Center for Spiritual Inquiry and Integral Education


Department of Mythic Ecological Heroism

Department Head: Treesong

Overview | CertificatesResearchCourses

"Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths."
— Joseph Campbell

"All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity."
— Starhawk

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
— Christopher Reeve


The Department of Mythic Ecological Heroism (DMEH) is devoted to exploring the transformative interplay between mythic narratives, ecological praxis, and personal heroism as a framework for integral development. The department's methods of exploration include research, coursework, mentoring, and the director's exploration of the intersection of these themes through a Real Life Superhero practice.

Mythic narratives are cultural narratives that seek to define the nature of the world and our place within it. Many such narratives are informed by existing cultural values and serve primarily to perpetuate them. However, there is increasingly an element of novelty and interactivity in the co-creation, performance, and perpetuation of mythic narratives. This department explores both mythic narratives themselves and the implications of this dynamism in mythology.

Ecological praxis is broadly defined as the theoretical and practical exploration of the nature and value of communities of life. As such, it includes consideration for human communities, non-human communities, and the complex interrelationship between the two. This department explores these interrelationships as well as models of ecological development from an integral perspective.

The heroic archetype, and the heroic imagination that accompanies it, have played an important role in both individual and group development throughout history. Heroism is the practice by an individual of taking challenging personal action in the service of a higher principle or for the betterment of an individual or community. This department explores how this source of individual and group inspiration can best be utilized toward the task of integral problem-solving.

Each of these themes is explored individually and examined from an integral perspective. However, the ultimate focus of DMEH is to explore those areas where these themes combine to create a framework for multidimensional integral change.


CSIIE offers several Certificate Programs. To obtain a Certificate in Mythic Ecological Heroism,students must earn a total of 60 course credits at CSIIE with at least 36 course credits earned through DMEH, including a 12 credit DMEH practicum. Credits for each course are set by each instructor and are assigned to learners if they achieve a "Satisfactory" or "Outstanding" grade in the course.


In addition to teaching courses, DMEH conducts integral research related to our three focus areas of mythic narratives, ecological praxis, and personal heroism. Currently, our two main areas of focus are climate change and the Real Life Superhero (RLSH) movement.

Climate Change

The problem of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) is highly time-sensitive and derives its special significance from the complexity and severity of both its sources and its consequences. Through a comparative analysis of AGCC pedagogy, discourse, and social action, DMEH will develop a comprehensive integral perspective on AGCC, create a comprehensive set of curriculum and practices related to AGCC, and ultimately contribute to the foundation of an Integral Climate Institute.

Real Life Superhero (RLSH) Movement

The RLSH movement is a subculture that has arisen spontaneously at a key intersection between several dimensions of personal psychology, mythological narrative, and community organizing. There is currently considerable internal and external discourse regarding the nature, history, and future of this subculture.Through a combination of analytical, investigative, and participatory research, DMEH will develop an integral perspective on RLSH, create a comprehensive set of curriculum and practices related to RLSH, and ultimately contribute to the foundation of a Center for Heroic Studies.

Research Proposal

For more information on our research, see the DMEH Research Proposal.


DMEH teaches courses in a variety of formats and venues. Some are taught offline at Gaia House Interfaith Center, which is currently our department's primary venue for offline courses. Others are taught online on this website using the Moodle online education system.

If you encounter any technical difficulties with our online courses, please contact our Department Head, Treesong. In addition to being our Department Head, Treesong is a web designer and chief web technician for CSIIE.

Last modified: Sunday, August 21, 2011, 10:14 PM