The labyrinth is perhaps one of the oldest, and certainly one of the most mysterious symbols known to mankind. It has been looked upon as an object of fear and hope. It has been perceived as a representation of hell and redemption, and it has even been used to symbolize far off lands and cities. Labyrinths are unique in that they are a geometric shape which does not occur naturally, and as a result they point to the creative genius of humanity."Labyrinths: Their Origins & Development," Loyola University Medieval Studies blog.
In a labyrinth there is a single path that twists and turns but entails no dead ends or choices ... The labyrinth walker is ignorant and confused while immersed in the process ... When you are walking in a maze or labyrinth your vision is constricted, but [when viewed from above] you see the whole pattern ... the labyrinth is [a metaphor], just as a pilgrimage is an allegory, for the path of life.Patricia Monaghan and Eleanor G. Viereck, Meditation: The Complete Guide.
Pictured: the labyrinth on the portico of Lucca Cathedral. The Latin inscription reads: "Here is the Cretan labyrinth that Daedalus built. From it no one who entered could escape except Theseus, who succeeded through the grace of Ariadne’s thread." The thread was understood to be a metaphor for faith.