The Other Within: The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, and Psyche (Paperback)

The Other Within: The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, and Psyche By Daniel Deardorff, Robert Bly (Commentaries by), Martin Shaw (Commentaries by), Robert Simmons (Commentaries by) Cover Image
By Daniel Deardorff, Robert Bly (Commentaries by), Martin Shaw (Commentaries by), Robert Simmons (Commentaries by)
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Reveals myth and “otherness” as keys to restoring self, nature, and society

• Shows how myths contain medicine to restore wholeness amidst trauma, exile, sudden life change, disability, illness, death, or grief

• Synthesizes lessons from shamanic practice, quantum physics, alchemy, soul poetry, wildness, social justice, and the author’s lived experience

• Discloses the blessings of outsiderhood and the gifts and insights gained and contributed to culture by those who are marginalized and outcast

There is an “other” that lives within each of us, an exiled part that carries wisdom needed for ourselves and the culture at large. Having survived disabling polio as an infant, Daniel Deardorff knows the oppressions of exclusion and outsiderhood. He guides readers on an initiatory journey through ancient myth, literature, and personal revelation to discover our own true identity.

These 10,000-year-old stories contain sacred medicine with insights that release imagination and restore wholeness amid trauma, exile, climate chaos, disability, illness, death, and grief. Illustrating how archetypal figures of the Other--the Trickster, Daimon, Not-I, etc.--hold paradox, Deardorff teaches us to reframe disparities of self/other, civilization/ wilderness, form/deformity and transform the experience of being outcast. Synthesizing lessons from shamanic practice, quantum physics, alchemy, social justice, and his own lived experience, Deardorff affirms the disruptive and transgressive forces that break through dogma, conventionality, and prejudice. He discloses blessings of outsiderhood and gifts to culture by those who are marginalized. Through mythmaking (mythopoesis), the experience of Otherness--cultural, racial, religious, sexual, physiognomic--becomes one of empowerment, a catalyst for human liberation.

About the Author

Daniel Deardorff (1952-2019) was a mythsinger, storyteller, ritualist, composer, and producer. A polio survivor and early teacher about Otherness, he toured extensively with renowned soft-rock band Seals and Crofts and produced award-winning albums for other artists. When post-polio sequelae required change, he became an independent scholar of myth teaching internationally with Robert Bly and others. continues his work restoring myth to culture and community.

Robert Simmons has been working with crystals and stones for over 35 years. He is the cofounder of Heaven and Earth, a company offering gem and jewelry creations for self-healing and spiritual and emotional development. The author of several books, including The Book of Stones, The Alchemy of Stones and Stones of the New Consciousness, he lives in New Zealand.

Praise For…

“One of the most astonishing, thought-provoking, and strategically subversive books I’ve ever read. The Other Within weaves mythology, depth psychology, and profound musings on disability and art, dancing at the edge of the unsayable to unmake the social structures that oppress us all.”
— Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes

“A book to savor . . . a love song to the Outsider, a paeon to the transformative potential of myth, a profound and generous guidebook for living wholeheartedly in dangerous times.”
— Sharon Blackie, Ph.D., author of If Women Rose Rooted and The Enchanted Life

“The ‘other within’ is uncertain terrain for many, and we need someone to guide us through this labyrinth of the unfamiliar. Daniel Deardorff is that expert guide. Essential reading.”
— Clyde W. Ford, author of Of Blood and Sweat and The Hero with an African Face

“This book is a well, a portal, a very carefully tended path into the mysteries of myth. It is also a map, a worthwhile one for learning how to transcend the complexities and challenges faced by individuals on entering this Earth. It is a must-read for those wanting to understand boldness of heart in the face of adversity.”
— Miguel Rivera, musician, mentor, translator, and teacher

The Other Within is liberating. Deardorff frees us from the oppressive weight of the ideal, the perfect, and draws our gaze toward the borderlands where we catch glimpses of what has been outcast. The trail that Deardorff invites us to follow through the brambles of the psyche is not easy or comforting. His is a work of descent, an invitation into the depths of soul. It is here that we discover the medicine needed by our struggling world. We enter the hive of vulnerability, sorrow, uncertainty, and shame and recover our shared humanity. This book is a blessing to anyone who ever felt estranged from the shimmering world.”
— Francis Weller, MFT, author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow

“Deardorff’s masterpiece weaves a tempestuous spell that tosses us into shadowy depths where we might encounter that strange and strangely familiar one within who is, blessedly, an outcast from the life-destroying, conformist-consumer culture precisely because they understand their destined role in shaping the mysterious new world calling to us in the night. The Other Within is one of the few books I recommend to those learning to guide others on the descent to soul.”
— Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., author of Soulcraft and Wild Mind

“I read the first sentence and was stopped in my tracks: ‘Denial is contagious and facts are an addictive substitute for truth.’ I told Daniel that I could spend my whole life on just this sentence. When Deardorff writes about walking among the ashes, it reminds us that there is a cost to thewisdom journey; there is a cost to freedom. This true and crooked path has gifts for us no matter the wound. With Trickster Wisdom through myths, he shows us the way deeper into ourselves and, by doing so, connects us more to each other.”
— Quanita Roberson, coauthor of The InnerGround Railroad

“Daniel Deardorff searches through our mythic inheritance for the radical otherness that allows the human soul to find and handle the contradictions and oppositions inherent in all of life. With insight and wit, he finds the beauty within disfigurement, the worthiness of crooked things, and the essential genius hidden in the outcast. He offers an imagination of the transgressive, an inventive trickster intelligence that revalues the necessary otherness found both in the margins of culture and in the depths of the individual soul.”
— Michael Meade, author of Awakening the Soul

“As I said to fellow wordsmith Michael Ventura just before I went on stage to play drums with Danny, ‘maybe Deardorff should be Jim Morrison’s replacement. He won’t be wearing leather pants, but his depth of soul is a match.’”
— John Densmore, author of The Seekers, The Doors: Unhinged, and Riders on the Storm

“The storyteller casts spells. The spells that Daniel Deardorff wove spell out the dark myths of othering that rule the world we have created and that warps our relationship to one another and to the Earth. It is most often from the margin or from exile, from the othered, the deviant (physical, racial, ethnic, religious, sexual) that enlightenment and the prophet comes. Never have we more needed to hear the voices of our healer storytellers such as Danny tell and elucidate for us the healing myths.”
— Rafael Jesús González, poet laureate of Berkeley, California

“The boundlessness of Daniel Deardorff’s soul, the ferocity and tenderness of his heart rang like a struck bell within each person who came upon his path. In him the divine was constantly working on itself, puzzling its favorite koan: In what sort of body, in what kind of creature, can I most exuberantly dance? This lucid book masquerades as a work of scholarship. Watch it waltz you over the cliff.”
— David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal

“Because the important figure of the Trickster has eluded many in our modern culture, I urge you to read Daniel Deardorff on the subject. In this amazing study of the real and imagined ‘other,’ he has given a valuable roadmap to the profound regions of Story.”
— Gioia Timpanelli, author of Sometimes the Soul

“At any moment when it seems like we have squandered the spiritual journey and feel like an outcast, we might just stumble into unexpected illumination. Deardorff’s The Other Within is a unique contribution to our understanding of the inner quest. It shows us how to see the extraordinary beauty in our brokenness.”
— Jonathan Young, Ph.D., psychologist, founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives

The Other Within challenges our understanding to grasp not only the conundrum of our mutually destructive impulses but the very roots of the human imagination. Deardorff’s book will reward the seeker with its kaleidoscopic range of knowledge to explain that the fearsome stranger approaching is our own visage in the mirror.”
— Paul Kleyman, national coordinator of the Journalists Network on Generations

“Unflinching, sometimes uncomfortable, always brave and provocative, this is a book like no other.”
— Ellen Dissanayake, author of Homo Aestheticus

“Daniel’s polio made him crooked; his heart made him true. We all can be true if we listen to Daniel, not only with our ears but also with our hearts.”
— Dr. Richard L. Bruno, director of the International Centre for Polio Education

“The telling of myths is medicine for the soul. Danny is, thanks to his brilliant work in The Other Within, just an amazing medicine man the likes of whom will never be seen in this world again. If you had the opportunity to see and hear him, you know how blessed of a man he was and how he blessed all of us who had the privilege and honor to be in his presence. What a remarkable story weaver.”
— John Lee, author of Odd One Out and The Flying Boy
Product Details
ISBN: 9781644115688
ISBN-10: 1644115689
Publisher: Inner Traditions
Publication Date: November 8th, 2022
Pages: 288
Language: English