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Re: VMs: A Possible Interpretation of the Four Figures, one with an Egg
I, for one, haven't really drawn any conclusions about
the figures in the flower-petal (tombstone) sections
yet; at least, I have not placed the symbols displayed
with any specific mythology yet, although I have a few
ideas. I think the VMs author was clever enough to
obscure some of his symbology through the use of
varying myths, as a little "symbology encryption"
bonus. But thanks for sharing your speculations!
Eric spoke of doing some work to "clean up" these
images. Do I understand you to mean that these
figures are not discernable in the actual document
because of the flower-petal pattern? Does the image
need to be altered in order to see the figures in the
first place? That would be very interesting.
Did Kieckhefer happen to observe that the spirits
being called up were thought to have been connected
with the fixed stars? Angelic spirits, "evil"
spirits; even the spirits of the dead were so
associated, presumably each with its own star.
All very "Eighth Sphere" stuff. And yet the birth of
children was thought to be accompanied by the same
gifts of "star spirits" or "guardian angels".
See works of Cornelius Agrippa and Marsilio Ficino for
Shakespeare understood this belief and used it in at
least one of his plays; see the opening chapter of
Hamlet and the remarks about the effects of the
unusual star or comet observed from the battlements.
If there is anything in the VMs that describes
necromancy, that would be a good reason for the tight
encryption. Necromancy was punishable by death.
However, I would think twice about the idea that a
document bearing on such content was knowingly sold to
royalty. Either the VMs is a different document, or
Rudoplh II had no idea of the details of its contents,
or the author had lost control of it before it reached
the hands of Rudolph. Or all three. But I am very
hestitant to imagine that someone knowingly placed a
recipe for necromancy in the hands of the Holy Roman
Emperor, no matter how interested he may have been in
Thanks for the stimulating discussion!
--- Nick Pelling <nickpelling@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> 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.
> >of objects being held - eggs, cups, bowls, wheat or
> >straw, flower, chain, cane, etc. (all up for
> >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
> >possibly richer content in their illustration. In
> >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
> 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
> 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
> 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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