In this 3-part lecture series, learn the technique of tying ancient knots, as well as the mythologies and histories behind them.
Knot-tying is an ancient art and technology believed to predate the axe and even the wheel. In this course led by mythologist John Bucher, we'll learn how to tie a wide variety of knots—unfurling the rich mythology behind each kind as we go. From the classic Gordian knot said to have secured an ox to a cart dedicated to Zeus to the little-known Pasha knot used by Hindu Gods to bind (or extract) souls from the body upon death, cordage has been used for mythological, decorative, practical, and ritualistic purposes since the earliest days of humanity. Shipped around the world, often by sailors, the techniques and legends accompanying each knot can tell a story of geography, of travel, and of the cultures where they landed. By the end of our time together, you'll not only have practiced tying knots that people have used for thousands of years, but you'll also be able to connect these ancient twists, ties, and tales to the ways we make meaning through myth and story today.
Syllabus at a Glance
This course includes three total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three consecutive Thursdays beginning April 27.
Session 1 (Thursday, 4/27, 8:00–9:30 PM ET) | Magic, Mnemonic and Mesoamerican Knots
Session 2 (Thursday, 5/4, 8:00–9:30 PM ET) | Greek, Roman, Celtic and Norse Knots
Session 3 (Thursday, 5/11, 8:00–9:30 PM ET) | Asian, African, Arabic, and Ancient Egyptian/Hindu Knots
Students should plan to bring a string, rope, or cord of some kind to practice tying knots in class.
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.
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Atlas Obscura Online Courses
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.
Thu, Apr 27, 20238:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.$70