January 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. So What Do we Do Now?   by Terry Symens-Bucher,  Illuman President
This month, we begin not only a New Year but a New Decade. This does not necessarily carry the freight of a millennial turn, but for some reason this one seems fraught with omens and warnings. To name a few: recent wildfires in Australia have killed over a billion animals, almost five million acres of rainforest burned in 2019, and 150 million trees have died during the drought in my home state of California and now fuel our own wildfires. The cycles of catastrophe seem to be accelerating in number and size.

My understanding is that when Richard Rohr studied male initiation and rites of passage in the late 1980s and 1990s, he wanted to help recreate rites for men that would teach the perennial lessons required to enable us to take our place within the community without abusing power. His hope was to make these rites available for future generations of men as an ongoing and living legacy. He held a vision of a revitalized and reimagined masculinity that would help men to live lives of meaning and purpose. It was an inspired vision for generations to come. Now, I believe things have changed.

Richard wanted his rites to be a gift for future generations. I believe we now need to consider whether the rites are important to ensure there are future generations. That is, can our Rites and the Journey of Illumination increase our capacity to address the social, economic, ecological, and psychological challenges we face?

I will not discuss the evidence that convinces me that we are at a pivotal point in human evolution. I will say that the real threat of social and planetary collapse has convinced me that any sense of maintaining “business as usual” is delusional. Most people I speak to about this will slowly, if not immediately, nod their heads and eventually ask, in some form, this question: “So, what do we do now?”

I hope we can ask this question of Illuman also. If indeed our task is not only to pass on a gift to future generations of men, but to ensure that there are future generations of boys, what do we do now?

What if our Rites, at their best, are meant to help us to take our place within the whole Earth community without abusing power? What if we are being called to examine every way in which we abuse power over Earth and over all Earth’s inhabitants through extraction and pollution? In what ways can our Rites create and nurture a new consciousness in how we relate to Earth?

Our Rites currently rely upon and stand within a tradition of vision quest in the wilderness. Wilderness is essential to our work. Wilderness is also fast disappearing. It is being burned, chopped down, razed, and destroyed. Perhaps lost with it is the possibility of future generations. At the least, what is being lost is any sense of the rites of passage as known by us and our ancestors.

So, what do we do now? As a place to start, I highly recommend reading Ned Abenroth's article in this month's Illuman of Washington newsletter.
2. Men's Rites of Passage for 2020
We are excited to highlight the eight Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) retreats for 2020. 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 small Council circle.

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.
April 22 – 26, 2020

June 10 – 14, 2020

June 10 – 14, 2020

July 22 – 26, 2020

August 11 – 15, 2020

August 12 – 16, 2020

September 9 – 13, 2020

November 4 – 8, 2020
3.  Invitation to Connect with the Illuman Strava Group
In the Reflection for this month, Steve Hicken and Brad Pickel highlight a new opportunity to Connect with Illuman Brothers through the Illuman Strava Group. Strava is a free app for Android and iPhone which allows you to log your activities and connect with others who are doing the same. Click here to learn more about the Illuman Strava Group and join our community!
4. Featured Video ~ Soularize 2018: Session Session 7 – Cultivating Wholeness – featuring Bill Plotkin and Timothy McLaughlin.
This month we come to the end of our video series from Soularize 2018. But this is not the end of our video library. We will soon be releasing videos from Soularize 2019 and you can visit our YouTube Channel for additional content and information from our gatherings and work.

This session, Cultivating Wholeness , is where many men in Illuman were first introduced to poet and rewilding guide Timothy McLaughlin . Early in this video, Bill Plotkin invites Timothy to share some poetry with the assembled men. We think you’ll enjoy Timothy’s beautiful use of language and storytelling as a complement to Bill’s teachings.

After Timothy’s poetry, Bill expresses gratitude for his experience at Soularize and for the men of Illuman. He then dives deeply back into the task at hand, elaborating on the many ways men can cultivate wholeness in their lives through soul encounter. Viewers will find much worthwhile information within this session, as well as many questions to ponder as they continue their spiritual journey.

You are invited to join along with Bill Plotkin’s teachings and to participate in the activities he offers at your own pace or within a group setting.

Find and share more Illuman videos on our YouTube Channel .
Find and share more Illuman videos
on 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