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Come Get Lost in these Labyrinth Tattoos with Us

Come Get Lost in these Labyrinth Tattoos with Us
Tattoo Ideas2 min Read

These labyrinth tattoos symbolize journeying into the self and then back out again.

A monster pursues you through a series of stone corridors. You arrive, breathless, at a junction, the creature’s hooves clattering not far behind you. You frantically turn left, only to find another fork in the road. The path on the right appears to lead to a dead end, barely visible in the darkness, so another left it is, through a passageway that curls in on itself. The beast bears down on you, another dead end. Now you have no choice but to stand your ground and face the Minotaur. This hair-raising romp through a maze was actually a simulation of what it would have been like to be in the sandals of Theseus — the hero from the Greek myth that inspired all of these mesmerizing labyrinth tattoos.

An ornate blackwork labyrinth by Ian Steiff (IG—ianstreifftattoo). #blackwork #IanSteiff #maze #labyrinth
A blackwork maze sleeve by Krusty Cola (IG—krustycola). #blackwork #KrustyCola #maze #labyrinth

It is said that King Minos of Crete was sent a white bull to be sacrificed in Poseidon’s honor. After Minos refused, the gods bewitched Pasiphaë, his queen, compelling her to climb into a hollow wooden heifer, at which point the mythical albino bovine mounted and impregnated her. She gave birth to a creature that was neither man nor bull but a combination of the two — the Minotaur. The king commissioned Daedalus, the famous inventor, to create an elaborate structure to cage his abominable step-son. In order to satiate the Minotaur’s voracious appetite, every seventh year a virgin was sacrificed. Eventually, the hero Theseus, pitying these fallen maidens, vowed to slay the beast, and venturing into the maze with his lover — Minos’ own daughter — he laid the Minotaur low, ending its reign of terror.

An exquisite blackwork maze by Perla (IG—perla_tattoo). #blackwork #maze #labyrinth #Perla
A brushstroke style labyrinth by Watsun Atkinsun (IG—watsunatkinsun). #blackwork #maze #labyrinth #WatsunAtkinsun

Beyond their themes of heroism, labyrinths have other powerful symbolic properties, the foremost of which is their function as objects of meditation. They’re often used as a tool for problem solving or achieving mental focus in professional fields ranging from early childhood education to occupational therapy. Unicursal mazes, like the original labyrinth in Crete, are thought to represent a journey inward into the self. Wandering into a maze and then retracing your steps from its center back into the world is a perfect metaphor for emotional introspection. In this sense, images of them can act as a sort of map for the mind.

A pair of inverted labyrinths by Dylan Derry (IG—zuultattooer). #blackwork #maze #labyrinth
An elaborate labyrinth on a client's hand by Christian Hold Fast (IG—christianholdfast). #blackwork #ChristianHoldFast #maze #labyrinth

Labyrinths come in a variety of shapes and sizes in the world of body art. Some tattooists adhere to the original blueprint of the Cretan maze, while others create modernized versions with more unconventional layouts and multiple exits. They appear in a number of different styles, but look particularly mesmerizing when rendered in blackwork. Regardless of how they’re constructed, having a tattoo of a maze is like having a puzzle to play with all the time, but it also could save you in a crisis, helping you gain your composure when you need it most, just like Theseus fighting the Minotaur in the heart of the Labyrinth.

A labyrinth in a cut of wood by Harry Plane (IG—harry.plane). #blackwork #HarryPlane #maze #labyrinth
A bold blackwork maze by Veronica Lee (IG—veronica_lee_artist). #blackwork #maze #labyrinth #VeronicaLee
A beautiful blackwork maze by Stewart Art (IG—stewart_artworkrebels). #blackwork #maze #labyrinth #StewartArt
A blackwork labyrinth with a touch or red by Kris Patay (IG—krispatay). #blackwork #KrisPatay #maze #labyrinth

To see more meaningful body art, make sure to visit all of these artists' Instagrams. Should you want a labyrinth tattoo of your own, consider having one of them design a maze on your skin. 

Ross Howerton
Written byRoss Howerton

BA in Literary Studies from The New School. MFA in Creative Writing from NMSU. Staff Writer for Tattoodo. I love art, books, movies, music, and video games. Hit me up on Twitter @Powertonium