2011 has been my year of the Third Antichrist. I know it seems an odd thing to say, but it’s true. My non-fiction book, Nostradamus & The Third Antichrist: Napoleon, Hitler & The One Still To Come [Watkins] came out a few months ago, and the third and final part of my fictional Antichrist Trilogy, The Third Antichrist [Corvus], came out on 1 December, to complete the saga begun by my The Nostradamus Prophecies and The Mayan Codex.
The idea that there may be ‘three’ Antichrists is an entirely Nostradamian conceit. The bible mentions one single Antichrist, or, on occasion, Antichrists. Nostradamus, however, in one of his key quatrains [Century 8 Index Date 77], has this to say:
The Third Antichrist will soon be annihilated
His war will have lasted for twenty-seven years
The heretics are either dead, captive, or exiled
Human blood reddens the water that covers the earth in hail.
As a veteran Nostradamus commentator with four previous non-fiction books about the seer under my belt, I felt the onus was on me to explore this further, both in a fictional way, and via fact. The rationale behind my decision was an easy one. It consisted of a series of ‘what ifs’.
For instance, what if all the extant information on the Antichrists, revealed by the cracking of the index date codes in my previous non-fiction books, was gathered together and laid before my readers? What might they learn? What might all the Antichrist quatrains – seen in toto and, even more crucially, outside their usual context – show? And wouldn’t this be the ideal way to allow people to make up their own minds about Nostradamus’s vision for the coming apocalypse, rather than via the usual pre-digested pap promulgated by a plethora of not entirely disinterested eschatologists, and in which the grinding of a multitude of axes invariably drowns out anything that passes for common sense? The answer was obvious. But it also begged a number of important questions. Did Nostradamus see the world we live in as inevitably doomed? Did he believe, like that great novelist of the post-apocalypse, Cormac McCarthy, that:
…there’s no such thing as life without bloodshed. The notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous.
Or did he believe that humanity could learn from its historical mistakes and rectify matters before they came to an apocalyptic head? And why did Nostradamus decide that there were three Antichrists, and not the one apparently foretold in Revelation? Would the prophesied arrival of the third and final Antichrist betoken Armageddon and the End of Days, or would it simply mark a Great Change – something along the lines of what the Mayans are suggesting for 21 December 2012, when the Long Count Calendar and the Cycle of Nine Hells are both expected to conclude at roughly the same time?
My first instinct was, and still is, that the answer is contained within the quatrains – one has only to gather them together and ask the right questions. Sir Galahad – the knightly embodiment of Jesus in the Arthurian legends – followed a similar path when he finally learned that the true question needed to unlock the secrets of the Holy Grail was not the obvious ‘What are you?’, but rather the infinitely more noumenal ‘How can I serve you?’
Faith, in other words, and not curiosity, is the prerequisite.
The process of non-fiction choice was, in and of itself, an interesting one. My first criterion was simply to check through my own The Complete Prophecies Of Nostradamus [Watkins 2009] to see which historical personages Nostradamus wrote about the most. Would they be largely destructive or benevolent? Would they grace the world with their presence, or disgrace it? The list I came up with was a fascinating one, with perpetrators of evil, destruction, and bad faith securing all three of the top places.
Far and away the top runner in terms of numbers was Napoleon Bonaparte, with 47 quatrains to his name – that’s five per cent out of Nostradamus’s grand total of 942 quatrains. An incredible figure, surely, given that Nostradamus was writing 250 years before the revolutionary events he describes with such uncanny accuracy. Second in line was Adolf Hitler, with 30 quatrains to his name – Nostradamus was writing a full 380 years before Adolf Hitler’s seemingly inexorable rise to power, making the factual accuracy and concentrated historical nous contained in his Hitler quatrains an even more astonishing achievement. Adolf Hitler’s total is closely mirrored by that of Nostradamus’s Third Antichrist personification – the mysterious and unnamed stranger we shall call the ‘One Still To Come’ – to whom Nostradamus dedicates an extraordinary 36 quatrains. This time the seer was writing about events due to occur more than 600 years after his own death, thereby stretching to its very limit the 700-year boundary he appears to have imposed on himself. So between them Nostradamus’s three Antichrists notch up more than 100 out of his grand total of 942 published quatrains – a significant preponderance, I trust you’ll agree.
When placed alongside the 100 Antichrist quatrains, the 5 or so quatrains apiece that Nostradamus dedicates to Henri II, Henri IV, Philip II, Charles 1, Marie de Medici, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Cardinal Richelieu, and Benito Mussolini, inter alia, pale into insignificance. True, he concentrates considerable attention, and a considerable number of quatrains, on the French Wars of Religion, the Lutheran Heresy, and the Ottoman Empire, but these are generalized quatrains, and do not refer to any specific Antichrist. They are simply part of the vast historical panorama that Nostradamus appears to have had at his fingertips.
No. Three specific historical figures get all his attention, and in the chapters entitled ‘The Concept of the Antichrist’ and ‘Nostradamus’s Antichrists’ in my non-fiction book, I attempt to tease out why. In addition I have constructed time lines and birth charts relating to each of Nostradamus’s three Antichrists, and I finish up with a Conclusion summarizing what I have found. I trust that, by the end of this sequence, my non-fiction readers will feel that the journey they have undertaken has been worth the effort, and that their understanding of Nostradamian process and the seer’s unique take on eschatology has been concomitantly enriched.
As far as my fictional Third Antichrist is concerned, all bets are off. I have allowed my imagination free rein, and have created, I trust, an entirely memorable character with few, if any, redeeming features. The Antichrist needs to present himself as the evil mirror image to the Christ figure he seeks to undermine. Dracul Lupei/Mihael Catalin does this by mimicking Christ and secretly undermining His message. This makes of him a true Antichrist in the tradition of both Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler, both of whom promulgated cults of personality designed to undermine traditional religious faith and an adherance to conventional morality. The only morality that counted in their eyes was an expedient one, designed to further their own hidden agendas.
Adam Sabir (the name Adam is a calculated one, and is fully explained, as are all the names used throughout the trilogy, in the Glossary at the end of the new book) is the troubled catalyst via which the Antichrist may, or may not, be beaten. I trust that readers who have read all 1600 pages of the trilogy will feel that my 21 December 2012 ending on Silbury Hill, in Wiltshire, brings the cycle to a satisfying conclusion.
What I most wanted to point up is that what matters most in this world is not dogma, politics or force, but people, and how people interact one with the other. My books are all about such people - of different races, different cultures, and different backgrounds, but all having to learn to live together and give as well as take. It’s a simple equation, but very hard to put into practice. I fervently believe that fiction is the best vehicle for such insights, and trust that my readers will agree.