The World’s Most Mysterious Manuscript

There is a one-off book from the 15th Century or earlier that is said to be the most mysterious thing in the world.

Seriously.

The Voynich Manuscript - named after the book collector who acquired it in 1912 – is completely awesome.

It’s illustrated by peeps with a clear knowledge of herbs, the occult and astrology but written in a secret language that NOBODY can decipher. Plus some of the plants depicted don’t actually exist.

I mean, we LOVE it, right?

It’s like some Uranian Manuscript. It’s probably a map to the God Particle. Who needs to collide atoms when they have THIS handy guide?

Here is just one bit re “astronomy” from the Wiki but check the whole thing – just amazing & so NOW for the New Moon Eclipse in knowledge-questing WOW-out Sagg:

Astronomical
Contains circular diagrams, some of them with suns, moons, and stars, suggestive of astronomy or astrology. One series of 12 diagrams depicts conventional symbols for the zodiacal constellations (two fish for Pisces, a bull for Taurus, a hunter with crossbow for Sagittarius, etc.). Each of these has 30 female figures arranged in two or more concentric bands. Most of the females are at least partly naked, and each holds what appears to be a labeled star or is shown with the star attached by what could be a tether or cord of some kind to either arm. The last two pages of this section (Aquarius and Capricornus, roughly January and February) were lost, while Aries and Taurus are split into four paired diagrams with 15 women and 15 stars each. Some of these diagrams are on fold-out pages.
You guys are SO smart – can someone please go figure this out? Or just own up, admit you penned it in a past life and decipher it already?
And i get that i am Virgo-ing out here but (a) if you go looking at this thing online it’s amazing and (b) fold out pages? That was an innovative concept in the 15th Century, was it not? 

38 thoughts on “The World’s Most Mysterious Manuscript

  1. I studied this extensively a few years ago. The most convincing explanation seems to be this: http://www.edithsherwood.com/voynich_decoded/

    There are two books I liked about it also: the fictional The Friar and the Cipher; L.& N.Goldstone and the more scholarly The Voynich Manuscript by G.Kennedy & R.Churchill.

    Have fun in the internet k-hole all ye neophytes!

    • Oo thanks for this. Incredibly interesting, and what a piece of detective linguistic work for Edith.

  2. really does resemble astro charts. the stars etc could be doodles, sketches. in graphology, when people doodle stars it highlights an ambitious personality.

    to me i get the feel that the creator was high on shrooms :P no disrespect, of course. very illustrious however :)

    • have you read the sacred mushroom in the cross ? Shrooms may have created the creator – the one the big 3 religions believe in.

  3. I think a Gemini did it. Fold-out pages and anything resembling a pop-up book screams Gem to me.

    What is it about? Probably some planting calendar or almanac thingy. or maybe the Colonel’s secret 7 herb s and spices recipe?

  4. It’s quite clearly depicting the matrix of life and how we are all connected via the mother. Bryan Sykes explains it in a more contemporary fashion in his book The Seven Daughters of Eve, where he explores mitochondrial DNA and its role in genetic inheritance.

    • ps. Aqua housemate just showed me a phone app that uses GPS to show roughly where the planets and outer star systems are located. Loads of fun this evening saying hi to Jupiter (which is bright in the sky here tonight) and locating other planets. Freakin cool!

      • prowln, starwalk ? I recently got that app and was trying to locate the umbra (eclipse shadow) on the earth last night, I agree – is the coolest thing evah !

      • StarMap Pro is the next step if you are getting serious – costs but works so well! Now all I need is an app with moon cycles and signs with MM’s handy tips from the 2010 Astroscape ‘when the moon’s in X, do/wear/clean this’. Synced to my calendar would be dandy.

        Then my (app) life will be complete.

  5. I have spent a little time looking at the Voynich Manuscript before, but gave up quickly since there’s nothing in the drawings that screams out to me that it must be solved.

    On the other hand, I have spent way too much time over the years working on a current incomprehensible puzzle, an ongoing series of cryptic advertisements that have been published in a newspaper since 1981, “The May Day Mystery.” Here’s a good example of a May Day document, scroll down and you’ll see I made some comments on the art historical aspects of the document.

    http://maydaymystery.org/mayday/texts/08-may1.html

    • Oh my god, that website is amazing! So 10 years – and no one has found the safety deposit box???

      • More like 30 years. It’s not clear there really is a safety deposit box. And even if we could figure out where it is, that doesn’t mean we have the key. There are constant references to meetings, and presumably you show up at the correct time and place and the secrets will be revealed. But references to the time and place are incomprehensible.

        The problem with the May Day Mistuer is, they know who is posting the ads. He is a local attorney and claims he is just an agent handling this task, he doesn’t know who sends him the ads or pays him to place the ads. And there appear to be many other people involved, since there are mailings from all over the world.

        The problem for ME in analyzing the mystery is that it’s all explained in obscure christian historical terms. I have better things to do with my life than study obscure christian sects just to understand sly references in the puzzle.

    • I wonder if it’s someone just being very creative and inventing their own world—just for fun—Tolkein-style with an elven language and made-up plants that amuse the writer and artist.

      • I wonder that too. I remember once in high school, we covered ciphers and codes in history class. Part of our homework was to create codes and ciphers others could not break, mind you this was before computers were easy to access. But also to crack other’s codes. (Makes studying WWII more interesting.) Just to fuq with nosy Cancerian bothering my Leo bestie, I created a code so hard to break he and his Saggo yes-men spent days trying to break it hoping to find out some romantic secret to humiliate her. (Teenagers can be so cruel.) I had part of the way to find the key was to align it with sun shining through the blinds in a certain way in a certain room at a certain time. I think they gave up because they confronted us and said, “we don’t think there’s anything meaningful in this.” It really translated as, “You are an idiot for stealing this.”

        • :) Maybe that’s what this manuscript says

          It could be equally as fanciful and silly, but done by a ravingly detailed and observant Virgo (obsessed by herbal remedies and good at knowing them, too) schoolgirl to get her mind off real life during a lengthy Mars transit. Or because she or he, I suppose, was alone much of the time and didn’t have to work. They were not poor. They didn’t want their snotty siblings or schoolmates to read their journaled thoughts or to enter their “world.”

          It struck me that this could have been something shared by two people as opposed to just enjoyed by one.

          But I wish my history had been taught in such an interactive way as yours!

          • I have to say these little women tying it all together are wonderful, if not a little chained to their place (makes me think a woman did it)

            Leonardo did a lot, but not everything

            • yeah i wonder if women made it too but i don’t know if women were allowed to write back then. But I wonder if when it’s finally translated it will say something lame. But yes, feels mercurial for sure.

          • I agree a highly Uranian, Neptunian influenced Virgoian illuminated, wrote this manuscript.

      • Bluesky — I thought the same. Maybe the work of a brilliant but mad (i.e. insane) person?

        • Definitely seems intense and brilliant. So yes someone a little off (or a lot off) into their own world.

  6. It is somebody’s play. I was fascinated by Da Vinci as a girl, and still have the book from when I was 4, with my name written in my child’s hand above DaVinci’s mirror writing. This seems very much in line with the play before the finetuned product. And i think of Virgo sis’s artistic/calligraphic stylings as we took our cue from Da Vinci and played with writing, drawing and weaving through of mystery and code. I was fascinated by the notion of code, while she had the drawing/writing talent. This work seems equally young and experimental.

  7. I am going to guess that these are fractals as seen by the author when he closed his eyes. It appears to be a premonition of the mass hysteria of the witch burnings and torments that swept the world subsequently and that is why they are females depicted here. The event was hugely cataclysmic for humankind and I imagine that if one looked closely at artwork and writings prior to that time you would find hidden messages depicting it’s coming.
    The woman looks like she is being boiled in a pot.

  8. Beautiful ideas. Someone dancing to the music of the spheres. This is what happens though when you try and write it down. Ultimately incomprehensible.
    3 dimensions just wont do it.

  9. I think Bluesky’s comment seems very apt. There’s an element of humour at work. The female figure ‘chained’ to the workings of the cosmos, with her feet in the blue of planet Earth , is an apt metaphor for the human condition.
    Perhaps the author thought that the whole business of being human is sacred , and God’s idea of a joke. As for the secret language, well why would anyone create something that cannot be understood ? Probably because it echoes the themes of incomprehension and alienation.

  10. This post got me thinking about mind mapping again, and I made my first one last night.

    This is a bit unusual. First, I am a Virgo – pristine stationery is preferred – once written on it feels sullied and is often relegated to the shelf! Sounds bats, but that’s the way it is. I am also intensely private, and don’t like writing my private thoughts where someone (who? I live alone!) might find them.

    So, I made my first mindmap last night, with glittery coloured pens (as recommended by MM!) – what an interesting exercise! Some bits just flowed like water and some took a bit more effort, which is telling in itself. I’ll definitely be doing more of this sort of mental ‘unpacking’ and will be interrogating the tricky/stuck sections a bit more.

    PS, this manuscript IS magical. I love the idea of it, with its imaginary plants and ciphers.

  11. My Virgo ex wrote a whole book on this in 2005, couldnt get anyone to bite though, incredibly interesting document

  12. I saw a show that pretty convincingly showed that it’s a forged/fake book. Alchemy was popular around then and stuff like this was very valuable. They had some calligraphers with a paper of letters from the manuscript and a little plated with holes in it that they placed over the paper, it blocked out some letters so it made words with the letters not blocked out, difficult to describe, it’s been awhile since I saw it. But they used that method to make sentences that came out identical to the manuscript’s.