January 2021
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.  Walking In the Dark
by Mike Anderer, Co-Vice-Chair of Illuman
I’ll start by checking in.

I have cried every day since I woke up the morning of Thursday, January 7, usually while I sat in Council with my Illuman brothers.


I am still unpacking all the experiences, relationships, and events that are contributing to my current grief.

Is it that I wake up every morning next to a woman who walks (joyfully) through the world knowing that many of her white colleagues and some white friends do not comprehend white privilege and white supremacy, which means they don’t really see her in her fullness as a human being?

Is it that I am a father in a blended, mixed-race family of seven children between the ages of 16 and 30, who have variable access to resources, social networks, meaningful support, and work opportunities simply based on the color of their skin and the curl in their hair, which prevents many people from seeing their fullness as human beings?

Is it because I work daily with a group of transformed human beings who are transforming public places and vulnerable people across California simply by their full-bodied, attentive presence, a presence that was refined and alchemized by decades in prison, an experience that causes most of society to turn a blind eye to their diaphanous fullness as human beings?

Is it that I have spent the better part of a year striving to hold space for my family, for my workplace, and for Illuman during a global pandemic, a (partial) awakening to historical and persistent racial discrimination, and a political and social bifurcation of our families, communities, and country?

Is it that last week I witnessed a protest in which a man who looks like me literally sat in the primary seat of the legislative branch of our government with the confidence and entitlement I thought our country only affords to the leaders of our democratically elected representatives? (I never seem to reach the bottom of the container of privileges my whiteness provides for me and for those who look like me.)

Needless to say, I am weary, troubled, and attentive. In the words of a wise teacher and friend, “All I can surrender is my helplessness.” I am walking in the dark.

Read more from Mike regarding his role as Illuman Co-Vice Chair and Reweaving Illuman.
2.  Illuman Virtual Events - January 2021
We are excited to announce several new Illuman Virtual Programs below. They are open to ALL men.
Illuman Watering Hole Event with Bill Plotkin
A first look at
The Journey of Soul Initiation
hosted by Illuman
January 28, 2021
7:00-8:30pm Eastern Time
The Illuman Council Practice Guiding Circle is excited to announce their first Watering Hole Event for 2021: A First Look at Bill Plotkin’s latest book, The Journey of Soul Initiation.

Soul initiation is an essential spiritual adventure that most of the world has forgotten—or not yet discovered. Here, visionary eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin maps this journey, one that has not been previously illuminated in the contemporary Western world and yet is vital for the future of our species and our planet. Based on the experiences of thousands of people, this book provides phase-by-phase guidance for the descent to soul: the dissolution of current identity; the encounter with the mythopoetic mysteries of soul; and the metamorphosis of the ego into a cocreator of life-enhancing culture. Plotkin illustrates each phase of this riveting and sometimes hazardous odyssey with fascinating stories from many people, including those he has guided. Throughout, he weaves an in-depth exploration of Carl Jung’s The Red Book—and an innovative framework for understanding it. Read what others are saying about the book on the event flyer.
Bill Plotkin is the founder of the Animas Valley Institute, a partner organization of Illuman.

Click here to listen to a six-minute audio clip from a recent interview of Bill's regarding his definition of a Soul.
Navigating the Wilderness of Our Grief,
Pain and Suffering
hosted by
Illuman of Washington
January 29–31, 2021
In such a year as this, suffering is in the air, in our media, in our hospitals, in our politics, in our bodies…it is inescapable. So much suffering is being transmitted out onto others, but the Wisdom Traditions teach us to tend to it within ourselves, until it transforms us. The greatest gift we can offer the world is our own self-transformation.

On the other side of COVID-19, great rejoicing awaits…but if we have not done the inner work along the way to tend to our suffering, we will reap the long-term health consequences found whenever we suppress something that was meant to be transformed and released.

Join Illuman of Washington for a winter retreat in which we tend to the suffering of ourselves and the world. This is the paradoxical path into deeper joy, vitality, and equanimity. Our time together will incorporate contemplative practices, brief teachings, time outdoors, and time in breakout groups. The retreat will include a focus on self-care and support practices for during and after the retreat.
Wild and Wise Men’s Winter Virtual Retreat
hosted by
Illuman of Minnesota
February 5–6, 2021
Every man has a spiritual legacy, a history of his searching for meaning, purpose, and encounters with life’s mysteries. Whether conscious or unconscious, these experiences reflect the shape of a man’s soul and the lasting imprint he leaves on those he loves and the world around him.

Join this online Zoom gathering of men for an exploration of the spiritual realities embedded in everyday life. Retreat facilitator, Steve Robach, will use the Wild and Wise journal he created to invite participants to reflect on and share some of the stories that make up their spiritual journeys. Learn more on the Event flyer.
River of Fire and Male Spirituality
with Sr. Helen Prejean
hosted by
The Illinois Chapter of Illuman
February 13, 2021
9:00–10:00am Central Time
Sr. Helen Prejean, bestselling author of Dead Man Walking, discusses its prequel, River of Fire, about wakening her own fierceness. An activist nun and leader in efforts to abolish the death penalty, Sr. Helen joins Chris Day of Illuman for a lively discussion of River of Fire. In addition to describing how her early path was transformed from passive obedience into a passionate and spiritual life, Sr. Helen will share a unique perspective on male spirituality from her years of work with death row inmates. Don’t we all long for an ignition of the fire for wholeness, meaning, purpose, and justice? Register using the following link: Sr. Helen Prejean – River of Fire.
Centering Down Virtual Retreat
hosted by
Illuman of Indiana-Michigan
February 27, 2021
9:30–12:00pm Eastern Time
 Silence is God’s first language: everything else is a poor translation. - Thomas Keating

Join the men of Illuman of Indiana and Michigan on this mini-retreat for an introduction to Centering Prayer (CP). Why would I want to practice CP? Is it difficult? What are the challenges of CP? During our time together, we will draw on the wisdom of Howard Thurman, Cynthia Bourgeault, Thomas Keating, Richard Rohr and others.
This mini-retreat will have a teaching component, allow time for reflection and include small-group council circles. We hope you will consider participating as we attempt to keep our edges hot during this long winter and time of Pandemic isolation.
3. Illuman Shop - Check out our online store and pick up an item for the New Year! 🎉
Be sure to visit Illuman's online shop where you can order t-shirts, hats and other Illuman logo items. Every purchase helps support our work!
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.
Please also remember Illuman in your estate planning. Contact us at dca@illuman.org for more information.
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Without us God will not,
but without God, we cannot.
~ Fr. Richard Rohr ~