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Re: VMs: Finding_02
You are right. You have peaked my interest in f86.
And here is what I interperet from what I have seen...
I was looking at f86 SE - particularly the circle with the "mountain, square object and stars" and realized that the mountain is not a mountain at all. It is made up of what I thought were seperators in other pages.
Now I think the lines with the intermittant 3 lines are paths. The "scales" may be tomb stones. So the souls of the dead are rising, passing through the strange square where some appear to line up as if joining an army and others pass into the night sky. That made me look at the other f86 pages:
f86r2 - Sun in the Center with 4 winds blowing out. Life?
f86v4 - Moon in the Center. Surrounded by graves. Death. Is the catholic person on the West throwing holy water on the graves? Interestingly, the second word in the outer circle [Sheody] closely matches what I "see" when I look at it: 'Deceda'. Sounds like a word for death or dead. Does that make the second word in f86r2 [otedy] life?
The last words on f86v4 can be thought of as numbers as well. From earlier pages where dates seemed to work - and using Teague numbers this could read 15 ?month? 1533 (I know Francisco Pizarro entered Cuzco, Peru on 15 November 1533...though I would bet the month is July.)
hmmmmm.....There are ever so many possibilities...
>>> jorvms@xxxxxxxxxxxx 06/05/03 17:35 PM >>>
My former post proposing the identification of folio 86 from the Voynich
manuscript as an early rendition of the kabbalistic Sephirotic tree seems to
have attracted some renewed interest to that folio. Prior to posting that
understanding as a "finding" I checked the VMS email list archives for the
last 10 years and found no reference to an equivalent identification. I was
kindly informed yesterday by Jim Gillogly that a brief reference to that
possibility had been made once, in an off-and and less explicit way, as :
"Perhaps this diagram is an attempt to draw the mysterious device described
in the Cabal, or the apocalyptic vision of Ezra, or Heron's hydraulic
gadgets, or..." and by Rene Zandbergen about an email chat with Gabriel on
the same grounds. That makes me feel glad that I pointed at such
possibility in earnest and in extended detail, as I am strongly convinced
that folio 86 holds a notable significance to the VMS as a whole. That
conclusion can perhaps be achieved simply from the very size and amount of
work needed to manufacture folio 86. It is a cumbersome piece, and required
as much vellum as six standard folios and a lot of time to sketch; its value
to the whole document should be more than simply that of another
The Sephirotic tree is an ancient and most respected representation. Please
forgive me for repeating that it is traditionally regarded in its context of
belief as a model for the universe and the process of divine creation and
transmutation. That is what I suppose --to be truthful, I feel positively
sure-- that the VMS is all about: The first section should contain a
cosmological view of botanics, where plants exist and develop in accordance
to a set of universal rules. Peculiarities of several plants and the
structure of their processes are highlighted in this first section.
Follows a study on bodily processes and another on astrological frameworks,
according to the *same universal rules*. Finally, there is a medical science
herbal section where properties derived from those universal rules,
associated to the plants as displayed in the first section, are applied to
healing recipes. Folio 86 becomes then a "plant-contaminated-like"
rendition of the universe and the Sephirotic tree. In support of that
assumption please notice that two out of any three-in-a-line spheres in
folio 86 are intently, even coercively portrayed with a flower-kernel-like
center or rim, with exception of the diagonals.
The universal rules of creation and transmutation appearing throughout the
VMS should probably be grounded on relationships such as: symmetry, 2
(duality), 3(trinity), 2x2, 3x2, 3x3, 3x3+1 3x2x2, 6+1=7, 11+1=12,
12+1=13, etc. The concept of duality and derived models (2, 2x2, 2^n...) is
virtually universal and aeons-old; the trinity appeared a little later in
history (3, 3x3...); elaborate models like the Zodiac combine those two
views in a 2x3...x2...x3... modeling of reality. The VMS is oddly permeated
with symmetrical compositions and particular counts of leaves and flowers.
Those who feel interested by this statement might take a resolute look at
many of the more bizarre plant drawings in VMS and realize that what I am
trying to expose here becomes more evident.
In that respect I suggest strongly: f17r, f17v, f33v, f36v, f37v, f40v,
f47v, f52r and also: f9v, f10v, f11r, f13v, f14v, f16v, f18v, f22v, f24v,
f31v, f34r, f39v, f43r, f45v, f54v, f93r. In the biological section: f78r,
f81r, v83v, f84r. Remarkable also are the rigorously alternating dark/white
little flowers at f106r. All those pictures with exception of f86 appear in
the huge but rewarding 23Mb pdf file available for download at Bacon Books:
http://www.baconbooks.net/ . My offer of a jpg file of f86 showing all the
9 rosettes in a single b&w picture to possibly interested members of VMS
email list. is still standing.
The pictures of the Sephirotic Tree that I had the opportunity to examine
until now contained 10 sephiroth and a variable number of paths or
connections between them, usually 32 from 17th century on, and less than
that in earlier versions. The number of paths being 32 derives from
3+7+12+10; the initial summation of 22 letters is accounted for in the
jewish ancient mystical book Sepher Yetzirah. The universal creative process
is zealously and repeatedly described in the Sepher Yetzirah as being
triadic and up-down, originated by the divine Spirit through three essences
that are associated to the "motherly" first three letters of Hebrew
alphabet: Aleph, Mem and Shin. The number of sephirot being 10 derives
clearly from 3 triads +1, that is the reason why I believe that
Malkhut-kingdom the tenth sephirah was established for reasons of "perfect
summation" and does not takes part in the triadic process of creation and
transmutation. Folio 86 would then possibly be the earliest pictorial
rendition of the Sephirothic tree in "recent" times.
I hold the view that the Sephirotic tree was originally conceived as a
3+3x2 process: the upper three "mother" essences originated by the Spirit
yield a lower worldly process that is accomplished through three oppositions
or dilemmas. From the Sepher Yetzirah itself, in the translation by William
Wynn Westcott: "The Three Mothers... are a great Mystery, very admirable and
most recondite, and sealed as with six rings; and from them proceed Air,
Fire and Water, which divide into active and passive forces...", "The Three
are One, and that One stands above. The Seven are divided; three are over
against three, and one(Malkhut-kingdom?) stands between the triads" One may
arrive to that conclusion also by analysis of the contrasting, opposite
character of the names of the six lower sephiroth.
Please allow me to make an attempt to demonstrate my understanding of folio
86, of the way the universe is portrayed in it and in other renditions of
the Sephirotic tree. Please be aware that I simply try to interpret here, as
straightforwardly and objectively as possible, the pictorial view of a
mediaeval man of study in relation to the philosophical meanings embodied in
an ancient repository of mystical tradition.
> Left-up concrete mother essence Binah, intelligence, water, Mem, emanates
subtle worldly dilemma below:
Gevurah opposite to Hod,
a sphere containing an orderly irradiating structure opposite to a
jewel-like decorated one,
justice opposite to glory,
severity opposite to celebration,
austerity opposite to rejoice.
> Middle-up abstract "first mother" essence Kether, crown, air, Aleph,
emanates abstract worldly dilemma below:
Tipheret opposite to Yesod,
the supremely luxurious sphere opposite to a sphere that is a simplified
version of the upper mother of this dilemma,
beauty as opposite to fundament,
variety as opposite to simplicity,
plenty as opposite to essential.
> Right-up subtle mother essence Hokhmah, wisdom, fire, Shin emanates
concrete worldly dilemma below:
Hesed opposite to Netsah,
a quite discrete and moderate sphere opposite to a opulent sphere
containing structures like "buildings?" and "crops?",
mercy as opposite to victory,
kindness as opposite to conquest,
benevolence as opposite to command.
When I first recognized the economical --Malkhut excluded and just basic
paths-- shape of the Sephirotic tree on folio 86, I was startled, even
amazed, to see that the VMS rendering is coincident, almost (but not quite)
identical, to a holistic structure that sprouted amidst an independent
study centered on psychology, philosophy, systems analysis and the structure
of reality that I developed some time ago, much before I had acquired any
knowledge about the existence of the VMS and folio 86. According to the
understanding detailed in that study, the Sephirotic tree should illustrate
a 3+3x2 process, that is, the evolutionary process of the triad as
accomplished through a triad of dilemmas of everyday existence. Many of the
central aspects of that study are displayed in an article by myself that was
published at The Jung Page:
One of the article's structural pictures:
This post is already too long, it should be looking more as the draft of an
essay that I am forcing upon the VMS list, however I still need to add
specific appreciation and replies to some list members:
Thanks for the friendly welcome message and the availability of a valuable
resource on the VMS.
Thanks for the welcome and for that precise and complete reference to the
small bit on the Cabal and folio 86. I probably would never have located
You built a very good site. The tripartite sectioning (Short/Long/Analysis)
is somewhat confusing, though, with the "empty blocks" in some sections.
Thanks for your commentary. In regards of the sephiroth, I think that it is
better to stick to the original names, there are too many confusing
accretions; I hope that the explanation above makes clearer my point of view
in regards of a universal process comprising the 9 sephiroth. The four
external symbols could be perhaps a representation of the world according to
a 2x2 system, which is older than the triadic or combination systems. The
Egyptian sphinx is a 2x2 symbol. I can evaluate that better when I get a
look at it, as my copy of f86 shows only a blurred SW "clock".
Thanks for your extended commentary on my former post. If folio 86 is indeed
a representation of the Tree of Life, and perhaps its structure even
permeates all of the VMS, then one could possibly search for keys to
decipher it with approaches deriving from the old jewish techniques of
gematria, notaricon and temura and also within hebrew language besides
latin, that keeps being the most likely. Also, a general proposition in VMS
would have been recognized to aid the deciphering.
Thanks for your question. I do not qualify to speculate on that issue,
though. I suppose that 1470 would be a nice guess for an earliest than the
oldest already known picture of the Sephirotic tree. The oldest version that
I know of is from Portae Lucis by Paulus Ricius, from 1516. See:
Thank you all, for your attention and your patience,
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