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Re: VMs: A Possible Interpretation of the Four Figures, one with an Egg

Hi everyone,

At 12:57 08/09/2004 -0700, Eric wrote:
For similar drawings in the VMS, please look at the
images on folio 85r2 and 86v4. One set of four,
probably male, figures around the sun. One set of
four, probably female, figures around the moon. Lots
of objects being held - eggs, cups, bowls, wheat or
straw, flower, chain, cane, etc. (all up for debate).
One female figure points away from the viewer. Raw
images and some clean up I have done are at:


While these don't have the rings of letters around
them like f57v, they are surrounded by copy and have
possibly richer content in their illustration. In any
case, they are the most similar diagrams to the
figures on f57v.

While I'm happy with the cosmological / astrological / zodiacal / strega / agricultural / calendrical interpretation of Quires 9-11, the above-mentioned set of three circular diagrams seem to be playing a different role - carrying a different kind of information.

FWIW, my current train of thought on this particular set of pages was prompted by Eric's take on f86r2 and f86v4: as much of my work has gone into trying to read the visual languages in the VMs, the idea that the female/moon page was deliberately obscured by the rows of "tombstones" - apparently some kind of steganography - is particularly interesting. Take away the obscuring tombstones and what remains on the page? Perhaps the answer is simply "a magic circle".

ATM I'm carefully re-reading Richard Kieckhefer's excellent "Forbidden Rites", which describes Clm 849 (a 15th century necromancer's manual/compilation from Munich) in detail: there, magic circles tend to accompany what Kieckhefer classifies as "illusionist" demonic magic - many of those rites involve drawing out a circle (sometimes with the blood of a hoopoe, etc), and invoking various sets of demonic spirits representing the four main compass directions (which I've mentioned before in the context of f57v). Perhaps that specifically is what we're looking at (through some kind of visual steganographic filter) here: it would seem a fairly good candidate.

Finally, Kieckhefer briefly mentions some late Byzantine demonic magic in one footnote, and that might also be an interesting tradition to look at in this context. Just a thought! :-)

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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