Mythologist, author, storyteller, and musician Daniel Deardorff has lived a life-story with many twists and turns. Born Feb. 12, 1952, change came as an infant when he contracted polio. Unable to walk he’s used a wheelchair all his life, giving him a lived perspective that deeply informs his creative work. As a youngster he devoted his passion to art and music. At 22 he arrived in Los Angeles and became a full-time recording and concert artist, he toured as the opening act for Seals and Crofts performing in every state of the US as well as in Canada, and South and Central America. Many recall his appearances on national television, keynotes given at national and international conferences, and songs that hit the airwaves in the 70’s and 80’s. In the 90’s he worked as a music producer for such artists as Tingstad & Rumbel, Michael Tomlinson, and Richard Warner. He also produced six award winning children’s albums for such artists as Jim Valley and the group Tickle Tune Typhoon.
Change came again in 1995 when he was forced by post-polio (Polio Sequelae) to retire from full time work, “I needed a quieter life to preserve my health.” So began his scholarship in myth, writing essays and interviews which eventually led to the publication of his first book The Other Within: The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, & Psyche. In 2003 his mentor, Robert Bly, invited him to present at The Great Mother Conference—“that was my graduation ceremony and oral defense combined,” says Deardorff. Since then he has continued to teach and collaborate with Bly. Combining his myth work with his music Deardorff has developed an approach he terms “Associative Mythology.” In this practice he has become a “Singer” in the old sense of that word, which involves being a musician, a storyteller, and a maker of ritual. As an independent scholar of myth Deardorff’s emphasis is on mythopoesis [myth-making] and the performative aspects of mythic expression. Currently he is the Founding Director of The Mythsinger Foundation, he teaches a year long course in the study and practice of myth and ritual called Living Myth, Living World. In the program called Fire on the Mountain Deardorff leads programs and rites of passage work for young men and women. Daniel Deardorff offers the fruits of his personal explorations and healing in his work—songs, poems, ritual, and creative music become tools for cultivating healing, authenticity, identity, and expression of depth and soul. Daniel Deardorff is the father of four daughters, he lives in Port Townsend sharing his creativity and depth through poetry, mythtelling, and song.