Things are less hectic than they seemed, so a few jottings on Tarkovsky's Sacrifice (Decades-old Spoiler Warning!)
I'm still wrestling with the fact that God's healing power manifests through an adulterous act. That's not hard to reconcile if one isn't wedded to the rigorous laws of sexual purity that are part and parcel of the Christianity I know, but perhaps Tarkovsky's beliefs (which I've read were Christian) were less indebted to such rules. He's obviously of a more mystical frame of mind. Maybe it's a Russian Orthodox thing. As a Unitarian I'm surprised that the adultery thing should be as big a snag for me as it is. I've skimmed a few online commentaries on the film, and no one else even mentions it.
Outside of a Christian-law context, though, it makes perfect sense. Sexuality brings us closer to an all-embracing sense of a power and a joy beyond ourselves. The scene in question would be hard to describe to someone else without making it sound corny beyond words; they embrace and actually levitate off the bed and slowly spin in the air? It's like an R-rated '30s musical. But when it happened it seemed so right; I don't think I've ever seen a sex scene that got so close to the real experience before.
I'm still thinking about that picture of Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi, always shown with the glass reflecting the characters who are observing it; I'm also puzzling on the archaic map's significance. I don't want to jump to any facile English-class symbol-hunting, though. I may need to watch the film again to put the pieces together.