top of page

The Maze and the Labyrinth

The "Man In The Maze" is a visual representation of the Tohono O'odham people of the Southwest. They believe in life, death, and life after death."[1] Tohono O'odham refer to the

Man in the Maze as the T'itoi. Its design depicts the story of each human being progressing through life as through a maze.

The Gila River Indian Community, the Akimel O'odham of Arizona, consider the Man in the Maze the Elder Brother, their Creator. The journey of life is a journey through a maze, beginning at birth and continuing through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and finally ending in old age. The four significant turns in the path represent the four directions, and the Maze's center represents death and rebirth.

One encounters life's many turns and changes as one proceeds through the Maze. Knowledge, strength, understanding, and wisdom are acquired. One repents, cleanses, and reflects on all the insight gained during the journey. Finally, death and eternal life are accepted, pure, and in harmony with Creation.

Entering the Episcopal form, one enters devoutly silent, determined, deepening into one's prayers. And then returning to the present world, hopefully having received some knowledge, strength, understanding, and wisdom.

As a student of spiritual practice, I find no direct connection between one form and the other. But I believe this form of meditation on life, death, and eternity is as old as humans. Tohono O'odham's "Man in the Maze" and the Episcopal Labyrinth can be readily accepted as sibling expressions of life and eternity.

Each depicts the twists and turns of existence. Each shows an entrance and an exit. While Man-in-the-Maze proceeds from the center to the edge and returns to the center. In the labyrinth, one strides from the outer edge to the center and returns to the edge.

Inside, outside, the cosmos has neither. It is all one, coming and going, appearing and disappearing, and reappearing, ad infinitum. So we are essentially the cosmos.

"Endlessly heading to where I've just been

The beginning does end, where the end does begin.

No exit, no detour, no side-track to take.

The circle continues without a mistake."[2]


[1] The Southwest Silver Gallery and Awakened to Peace and Love Blog offer a fair bit more depth.

[2] Chorus lyrics from "Circles" by songwriter Chris Erin.

6 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page