More on creation square
I can’t believe a month has passed since I have taken the time to work on the symbolism in my sacred woman quilt. I can only try to do better.
I will continue with notes on the symbolism of the “Creation Square.” It includes my version of the Man in the Maze Labyrinth because I feel strongly that we are the creators of our lives through the decisions we make. Honoring our role as creators, I have included the Man in the Maze on my quilt.
The figure known as the “Man in the Maze,” depicts a man entering or exiting a labyrinth. It is a theme seen on baskets from as far back as the nineteenth century and in Hopi silver art. Such depictions of labyrinths are also found in ancient petroglyphs (Native American rock art).
The symbol can represent a person’s journey through life. The maze contains many twists and turns, meant to represent choices made in life. The center is round and dark, so the journey can be from darkness to light or vice versa depending on which way you are headed!
Some interpret the center as a representation of a person’s dreams and goals. When you reach the center, you have reached your goals and the sun god there blesses you and helps you pass into the next world.
Another interpretation of this symbol is that the man represents the human seed and the maze is the womb. As the man enters the maze, he creates new life which represents reincarnation or eternal life.
The Man in the Maze labyrinth, an archetypal symbol of the Tohono O’odham Nation, describes not only the path to wellness and wholeness, but identifies life as a spiritual journey that invites one to find deeper meaning in life. That deeper meaning is Himdag. Himdag is a gift from the Creator. It describes the culture, values, and general way of life of the Tohono O’odham people. Embracing the individual and the communal, Himdag becomes a life-long journey nourished by maintaining strong family relations; respecting self, others, and nature; engaging in cultural rituals (storytelling, music, games, crafts, ceremonies, hunting and harvesting); and celebrating the uniqueness of the four seasons. Through these activities, spiritual, emotional, physical and relational health is maintained. To embrace Himdag is to walk in balance, alone, with others, with nature, and with the Creator.
There is an emergence story associated with the Man in the Maze as follows:
The Man in the Maze labyrinth, an archetypal symbol of the Tohono O’odham In the beginning there was only darkness, inhabited by Earthmaker and Buzzard. Earthmaker rubbed dirt from his skin and held it in his hand, from which grew the greasewood bush. With a ball of gum from this bush, Earthmaker created the world. As Buzzard created the mountains and rivers with the passage of his wings, the Spider People sewed the earth and the sky together.
In time Earthmaker brought about a race of people in the desert. They lived for several generations, but they all became sinful except for one, Iitoi, the Elder Brother. Earthmaker saw that Iitoi was true and told him that a flood would kill all the people. The Creator placed Iitoi high on the sacred mountain Baboquivari and let him witness the disaster. Afterwards Iitoi helped create the Hohokam peope, from whom the Tohono O’odham descended. He helped teach them the right way, and they lived in harmony for many years.
But in time some of the people turned on Iitoi and killed him. His spirit fled back atop Baboquivari, where he remains to this day. From time to time Iitoi’s spirit, in the form of a small man, cunningly sneaks into the villages and take things from the people. Despite their attempts to catch him, the twisting path he takes returning to his home always confuses them. Thus in the labyrinth one can see Iitoi on the pathway and trace the mysterious and bewildering turns he makes on the journey back to his mountain home, Baboquivari.