August 2020
Click here to watch a video of men expressing their gratitude for Virtual Council. ▶️ 
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. Mars Is Linking with Chiron by Terry Symens-Bucher, Illuman President
In the blur of information that flows through my life via texts, email, videos, podcasts, some social media, etc., the following caught my eye the other day: “Mars is linking with Chiron … healing of the Masculine … wounded healer.” I paused to look a little deeper. Evidently, astrologically, Mars linking with Chiron represents the opportunity to heal the wounded masculine. Mars contains the Warrior archetype and Chiron is the astrological symbol for the wounded healer.
Now, I am not a faithful follower of astrology, but my heart did resonate with that message. “Whoa,” I thought, “that is interesting, because the theme for this year’s Soularize is The Masculine Path to Healing.” It will be held virtually, from Thursday evening, October 15, to Sunday, October 18. We will be using ritual, image, story, Council, and nature to help us walk that masculine healing path. Registration is now open, and here is a description of the purpose of the gathering:

For many men, the wounding of their souls is not generally recognized until midlife. Unresolved grief, internalized shame and guilt, loneliness, personal family traumas, intergenerational issues, and societal pressures keep many men from moving beyond disorder and into reorder. The wounds of individuals lead to larger wounds in society, which further wound individuals in a negative feedback loop.

Illuman, a global nonprofit committed to supporting men who are seeking to deepen their spiritual lives, offers a pathway through. What began as a series of retreats and workshops led by Richard Rohr, Illuman is about men transforming men, working together through order, disorder, and reorder. Drawing from Fr. Richard's teaching and the ancient tools of nature, ritual, image, storytelling, and Council, we become healing agents for ourselves, each other, and the world.

So, what about Mars being linked with Chiron? A few years ago, in response to a sensitive question, a famous religious leader replied, “Who am I to judge?” I do know that when I am pushed by circumstances, I have been known to say things like, “There are no accidents.” I also never neglect reading the fortunes folded within my Chinese cookies. Who am I to say? All I know is that I am extremely interested to see what happens at Soularize 2020. How about you?
2.  REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - Soularize 2020 - The Path to Masculine Healing
As Terry mentioned in his article above, we are excited to launch registration for Soularize 2020 - The Path to Masculine Healing. We invite you to visit the Soularize 2020 webpage for more information and look forward to seeing you in October!
3. Illuman Virtual Events Coming Soon!
Illuman is pleased to highlight exciting new virtual offerings in August and September. All men are welcome, so please urge the men in your community to consider joining us as well. Detailed information for all Illuman Chapter offerings can be found on our Event webpage. We also invite you to visit the websites of Chapters closest to you to find out about nearby opportunities. The Chapter Contact page is available here.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Cultivating Gender Wholeness for Women and Men
Sponsored by the Indiana-Michigan Chapter
August 29–30, 2020
During this intensive, nature-based experiential gathering we will explore the original design God had for creating us “male AND female” and how that design for wholeness has been distorted to “male OR female” or even “male VS female.” There will be opportunities to explore and reclaim the continuum of feminine and masculine aspects inherent in us all.
The intensive will include a combination of Council sharing, directed wanders, journaling, dream tending, and a variety of artistic expression. Everyone at any place on the gender identity and sexual orientation spectrum is welcome. In fact, the more diverse our group is, the richer and more “wholing” the experience will be for us all. More information is available on the Indiana-Michigan Chapter website.
Finding Your Anthem: Using Music as a Means to Discuss Racial & Social Justice with Henry Beecher Hicks III
Sponsored by the Illinois Chapter
August 29, 2020
Henry Beecher Hicks III is President & CEO of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). Illuman’s male spirituality community is eager to engage in a deeper dialogue about the issues of race and social justice, and are realistic about how difficult this topic is for even the most sincere participants. Henry has a demonstrated ability to get to the hard issues in a most engaging and thoughtful manner. The starting point for our webinar is Henry’s recent talk at TedX Nashville, entitled “One Nation Under a Groove,” which looks at the history of African American music as the anthems of survival, hope, and justice throughout the American centuries, shouting that Black Lives Matter long before the movement had been given that particular name.
For more information and registration, visit the registration webpage.
Pandemic Dreaming
Hosted by Illuman of the Ozarks Chapter
September 10–13, 2020
Many people believe that the ephemeral images of dreams are letters from the Divine, often unopened and unappreciated for the treasures they hold for us. In this pandemic time, as we are inundated with external information and misinformation, this online intensive offers us a chance to listen to and learn from a uniquely personal source of knowing—our dreams.
What are our psyches doing with this uncharted, liminal, and seemingly futureless period of pervasive disruption? Most, if not all, of the familial, social, economic, political, and religious structures we have become accustomed to have been vastly altered. Perhaps our dreams can help inform us about the impact of these changes at deeper levels. What are our dreams telling us about our unique responses to this pandemic time? How are our core wounds being triggered and expressed? Messages come to us in dream form for a reason. Our waking egos keep them out of conscious awareness in order to protect our sense of security and avoid the risk of deep change and transformation. Ironically, those who attend to dreams dare to awaken further. More information is available on the Illuman of the Ozarks Chapter website.
Life on the Edge: Desert and Mountain Spirituality, Sharing Stories on This Side of the Coronavirus
Sponsored by Illuman of Southern California
September 12, 2020
Men are both fascinated and frightened by wild terrain—whether it’s the challenge of a mountain/desert wilderness or the metaphorical backcountry of a coronavirus pandemic. In wild places like this, we encounter what feels like the absence as well as the presence of God. But we always come back with stories to tell.
In the first part of this online gathering, Belden Lane will share stories and teachings about the spiritual and psychological dimensions of desert/mountain experience—drawing on biblical narratives, the early Desert Fathers, and the work of James Hillman. In the second part, Joel Blunk will lead us in Council, offering some of his soul-stirring music and inviting us to share our own stories of navigating the fierce landscape of the COVID-19 threat. Learn more by clicking on the event flyer: Life on the Edge Retreat 2020.
Confronting Racism Retreat
Sponsored by Illuman of DC Chapter
September 18–19, 2020
The current pandemic has thrown the world into liminal space and has created the context for unprecedented racial healing to occur—but it won’t come easy, and it has not been without cost. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others; the nightly protests; the tearing down of Confederate symbols; the call for police reform—where will it end? Where will it lead? How can you be a part of the needed change? This retreat will help participants become more aware of their own racial biases and the systemic racism we live collectively within. Join Anthony Gaboton and Joel Blunk of Richmond Hill for an intensive 24-hour men’s retreat to include storytelling, learning, personal exploration, and tools for constructive dialogue around race that you can apply in your own context. More information is available on the Illuman DC Chapter website.
4. REGISTER NOW: Illuman Partnering with Animals Valley Institute for Virutal Soulcraft Intensive!
Illuman is partnering with the Animas Valley Institute (AVI) for a Virtual Soulcraft Intensive from September 9–13, 2020. Due to COVID-19, this partnership program, which was originally scheduled to occur at Ghost Ranch immediately before Soularize, is now being offered in an online format in September. In addition, AVI is offering a generous, sliding scale registration fee from $50-$550 to further support men who might not be able to attend one of their in-person retreats. Registration will be limited to 24 men, so we encourage everyone to sign up ASAP!

The Soulcraft Intensive is AVI’s popular five-day experiential plunge into the wild depths of Soulcraft, a synergistic set of nature-based practices designed to evoke the life-shifting experience of soul encounter. Learn more and register by visiting the event website.
5. Men’s Rites of Passage Update
We have reached the end of the 2020 Men’s Rites of Passage schedule. Our Brothers in the Czech Republic will hold their Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) in September. We are starting to discuss what 2021 might look like in the US and are anticipating the day when we can hold these events safely.
In the meantime, we invite you to join us on Virtual Council. All men are welcome, regardless of whether you have been to an MROP. Learn more about our Virtual Council opportunities at this link.
To learn more about Illuman’s Men’s Rites of Passage and the need for male initiation rites, please click here. To learn more about specific opportunities in 2020, please click the links below.

5. Featured Video - Soularize 2019: Session 3 - The Wisdom Traditions: Vulnerability & Radical Inclusivity
Brothers (and Sisters), we’re very excited to share this next video from Soularize 2019: Men Transforming Men with you.
Once again, our video opens with poet Tim McLaughlin. Now that everyone has had time to settle into the space and work that encompasses Soularize, Tim invites the men present to let go and move to a deeper place where each man can honor the sacred feminine within and see himself as a blessed seed carrier. He then recites a poem which helps to describe the journey every man must take when called. Tim asks, “What is it we cannot know until we have slipped through the mythic gateway of the forest?”
Our video continues with a teaching Council, seven men sitting in a circle and sharing soulful conversation. The teachers in this Council are Joel Blunk and Jim Clarke, and they present the wisdom traditions of vulnerability and inclusivity through powerful storytelling coming from their own life experiences. Joel declares, “The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and know I saw God in all things, and all things in God.”
The prompts shared in this video are:
1.    What is affirming, supporting, saving, honoring, and providing what you need (in your life) right now?

2.    What does it mean for us to be fed by the wisdom traditions of forgiveness and radical inclusivity?
You’re invited to join these men in Council and to bring these Council prompts into your community and your Council circles.
We hope that you know about the many videos we offer at our Illuman YouTube Channel. And we invite you not only to watch and reflect upon this growing library of videos, but also to share them with the men and women in your community. We believe the content in these videos not only informs and inspires the individual but can help all of us to enlarge our circles as we venture out into the world, seeking and instigating deep spiritual transformation.
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 ~