Symbol of Life

The Symbol of Life

Native American Symbols, like the Symbol of Life, can vary in meaning from one tribe to another and across the culture groups of North America. 

Discover facts and information about the meanings of secret and mysterious symbols used by Native American Indians in our List of Symbols including the Symbol of Life.

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Native American Symbols
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Meaning of the Symbol of Life
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'.

The Symbol of Life - Man in the Maze
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 Symbol of Life - Meaning
The symbolism of the path that's followed in the Man in the Maze symbol of life is as follows:

  • The symbol of the man at the entrance of the maze represents Birth
  • The white path of the maze represents the journey through life and the twists and turns that are encountered
  •  The life lessons include:
    • Youth and innocence
    • Acquiring knowledge and skills
    • Direction
    • Observation
    • Independence
    • Building and creating
    • Gentleness and Beauty
    • Love and Happiness
    • Truth
    • Power of creation
    • Strength and Understanding
    • Leadership, Power and Ambition
    • Knowledge and understanding from experience
    • Friendship and Integrity
    • Enlightenment and Wisdom
    • Acceptance of change
    • Harmony and Purity
    • Growth and foresight
    • Reflection and repentance
    • Introspection, to look inside
    • Acceptance of past life
    • Death and eternal life

The Symbol of Life - the Tapuat
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 Symbol of Life - Other Symbols of Life
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.

The Symbol of Life - Meaning
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.

Apache Hide Painting

Native American Indians - Symbol of Life
Native American Indians had a highly complex culture, especially those who lived on the Great Plains.

Their religion was dominated by rituals and belief in a spiritual connection with nature and these beliefs were reflected in the various symbols they used such as the Symbol of Life.

The clothes, tepees and all of his belongings was decorated with art and included symbols depicting his achievements, acts of heroism, his various spirit guides or the most important events in his life. Every symbol used by an American Native Indian had meaning which can be accessed from Symbols and Meanings.

Symbol of Life

The Symbol of Life


Great Spirit

  • The Symbol of Life of Native Americans
  • Meaning, symbolism and interpretation of the Symbol of Life
  • Interesting facts and info for kids and schools
  • Pictures, meanings, patterns and designs of symbols
  • Native American Symbol of Life meaning

Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Great Spirit. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the History of Native Americans and illustrate many symbols used by American Indians. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - Great Spirit. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index - a great educational resource for kids.


Teaching resource - Teachers - Kids - Great Spirit - Native American Symbols - Indian Symbols - Symbolism - Symbolize - Interpretation - American Symbols and Designs - Indian - Meaning - Symbolism - Symbolize - Interpretation - Meanings - Tattoos - Tattoo - Info - Information - Kids - Pictures - Signs - Emblem - Icon - Pictogram - Pictograms - Children - Spirit - Patterns - Designs - Homework - Picture Writing - Traditions - American Symbols - Reference - Tribes - Tribe - Guide - Tattoos - History - Writing - Signs - Pictographs - Indigenous - Ancient - Pictures - Pictures of American Symbols - Paintings - Images - Photographs - Great Spirit - Written By Linda Alchin

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