The Word of the Witness is a time map that forms a kind of bible for the 12 Monkeys cult, and is first revealed in Season 2.
The Word of the Witness (WotW), an enormous hand drawn diagram, contains events and prophesies both past and future. We later come to learn it was created by Athan, who is groomed from childhood by the 12 Monkeys to become the Witness.
Update: Sept 2020 – there is now a way to get a actual copy of the WotW, as part of the ‘Ultimate Collectors Edition’ Bluray set released by Via Vision Entertainment in Australia in August 2020.
The History of the Word of the Witness
We first see the WotW in Monkey Mansion in Season 2 Ep 5, when Jennifer discovers it while held captive by the Monkey Army. It is not until Season 3 that we finally learn the origins of the WotW, when Athan, hiding out in London in 1879 and troubled by his primary visions, is counselled by Sebastian to write them down thus creating the master timeline that is destined to inform the actions of the Monkey Army.
1879 – the WotW is first created by Athan (Season 3 Ep 8)
1961 – Ramse sees the WotW in Dr Kirshner’s lab and tears off a section containing Titan’s coordinates. (Season 2 Ep 10)
1989 – The painting ‘Constance’ where the WotW had been hidden by the Army of the 12 (which had subsequently been stolen), is rediscovered and the Splinter team set out to retrieve the WotW from the frame and copy it before it is auctioned. (Season 3 Ep 5) Though the plans go awry, Jennifer manages to photocopy it, but chooses to obscure a section that references Cole & Cassie.
2016 – Jennifer sees the WotW in Monkey Mansion, and the date of her own death. This is the first introduction the audience has to the WotW (Season 2 Ep 5)
The Text of the WotW
While snippets of the timemap and the ‘prophesies’ it contains have been revealed throughout the show, the full WotW has not. However enthusiastic fans have made a concerted attempt to extract all the information they can from the shots that have been seen.
This from taltos19 on reddit:
What started as an attempt to piece together and read The Word Of The Witness map seen in ‘Bodies Of Water’ (episode 205), turned into an obsessive cataloging of every screen shot of the map shown in the series. While not every section of the map has been deciphered so far, if you’re curious about it’s contents, this LiveJournal page put together by Redditors calme_rut and taltos19 is an interesting place to explore.
This amazing transcription and analysis from the screenshots of The Word of the Witness has also served to inform the timeline on this site, and you will find cross references to it, using the coding from the livejournal site.