Even though the endless procession of Voynich theories tends to get somewhat wearing after, say, a decade or so of exposure to them, every once in a while a new one pops up that – despite its shabby just-plain-wrongness – you can’t help but have a bit of a soft spot for.

So here’s a cute Voynich theory to pet and coo over, a bit like an abandoned cryptographic kitten: Yve Kupka posted (apparently in 2009) that the nine-rosette page actually corresponds to the nine worlds of Norse mythology.

Basically, Yve claims that the 3×3 rosette array maps on to the nine Norse worlds as follows:-
* Row #1: Svartálfaheimr (Dark Dwarf World), Jötunheimr (Giant World), and Vanaheimr (World of the Vanir)
* Row #2: Múspellsheimr (Fire World), “Middgard” (Manheimr, Human World), and “Hel” (Helheimr, World of the Dead)
* Row #3: Ljósálfheim (Alfheimr, World of the Light Elves), Niflheimr (Ice World), and Asgard (World of the Gods)

Further, the Jötunheimr rosette is claimed to depict a solar calendar (with 13 divisions, it does resemble the 12-division calendar in Q9) and the Niflheimr rosette a moon calendar (with 7 divisions, it does resemble the 8-division calendar in Q9) with everything wrapped in the rainbow bridge Bifrost (i.e. all the pathways connecting the rosettes).

Of course, you may not yourself agree that there’s a rocket ship depicted travelling between Jötunheimr and Manheimr nor that the page also illustrates the interior of a nuclear explosion, but all the same, give the author full marks for lucidity of expression! Enjoy! 🙂

44 thoughts on “Norse cosmology Voynich theory…

  1. bdid1dr on April 11, 2012 at 8:44 pm said:


    I hope you aren’t putting my recent discoveries re the Rosettes in the same boat/rocketship. I’ve done my best to refer you to each Rosette — and I asked you to compare the man-made features in each Rosette with Kircher’s “road-map” of the Alban Lakes.

    Kircher’s identification of at least three features was “spot-on”! “Rocca di Papa”. Castel Gandolpho. Velitre (being the Castle/Fortress that you use at the top of this (your own) website.

    Kircher also identifies the subterranean drainage systems for both Alban and Nemi. He also identifies nearly every other man-made artifact lining the shores of Alban Lake.

    I AM NOT saying that Kircher made the Voynich Manuscript. I am saying that he wanted “the world” to know of its wonders. I am saying that he used the Vms as a “tourist guide/road map” for his own travels in the area. Villa Mondragon and Frascati are also identified, but not on the Alban Lake. He devoted at least a page or two prior to Alban Lake articles.

    I am still convinced that If WE can find any samples of handwriting in the Volscian/Umbrian/Velitraean languages, you will find just how the “sickle-shaped” letter was pronounced/used. Also, the lower-case “p” represents another sound.

    Unfortunately, I am limited to “cruising the WEB”….Airplanes and Rocketships don’t agree with my ear-nose-sinus-throat condition.

    I hoped I would be contributing some valid clues that you would be able to take to your May conference with Reed and Rene.

    Nothing I’ve referred to herein is protected by copyright.


  2. bdid1dr: it would be an awesome coincidence if Kircher mentioned the Villa Mondragone in the Voynich Manuscript several hundred years before the Voynich Manuscript made its way there.

  3. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 12:50 am said:

    Further, the Jötunheimr rosette – 13 divisions.. wouldn’t that better accord with the number of lunar months, or is the 13th supposed an optional/intercalary do you think?

    a moon calendar (with 7 divisions?)
    The only 7-division system I can think of takes the east-west line as one, the points of summer and winter solstices as four more, plus the poles. It is an attested system but informal, and rather old.

    Nick, it’s sad to see you becoming so jaded with the subject. Lets hope some other more interesting cipher-book turns up soon for you.


  4. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 12:55 am said:

    .. that is the rising *and* the setting points of the sun at each of the solstices – so 2 each.

  5. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 2:44 am said:

    Oh dear! I am so tired. I am saying that when Kircher received the ms at the Jesuit library/artifacts storage (Villa Mondragone), and had a chance to look it over, he immediately focused on the “Rosettes”. He then took that book with him on his tour around both of the Alban Lakes.

    Have you had a chance to enlarge each Rosette and compare the un-annotated figures in each of them with Kircher’s publications?

    Probably nobody will be able to account for all of the “curious objects” that Kircher received, many of which bore the coat of arms of the Habsburgs.
    And yes, I am aware of all of the intermarriages of Habsburgs — and the unfortunate consequences for the males (Habsburg Jaw). Also unfortunate consequences for the last Tsar of Russia’s only son: hemophilia.

  6. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 2:56 am said:

    The coat of arms that appear on the “curiousities” that Kircher also published bore the “Prussian Habsburg” emblems. Stanford University has a great “web” library of Kircher’s publications.

    Did I also mention to you, several weeks ago, that Kircher prefaced his individual publications with the phrases: Cherish Liber
    and In a Desire to……

    Take a good look at the Michitonese (f 116?)
    page. Also compare it with Esther Molen’s translation of that same page. If I remember correctly, you have stated that the Michitonese was written in a different hand.


  7. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 3:06 am said:

    So, if it should be “your desire” to hear/read the last of me, just let me know.

    (It takes one to know one — Records Management Specialist/Paralegal, that’s me)


  8. Diane: you’re right that the sun and moon calendars are back to front (the Voynich moon calendar page has 12 divisions, and the sun calendar page has 8/16), but given that our Norsophilic friend couldn’t possibly have been wrong about that, perhaps the Voynich’s author swapped them over by mistake, hmmm? 🙂

    Oh, and I’m not particularly jaded with the Voynich Manuscript itself – it’s just that there’s only so many times that you can be told “it’s actually written in Mirrored-Middle-High-German-polyglotted-with-Hebrew-Arabic-Aramaic-Ukrainian-and-Dutch and that you lot are all stupid for not having noticed this in all your years of so-called ‘research’, losers” before it gets on yer bloomin’ nerves. But you knew that already! 😉

  9. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm said:

    Nick, I don’t think the imagery in the Voynich is back to front.

    I do it looks back to front to us because Europeans have a somewhat bizzare absence of astronomical traditions. What isn’t left to professionals these days reduces to 12 constellations and the expectation that any reference to the heavens will be astrology.

    That’s not so. And it seems reasonable to me to suppose the maker of the image knew better than we do what it was about.

    It’s up to us to understand the past, and not appropriate to correct its relics to fit in which what we happen to know already, ourselves.

    If you want to see the ultimate in correlations for the circuit – correlating time/direction/tidal calcs etc. etc.

    here’s a cool version of the Chinese Lo Pan. Actually not unlike a couple of the diagrams in the Atlas Catala, but that’s a result of common subject matter I assume, not a Chinese argosy off Portugal.


  10. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm said:

    One alternative ’12fold’ system relating to the moon:

  11. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm said:

    Correction to item 6: That was “Austrian” coat of arms, at least on emblem.

    Beg your pardon re “Villa Mondragon” in Frascati: The engraving of “Frascati” only shows the Residence of “Gesu-it” There is another very large estate that overlooks Frascati that has been labeled (by Kircher?) as “Villa Aldobrandi Na Belvedere”.

    I reiterate: Kircher took a “rough draft” manuscript that came into his official possession and created some very interesting treatises. I don’t believe he ever claimed to be the author of the ms. I do, however, think he had the ms dismantled so that engravings could be made for selected items.

    I also think he is the writer of the “Cherish Liber” statement that appears on the last page of the ms (michetonese?).

    So, it may be Kircher who has identified the “Velitrae” fortress/castle whatever that appears in the upper right rosette of the ms.

    Somehow, get a copy of Joscelyn Godwin’s softbound magazine-sized book, published by “Thames and Hudson”. I also suggest that you “see for yourself” by going to Beinecke and magnifying each “Rosette” to the max. I, for one, was both amazed and amused!

    I can only hope that our findings will contribute to your get-together in Frascati.

    We will

  12. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm said:

    edit: scratch those last two words of an incomplete sentence.

  13. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm said:

    I wonder if it isn’t time to write the real history of voynich research. It would be a kind of Heath Robinson collection for cryptographers. I’d suggest a title:

    “Between Bedlam and Error: or, the true and Victorian history of diverse mystified persons in their attempted explanations for the wondrous Voynich manuscript. With diagrams, daguerrotypes of said characters, and other inclusions never before made.

    -Compelling Press, perhaps.

  14. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm said:

    Kircher’s “label” for the structure in the upper right rosette: Volscorum regni pars Velitrae.

    Volscian? Umbrian? Perhaps YOU might be able to find samples of lower case handwritten scripts? I did find some explanation of the “hand-sickle shape” letter that appears in one section of the Vms. Also an explanation of the backward “p”. NOWHERE can I find any samples of handwritten script!

    But check out a web page that lets you submit “hand-writing only”: Write a Text Blog with Pen…..

  15. Diane: David Kahn called those who did much the same for Francis Bacon and Shakespeare “enigmatologists”… not much has changed!

  16. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm said:

    And that could be followed by the second edition, which came with a CD (and/or DVD) of all the wonky-music, weird angle photography type YouTube and television progs.

    or maybe the last would be kept till the time ripe for a Collector’s Limited edition. 😀

    I’d take shares.

  17. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm said:

    By the way, if you’re feeling a bit sensitive today, none of this is aimed at you. When you’ve been around longer, you’ll realise the default view among the medium-to-long timer’s is
    “I’m right, because I’m meticulous;
    you’re alright, because you don’t disagree with me.
    They’re just plain wrong (all nod).

    .. no exceptions made for me, either.

  18. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm said:

    Sheesh! I haven’t even been able to finish my first cuppa coffee! Diane’s comments re Chinese in Portugal etc. Day before yesterday, my time, I began reading Gavin Menzies’ tome “1434 The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance”

    Dare I say “I (we) are over the moon”?

  19. Diane O'Donovan on April 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm said:

    I feel concerned that the area of research is settling down into a kind of agreed-by-consensus view of the Vms. When that happens, an awful lot of interesting people, and ideas, can be forgotten forever. And Voynich studies have been filled with truly extraordinary ideas and persons.

    I’d hate the see the Voynich mob become a nicely formalised academy without at least trying to salvage memories of its earlier, harum-scarum, random-artist sort of character.

    Of course I may be mistaken. But two academic meets within a few months, and reading the number of ‘old guys’ that Voynich research has already collected, I think the days of free-wheeling what-if thinkers is almost over.

    Do You?

  20. Diane: as Lynn Thorndike might have said, not one chance in fifty! 😉

  21. bdid1dr: each to their own, I suppose, but… Menzies doesn’t really work for me. Here’s my review of his most recent book:

  22. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm said:

    I won’t go/link there! I am so sick of the Atlantis myth/scenario/legend….

    B-u-u-t: You really should take a mo or 2 just to check his recent publication. The Chinese fleet really did sail, and did visit Venice, and did do some extraordinary math/astronomical/calendar/shipbuilding, sailing and charting over a huge expanse of the oceans.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Diane’s post about “chickens” travels. I loved my Auraucana chooks: ruffled rumps intead of tails, small birds hatching a dozen chicks each, even Papa chook could call the chicks over to a tasty bug…..Oh yes, did I already mention that the eggshells already were colored for Easter?

    What does all this have to do with our most recent posts, here? Between Julian’s Carroty pages, phases of the moon, solarisms (check out what appears in the very bottom-most, right-hand corner of bottom right “rosette” of the ms)..if Diane hasn’t already mentioned it… I am now cruising the oceans with the Chinese fleet in 1424.

    Will you be giving us “armchair” trevelers a post now and then during your conference?

    Good thing I can still read at “the speed of light” – almost!

  23. bdid1dr on April 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm said:

    fourteen THIRTY four

  24. bdid1dr: 1434 is, in my opinion, just as much ‘junk’ as 1421 and the Atlantis book. There was indeed a real Chinese fleet, but there was no magical canal across Egypt for it to reach the Mediterranean, just occasional traces of canals from many centuries before. Without that key piece the whole Menziean mirage twinkles away to nothing in the desert sun. 🙁

    Anyway, as far as the conference goes, I’ll actually be posting my talk here beforehand, giving everyone a chance to shoot it down well in advance. 🙂

  25. Diane O'Donovan on April 13, 2012 at 1:22 am said:

    Given the motives for that fleet, and its 7 (I think it was 7) world-scouring journeys, I actually don’t think it is impossible that the Chinese arrived in the Mediterranean. The solidifying ‘official’ history is now that the Chinese wanted to establish diplomatic ties, and suddenly changed their minds. The other truth seems to be that a person with valid claim to the imperial throne had to flee China, and the chap who *had* the throne could not afford to allow the first to remain alive. The admiral was told to hunt out the pretender, to the ends of the earth (evidently), and so it is not impossible that they rounded the cape and ended up off the east African coast, as great ships are noted being seen there, and make it onto European maps etc. No reason why not. But what is impossible to argue is that the ships came through those canals cut to an arm of the Nile. There’s no evidence at all that the canals had been used after about the 7thC AD, and very likely they’d fallen from use much earlier. Silting and wind-blown sand were always a problem.

    A reason for believing the Chinese never came to mainland Europe is that they heaped gifts/bribes wherever they went, and each town in Europe had its chronicler. If the Chinese had come we’d hear of them in some way.

  26. Diane O'Donovan on April 13, 2012 at 1:49 am said:

    Nick –
    ‘Grand old men’ of a discipline are its bedrock. It’s no insult that I consider you one of them: and look where you are on the programme!

    GOM are Darwin in his sciences, Needham (still) in Chinese studies, Weingreen in Syriac studies, Newton in European astronomy etc.

    I am as the kids say ‘totes for’ GOMs. But while I may be starry-eyed about Darwin or Needham, I accept they cast all predecessors into obscurity. Same will doubtless happen in Voynich studies one day. And who then will remember the person/s who argued for Voynichese as being:
    “in Mirrored-Middle-High-German-polyglotted-with-Hebrew-Arabic-Aramaic-Ukrainian-and-Dutch” let alone the tone in which those ideas were proffered.

    Its the historian in me you see, mourning the loss of that ephemera which gives us the sound, scent and feeling of the ‘other country’ which is the past. And I suppose the teenager in me who kind-of admires the lengths we humans will go to to ‘blame the cat’ (or manuscript/ supposed author of) whenever our skills fail.

  27. bdid1dr on April 13, 2012 at 10:51 am said:

    So, is the Voynich written in cipher or not?

  28. bdid1dr on April 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm said:

    I just visited the link you refer:

    Volscian (written from right to left, and some letters reversed)

    C u a rt o

    sibilant “C” i a ll

    Volsci and Umbria were immediate neighbors to the Alban Lakes area.

    So far I have only been able to find DISCUSSION re their lanquage/writing systems.

    So, “Sail away with me and we can share a quart “……? If you were to use this question mark as the sibilant Volcian/Umbrian
    letter, would you answer yes or no?

    bdid1dr %^

  29. bdid1dr on April 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm said:

    And there is a third, apparently more obscure dialect: Oscan.

    Yea? Nay? Indicate your answer in Volscian.

    Fun — it’s all fun — or should be. So, have fun in Frascati !

  30. bdid1dr on April 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm said:

    Nick, Diane, and anyone else interested:

    See my last comments on Nick’s “Alternative Voynich” pages.

    I went back to Joscelyn Godwin’s publication. She writes a fairly clear bio of Kircher. She also talks about his friend/convert who eventually was made Cardinal. She also writes a pretty good explanation of the various adventures the two of them had while “still new” to the area around Rome, Naples, and Alban Lakes.

    Only two or three pages later she shows some of Kircher’s “translations” of several languages. Who knows what Kircher might have accomplished if he had the “tools” with which we are now working?

    bdid1dr %^

  31. bdid1dr: (1) Joscelyn Godwin is definitely a he, (2) Kircher’s “translations” were equal parts delusional and overoptimistic, (3) you might really enjoy Godwin’s (2009) “Athanasius Kircher’s Theatre Of The World”. 🙂

  32. bdid1dr on April 13, 2012 at 11:34 pm said:

    Whoa! How’s that for a gender mix-up?

    Not really relevant to this latest comment, but:

    While I was tracing my father’s parents and grandparents marriage info, I came across a baptismal certificate that showed my grandfather didn’t know his mother’s maiden name. All he could write was what he thought was her first name: “Rosiebelle”.

    After much digging, I found in European records, the marriage of my great-grandfather to a woman named Rose Ibele. The name Ibele was not a common name, whether spelled Ibele or Ybele.


  33. bdid1dr on April 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm said:

    Have you been able to find any handwriting samples of any of the italic languages? I have found exactly one webpage where a writer writes about the Volscian/Oscian/Umbrian/Cyrillic scripts AND even shows a sample ……. google/wikipedia/whatever won’t let me print that page!

    Bah! Humbug!


  34. bdid1dr on April 14, 2012 at 4:01 am said:

    Lately, when I went online with Stanford’s Kircher collection, I also saw a lot of the items that I believe were part of his “Theatre of the World”. Fascinating! That’s why I’ve been calling them “oddities” and “curiosities”. It just seems to be a kinder way of saying “how crazy can he get?”

    Us folks in the US sometimes call it “confabulating” or “embroidering on the truth”…..

    Yep, I will be finding a copy of MR Godwin’s later publications. Thanx for the ref.

    Oh yes, one last thing: Besides the printing that appears on the oval frame of Kircher’s portrat, I got out my magnifying glass so that I could read the writing on the “scrolled” statement of one Jacobus Albanum Ghibbelin. M.D. In Rom: Sapientis
    Eloq: Prof.

    I liked his “Italic” hand while noting his middle name.

  35. Diane O'Donovan on April 14, 2012 at 5:30 am said:

    His work on the influence of Pythagorean number theory upon medieval music is brilliant. I wish I’d bought half a dozen copies when it came out. Not so easy to get now in h/back.

  36. bdid1dr on April 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm said:

    In re Godwin’s comment that Kircher himself claimed to resurrect plants from their own ashes:

    To this day, my husband spreads wood ashes and vegetable compost on his garden soil. (Potash).

    My husband had a well-grounded education in music theory. While in college, he studied with Lou Harrison, and participated in making gamelons. So, he has been reading Godwin’s
    Kircher extracts along with me (he bought 2 copies).

  37. bdid1dr on April 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm said:

    The vegetable compost would have live seeds (squash, pumpkins, eggplant, whichever were native to the farmer’s area). Hence the “resurrection” of plants from their ashes.

  38. bdid1dr on April 17, 2012 at 2:21 am said:

    Nick: Has anyone before me pointed out the “solar symbols” that appear in the upper L corner and lower R corner of the 9-Rosettes folio?

    Would you/do you have a “considered opinion” of them? If you’ve already answered this same Q before, yea or nay will do for me, thanx! Just trying to catch up with y’all.

  39. bdid1dr on April 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm said:

    A: Has any one pointed out what appears to be “apothecary jars/fountains” in the “depths” of the center Rosette?

    B: Has anyone else yet expressed the view that most of the “plume-like” drawings are indicating hill and mountainside/slopes?

    C: Do you know, or have already identified, the seashore/bay that appears at the bottom-most edge of the Rosettes page?

    D: Have you found the location of the Roman drainage tunnels for Alban Lake and Nemi.

    E: Do any of you plan to visit Lake Nemi, at least, so you can tell Diane all about it (maybe even a photo or two)?

    So, I’ve done my best to make your answers as brief as possible (per my promise to you a couple of days ago….Aa, Bb…….

  40. Hi, bdid1dr: You might be interested in my 3D rendering of the rosettes page, considering your interest in the topography of the foldout, as a map… as I and many have been:


  41. bdid1dr on April 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm said:

    Song: I luv to go a wandering, over hills and valleys…… a knapsack on my back.

    As it is today, I live on a mountainside 3K elevation.

    Topo map – that’s the word I was trying to remember! (I’m 68 y.o.)

    Thanx, Rich, for the show. (Nick, consider yourself thanked also!)

  42. bdid1dr: A: yes, many times – in fact, this helps support the argument that all the pieces of the Voynich were conceived / executed by a single person. B: yes, quite a few times, though without really advancing the debate. C: no, nor any other of the plumes. D: no. E: no, sorry.

  43. bdid1dr on April 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm said:

    My apologies to Mr SantaColoMa for mistakenly identifying him as colonna in several posts.

    Twas a great 3-D show!

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