay of Biscay, Gave de Pau converges with another mountain stream named Gave d’Oloron, which takes its name from the village of Oloron Sainte Marie. Figuratively, therefore, this Quatrain is using these two streams to represent two royal bloodlines: one clearly the Bourbon line of Henry IV, and the other an earlier lineage which at some point merged with another dynasty and ostensibly “vanished at the confluence”. Perhaps Nostradamus’ choice of Oloron Sainte Marie as a codename for this mysterious clan even hints at some genealogical linkage back to Mary Magdalene, who, according to legend, came to dwell in Provence after the death of Christ.
Endeavoring to sort all of this out, our next chapter will pursue the obscure trail of the “royal blood” — the Sang real which metamorphosed into the Sant Greal, or Holy Grail, of chivalric romance. Quite literally, then, the next phase of our prophetic peregrination takes us, like so many other seekers who have gone before, “in quest of the Grail”.
. Zechariah 2:11
. Zechariah 3:1-5. Note the striking similarity between Zechariah’s contrast of the soiled and clean turbans and Nostradamus’ juxtaposition of the Blue and White Turban Kings in c9q73.
. Malachi 4:5
. Judith 15:13. My reader should refer back to “The Secrets of Fatima”, which discusses the significance attached to this same passage by John Paul II in the wake of his miraculous escape from death at the hands of an assassin in 1981.
. 1Kings 6:23
. Romans 11:16-19. (The New Jerusalem Bible)
. Not that I believe a sincere Jew would skew his reading of the sacred texts to unduly exalt his own people. More probably, the Jew would be reticent on this subject for fear of being perceived as arrogant.
. Romans 11:24. (Ibid.)
. Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Penguin 1992, p.62: “the cultivated olive does breed true, but always must be grafted on the oleaster, or wild olive”. St. Paul mistakenly has it the other way around, i.e. with wild olive branches grafted onto the cultivated tree.
. The reader should understand that, when we speak of Israel, we are referring to the children of Jacob, not to the Moloch-State which calls itself by that name.
. Exodus 30:22-33
. Exodus 30:30-33
. Revelation 16:9-11
. Revelation 12:4
. See e.g. Dante’s Purgatorio xxxii, 118-132.
. See “Moloch!” at fn364
. 2Thessalonians 2:3-4
. Epistle ¶51
. “Moloch!” at fn333
. Revelation 9:1-3
. New York Times, March 30, 1996
. New York Times, Dec. 19, 1997
. A Thai astronomer has predicted that Tempel-Tuttle will collide with the Earth on Nov. 15, 2097.
. “Moloch!” at fn.355
. New York Times, Nov. 10, 1997
. “The Fall of the Papacy” at fn.71
. New York Times, June 8, 1997
. These and other discrepancies have been uncovered by John Follain, the Rome correspondent for London’s Sunday Times, and are discussed in his book City of Secrets: The Truth Behind the Murders at the Vatican (Wm. Morrow & Co. 2003)
. “Poison pen stains the Vatican”, The Guardian (UK), Nov. 20, 1999
. Revelation 13:14-15
. Epistle ¶17-19
. Epistle ¶ 24
. Revelation 11:11-12
. Preface ¶ 24, Epistle ¶ 25; Revelation 11:6,13