Michael Meade: (laughs) Well, I have a lot of heroes from previous eras so -
Rob Kall: How about living [heroes]?
Michael Meade: You can have heroes that aren't alive, yes, because the way a person lives can leave marks in the world, you know? So I revere all kinds of ancient poets, and philosophers, and people like that that I've studied, and then some of the people that are doing/have done that kind of work in the modern world as well. My heroes tend to be bards and poets and singers, and people like that because my intrigue with the world awakened when I realized the power of story.
Rob Kall: The power of story. So can you give me some names of some of your heroes?
Michael Meade: Yeah. Joseph Campbell is in there, because he brought an awareness of mythology back into American culture; but also Mircea Eliade, who is not that well known anymore, but he worked at the idea of "What is at the root of all the religious and spiritual practices?", and that was something I studied and learned a lot from. At the same time, William Blake: the painter/philosopher/poet, to me, is a kind of interesting model of where a person has many gifts and talents, and they find unique ways to use those. He never sold any of his paintings, or maybe sold one or two in his entire lifetime, and yet they're known all over the world because they capture something in a way that they continue to connect people to big ideas and to deep feelings. I could go on; it's mostly, there's Gerta, and Yeats, a Rilke; the poets and the visionaries, I guess, are the people that consistently move me.
Rob Kall: How about people who are alive?
Michael Meade: (laughs) Well, people who are alive; I'm still kind of drawn to the artists, but also because of the work that we do, in terms of healing communities and that, also to the activists, Nelson Mandela is also a big hero to me. I don't know why I'm not thinking that way, I think it's because I started to talk about cosmos and genius, and I'm kind of caught in a bigger arc so that names aren't popping up immediately. But I revere people who learn how to stand in their own depth, and then give from there what they are intended to give, but also with the feeling of helping others. I mean, I could go into the area of Psychology and say Carl Jung was a very meaningful figure, because he brought depth psychology back into modern awareness.
I'm on my way in a couple of days to New York City to participate in a tribute to James Hillman, who died last fall but was one of the great thinkers and psychologists. Also, people of imagination in recent modern life. And then Robert Blythe, who thankfully is still alive and is a big mentor for myself. There are many other people who wouldn't be as well known.