Kabbalah Map of Motolinía’s Angelopolis

  • Jules JanickEmail author
  • Arthur O. Tucker
Part of the Fascinating Life Sciences book series (FLS)


Folio 86v of the Voynich Codex, a large foldout sheet equivalent to six ordinary pages, contains an interconnected series of 11 circles (rosettes) and two images of the sun. When the sun is oriented in an east to west direction the pattern is identical to the Tree of Life of the kabbalah, an ancient Jewish mystical discipline codified in Spain in the thirteenth century and later incorporated into and harmonized with Christian theosophy. The image may also be considered a map representing a cluster of cities (Huejotzingo, Tlaxcala, Tecamachalco-Tepeaca, and Vera Cruz-Cempoala) surrounding the city of Puebla de los Angeles (the New Jerusalem) established by the Franciscan friars, including Toribio de Benavente, who assumed the Nahuatl name Motolinía (“poor one”). Three volcanoes of central Mexico (Popocatepetl, La Malinche, and Pico de Orizaba) are incorporated in circles for three of the cities. The label in the circle that represents Huejotzingo has been translated as “capital of the willows,” and the label associated with Vera Cruz has been translated as “water seller,” which is close to the nickname of that city. The diagram is evidence that the artist was aware of kabbalah mysticism and Puebla de los Angeles.


Cabala Cempoala Huejotzingo Kabbalah La Malinche Motolinía Pico de Orizaba Popocatepetl Tecamachalco Tlaxcala Tree of Life Vera Cruz Volcano Voynich 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Horticulture & Landscape ArchitecturePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture & Natural ResourcesDelaware State UniversityDoverUSA

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