In 1555, Nostradamus wrote a letter addressed to his son Cesar. Many scholars think that this letter was not really for Cesar, but had been written by the prophet for those who, in the centuries to come, would try to decipher his Centuries, and whom he wanted to help. Here is my translation of the text of this letter.
To my son Cesar Nostradamus
life and prosperity
Your late arrival in this world, Cesar Nostre-Dame, my son, has obliged me to write down the fruit of my long and continual nocturnal watches, to leave you this memo, after your genitor’s corporal extinction, and this for the common profit of humanity, according to what the divine essence has revealed to me through the science of the movement of the stars.
Since the immortal God did not want to give you, in this terrestrial valley, the gift which permits to arrive at natural illumination, I do not want to tell you the number of years that remain for you to live, but I want to reveal to you that your months of efforts and studies will be incapable of making your weak intelligence seize that which I will be constrained to abandon in dying. For it is impossible to leave you in writing that which will be effaced through the injury of time. I will therefore take to the grave all that has been entrusted to me in the greatest secret.
The adventures of human destiny are ruled and governed by God’s unsoundable strength. It is He who should inspire us and we must not seek to know the future through the delirium given by wine or magic, but only through astronomical certitudes. Those whom the spirit of God inspires can predict with great rigour.
For a long time and several times, I have predicted, well in advance, some events which have occurred since in certain regions which I have designated, attributing all this to the virtue of divine inspiration. In the same way, I have announced other happy or unhappy adventures which have occurred under diverse latitudes. But I wanted to be silent on that which could have given rise to unjustified criticism. This does not concern events which are supposed to happen in the present time, but in a distant future and concern States, parties and religions. These will be subjected to deep and completely unimaginable changes if one refers to their present situation. If I were to report that to which they are to be subjected, men of government, parties, religions or beliefs concerned by these mutations would find it so ill accorded with their intentions that they would not hesitate to condemn my writings and forbid their diffusion. However, that which I see will take place; this is why, taking inspiration from the Saviour’s words:
“Do not give to dogs that which is sacred and do not throw pearls to pigs for fear that they trample them underfoot and then turn against you”,
I have kept my mouth closed in front of the vulgar and have resolved to use a language which is not comprehensible to everyone.
Wanting to describe events that I have seen which concern the whole of humanity, I have done it in a veiled form and through imprecise images, so as not to upset susceptible ears.
It is written:
“He has hidden things from wise men and philosophers, from powerful men and kings, and he has revealed them to the little people, to the humble and to Prophets”
who, through God Immortal and the good angels, have received the gift of forseeing future events. Nothing can be accomplished without God’s will. He is so powerful and so good that those in whom He lives can be compared in all, and for all things, to good genies. The gift of prophecy is a warm virtue which manifests itself in us like the sun’s rays when they throw their flux on simple or composed bodies.
As men, we do not naturally possess the necessary gifts for discovering the secrets of God our Creator. For it is not for us to know times and moments… However, right now we can have people to whom God wanted to reveal, through images called to their minds, certain secrets concerning the future of Humanity, images confirmed by astrological phenomena. In the same way, in the past, certain divinatory ability of great strength was manifested in the form of little flames of fire. (Allusion to the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.) Those who are inspired in this way are in a state to understand human inclinations and divine works which God is ceaselessly perfecting. Those of the middle (that is to say, those which are situated between Creation and the end of time) are done by angels, the third (the end of time) is accomplished by demons.
But, my son, I speak to you here in a manner a little too obscure. As for the secret revelations that one can receive in subtle fashion by the spirit of fire (Holy Spirit), their content sometimes clashes with understanding and troubles us like when one contemplates the farthest of stars. But after having remained attentive, one is surprised to hear words, to write them and to pronounce them oneself without having the impression of being disrespectful. All this proceeds from divine strength and God’s bounty.
And, my son, if I have employed here the word “prophet”, I do not wish to attribute such a highly sublime title to myself for the present time: for, he who is called prophet today, in former times was called a visionary.
Know, my son, that the true prophet is he who sees distant things, without this vision having any connection with the common knowledge of all human creatures. And when the event occurs, the prophet is in measure, thanks to the perfect concordance of his prediction with reality, to see appear distinctly the divine and human perspectives of the future.
To be continued.