WHERE IS KEPLER?
Having established the two main subjects in this theory as the supernovae, which were seen in 1054 and 1572, the supernova seen and recorded by Kepler and others in 1604 in stellar terms occurred very soon after that of 1572, and only 3 years after the death of Tycho and would appear to be appropriate related subject to be in the same manuscript. Given the subject matter and particularly the connection of the working lives of Tycho and Kepler, one has to ask where is Kepler found in the Voynich manuscript - and more importantly if he isn’t there why not? How could a manuscript written near to Kepler’s time or after not contain details of the 1604 supernova if astronomy and particularly supernovae appear to be the main thrust of the non-botanical sections of the manuscript. It is so extraordinarily inconceivable that he would have just not been mentioned that there must be some reason of great importance for this oversight. In my research although the supernova of 1064 may be alluded to, i.e., potentially on the same star map view as the others I have so far found no direct mention of it, except possibly in the zodiac section (which will be explained later). I suggest two possible scenarios for the apparent absence of Kepler:
1) Kepler’s access to and extrapolation of Tycho’s work after his death made Kepler the enemy of Tycho’s family and maybe of Tycho’s loyal friends and other colleagues also. Could the Voynich manuscript be an attempt to show Tycho’s work in its full glory and protect the data from the likes of Kepler? Did Sophie Brahe, his beloved sister and fellow astronomer, or another manage to keep some of Tycho’s work out of Kepler’s hands and pass it on to a confidant (fellow astronomer/doctor?). Could the similarity of Tycho’s star and tales of objects recorded in China brought back to Europe by the Jesuits in manuscripts have become apparent and written down in a manuscript, along with other matters of astronomy and medicine from both cultures, a specific comparison between the work of the great Tycho Brahe and the great astronomers of China’s past, the coding of the manuscript would protect Tycho’s work from the unscrupulous. Although Tycho was also a medic, favouring Parscelain as well as herbal medicines, he was pretty ineffective as a medic and some of his remedies can only be likened to snake oil. For example his remedy for epilepsy required the use of the head of a hanged or executed person, and his plague elixir apart from herbs and opium included ingredients such as narwhal tooth and metal compounds and was said to be enhanced by tinctures of precious stones or gold. Although many plants are found in the manuscript it does not show signs of alchemy apparatus or ingredients as would be expected in the production of Parscelain remedies. His sister Sophie however was well versed in botany and distributed her remedies far and wide.
2) Kepler, his work and his "stella nova" may have been the subject matter of some of the missing folios, either lost or deliberately removed. If a comparison between the “guest stars” of China and the “stella nova” of Tycho and Kepler in relation to the star of Bethlehem were included in the subject matter, it could also account for the removal of Capricorn and some of the other lost pages, which could give a clue to where they may now reside if they still exist. The coding of the manuscript would protect a controversial discussion of the star of Bethlehem from the authorities of the time.
Tycho and Kepler lived during the Danish Renaissance, a time of explosion in scientific discoveries and understanding, a time when science, astrology and religion lived side by side, mostly uncomfortably. Tycho was a scientist, astrologer and religious and did not see any incompatibility with these areas coexisting, he wanted to improve astronomy to improve the art of astrology. He was a Paracelsian and believed in the interdependency of the macrocosm and microcosm and there influence on each other, “As above, so below” was his philosophical mantra. Kepler was German and the spirit of the Renaissance had reached Germany earlier than Denmark, he was more logical in his approach, rather than a Renaissance man he was a forerunner of the "Enlightenment". While he was religious he also studied astrology but this was more part of his duty as court mathematician/astronomer than having an unswaying belief in the power of the planets. When the incomprehensible did occur, such as the supernova of 1604, he sought to explain it by reasoning it’s creation from various conjunctions (Jupiter and Saturn) and massing of planets (Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in that had occurred previously in a real physical sense rather than magical, with reference to physics rather than astrology. Yet he was not quite free of the beliefs of the past and noting the importance of the position of the rarity of the triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Pisces and the significance of Pisces. The triple conjunction represented the birth of a great Prince or leader and the sign it occurred in represented the nation affected, Pisces at this time representing the Jewish nation.
Kepler found reference to Moses being born under such conditions and wondered if this circumstance could have also been present at the birth of Christ. He calculated that the triple conjunction in Pisces occurs roughly every 805 years and such a conjunction had occurred in 7BC (also around the time of Moses) and had been followed by a massing of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in Pisces. These were the conditions he believed had led to the physical formation of the 1604 star, but Kepler stopped short of explaining the star of Bethlehem as a natural phenomenon and suggested the conjunctions were a sign and unlike his "stella nova", the star its self was a miracle.
Tycho sought to make the mysterious more scientifically accurate, Kepler made steps to give scientific explanations for the mysterious, but neither had quite made it into the scientific age in terms of reasoning or philosophy. The progress into the scientific age of the "Enlightenment" was hit by opposition form the Church but also from scientists themselves, the Church and many scientists together first opposed the heliocentric universe when the idea was first put forward. The Geocentric system of Tycho along with epicycles kept both the Church and scientists happy, there was no need for change, Heliocentism was just not necessary and could not yet even be proven, only alluded to.
This topic expressly captures the mood of the times and the conditions astronomers faced in expressing their findings or theories, and could explain the need for the manuscript to be coded if it discussed material thought to be contrary to Church teaching of the time. To fully understand the times Tycho and Kepler lived in and why information was sometimes kept secret, it is necessary to look more closely at what happened to those who went against accepted teaching, Gallileo is one of the most well known figures in this respect.
Any, evidence against the immutability of the heavens and discussion of heliocentric or the origin of the star of Bethlehem as natural phenomenon of any degree, in some parts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries would have been unwise at best, heretical at worst, and even life threatening. But these astronomer-astrologers not only examined the present, calculated the past and prognosticated the future, even worse may have been any attempt to link the star of 1054 with the East-West Schism of the church in 1054 AD or the star of 1604 to the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (especially if seen as a sign of divine condemnation). The calculations and conclusions of Tycho and Kepler with regard to the heavens was not confined to the past but extended into the future with various predictions being made from pestilence and calamities to befall nations to the weather, the calculations were scientifically gained from astronomy but the conjecture was based on the age old superstition of astrology. Kepler did not even always believe his own prognostications, they were a requirement of his position but was more ingrained in reality for Tycho who had not moved so much out of the old ways and into the new. It is also possible that looking forwards and given the hypothesis of Kepler in the formation of new heavenly bodies, the manuscript may also contain calculations of the future in apocalyptic form and there may be evidence of this in the zodiac section. Even if the past had been removed as suggested the future may not have been so discernable and remain in plain sight.
In most of Europe Heliocentrism was accepted as fact by the middle of the 17th century but in other parts of Europe where the Catholic church was strong, it was not until the 18th century that it was not considered heretical. Astronomers such as Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo had fallen into this category. In 1616 heliocentrism was declared heretical by Theologians of the Holy Office. Gallileo was informed of this decision and warned to abandon his opinions in this matter and forbidden to teach or defend heliocentrism under threat of imprisonment, Galileo under this official pressure agrees to the terms.
In 1615 Galileo wrote an essay titles “'Letter to The Grand Duchess Christina', debating the bible and recent scientific discoveries. In part of the letter he writes:
“I hold that the Sun is located at the centre of the revolutions of the heavenly orbs and does not change place, and that the Earth rotates on itself and moves around it. Moreover ... I confirm this view not only by refuting Ptolemy's and Aristotle's arguments, but also by producing many for the other side, especially some pertaining to physical effects whose causes perhaps cannot be determined in any other way, and other astronomical discoveries; these discoveries clearly confute the Ptolemaic system, and they agree admirably with this other position and confirm it.”
Though not published until 1536 it was in circulation in manuscript form.
In 1616 the works of Copernicus (and Zunica) are prohibited from circulation until “corrected” and all books in general teaching the immobility of the sun, at this time they are considered false but the decree does not call them heretical.
In 1632 produces the paper” Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican” it embraces heliocentrism, the Inquisition find out and he is summoned to Rome for trial. In 1633 Galileo was suspect of heresy, having previously been banned from producing any works mentioning heliocentrism and made to recount all such beliefs as heretical and false. He declares it is a balanced summary of both systems and that he forgot he had been forbidden to write about helicocentrism in any form, and once again declares he does not hold to the theory of heliocentrsim at all.
In 1633 he is sentenced by the Holy Office of the Inquisition to imprisonment (though more like house arrest) as he was warned earlier. He has to publically denounce all belief in heliocentrism once again.
In 1664 a declaration is made by the Pope forbidding all works which promoted heliocentrism and denied geocentrism, including works which had been previously condemned.
In 1665 this ban extends to the spoken word.
In 1757 recognises the status of heliocentrism in the scientific world and lifts the ban on previously condemned works
In 1822 books teaching the movement of the earth allowed to be printed in Rome
In 1921 Pope Benedict XV releases an Encyclical which includes the statement that the earth “may not be the centre of the universe as at one time was thought”
Galileo’s treatment was mild compared to others that failed to tow the official line, Giordano Bruno was condemned to be burnt to death for supporting the work of Copernicus. In the zodiac section of the manuscript there are extra stars being held by some of the central figures, I suggest Pisces and Scorpio can be explained by Tycho’s and Kepler’s supernovae and would not have offended anyone, Virgo holding a star was probably likened to the Virgin Mary who is often depicted with stars and familiar to the imagery of the church, and even to the imagery in Revelation where the Virgin is clothed with the Sun. But the area of controversy would have been in the missing folio(s) of Capricorn and Aquarius and this is discussed in the zodiac section and suggest a reason for their removal, and even more it has to be remembered that the “art” of the players, even back to China was not the past or the present but the future and the significance of the supernovae in relation to the future if not understood by the authorities may still be hidden in plain sight in what remains of the manuscript as we see it.
Copyright © 2010 P. Han