ZODIAC CIRCLES AND BARRELS

 

f71v 3, cropped, Gemini.  Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. f73v, cropped, Sagittarius.  Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Various explanations have been given for the meanings of the nymphs in the extra outer part circle that occur in Gemini, Scorpio and Sagittarius folios but why do these folios have this specific configuration?  I have assigned these folios to May, October and November, assuming that the Aries and Taurus folios have a completely different structure to the other zodiac folios, the one thing these months have in common is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon (which would also be found in the month assigned to Taurus).  The only lunar eclipses visible from Kaifeng were in April (Taurus) and October, the only Solar eclipse visible (large partial) from Kaifeng was in May.  Another two lunar eclipses occurred in May and November and an Annular solar eclipse in November, but these were not visible form Kaifeng and would have to be calculated.  The partial outer third ring structure however does not seem to determine subject matter beyond being possibly solar related, Gemini = eclipse and SN 1054?,  Scorpio= inferior conjunction of Venus?, Sagittarius = Annular eclipse of the Sun and ?  As there are no lunar or solar eclipses in December 1054 AD or January 1054 AD I suggest that both the missing folios of  Capricorn and Aquarius folios would contain only complete circles of nymphs. 

Assuming any data is calculated as well as observed then the subject matter of lunar and solar eclipses may explain the structure of certain folio circles in the zodiac section, and the presence of barrels lying on their side outside of the Pisces folio specifically determine solar eclipses, even if not visible at the specific location.  This brings to mind Pisces and the barrels lying on their side, the swap from these to upright barrels could indicate the swap from the solar New Year at the Winter Solstice in December to the start of the lunar New Year in February (lunar year = upright barrels?).  Unfortunately, as Capricorn is missing (contains Winter Solstice) one can only speculate whether barrels would appear around the outer circle only of the Capricorn folio.  I suggest that the Capricorn and Aquarius folios may show barrels lying on their side starting from the outer circle of the Capricorn folio.  The timing of the ending of the presence of barrels in Taurus may coincide with a number of events in April which may include: Solar term 3; first eclipse of the Moon in the year; the rising or setting of a specific star or constellation such as the Pleiades; the entering of the Sun into the boundary of Taurus; the massing of Venus, Mars and Mercury in Taurus.  The barrels could indicate seasons: barrels lying on their side = winter; upright barrels = spring.  But they are not evident throughout the zodiac folios and although Sagittarius shows two simply formed barrels in the outer circle of the folio, the nymphs stand in front of them and they are not of the same type as seen in Pisces (eclipse designated to type of barrel seen in Sagittarius).  The designation of barrels lying on their side to the Sun also fits with their presence in the Gemini folio and the total solar eclipse.

The lunar New Year in Pisces may thus be indicated not by the meeting of the two female nymphs in barrels lying on their side (solar) in the inner ring of nymphs, but the male nymph in the upright barrel (lunar) above.  This male nymph on examination has a part of his hair heavily highlighted that  looks like a crescent Moon, and is in the correct orientation for the rising crescent Moon at this time as can be seen from a clearer example a few days late on the 15/2/1054 AD.  The female nymphs below acting as a gateway to point to the lunar New Year, the nymphs below almost look as though they are passing the baton of the year to the Moon .  This identity as a male nymph fits in with my suggestion that the Moon is portrayed as a male nymph, he is also the only nymph in the outer circle looking anticlockwise, maybe looking back at the old year or establishing himself as different to the clockwise observing nymphs which I have suggested are moving on the ecliptic - a solar marker.  There is no obvious solar imagery on this folio.

f70r, cropped, Pisces.  Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. f70r, cropped, Pisces.  Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.  Circle highlighting crescent Moon shape. Credit Redshift6. The Moon, 15/2/1054 AD. Kaifeng, China.  Labelled.

As discussed in the Aries (light) section the Pleiades seems to be a factor which as a logical topic for spring and thus for the folio is a consideration.  The Pleiades stop rising just after sunset around the 20th April in 1054 AD which may correlate to the disappearance of the upright barrels in Taurus (April), the upright barrels in the folios marking the time from the lunar New Year (Pisces/February) to the setting of the Pleiades (Taurus/April).  The the barrels lying on their side indicating the time from the solar New Year to the lunar New Year (Capricorn/December to Pisces/February).

 

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Copyright 2010 P. Han