Hidden Mythology: Labyrinths and Mazes With John Bucher - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Hidden Mythology: Labyrinths and Mazes With John Bucher

Thu, Oct 13, 2022
3 sessions
$70 per person
See Dates
$70 per person
$70 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this three-part lecture series, weave your way through the mythology surrounding ancient labyrinths and passages and explore how they’ve shaped contemporary mazes and paths.

Course Description

Since ancient times, mazes have served as important spaces for people to play, pray, ensnare, and escape. In this next edition of Hidden Mythology, mythologist Dr. John Bucher, will wind through the history of these ancient paths and puzzles—from Dedalus’s maze built to hold the minotaur to the Egyptian labyrinth near the City of Crocodiles. Along the way, we’ll explore the many myths that have informed the world of portals and passages and the trances they were said to induce. Moving from the ancient to the contemporary, we’ll examine how mazes have helped us make sense of our world, and draw from mythology, history, and psychology to explore what it might mean to move toward the center. 

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes three total sessions, each lasting 1.5 hour on three consecutive Thursdays beginning October 13.

Session 1 (Thursday, 10/13, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| The Sutratman, Magic Knots, and Spider Webs

We’ll explore the mythological continuous line as well as the knot-work, architecture, and patterns mirrored in the designs of early mazes and labyrinths.

Session 2 (Thursday, 10/20, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| Dark Journeys and Dead Ends

We’ll cover the relationship between death, caves, and labyrinths. We’ll also examine the difference between a maze and a labyrinth and their mythological connections to the underworld.

Session 3 (Thursday, 10/21, 7:30–9:00 PM ET)| Myth and Modern Mazes

We’ll look at the role of mazes, labyrinths, sacred paths, and geographic puzzles in our modern world, as well as the ancient myths that inform them. From the hall of mirrors at the carnival to the labyrinths at Grace Cathedral, a movement continues today, bringing us toward the center of things.

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will have access to optional readings that will provide additional context to some of the ideas presented in the course.

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
John Bucher
John Bucher

Dr. John Bucher is a mythologist and storyteller based out of Hollywood, California. He serves as Creative Director for the Joseph Campbell Foundation and is also an author, podcaster, speaker, teacher, and consultant. He has worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, A24 Films, and has served as a consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. He co-hosts the Skeleton Keys podcast, which examines mythology and history in pop culture, with Historian Torri Yates-Orr. John holds a PhD in Mythology and Depth Psychology and has spoken on 6 continents about myth, story, rituals, symbols, and cults.

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at experiences@atlasobscura.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability
  • Thu, Oct 13, 2022
    7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
    $70
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