I’ve seen pictures of the Sistine Chapel for so many years now that I’ve grown tired of them, and critical of Michelangelo’s general painting style. The fat forearms, pudgy toes, slapping boobs onto guys so he can call them gals … I knew if I was going to be in Rome & the Vatican anyway, I couldn’t just ignore the place and not go, but I really wasn’t expecting very much.
But then I am inside. An Italian guard is calling for silence. Reverential organ music is thundering quietly (you would have to experience that to know what I mean). It is one huge, open room. Botticelli figures dance and flow along the walls.
And there – everywhere above you; like the Milky Way over farm country on a clear summer night – is the Creation, and Judgement Day; a plethora of great spiritual beings and moments as envisioned and expressed by Buonarroti.
And tears come.
And joy flows.
I just came upon this quote from one of my fav theosophists Alexandra David-Neel that sums it up nicely:
“Because the images of statues are like a battery which is charged over the ages by the adoration of the devotees, who in turn can draw energy, inspiration, or grace from these statues. As a battery, the energy in the statue will not get discharged, as long as the faithful continue to worship it by their adoration: Gods are thus created by the energy given out by the faith in their existence. “
We were funnelled into the Chapel along a narrow corridor – not for the claustrophobic. There was still a press of people once inside but as I gazed up they all faded into my peace and there was only the Glory above and around.