Decoding Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam

Creation of Adam

Spirituality expands beyond the confines of the ‘written word’; what is expounded in books and spiritual texts and also beyond the ‘spoken word’; what is taught from word of mouth, from the teacher to the student. Esotericism is present in every facet of life and an illustrative expression of spirituality is in art.

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Symbolism and iconography have long been used by mystery schools such as those in Ancient Egypt and many others at different geographical periods in history to depict specific spiritual principles, that transcend time and space. These illustrations contain a perennial truth, which can only be unpackaged by the consciousness and understood by those on the Initiatic Path[1].

Many spiritual authors throughout time have attempted to express these spiritual truths, but very few have profoundly comprehended. Michelangelo is one individual that belonged to an esoteric order that depicted these truths through his art. His painting of “Creation of Adam” is viewed by those within religious circles to be a depiction between the human and the divine, the symbiotic relationship that exists between these two forces. However, those within scientific communities believe this masterpiece is masking neurological mapping. To understand the truth contained within this piece, it is necessary to synthesise both points and more importantly to transcend the physical literal interpretation and comprehend the content through the intended instrument – the consciousness. As a Master once said “To understand any truth, we have to comprehend it through the correct tool” meaning that each and every object has its intended tooling. We wouldn’t fix a broken bike with a wooden spoon nor would we fix a car with a hammer, so then why would we attempt to understand such spiritual truths with the mind? The lack of consensus in understanding stems from the absence of consciousness.

This painting highlights a correlation between neurological anatomical points and the consciousness. Holistically there are two significant portions in this painting; on the left hand of the fresco, Adam is lazily reclining on his back with one hand extending towards God[2], while on the other extremity God is fully extending himself to reach Adam. This scene depicts that the divine that resides within is making every supreme effort to reconnect us with a parallel spiritual reality, but what is faltering in that effort is Adam (us). Adam’s passive stance and positioning highlights the lack of effort we make in reconnecting as well as the lack/misdirection in our yearning. As a master once said “Initiation is life lived intensely” meaning that if we don’t work with continuity of purpose driven by an authentic longing for the divine then we won’t ever re-establish that long lost connection. Many times our spiritual inquietudes are driven by mundane motives; to further ourselves in our career, escape certain sufferings, empower certain attitudes, etc, but as Adam’s positioning on the earth reflects, those earthly desires will simply keep us grounded. Our yearning has to emanate directly from the heart, because that authentic inquietude will lead us towards the hidden, but as we see in the illustration, the secondary primary element apart from Adam that creates separation between the divine and us is the mind.

We see that God is sheathed with a red robe with cupids that form the shape of the human brain with important neurological points that are completely relevant to the spiritual awakening. The inclusion of the brain creates a level of separation between God and Adam. Our mind by nature, by cause of modern society is a generative element, constantly generating thoughts, fantasies, retrieving and projecting past memories. This generative nature directly contradicts the nature of spirituality, which is to reach a silent contemplative state that leads to the activation of the pituitary gland *Figure 1, which neurologically is where our consciousness resides. As discussed in a previous article the pituitary gland in the orient is known as the Crown/Sahasrara Chakra. This neurological point, which is the size of a pea, has the capacity to manipulate our Endocrine System and our Nervous System and alter patterns in our brain, releasing certain chemicals that placate our mind and activate the consciousness. In the figure we see that a large portion of God’s weight is rested on the Pituitary Gland, highlighting the importance and role this gland has in connecting us with the divine.

Brain diagram of Creation of Adam
Figure 1

It is also important to note that God’s arm is extending through to the Prefrontal Cortex, which is the most creative aspect of our brain and also responsible for complex cognitive behaviour and decision making. The lack in continuity of purpose reflected in Adam’s posture demonstrates our inability to direct our willpower. If we observe God we note that he has one finger extended, while Adam has all his fingers causally flexed. As long as our willpower is divided we don’t carry a true intent of purpose, we live by virtue of external stimulation in constant search of material sensorial satisfaction. The one finger extended symbolises the concentration of willpower and effort required to reconnect to a spiritual reality. A monk once asked his master how he could reach enlightenment. The master responded by taking the monk and submerging his head in a fount of water, pulling him out just before he drowned. The master then asked the monk what he was thinking of during the ordeal and the monk responded simply: air. The master then explained that until we have a will and yearning that is as single-minded as the monk’s need for air, we will not reach spiritual illumination.

In conclusion, what we can extrapolate from this masterpiece is that spirituality and the keys to awaken the consciousness are present in abundance before our eyes, all that is lacking is the capacity and understanding to do so. This painting transmits to us the knowledge that in order to reach the path of initiation we must seek within the depths of our interior, this is the only form in which we will achieve a profound spiritual connection.

“If you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you be able to find it outside. In you is hidden the treasure of treasures.


[1] Initiatic Path – The spiritual pathway that leads to the complete development of the consciousness. This way can only be accessed by those that abide to strict spiritual principles.
[2] God – God is not a monotheist principle. Each and every person has the divine within.

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