This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.
In this 4-part lecture series, decode the hidden meanings and mythology behind the symbols that surround us.
If you know where to look for them, symbols can be found everywhere from our coffee cups to classical art. Join mythologist Dr. John Bucher for a deep dive into the relationship between our world, symbols, and the mythology they’re steeped in. Together, we’ll explore the mythology in logos and symbols, unveiling the stories told in barbershop poles and some contemporary brands. We’ll look at ancient mythology created to explain the natural world—from the changing of seasons to different animals and the meanings assigned to them—before turning to secret forms of communication and the symbols associated with the arcane. You’ll come away from this course with a deeper understanding of the importance of symbols in human societies, and a new way of engaging with the imagery and mythology that surround you.
Syllabus at a Glance
This course includes four total sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours on four consecutive Wednesdays beginning May 25, skipping June 1.
Session 1 (Wednesday, 5/25, 8–9:30 PM ET)| From Starbucks to Subaru: The mythology hidden in everyday logos, icons, and symbols
- week off -
Session 2 (Wednesday, 6/8, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Snakes and Dragons: Mythology in the natural world
Session 3 (Wednesday, 6/15, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Secret Languages: Alphabets, numbers, and hand gestures found in art and stories
Session 4 (Wednesday, 6/22, 8–9:30 PM ET)| Crosses and Corn Dollies: Symbols found in the more esoteric corners of the world
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
Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.
Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.