Man in the Maze (I’itoi)

The figure above is known as the “Man in the maze,” an emblem of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Southern Arizona (formerly known as the Papago Indians). The design, depicting a man exiting a labyrinth, is most often seen on basketry dating back as far as the nineteenth century, and occasionally in Hopi silver art.

Labyrinths are common motifs in ancient petroglyphs (Native American rock art), and often resemble those found in ancient Greece and other parts of the world.

The figure is often said to be I’itoi, an O’odham underworld deity.

This symbol is said to represent a person’s journey through life. Although the design appears to be a maze, it is actually a unicursal figure with many twists and turns; these are said to represent choices made in life. The center is dark, as the journey is one from darkness to light.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martin Seota April 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I’otoi—Before this there is another deity who made all the sub-deities, I’otoi, Seh-eh-he,
Ju-viet-makai, and Bun. I remember a name with at least 8 letters that controlled all. It is unfortunate that the real stories, such as the one I am hinting at, are forgotten. I apologize,
there has to be people out there that do know. Symbolism, as I have interpreted here is, limited, due to the history that has not been asked, from the rest of the Tribes. Its all different but the same…reality takes regard and respect of all aspects that defines it…


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