He's a great humanitarian, he's a great philanthropist,
He knows just where to touch you, honey, and how you like to be kissed.
He'll put both his arms around you,
You can feel the tender touch of the beast.
You know that sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.
— Bob Dylan, “Man of Peace”
According to the ancient Greek writer Hesiod, the current Age of warfare and injustice got its start when a lovely but foolish lady named Pandora opened a box within which had been sealed all the Spites that might afflict mankind. Pandora’s name means “all gifted”, because she was endowed by the Olympian goddesses with every charm any man could desire. She was created that way to be a snare for mankind, part of Zeus’ tyrannical scheme to keep mankind subjugated after Prometheus had empowered them with the gift of divine fire. Pandora was sent by Zeus as a gift to Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus. But Prometheus, who could see into the future, warned Epimetheus to reject Zeus’s gift. Enraged, Zeus had Prometheus chained down to a pillar of rock in the mountains of Central Asia, where he was tortured by an eagle tearing at his liver. Epimetheus got the message and quickly married Pandora, whose idle curiosity soon induced her to open the box where Prometheus had imprisoned the Spites.
Prometheus and Epimetheus, whose names mean “fore-thought” and “after-thought” respectively, are mythical symbols for visionary and mundane Consciousness. The story of Pandora’s Box is a sequel to the tale of the deluge which engulfed Atlantis and ended mankind’s Golden Age. As I discuss in Chapter Five of The Year of Jubilee, these myths record the shackling of human Consciousness — represented by the bondage of Prometheus — and the “submerging” of its transcendent dimension. It’s quite significant, therefore, that Central Asia is the place where Prometheus was bound and where, presumably, he will be unbound.
The lore of Central Asia largely focuses on its legendary horsemen, who appear in Greek myth as the Centaurs — half-man and half-horse. From the Scythians to the modern Tartars, the steppes of Central Asia have periodically brought forth terrifying legions of equestrian warriors. Out of the steppes swept the invincible cavalries of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan to overrun the civilized world. Prophecy, the fiery foresight of Prometheus, teaches us that Attila and Genghis were but prototypes of the World’s ultimate conqueror, who will also ride out of Central Asia. In his 23rd Epistle, Nostradamus warns:
“The great Empire of the Antichrist will begin where Attila’s and Xerxes did, descending in great and countless numbers, such that the coming of the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the 48th degree, will make a transmigration, driving out the abomination of the Antichrist: making war against the Royal who will be the great Vicar of Jesus-Christ, and against his Church, and his reign for a time, and to the end of time.”
The Sun annually enters the 48th degree of the Zodiac on May 8th, the apparent date of the spiritual “transmigration” described here. Perhaps this refers figuratively to a “reincarnation” of Michele Sindona, who was born on that date in 1920, and to whom Nostradamus refers elsewhere (Century II, Quatrain 62) as Mabus, saying he will die and “come back”. In Chapter Six of Apokalypso – Prophecies of the End of Time (p. 263 of print version), I interpret this to mean that “the corrupt cabal which engineered the assassination of Pope John Paul I will rise again to dominate the Holy See and install its own willing accomplice on St. Peter’s Chair.” This papal accomplice of Antichrist is the “abomination of desolation”, the False Prophet of whom Christ spoke in Matthew 24:11-16.
In the next section of his Epistle (¶24), Nostradamus mentions that Antichrist’s reign will be preceded by an extended solar eclipse, which may refer to the long reign of Pope John Paul II, aka De Labore Solis (“of the Solar Eclipse”). And in the Quatrain immediately preceding his Mabus prophecy (Century II, Quatrain 61), he speaks about another Central Asian warrior:
Bravo, Tamins, Gironde and la Rochelle:
O Trojan blood! Mars armed with the arrow
At the fortress beyond the river set to scale,
Points to fire great murder in the breach.
Tamins refers to Tamerlane (1336-1405), the last great nomadic conqueror, whose empire extended from China in the east to Turkey in the west, and from Russia in the north to India in the south. He was known as “Timur the Lame”, because he was crippled in his right leg. From other prophecies (including Century III, Quatrain 91), we recognize such lameness as a feature of Antichrist. Tamerlane was born south of the city of Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan.
In this Quatrain, Nostradamus is using Tamerlane as an Antichrist prototype, just as he did with Attila. This means that the actual Antichrist will be similar to Tamerlane in some ways, including perhaps his place of origin. Samarkand was a hub of the ancient “Silk Road” which linked the Near East with China. According to some sources (see p.270 print version), two Cathar priests fled to the Silk Road with the Holy Grail after the fall of their French stronghold at Montsegur in the 1244 AD. The route of their flight could have taken them up the Gironde River to the port of La Rochelle, as Nostradamus seems to suggest. Thanks to The DaVinci Code most people now know that the Holy Grail signifies the supposed bloodline of Jesus of Nazareth — the very “Trojan blood” that is mentioned in this Quatrain. So we can infer that the new Tamerlane will claim to derive his Messianic credentials from Christ himself.
When Nostradamus describes “Mars armed with the arrow”, he’s employing a double entendre. On one hand, he’s alluding to Tamerlane, whose name Timur means “iron” — the blood-red metal associated with the blood-red god of war. He envisions his Tamerlane-type Antichrist acquiring an “arrow”, which is a primitive kind of missile. Along these lines, it’s interesting that the vision of the Third Secret of Fatima involves soldiers assassinating a Pope with “arrows”. This may help explain the apparent connection between Fatima and recent events in Uzbekistan, which we’ll delve into shortly.
On another level, Nostradamus uses “Mars with the arrow” to describe an astrological conjunction of the planet Mars with the tip of the arrow in the constellation Sagittarius. Since Sagittarius is a Centaur, it fits nicely with the theme of Central Asia’s nomadic warrior horsemen. This conjunction last occurred on February 8, 2005, at the onset of the John Paul’s final illness. So the theme of the “Solar Eclipse” expiring before the emergence of the new Tamerlane is reinforced here.
Sagittarius the Centaur is also the constellation in which the Comet of the Apocalypse, Hale-Bopp/Typhon, first appeared in1995. The Comet reached the zenith of its brilliance in the sky above Almaty, Kazakhstan on March 25, 1997, the Feast of the Annunciation. In Apokalypso – Prophecies of the End of Time (p.199-200 print version), I observe the following:
In determining what a great comet portends, much importance must be attached to the location in the sky where it was first observed. In the case of Hale-Bopp/Typhon, as we have seen, its initial appearance in the constellation Sagittarius conjures the archetype of the ancient warrior-horsemen who periodically swept out of Central Asia. Scriptural allusions to this archetype can be seen in the Apocalypse’s bowman riding a white horse as well as the Scythian cavalry of Og and Magog at the Battle of Armageddon. On the other hand, the comet of Antichrist’s nativity was discovered at the 17th degree of the tropical sign Leo, for which the Sabian symbol is a white man in Arab dress riding a camel. The archetypal nexus here is reinforced by the fact that this is the very degree of the Zodiac which was rising at the nativity of T. E. Lawrence. One of history’s most enigmatic and fascinating characters, Lawrence is, of course, remembered for organizing a rebellion against the disintegrating empire of the Ottoman Turks during the First World War.
What does this tell us about Antichrist? If we look for a parallel, in today’s geopolitics, for the failing Ottoman realm at the turn of the century, the former Soviet Union is the obvious choice. The bloody civil war in Chechnya was but a harbinger of the escalating turmoil in the Turkic/Tartar republics of the defunct U.S.S.R. ― the emerging tinderbox of World instability and conflict. Never envisioning the day when these republics would be independent, the Soviets located the principal hubs of their weapons and aerospace programs there, and the aftermath of the first Afghan conflict and Gulf War I left the region saturated with sophisticated armaments. It’s no accident that the first two major wars of the 21st Century ― the second Afghan war and Gulf War II ― have been fought in Central Asia and have accelerated the militarization of that region. Just like the feudal sheikdoms of the old Ottoman empire, these nations possess enormous petroleum wealth which Russian domination had prevented them from exploiting. And, as happens whenever traditional societies are subjected to rapid “modernization”, a spiritual void has opened which invites false messiahs. All in all, the region presents a milieu made to order for the Warrior-Prophet.
These prophecies are now beginning to be fulfilled by the events unfolding before our very eyes in the former Soviet republics of Tartary. The “Stans” of Central Asia began to implode while John Paul II was still on his death-bed. Ten years to the day after the culmination of Comet Hale-Bopp/Typhon, on March 25, 2005, a popular uprising in Kyrgyzstan overthrew the corrupt regime of Askar Akayev in the wake of blatantly rigged parliamentary elections. Kyrgyzstan’s “Tulip Revolution” immediately sent shock waves through the neighboring countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, which have oppressive and unpopular leaders who were closely tied to Akayev. It’s especially noteworthy that the date March 25, 2005, was one the rare occasions when the Feast of the Assumption and Good Friday fall on the same day. The last such coincidence occurred in March 1932, when Adolph Hitler first entered the German political arena as a challenger to President von Hindenburg.
With the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the Central Asian “Stans” fell under the control of the former Communist bosses who had administered them as provinces of the Soviet Empire. As agrarian societies, these lands continued to suffer under a Soviet-style system in which farmers were treated like serfs. They were compelled to sell their crops to the government, which imposed very low prices, and they were forced to buy goods from the government, which demanded inflated prices.
Under the old USSR, the crushing effect of this system had been mitigated somewhat by the fact that the Communists used a portion of the money extracted from the farmers to finance social welfare programs. But when the Soviet Empire disintegrated, so did their socialistic programs. The new leaders of the former Soviet republics were even more tyrannical and corrupt than their Red predecessors. Instead of sending their political opponents to a gulag, they had them tortured. Instead of allocating a small part of the national wealth to social welfare, they kept it all, depositing it in foreign banks and distributing it to their relatives. While they adopted the superficial formalities of democracy, real political opposition was never tolerated and elections were always rigged.
After the revolution in Kyrgyzstan, things began to change for the better there, which created even more problems for the remaining Central Asian tyrants. The Kyrgyz government monopoly over the economy was ended; farmers could sell their crops at a fair price and buy consumer products on competitive terms. From the neighboring towns of Uzbekistan to the west, merchants began to cross the border into Kyrgyzstan to sell their cotton and purchase goods for resale in their homeland. But the government of Uzbek strongman Islam Karimov couldn’t tolerate this tiny fissure in their economic stranglehold. So they destroyed the bridges along the Kyrgyz border and arrested 23 Uzbek merchants, charging them with being “Islamic terrorists”, based on “confessions” extracted by torture. After the 23 merchants were arrested, the Karimov government conveniently seized all of their assets to further line their own coffers.
While US officials make hypocritical speeches about bringing democracy to the people of Central Asia, their actions speak much louder than their words. Islam Karimov and the equally corrupt Nursultan Nazarbiyev of neighboring Kazakhstan are key US allies in the so-called “war on terrorism”. Just how interested the US State Department is in really fighting terrorism can be gauged by the way they are now arranging for Luis Posada Carriles to escape extradition to Venezuela, where he is wanted for the bombing of a commercial airliner which took 73 lives. But the “war on terror” provides the US government with a convenient cover to pursue its imperial agenda in Central Asia. Accordingly, Karimov and Nazarbiyev are “democrats” worthy of receiving generous American aid, because they allow the US to establish military bases on their soil. And the opponents of Karimov and Nazarbiyev are “Islamic terrorists”, because they admit to being terrorists under torture. Indeed, under a procedure known as “rendition”, the US military is known to send its own prisoners to Uzbekistan to be tortured.
All of which brings us up to the recent turmoil in Uzbekistan. On May 13th, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the conclusion of the “terror” trial of the 23 Uzbek merchants in Andijan provoked a demonstration in the city square of several thousand citizens — mostly woman and children — demanding their release. In what became known as “Bloody Friday”, government troops indiscriminately opened fire on the unarmed crowd. While hundreds fled for their lives across the border into Kyrgyzstan, the soldiers searched the square for wounded people, shooting them in the head. According to international human rights monitors on the scene, there were 745 victims in Andijan and another 200 killed in neighboring towns. Here, then, is the “great murder in the breach” foreseen by Nostradamus in the land of Tamerlane.
The next day, the US White House spokesman reacted to the news of the massacre in Andijan by expressing concern that some of the “Islamic terrorists” might have escaped from prison!
A few days later, the Uzbek villagers in nearby Karasov expelled Karimov’s officials from their town and established their own government. They chose as their leader a local farmer named Bakhtiyor Rakhimov. Though Karimov’s army has since regained control of the town and imprisoned their leader, it’s interesting to hear what Rakhimov had in mind for his people:
“We will establish here a paradise, a Caliphate, in which Muslim cares for Muslim, taking what he needs and giving away what he can do without, as it says in the Qur’an. … A caliphate does not mean the tyranny of men like Karimov, it means the mutual support and love of Islam.”
It’s clear that the Caliphate for which the devout Muslim yearns is the very same as the Messianic Kingdom of Judeo-Christian prophecy. This is a universal dream, inspired by the Holy Spirit, which is shared by all of mankind, regardless of religious affiliation. As the power of this vision increases, so does the obsession of the Moloch-State to suppress it. That’s why the State foments war between Christians, Jews and Muslims, to keep them divided so they can’t unite behind the goal of the Kingdom/Caliphate. As this war progresses, we can see the Nation-States merging into an international apparatus of the most extreme and brutal repression — the Torture State.
Like the tyrant god Zeus in our mythical tale, the State must ultimately descend to the barbarity of torture in its effort to crush the human Spirit. It’s fitting that the eagle which inflicted torture on Prometheus is — and has been since Roman times — the symbol of the blood-thirsty and predatory Moloch-State.
At a certain point, however, even the universal Torture State, with its outposts in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Tashkent, will be incapable of holding back the rising tide of the human Spirit. At that juncture, the Moloch-State will turn to its last resort — its “all-gifted” Pandora, in whose guise it will present itself as the Caliphate of the Qur’an, as the Kingdom of Revelation. In its final and most seductive avatar, the State will put forward its ultimate Leader to pose as the Great Monarch of the Gentiles, the Davidic King of the Jews, and the Grand Emir of the Muslims, all rolled into one.
The prophetic signs all point to Central Asia, the land of Attila and Tamerlane, as the place from which this Leader will emerge. The current turmoil in Uzbekistan is likely to spread next to its large neighbor to the north, the oil-rich nation of Kazakhstan, where “elections” are scheduled for later this year and where the corrupt Nazarbayev regime is already outlawing opposition groups in the name of — you guessed it — “fighting terror”. It now seems inevitable that America’s misguided drive to dominate Central Asia will produce only an escalating spiral of conflagration, until finally the war-weary peoples of the world desperately turn to one whom they perceive as a “Man of Peace”.