Encoding and Decoding Example

On the Encoding Method page I have replaced what was there with the first example of encoding and decoding.

This is Aldebaran, the label by the large star in the upper left pie slice of f68r3. Both encoding and decoding use the same letter table, with encoding taking place horizontally, and decoding vertically.

At the moment I have six other labels from f68r3 that encode and decode the same way.

There are still problems, such as there is no way of distinguishing which of the three letter value sets is used for a particular label other than trial and error. Also the problem of converting from Voynich letters to English letters. But I’m working on them.

Thoughts and comments requested.

Label Encoding Note

Here is the label encoding method in a more graphic form, using Aldebaran as the example.

The encoding starts with A in the red section, then moves left to right, finding L and D,  then to the bottom row to find E, and continues left to right.

Rectangle Letter Find

Aldebaran Encoding Box

The grayed-out R and A were encoded, then later removed. If that was not the case, the N would be in the green section.

Notes on f68r3

I wanted to do an update before much more time had passed. This isn’t really new, but is the most complete and far-ranging work so far.

This folio is a visual representation of an astronomical event that took place 7 December 1486. It is tied in with f67r2 and f69r, which are the astrological interpretations.

See the new page above for additional material.

Label Encoding Method

I have uploaded to the MediaFire folder (link to the side) a method for encoding the labels.

Along with it are the three “magic rectangles” and files with the results on f68r3 and the collected Aldebaran labels.

The method is demonstrated on 19 labels total. Not all of the problems have been solved, and there is still a lot to do.

“Degrees of Freedom”

One of the most common objections to a proposed translation method is to invoke “degrees of freedom”. This multiplies the letters and gives the total of possible combinations. If anagrams or dropped letters are allowed, this increases the total.

So it’s “Whoops, your method has too many degrees of freedom, so the results can be almost anything.” The ones objecting stop here, aka ‘hit brick wall, end of story’. But that is NOT the end of the story. As raw math, “degrees of freedom” is valid, but it ignores the rules imposed that reduce the number of possible answers.

It’s exactly the same as an argument I’ve seen advanced by Creationists: “There are so many elements that the odds against certain ones combining to make life are astronomical. Therefore a Creator is necessary.” That too is raw math, and ignores the rules of chemistry that make the odds of the right elements combining a near certainty.

As an idealized example I am using the first label I cracked, by the large star in the upper left pie slice of f68r3. It is laid out in what I call a breakdown box. This is NOT the VMs decoding method, but a workaround I use in my label research. These are Set 1 letter values, and the word is complete (on the folio the 2nd A and R were dropped).

There is a length of 9 letters, 6 different, and 5 have alternate values with 2 connected. If I understood correctly, there are 1134 possible strings. If that was all there was to the method, there would indeed be too many possibilities.

However, imposing rules changes that:

1. Discard all nonsense strings.
2. Discard words of other than 9 letters.

The program WordFind has a lexicon of ~150,000 words, and running the values returns 14,  reducing the number of possible strings by 98.7%:


These results are filtered through a third rule: in any Voynich word, a given letter may have only one value. (That is, EVA Ch is either E or S, and any word containing both is invalid.)

That leaves one valid result: Aldebaran.

The lesson here is that one should not be so quick to reject a method based solely on a lowest-level mathematical calculation.

Letter Values Set 1

In my label work I have found there are three sets of values for the labels, but none work on the regular text.

Below are the values for what I have designated as Set 1. These were the first I had luck with on f68r3, and as can be seen, are not complete. Set 2 is completed, but Set 3 still has 5 values missing.

Note that “4o” can have a value of “AL”, the beginning of many star names, and that EVA iiin is “IUM”, a common Latin ending.

As has been determined by others, it is not a simple substitution. The multiple values for some letters follows Philip Neal’s work. My reasoning is: if the Voynich letters are interchangeable, the plaintext values should be as well. This raises the “degrees of freedom”, but I will address that later.

I have, at this writing, nearly 100 labels cracked. So far, star labels are star names, many archaic (as might be expected). On f67r2 the twelve words under the moons are country names, eight of which no longer exist.

Folio Interpretations

Below are my interpretations of the Astro Section folios (subject to change, of course):

f67r1  Total solar eclipse in Pisces seen in London  16 March 1485

f67r2  Astrological interpretation of f68r3

f67v1  Tycho’s supernova   Nov 1572 (anomalous)

f67v2  Planetary conjunctions seen from London

Upper left (triangle)  AM 30 Dec 1484

Upper right (square)  PM 15 May 1486

Lower right (checkmark)  PM 24 Jan 1494

Lower left (square in T-O Map)  AM 29 Nov 1483

f68r1    Great Comet 18 July 1533 2:00 AM London

f68r2    Comet C/1490 Y1  21 January 1491

f68r3    24 hours before the moon occludes the Pleiades, 7 Dec 1486 (date uncertain; this configuration happens ~9 times a century)

f68v1   Total solar eclipse16 March 1485  emphasizing the Moon’s role

f68v2   Total solar eclipse16 March 1485  drawing of the solar corona

f68v3   Diagram of how the Universe rotates around the earth

f69r      Interpretation of the Astrological Lunar Cycle related to f68r3

f69v     Not yet identified

f70r1    Not yet identified

f70r2    Total solar eclipse16 March 1485  related to the moon and solar corona