One of the key moments in my research for ‘Regina del Vaticano’ was my visit in May 2014 to the Palazzo Barberini in Roma. I was wondering if Urbanus VIII – the Barberini pope who brought Matilda’s remains to the Vatican and commissioned Bernini to make her tomb with the mermaid – had any connections with the symbol of the double tailed mermaid. And I was rewarded: in the Sala della Divina Sapientia I found four sirena’s, one in each corner of the ceiling, each holding a solar disc in their hands. The image would become a logo for my book, and for my heart labyrinth ‘Cuore di Matilde’. Today I brought another visit to the Palazzo, and – together with my friend Manuela Morici -.took another good look at the ceiling. A new surprise was awaiting us!
Under the ceiling is a band that goes all around the room, and it contains 16 mermaids, four in each direction. And they are quite special: some of them have arms that end in branches, others have their long hairs intertwined. They are all connected to Venus shells, the symbols of birth from the Feminine. In the middle of each of the four sides there is a Sun, the symbol of the Barberini family. And what makes it even more special is the presence of the Barberini bees all around. Of course we counted them: exactly 50 of them.
It all confirms the argument in my book, but even on a deeper level: that the mermaids symbolise the generative Feminine powers of the Earth, that sustain and support the solar force of the masculine divine. The number 50 is also an important key here. There is an ancient story that Jezus unlocked 7 x 7 gates, but that 50th – the symbol of the manifestation of the Divine on Earth – had remained locked. To me it seems that Pope Urbanus has – again – left a message here, in cooperation with Andrea Sacchi, the designer of the ceiling: that the Barberini family had the potential to unlock the last Gate to Heaven.
Please read the last chapters of ‘Regina del Vaticano’ and you will understand why this also a key to understand the Sirena above Matilda’s tomb in the Vatican!