VISIONS AND REVELATIONS
Hundreds of years ago a plague was devastating most lands known to the people of the world. It was entirely possible to be hung for mundane crimes, and egomaniacal tyrants ruled the earth as kings. The realm of religion was in an uproar as one division attacked another and political relations were strained. The world was a dark place and out of this darkness came a man with sight into his time and our own. The sixteenth century seer Nostradamus made prophecies that people still heed to this day.
Nostradamus was born in 1503 as Michel de Nostradame as the eldest of four sons in his family of Jewish decent (Ridge 7).His father, Jacques, was a prosperous notary who provided comfortable living accommodations for his family while his wife stayed at home taking care of household chores (Hogue 11-12). Nostradamus' grandfather, Jean de St. Remy taught Michel Greek, Latin, and Hebrew during his younger years and was one of his greatest influences (Hogue 11-12). Another among these influences was Pierre de Nostradame, Michel's other grandfather (Hogue 11-12). Along with Jean, Pierre had served as personal physician to the Royal house of Provence (Hogue 11-12). Not only were these men great healers, but also great teachers who taught Nostradamus classical literature, history, medicine, astrology, herbal folk medicine, the Jewish Kabbalah, and alchemy laying the groundwork for a truly gifted man's life (Hogue 11-12).
At the age of fourteen Michel was sent to study in Avignon, a center of Renaissance learning and the capital of the papal enclave in Provence. Here he was taught philosophy, grammar, and rhetoric. He also earned the nickname "little astrologer" from classmates for studying the occult and astrology in all of his free time (Hogue 12). After completing his studies at Avignon Michel returned home to a stern lecture from his grandfather on the importance of holding is tongue in regards to such suspect studies as astrology (Gardner 174). Knowing that Nostradamus' love was astrology, Michel's family suggested studying medicine knowing that astrologers were more accepted if they were also physicians (Hogue 12). In 1522 Michel enrolled as a medical student at the University of Montpellier. During his studies at Montpellier, Michel had run-ins with professors concerning the relevance of cleanliness and the hazards of bleeding and physicking (inducing vomiting) in patients. Michel realized early on that to pass his courses he would need to hold his tongue concerning this matter also, and did so. In 1525 Michel passed his exams and earned his medical license (Hogue 12-13).
After receiving his degree, Nostradamus took to the road to follow the plague. At the time the plague was the curse of France. Michel could think of no better place to test his sanitation theories than a village infected with the plague. Using clean water and air, Michel virtually wiped out the plague in the cities of Narbonne, Carcassonne, Toulouse, and Bordeaux...