f71v, 4. ZODIAC FOLIOS: CANCER
|f71v, Cancer. Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.|
This folio is allocated to the month of June and the events for this month are shown below:
Mercury at inferior conjunction
Earth at Aphelion
Saturn at quadrature
Occultation of Hyades by the Moon
Mercury greatest elongation west.
Mars at conjunction
|f71v, Cancer. Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Overlay by P. Han showing main folio markers.|
The Cancer folio should have a lot going on as there are a number of major astronomical events and it is a folio where a nymph representing the earth may make a rare appearance. The main event is no doubt the Summer Solstice which may be indicated by the crowned nymph, this appears very much darker than most of the ink as it is a later addition but it may just have been making clearer a crown that was already present. Mars and Mercury feature in this month and there are plenty of male nymphs including one I absolutely designate a planet by its displaying retrograde motion. Plenty of conjunctions occur and a “Conjunction Nymph" is present. Two stars are missing which may describe a planet or star being invisible in the Sun’s light at conjunction, one may be Mercury in female form but the other is not likely to be Mars and may be the Hyades. The nymph with no star at 3 O'clock looks female but only due to the darker ink so may have been drawn originally as a male and be Mars, the nymph with no star at 7 O'clock is female and may represent the Hyades or Mercury. The figures with brimmed hats running around the top of the outer circle of nymphs may refer to Saturn at quadrature. Below is the folio marked with suggested points of interest.
|f71v, Cancer. Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Overlay by P. Han showing main points of interest on the folio.|
As the main folio markers the crowned nymph suspected to represent the Summer Solstice and the markers may too relate to the sky at this time. The Summer Solstice is observed at the time of the rising sun and when the markers are overlaid onto a horizon based map of this event, the markers appear to indicate the Sun and SN 1054 in relation to the North Pole but also running through the ecliptic North Pole. On the North Pole centred Chinese style star map (without true sky colour to show more detail of sky) the fit is not quite as good and fits more comfortably if the intersection of the marker lines is centred on the Ecliptic North Pole, these specific circumstances may be because it is a solar event and one primarily observed from the horizon.
|Horizon view star map (true sky colour), 16/06/1054 at sunrise, Kaifeng, China. Credit: Redshift6. f71v, Cancer. Voynich Manuscript Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Overlay by P. Han showing main folio markers in relation to the Sun and SN 1054.||
Celestial North Pole centred star map, 16/06/1054 at sunrise, Kaifeng, China. Credit: Redshift6. f71v, Cancer. Voynich Manuscript. Credit: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University Overlay by P. Han showing main folio markers in relation to the Sun and SN 1054.
The Cancer folio is the only one to display three full circles of nymphs, possibly indicating the height of Summer and the longest period of daylight at the Summer Solstice, or it may reflect a major solar event. In the same way December (Capricorn) may exhibit only one circle of nymphs reflecting the depths of winter and the shortest period of daylight at the Winter Solstice, or else three to reflect a major solar event.
Copyright © 2010 P. Han