The world has certainly been through seismic events in recent times, but how might things shape up in 2023? Some indications may be found in the fabled writings of French astrologer Nostradamus. History’s most famous seer, Nostradamus has been credited with predicting everything from the rise of Hitler to the 9/11 attacks, and his work is still consulted by millions around the globe.
His predictions, published in his 1555 book Les Propheties, were written in verses known as quatrains. They don’t reference specific years and are undeniably difficult to interpret. That said, there may be some clues mapping out how things may unfold in the near future.
'A great war'
Some claim that Nostradamus predicted the rise of Adolf Hitler but did he also predicted a great war would occur in 2023. Turning to the quatrains of Nostradamus, one line particularly stands out: ‘seven months great war, people dead through evil’.
If this prophecy is indeed related to our current age, there may be a faint silver lining contained in the words ‘seven months’. After all, this relatively protracted timeframe does suggest a more conventional war, rather than the mutually assured destruction of all-out nuclear armageddon.
The end of the Mars dream
Tech magnate turned space entrepreneur Elon Musk hasn’t been afraid of making bold predictions about when humankind might finally set foot on Mars. In March 2022, he suggested 2029 as the year in which astronauts would make this second giant leap. But might Nostradamus be pouring cold water on such bold aspirations with his cryptic line, ‘the light of Mars will go out’?
It’s part of the same quatrain that contains the prophecy of the seven-month 'great war’, implying that both the conflict and the dimming of humanity’s Mars-focused fantasies will occur in the same calendar year. Whether Nostradamus is saying that the likes of Musk have gotten ahead of themselves, or a more complex astrological calamity is upon us, remains to be seen.
In the aftermath of a devastating pandemic, once-unthinkable lockdowns, and the war in Ukraine, it’s hardly surprising that economies across the world have sailed into troubled waters. Many experts believe the soaring inflation, fuel costs, and general economic tumult will continue to get worse before they get better, and Nostradamus seems to concur.
‘So high will the bushel of wheat rise’, the French seer wrote, ‘that man will be eating his fellow man’. Morbid and dramatic though this sentiment is, it’s clear to see how spiralling living costs can and will lead to ever more desperation and strife. We’ll just have to hope that the reference to cannibalism is a poetic flourish rather than a straight-up prediction of life in 2023.
Worsening climate crisis
As CO2 levels and global temperatures continue to rise, the climate crisis is sure to remain a hot-button issue in 2023. Nostradamus, writing the following quatrain, does seem to be warning of even more dark times to come:
For forty years the rainbow will not be seen.
For forty years it will be seen every day.
The dry earth will grow more parched,
and there will be great floods when it is seen.
While these lines could suggest an array of apocalyptic catastrophes, the references to ‘parched’ landscapes and ‘great floods’ do point to the effects of global warming. The ‘forty years’ bit is an enigma though. Here’s hoping that 2023 won’t inaugurate four decades (at least) of climate strife.
Growing civil unrest
Will cost of living emergencies, growing anger around environmental damage, and income inequality pave the way for serious civil unrest in 2023 and beyond? Given how things have been going, it wouldn't be a stretch to believe that things may get a whole lot worse. And, as with so many other things, Nostradamus seems to have seen this coming.
The Frenchman may have been alluding to the growing gulf and animosity between social classes with his alarming words, ‘sooner and later you will see great changes made, dreadful horrors and vengeances’.
These words may suggest some kind of revolt against the wealthy who have traditionally been insulated from the economic turmoil affecting the rest of society. Another quatrain presents an equally dire vision of discord and violence:
The trumpet shakes with great discord.
An agreement broken: lifting the face to heaven:
the bloody mouth will swim with blood;
the face anointed with milk and honey lies on the ground.
All things considered, Nostradamus’ writings offer a rather sinister outlook for 2023 and beyond. Of course, it can all be very reasonably dismissed as the groundless speculation, or poetic fancies, of a dreamer who died nearly half a millennium ago.
And the fact that Nostradamus was unable (or unwilling) to make exact predictions about precise dates means that his writings will be dismissed out of hand by many.
However, based on the eerie parallels between his quatrains and various historical events that have already come to pass, it’s perhaps worth pondering the visions contained within Les Propheties. And it’s probably safe to assume that 2023 will offer very little respite from the global turbulence and anxieties of these past few years.