Masters gather to share ancient wisdom

Posted 3/26/13

On this April Fool’s Day, the Mythsinger Foundation and host Brian Rohr invite the public to engage in one of the oldest acts known to humans, that of the oral tradition, in which people sit …

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Masters gather to share ancient wisdom


On this April Fool’s Day, the Mythsinger Foundation and host Brian Rohr invite the public to engage in one of the oldest acts known to humans, that of the oral tradition, in which people sit together as a community and listen to the old myths, the old stories. In honor of this day of trickery, Rohr and special guests present the fifth annual “Trickster Tales: A Night of Storytelling.” 

“Trickster is a character prevalent in many cultures and is often known for being mischievous in ways that restore us to balance when we get a little too comfortable or a little too righteous,” says Rohr. “He humbles us by fabricating these ‘correct accidents’ that cause us to look for the deeper meaning within our own lives.”

Once again, master storytellers Johnny Moses of the Tulalip Tribes, renowned mythologist Daniel Deardorff, Quinault tribal ambassador Harvest Moon and others gather to listen to the stories and share the wisdom of those masters of creative chaos: Coyote, Raven, Mink and others. 

“These stories of indigenous wisdom are a source of nourishment and healing, and are most powerful, effective when shared by such masterful storytellers,” Rohr says.

The event is held on Monday, April 1, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave., in Port Townsend, as a benefit for the Boiler Room and its mission to provide a safe, positive, drug- and alcohol-free space for youth. A suggested donation of $12-$25 is collected at the door.

Attendees should be aware that while families are invited and welcome, stories of the Trickster can include mature themes and some adult language may be present.


Gather around

Moses, whose traditional name is Whis-stem-men-knee (Walking Medicine Robe), is one of the most popular storytellers in North America. With beauty, wisdom and humor, he shares both traditional and contemporary stories in a wide variety of settings, including festivals, libraries, schools and private gatherings. 

Moses has shared stories with thousands of people, including audiences at the prestigious National Storytelling Festival, Lincoln Center, the University of California, the University of Washington, the Naropa Institute and New York Open Center. 

In his tradition, there were no formal schools; wisdom and knowledge about all areas of life were handed down in stories. He shares each story in English, traditional sign language and one of the eight native languages that he speaks fluently. To learn more, visit

Deardorff is a “singer” in the old sense of that word, which involves being a musician, a storyteller, a poet and a maker of ritual. He has been a composer and a performing artist for more than four decades. Renowned as a storyteller and teacher, Deardorff is adept at combining the ancient medicine of wisdom stories from around the world with poetry and rhythm.  

He also is the author of The Other Within: The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, & Psyche. Residing in Port Townsend, he is the founder of the Mythsinger Foundation

( and the Mythsinger Consortium



Moon is a Quinault tribal ambassador, historian, basket weaver and storyteller whose name means “a light shining forth in the midst of darkness.”  

She has been telling stories for more than half her lifetime, tales that move the listener, making them laugh and cry. She speaks from her heart and spirit, leaving people looking at a different perspective of the Northwest Coast Native Americans. She has received the Peace and Friendship Award from the Washington State Historical Society in recognition of significant contributions to the understanding of Northwest Indian heritage and has served two terms on the Washington Commission for the Humanities. 

In addition, Moon has received grants from the Seattle Arts Commission, Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities and Heritage Arts Council to be an artist-in-residence throughout Washington schools.

To learn more, visit

Rohr is a storyteller and healing arts practitioner living in Port Townsend. Having moved from Chicago in 2007 to study with master storyteller Deardorff, he has since shared myth from different cultures with national and international audiences.  

Rohr first conceived of “Trickster Tales” in 2009 while hosting a biweekly story night at the Boiler Room. He says he thought it a great way to bring master storytellers to the community, raise some money for the Boiler Room and have a great time in the process. Rohr, who has organized and hosted this event each year, says he is always amazed and delighted by the magic of the evening and the overwhelmingly positive response from the audience. 

Rohr is an active board member of the Mythsinger Foundation and fully believes that the old stories are alive, vital and can inform us on how to live our lives as authentic human beings. 

“Each year as I prepare, I allow the stories to step forward, to ask me to be told,” he says. “I ask them, ‘Which one of you wants to be told today?’”

For more info, visit