The labyrinth is a winding, maze-like path, often resembling a spiral. Labyrinths are found in many ancient cultures and almost always have spiritual significance. Nearly identical labyrinth patterns are found in Neolithic art, native American petroglyphs, and even ancient Vedic sites.
In Greek mythology, King Minos of Crete imprisoned the Minotaur in an elaborate maze. In Christianity and other faiths, labyrinths have been used guide the contemplative through prayer or meditation. A well-known example of the prayer labyrinth is found at the Chartres Cathedral, which was built in the early thirteenth century and inspired the construction of labyrinths at numerous other gothic cathedrals:
Representations of the Tohono O'odham labyrinth in Native American culture feature I'itoi, or the "man in the maze." The image tells the universal story of the journey of journey, with the center of the maze representing death. The twists and curves of the maze symbolize the trials of life, with each accomplishment increasing the strength and wisdom of the wanderer.
We shall not cease from our exploration, and at the end of all our exploring, we shall arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.