February 2019
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.  Don’t Break Faith with Your Awakened Heart  ~  by Terry Symens-Bucher,  Illuman President
In the past few months since Soularize 2018 , I have been paying some attention to questions concerning what our Men’s Rites of Passages (MROPs) actually are and do for men. These questions were focused by our work with Bill Plotkin and his nature-based map of the psyche, as well as his soul-centric developmental wheel. One helpful insight for me comes from Steven Charleston’s book The Four Vision Quests of Jesus . In that book he shares the idea that the native vision quest is not necessarily a test of strength, endurance, or physical courage, but a movement toward vulnerability. It is a softening and awakening of our hearts. I think our MROPs have something in common with Charleston’s description of the native quest.

James Finley, teacher of contemplative life and student of Thomas Merton, characterizes the contemplative experience as an awakening of the heart. He teaches that the task of the contemplative life is to not “break faith with our awakened hearts.” I would like to borrow from his teaching to describe the way of life initiated by our MROPs. It seems clear that something happens for many men in their MROP experience that is significant and profoundly moving. This month, rather than focusing on what that experience actually is, I would like to consider what we do with it.

The “Fifth Initiation Ritual for Men” (FIRMing) was originally developed as a way to confirm men in their initiation. The experiences were designed to reawaken their hearts and confirm their experience as initiated men. Those rituals are part of a larger vision called the “Journey of Illumination” (JOI). Eventually, the JOI has been recognized as crucial to completion of the MROP experience. In a sense, we have recognized that the awakening of our hearts in the MROP does not bear fruit unless it is confirmed and maintained. Another way to stay faithful to our MROP experience is to return either as a member of an MROP team or as an initiator. Both are powerful ways to help us live out the vision we received in our MROPs.

Of course, regional and chapter meetings and events are strong aids in sustaining the transformative experience of the MROP. However, not all men can attend these meetings and events. Recently, men have developed Virtual Councils to maintain community and support each other in keeping their hearts awake. We have found these Councils to be powerful ways to gather, center, and connect, especially for those men who find it difficult to attend regional Councils and events. For those interested, this issue of the Drumbeat contains information on how to use this resource. Those who have participated have found Virtual Councils to be a convenient and powerful way to keep faith with the MROP experience, to practice our vulnerability, and to keep faith with our awakened hearts. 
2.  Illuman Way of Council
We are often asked about the Illuman Way of Council by men who are seeking an opportunity to deepen their spiritual journey and join in Council with a community of Brothers. Illuman is grateful for our chapters throughout the United States and our Brothers who lead international chapters who provide in-person opportunities to practice Council, but we find that something is often missing between these in-person gatherings and some men aren't close to an existing group. To aid in bridging the gap between the times when we are sitting shoulder to shoulder, Illuman has created the Virtual Council program. You can learn more about our Virtual Council program on our website by clicking here . We also want to give you the opportunity to hear directly from men who have participated. You can do this through the audio link below. We are also creating a video of testimonials and look forward to sharing it with you in a future Drumbeat. We hope you will join us in Virtual Council!
3.  Men's Rites of Passage for 2019
With only three months to go until our first 2019 Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) in Washington, we are stoking the fire to awaken the hearts of men who are ready! 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 Passage 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

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 2019! ~ Save the Date:
October 24–27, 2019!
Planning continues for Soularize 2019 and we look forward to returning to the birthplace of Illuman in the desert of New Mexico. We will gather at the Hyatt Tamaya in Bernalillo, New Mexico for Soularize 2019 from October 24–27, 2019. Through teachings, Council, ritual, and nature, we will be exploring what it looks like to be an initiated man. We will also be incorporating body work and play into the program this year. More information will be available in early summer, but we hope you will mark your calendars now and plan to be with us later this year.
5. NEW Video: Soularize 2018 ~ " 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