Published on March 25, 2013 by Amy
Native American Indians were a deeply spiritual people and they communicated their history, thoughts, ideas and dreams from generation to generation through Symbols and Signs such as the Symbol of Life. Native American symbols are geometric portrayals, celestial bodies, natural phenomena and animal designs. The meaning of the Symbol of Life is represented by the sign that is commonly referred to as the ‘Man in the Maze’.
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The Symbol of Life in the Man in the Maze symbol depicts a human figure at the entrance of a maze that has only one path. The Man in the Maze life symbol depicts the path of life and all that it entails such as happiness, sadness, successes etc. The Man in the Maze design symbolizes experiences and choices we make in our journey through life. The center of the life symbol is your goal in life. There is a dream at the center and you reach the dream when you get to the middle of the maze. Upon reaching the center of the maze you have one final opportunity (the last turn in the symbol) to look back at your choices and path, before the Sun God greets you, blesses you and passes you into the next world. The “Man in the maze,” is an emblem of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Southern Arizona who were formerly known as the Papago Indians.
The symbolism of the path that’s followed in the Man in the Maze symbol of life is as follows:
The life lessons include:
The Tapuat is the Hopi symbol for mother earth which also depicts a maze. The Hopi name for Mother Earth is ‘Tapuat’ meaning mother and child. Like the Symbol of Life this icon is depicted by a maze following series of a form of concentric circles and symbolizes the cycle of life and the path followed on the journey of life experienced by a child under the watchful eye of the mother. The lines symbolize the umbilical cord and birth, the cycle of life on its earthly path, the spiritual domain and rebirth. The lines and passages within the “maze” represent the universal plan of the Creator and the path that man must follow to seek enlightenment.
The Man in the Maze is one symbol of life but there are many other symbols of life. The meaning of the Heartline symbol was to signify life force. The meaning of the Water symbol was to signify life, fertility and purity. The meaning of the Turtle symbol signifies good health and long life. The swastika is one of the most ancient of all symbols and used as a symbol for peace, life and good luck. The Hummingbird is depicted in their symbol as a mated pair as a symbol of devotion, permanence, eternity and life cycles. The Feathered serpent symbol meaning represented life and the renewal of life, just like water. The dragonfly represents transformation and life’s ever constant process of change. The circle is used as a basis for many symbols including the cycle of life to death to rebirth.
There were so many tribes of Native American Indians it is only possible to generalise the most common meaning of the Symbol of Life or pattern. Native Indian symbols are still used as Tattoos and were used for a variety of reasons and depicted on numerous objects such as tepees, totem poles, musical instruments, clothes and War Paint. Indian Tribes also used their own Colors for Symbols and designs depending on the natural resources available to make Native American paint.