April 2019
A letter from Stephen Caudana, Southern California Convener.

Illuman  is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose vision is to see men transforming men and, through them, families and communities for generations to come. Our mission is to engage those seeking a life-long journey of spiritual transformation. 

1. Old Men Ought to Be Explorers”   by Terry Symens-Bucher,  Illuman President
James Hillman used this quote from T.S. Eliot as part of his argument for reimagining old age. Hillman’s reflections on aging are contained in the book The Force of Character , a powerful reinterpretation of human aging. Hillman says the main pathology of our later years is our idea of our later years, which is a way of saying that how we think of and hold the idea of aging in our current culture is pathological. This reminds me of Stephen Jenkinson’s statement that the trauma of our dying is in the fact that we die in a death-phobic society. We are all aging in an “age-phobic” society. Hillman brings us back to fundamental and metaphysical questions. What is the purpose of aging? What does it serve?
I write this one week from my last day of working in a career in which I was engaged for the past twenty-five years. I am now “retired” from that work, with retirement luncheon and all. It was a celebration. It was also a kind of death. There are many men, I expect, who have much more experience and more to say about this kind of transition, and perhaps many men for whom conventional retirement is not a possibility.
I am adding here a small reflection to connect retirement with our men’s work. It’s interesting to me to note that one of the meanings of retirement is “ the withdrawal of a jury from the courtroom to decide their verdict.” That certainly brings a sense of gravity to the process. There’s certainly a new perspective for me, looking back at the years of effort and routine, the hopes and the accomplishments, as well as the unfinished business, the frustrated initiatives, the mistakes and misfires. The finality of the ending brings its own kind of verdict, its own kind of death. In order to more fully explore and take in that death, by the time you read this, I will be on a 30-day solitary, silent retreat on land owned by a NorCal M.A.L.Es brother. Old men ought to be explorers, of the inner and the outer. As our mission statement says, our primary concern is inner work that makes a difference in the world.
Are we preparing men for their elderhood? Are we being prepared to age, to elder, not just when we reach old age, but when we experience an MROP at thirty-three? Or, if we experience a YMROP at age twenty-three, is elderhood within our sight? Is there a coherence and connection to the journey we invite men to walk?
Illuman has a Program Council composed of Ned Abenroth, Joel Blunk, Jim Clarke, Chris O’Donnell, Jim Taylor and me. We are working together to connect and expand the programmatic content of our Illuman curriculum and events. If you have feedback or ideas you would like to share concerning your experience of initiation and finding your soul work through Illuman, please feel free to contact us. The best way to do so would be to email Brad Pickel with the subject line: Program Council . We are all making the path by walking it—together.
2.  Illuman SoCal 2019 MROP/UMBRALES Invitation video by Illuman SoCal
Our Brothers in Southern California have recently shared with us Illuman SoCal 2019 MROP/UMBRALES Invitation , a short film about the Initiation experience, and it is available below here .

The film is a short series of reflections by Initiated men, speaking from the heart about this profound experience and its continuing importance in their lives. There are still openings available for the SoCal MROP/UMBRALES, May 29 – June 2, in Wrightwood, CA. This is the Men's Rites of Passage experience, with teaching sessions and key elements in either English or Spanish, with groups coming together for common rituals and celebrations. For more information, please visit their website.
3. Men's Rites of Passage for 2019
We are excited that our first MROPs of 2019 are almost here and spaces are available at EVERY ONE! Our brothers in Washington will hold their MROP by the time our next Drumbeat arrives in your inbox and the Southern California MROP/UMBRALES will be only days away. So, if you want to experience the MROP in the western United States, register today.

The MROP experience is not a “regular” retreat but a five-day / four-night, deeply prayerful and soulful experience that builds on the classic patterns of male initiation through simple and moving rituals and teaching. Each day includes participating in group prayer, major teachings on central masculine spirituality themes, quiet time for reflection, and sharing in the context of a “home group.”  

To learn more about Illuman’s Men’s Rites of Pa ssage and the need for male initiation rites, please click here . To learn more about specific opportunities in 2019, please click the links below.

May 15 – 19, 2019

May 29 – June 2, 2019
This is the Men's Rites of Passage experience, with teaching sessions and key parts in your own language, English or Spanish, coming together for common rituals and celebrations.

June 19 – 23, 2019

June 26 – 30, 2019

July 24 – 28, 2019

August 20 – 24, 2019

September 11 – 15, 2019

September 11 – 15, 2019

October 2 – 6, 2019
4. " Soularize 2018: A Conversation with Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM " featuring Fr. Richard Rohr & Fr. Jim Clarke
During an evening session of Soularize 2018,
Fr. Richard Rohr responded to questions from
Fr. Jim Clarke, offering some very candid and
personal answers informed by his own life experiences of joy and suffering.
(Video length approx. 47 min.)

Illuman is a global not-for-profit organization committed to supporting men who are seeking to deepen their spiritual lives. We are an organization that is open to all men based on the simple belief that we are all brothers. When Illuman was founded in 2012, it emerged as the organization approved to continue the work begun by M.A.L.Es and the Men's Rites of Passage. 

You can find this and many more Illuman videos focused on male spirituality at our  YouTube Channel .
Your  support  in all forms, including prayer, service, and money, is met with gratitude and a commitment to honor your gifts by using them to support men on their spiritual journey.
We are ILLUMAN: 
"Without us God will not,
but without God, we cannot." 
Fr. Richard Rohr