July 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. Finding a Third Way by Terry Symens-Bucher, Illuman President
One of the things we’ve realized as we have adjusted to our inability to meet about Illuman in person is the convenience and ease with which meeting virtually can be arranged. As an example, rather than just one “Oracle” or leadership gathering this year, we were able to schedule a main retreat in April along with two follow-up gatherings. The third gathering occurred on July 11. It provided the opportunity for Adam Rumack and Miriam Jones of We Are Open Circle to present a report on their work with Illuman to identify our adaptive dilemmas and organizational growth areas.

Adam and Miriam titled their report “Finding a Third Way Through Power, Conflict, & Shadow.” Over the past few months, they have attended Illuman Council meetings, a Board meeting, and our leadership gathering. They have interviewed Weavers, Board members, Wisdom Elders, and Conveners as well as men without formal organizational roles. In presenting their findings, they used the “wheel of life” to place Illuman within a developmental cycle. The directions are aligned this way:

  • East: Vision, Inspiration, Spirit (Birth)
  • South: Individuation, Experimentation, Formation (Childhood)
  • West: Who are We? Internal work (Adolescence)
  • North: Integration, Inclusion, Service (Adulthood)

Illuman seems to be developmentally in the West—moving from the “individual” to the “institutional.” Although this is a maturation, reaction to this growth shows up in confusion and resistance toward institutional tools such as DACI, which is a program management tool proposed at Oracle. It also shows up in a kind of oscillation between the East and West that stymies development. Adam and Miriam emphasized that these developmental dilemmas are opportunities to grow and a key is to find ways to transcend them while including what already exists.

The movement from the adolescent West to adulthood moves through a “northwest passage” that, for us, would include rituals of healing and reconciliation—the gateway to forgiveness. Or, in words such as those used by Bill Plotkin, a dismissal of the Loyal Soldier behaviors that helped us arrive at this passage. Illuman has survived difficult times and, in the movement to adulthood, patterns and behaviors better suited for the East and South dimensions can be thanked while being acknowledged as no longer primary.

Finally, we were advised that our use of Council has become so broad and fluid that it threatens to be meaningless in some contexts. It can tend to become a way to bypass accountability and a poor substitute for clear decision-making. To my mind, this is important feedback from two people steeped in Council practice, including one who helped train Illuman leadership. We have the opportunity now to learn new organizational skills for application in appropriate circumstances.

Adam and Miriam provided recommendations for Illuman to consider as we address our organizational opportunities and dilemmas. If you would like a copy of their presentation, please contact Brad Pickel .
2.    Illuman Events Coming Soon!
Illuman is pleased to highlight exciting new virtual offerings in July. We specifically want to highlight the two events below focused on systemic racism and white supremacy after issuing our statement on racism last month. Illuman will also be hosting the second version of the Liberty & Justice for All Course hosted by Byron McMillan and Bill Clark after Soularize 2020.
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 Events page . We also invite you to visit the Chapter websites closest to you to find out about nearby opportunities. The Chapter Contacts page is available here.
An Ohio Illuman Virtual Retreat – Reckoning with Our Past: Transforming Racial Pain in America
Ohio Illuman invites you to a 4-hour interactive online retreat focused on transforming racial pain in America. Led by Byron McMillan and Dr. Bill Clark, the event explores reckoning with America's racial history, reveals truths about how our current systems and structures are shaped by race, allows space to share our stories, and offers pathways toward healing. The event will be held from 1–5 pm Eastern Time on Saturday, July 25 th . Registration and more information is available on the Ohio Illuman website .
Levels of Relationship with the Feminine – Virtual Gathering of Illuman SoCal

Our Brothers of Illuman SoCal will be holding Levels of Relationship with the Feminine – Virtual Gathering from 9 am – 12 pm Pacific Time on Saturday, July 25 th . In our interconnected lives, there are unconscious energies that support and contaminate our real-life relationships. Teaching Elder Jim Clarke will lead participants toward a deeper understanding of these complexities during our Illuman SoCal virtual gathering. Click here for the event webpage.
An Illuman of DC Inquiry: Preparing for Cross-Racial Dialogue

Join with your Illuman DC brothers in a dialogue about systemic racism / internalized white supremacy, with the objective of beginning to learn how to engage in connective and essential conversations with non-white members. The three-day workshop, while open to all men, will be focused on what white-identified men can do. This is Illuman DC’s initial response to support all of us in our response to the expanding awareness of the imperative to learn and then act, toward creating a safe and brave space for all members to feel able to engage fully. This initial offering is a three-part workshop, on consecutive Tuesdays—July 28, August 4, and August 11, from 7:00 – 8:45 pm EDT, on Zoom. More details are available on the Illuman of DC website .
3. REMINDER : Illuman Partnering with Animas Valley Institute for Virtual Soulcraft Intensive!
Illuman is partnering with the Animas Valley Institute (AVI) for a Virtual Soulcraft Intensive. 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.

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 .
4. Men’s Rites of Passage for 2020
We have good news! Our Australian Brothers will hold their Men’s Rites of Passage (MROP) in August. While it is not possible to hold an MROP in the U.S. this year, our International Brothers are hopeful that they will be able to move ahead. We look forward to the day when we can hold these events safely in the U.S. In the meantime, we invite you to join us in 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.

August 11 – 15, 2020

5.  More Men Cracked Open - Poetry from our UK Brothers
In the United Kingdom, the Male Journey (our fraternal organization in the UK) has just published its second collection of poetry, titled More Men Cracked Open . In this volume, 20 men have taken courage to expose, through their writing, the soft underbelly of masculinity, the hiding of which, as we know, causes untold misery in men of all ages. In total, they share 51 original and inspirational poems.

Reactions to their first volume included:

  • “A rich and deep expression of men's lives.”
  • “In another man's search, we ourselves are found.”
  • “These poems beckon us to a richer understanding of our maleness.”

More Men Cracked Open is available via the Male Journey website .
6. Featured Video - Soularize 2019: Session 2 - Encountering a Power Greater Than Ourselves
This video opens with poet Tim McLaughlin greeting the men in attendance during the first session of the morning. He foreshadows the very first Council of the day by reciting and embodying his poem The Intoxicator Calling . He also invokes the words of the mystical poet Hafiz as he invites everyone more deeply into sacred space.
The next part of the video features a group of men sitting in a circle. These men will engage in the practice of Council in which everyone else will sit and witness. This scenario is commonly referred to as a fishbowl Council. The intent is to show men engaging in the practice of Council and moving to ever greater depths of sharing and discovery using a series of prompts.
The prompts shared in this video are:

  1. When have you encountered a power greater than yourself?
  2. How have you resisted that power?
  3. Lately, how is that power showing up in your life?
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 ~