It’s 2021 now, and we are all anxious to know what the future holds. Join us as we delve into Provence’s unique connection to the stars through famed French astrologer, physician and supposed seer, Nostradamus. See what celestial events are in the cards for the new year, and get some tips on how to manage the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic (hint, step one: take a deep breath).
Who was Nostradamus?
Michel de Nostradame, also known by his latinized name Nostradamus, was born in Saint-Remy-De-Provence in 1503. Well-educated by his grandmother, Nostradamus would later study medicine at the University of Avignon at age fourteen.
However, his studies would be cut short as the bubonic plague swept over southern France. He gained some renown as a physician for his treatment of the plague by encouraging patients to practice proper sanitation and cleanliness over other popular methods at the time such as bloodletting and dressing patients in garlic robes. His cure rate was impressive by comparison, and he was able to help relieve pain in mild cases with herbal lozenges.
Sadly, Nostradamus lost his own family to the plague, but later remarried. In 1547, he settled down in Salon-de-Provence where he began to write. His medical work also started to lean towards the occult as he was often found meditating over a bowl of various herbs and claimed to slip into trances (perhaps added by mild hallucinogens). These visions would fill his seminal work, published in volumes as “The Centuries.” The work is around one thousand quatrains, four-lined verses, and meant to predict the future based on the combination of his astrological studies and divine inspiration.
How accurate were Nostradamus’ predictions? Some claim he has predicted several modern events, although his vague metaphors and imprecise language lend themselves well to creative interpretations today. Even during his own time, Nostradamus had many critics while others, like King Henry II’s wife Catherine de Medici, believed his prophecies were spiritually inspired and were great admirers.
Seer or fraud, there can be no doubt that Nostradamus was a great visionary and certainly one of the more controversial figures to come out of Provence’s long history.
Celestial Sightings for 2021
Nostradamus claimed to make his predictions using judicial astrology, forecasting future events by calculating the planets and stellar bodies in relationship to the earth. While his process was even criticized by fellow astrologers of the time, we can’t help but feel the wonderous pull of the stars ourselves.
We might not be able to predict the future, but here are some of the celestial events on the books for 2021 we can’t wait to set our sights on.
February 11th – Venus & Jupiter Conjunction: Two of the brightest planets will appear to be sharing a close encounter in the early hours of the day. Catch the near crossover 20 to 30 minutes before sunrise on the southeast horizon using a backyard telescope (bonus, you’ll be able to spot Saturn hanging out to their upper-right).
May 26th – ‘Super Blood Moon’ Total Lunar Eclipse: Watch as the moon ‘blushes’ red when the sun, moon and Earth are perfectly aligned, causing the light refracting around the Earth to make the moon appear red. This year the eclipse also coincides with the moon being at its closest point to earth resulting in a ‘supermoon’ – bigger and brighter than your average full moon. Catch the total eclipse starting around 3:00am.
June 10th – ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse: This annular event occurs when the moon is too far from the Earth to block the sun, but it appears to fit perfectly inside of the star, creating a ‘ring’ effect. It will be best viewed in northern Canada, Russia and Greenland starting around 9:49am (make sure to wear your solar filter glasses).
November 16th-17th – Peak of Leonid Meteor Shower: Known for being particularly bright meteors, don’t miss out on the peak of this shower and maybe sneak in a wish. Be sure to find a dark spot away from any city air pollution to get the best view of the meteors (the moon is meant to be almost full so you’ll need to watch closely).
How to handle uncertainty and practice wellness this year
Given the challenges and uncertainties of 2020, it has become increasingly difficult to feel as if we can plan for 2021 at all. While our typical new years resolutions might feel more challenging or maybe even pointless, they really aren’t. In fact, the best thing you can start doing this year is to redefine your definition of success altogether. Modify your goal posts and markers. It can be increasingly difficult to look for a silver-lining in another lockdown, but biology and psychology agree that coping mechanisms like positive reappraisal can be beneficial to both your health and mental well-being.
What does positive reappraisal look like? Perhaps you’re desperate for an escape and miss being able to travel, to get away from your job for a few weeks, and explore a new city. What positives could come from staying home instead? For instance, ask what could you do with the money you might have spent on a plane ticket? You could save the money for that renovation you've been dreaming of. Or maybe you treat yourself to that beautiful perfume you’ve had sitting in your cart for weeks. Better still, you might simply value your future vacation time and appreciate how much of a luxury it truly is. The good to come from not being able to travel internationally might simply be how much you are going to genuinely enjoy and cherish it in the future. That’s positive reappraisal.
We’re taking a cue from Nostradamus and we are going to try a little stargazing. Look up at the stars, search for constellations, watch an eclipse or simply imagine all the galaxies beyond your sight. Go back inside and light your favourite candle. Close your eyes. Picture the stars again. Unlike Nostradamus, we don’t want you to try and predict the future. We want you to think of how you feel now.
Check in with yourself, take time to relax, and make sure you spend as much time on self-care as you do on Zoom calls.
None of us can be sure what 2021 has in store, but we do know that you’ve got this.
What do you hope to achieve this year? What are some of your favourite ways to unwind after a long day? Let us know in the comments.