November 2021

"We are still developing our niche as a chapter, but specific interest surrounds developing a teen rites of passage for our sons and grandsons who are coming of age."
Consider joining us and perhaps inviting a friend to an Illuman Virtual Council!

Be sure to visit our website to see our complete virtual council schedule. It's also where you can learn more about the program.
1. Love and Gratitude for Time Well Spent
By Brad Pickel, Illuman Administrator
Wow. It’s hard to believe that I began this position almost eight years ago! With wide eyes and an open heart, I jumped at the chance to work part-time with a startup organization for men who wanted to make a difference in the world. At that time, I had recently ended a beach management consulting contract in the Florida Panhandle and wasn’t sure what would be next. I had only been on the edge of M.A.L.Es and Illuman after being initiated in West Virginia in 2011, so I was intrigued and excited on the afternoon when I received the Drumbeat email with the job announcement. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on a phone call with my Illuman Brother Tony, and right away, I knew it was work I wanted to do. My response was drafted and submitted within 48 hours. 

It’s the hardest work I have ever loved. Those early days were a mixture of hair on fire, drinking from a fire hose, building the plane while flying it—insert your metaphor here. On numerous occasions, a request would come to me and deep inside I would be thinking, “How in the world are we going to pull THIS off?” while always saying, “Yes, sure, we can do that.” And magically, we made it happen, more often than not! It also helps when you are a Three and your Board Chair is a Seven on the Enneagram. Positive outlook and efficiency are powerful partners!

Looking back, I have had the gift of working with such beautiful men over the years that I would never try to name them all—and, in Steve’s offering below, we are acknowledging many of them. They have helped build the container that is Illuman. Illuman is not a monument to be worshiped at the top of a hill. It is an organism formed through the often-unrecognized efforts and affirming love and care offered by the numerous volunteers who roll up their sleeves to do the hard work. 

New men are coming into the organization and new voices and perspectives are being expressed. This is an exciting time of friction and growth and I hold high hopes that we will remember that we are Brothers with varied life experiences and imperfections. Our common thread isn’t that we are better than other men, but we are here because we recognize we need this work. Compassion and patience will continue to serve us well as we grow.

Going forward, I am grateful for all I have learned and experienced. I am a better small business owner, non-profit manager, husband, brother, and man because of this work. I have also learned how little any role or responsibility can describe who I am. I am not what I do. I only hope that in your experience with me you have felt seen, heard, and loved, as those are the gifts I will take with me from this time together. Friends are the family you choose, and I have experienced my Illuman family grow beyond my wildest dreams.

I will bid farewell to this role at the end of December, and I leave you in great hands with your new Administrator. His name is Mike Clawson, and you will learn more about him soon. He is a good man with a servant’s heart. Give him some time and he will do great things! I will be taking a sabbatical for a little while and tending to my soul’s journey. I wish everyone all the best and I will miss you! I leave you with love and gratitude for this special time in my life that has afforded me innumerable gifts and wisdom. A-ho!
2. Appreciation and Thanksgiving for the Men of Illuman
The gift and miracle that Illuman has brought about in men's lives, among their families and communities, and in their workplaces has come about through the commitments and generosity of other men who have stepped forward to "do what is theirs to do!"

Illuman has existed since 2012. Our work, however, rests on the M.A.L.Es initiative which the Center for Action and Contemplation founded in the late 1990s. 

Words simply cannot convey the full appreciation we all hold for the men whose names we recognize here. All of these have stepped forward to serve, to lead, to pioneer, to give, to risk. All of these men have served in Chapter, Regional, M.A.L.Es or Illuman-wide roles. Some have served and continue to serve in multiple roles. They have all held their posts. We hold them in high estimation and ask each of these men (and Leslie!) to take heart in knowing that your efforts have produced life in all of us and will continue to sow seeds of hope and healing for tomorrow's men. If we have omitted your name, or that of another you know, in the following list, please let us know at
Richard Rohr
Stephen Gambill
Stephen Picha
Matt Sholler
Brad and Leslie Pickel
Ned Abenroth
Henry Acedo
Russ Adams
Jared Adams
Jerry Alyard
Mike Anderer
Kevin Anderson
Robin Anker-Peterson
Frank Apodaca
Jesse Aranda
Stephen Ashton
Karim Aziz
John Ball
Rick Barmore
Jeffrey Batstone
William Bedell
Mike Bennett
Nathan Bettger
John Beny
Joel Blunk
Jamey Bontrager-Singer
Kenneth Brady
Stephen Brombach
Gary Burbridge
Seth Burgess
Jim Burns
Jim Cadiz
Dan Carr
Timmer Cashman
Stephen Caudana
Terry Chapman
Jim Clarke
Bill Clark
Bruce Clay
Bob Colaresi
Steve Conroy
Don Cowie
Dan Davis
John Day
Chris de Lastic
Tony Deosdade
Dan Dolquist
Raymond Dougherty
Michael Dunne
Michael Egarter
Ernie Elliot
Damien Faughnan
Richard Fay
Joe Filipi
Lou Flessner
Chuck Fondse
Steve Freeman
John French
Terry Frisbie
Aaron Froehlich
Mark Funkhouser
Rob Fuste
Joe Gabaeff
Nathan Gabaeff
Geno Gallegos
Hector Garcia
John Ghitan
Richard Gibson
Rich Gierak
Tom Graham
Andy Gray
Eric Griego
Bob Harbuck
Jim Heaney
Joe Hebert
Drew Henry
Ruby Hernandez
Steve Hicken
Pavel Hrdina
Mark Infusino
Jim Jacobs
Rob Jones
Bob Juarez
Endel Kallas
Gary Kalus
Mike Keller
Kyle Kiser
Paul Koch
Brad Kuluris
Belden Lane
John Lew
Bill Lewis
Joe Lonergan
Sergio Lopez
Steve Lyman
Juan Macias
David MacQuarrie
Michael Maloney
Jon Mauren
Dennis McCain
Bill McIlroy
Tim McIntee
Byron McMillan
Gary Meagher
Chuck Meyers
Jim Michaels
Chris Mihai
Andrew Miller
Ed Miller
Jonathan Miller
Brian Mogren
Anthony Monticchio
Gerry Moore
Brian Mueller
Tony Murray
Charles Myking
Tom Nichedemos
Ian Nicholson
Kenneth Niles
Chris O’Donnell
Rob O'Keefe
Mick Owens
Tom Pawlak
Giovanni Perez
Sam Perez
Terrell Piechowski
Sam Pierce
Jerry Pierre
Michael Poffenberger
Robert Powell
Ken Preston
Bill Priesmeyer
Tom Reid
Lee Riggs
Chuck Rihm
T. Michael Rock
Nestor Rodriguez
Phil Rogacki
J Rourke
John Roy
Jeremy Roy
Bob Sabath
Don Samuels
Paul Samuelson
Gilbert Sanchez
Kyle Schoenberger
Lenny Sclafani
Adrian Scott
Al Selder
Terry Shaughnessy
Michael Sheridan
Glenn Siegel
Ken Steckler
Paul Steinke
John Stokman
Paul Stoltenberg
Don Stone
Bob Strange
Michael Suarez
Tim Sullivan
Terry Symens-Bucher
Jim Taylor
Steve Thomas
Tom Tolton
Mark Watz
Bob White
Mike Whitman
Andrew Wiese
Craig Wilson
Dwight Wolf
Michael Wright
Matt Woollett
3. Join Us for These Upcoming Illuman Events

December 2, 2021
7:00-8:30pm EST
(held virtually on Zoom)

In the words of Matthew Fox: One way men transform is by finding “the nobility inside.” I learned this rich phrase from a Native American prison chaplain who approached me after a talk I gave shortly after my book on The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine was published. He told me that men in prison don’t want to look inside but prefer projecting onto others. And that after 12 years of looking to find a book that would get men to look inside, mine was the first book that men would read wherein they found “the nobility inside.” We will consider some of these archetypes such as Father Sky, Green Man, Blue Man, Spiritual Warrior and Hunter Gatherer that lead men to look inside and find the nobility there. Thus, to transform.

Another way to transform is to resist Patriarchy and enter into another way of living in the world, one that is less empire-driven and reptilian brain-driven and more inclusive of the Divine Feminine, wisdom, and our capacity for compassion. We will also address this way of transformation.

December 3–5, 2021
(held virtually on Zoom)

Co-hosted by the Illuman of Northern California & Illuman of DC Chapters
Elders at the Gate is a three-day virtual experience, built from the ground up on the collective wisdom and work of the men of Illuman. Focused heavily on the power of story and Council, this event in an invitation into deeper brotherhood for all men, initiated and uninitiated. (Any initiate who signed up for a cancelled/postponed 2020 or 2021 MROP is invited to attend for free.) All involved will hold space for and work deeply around the question, "How do I live my power?" The elders are waiting to receive your story. Join us.
Masked and UnMasked
Acknowledging Our Persona and Embracing Our Shadows

January 7-8, 2022
- Lawrence Lodge -
Brooklyn, MI

Hosted by Illuman of Indian-Michigan
We have been through a lot these last 20+ months and have been challenged in a variety of ways. This retreat will give us an opportunity to finally meet in person, unpackage our experiences, look into our hearts and discover lessons that are waiting to be revealed. We will explore multiple understandings for what it means to wear a mask and what it might mean to take our mask(s) off.

“Spiritual maturity is to become aware that we are not the persona (mask) we have been presenting to others. That is why saints are humble and scoundrels are arrogant. We must become intentional about recognizing and embracing our shadows. Religion’s word for this is quite simply forgiveness, which is pivotal and central on the path of transformation.” -Richard Rohr
Come join us on an epic
poetry writing retreat!

January 7-8, 2022
(held virtually on Zoom)

Hosted by Ohio Illuman
Who are the gods that are accompanying you?
What do Narcissus and Mentor say to you?

Illuman is dedicated to helping men on a spiritual journey. That quest is what this writing retreat is about. What are the myths that are guiding your journey? We will draw some of our inspiration from the work of author and storyteller Michael Meade.

You don't have to think of yourself as a poet to greatly benefit from this Illuman writing retreat. The weekend is open to men of all writing experiences—from complete novice to published author. We mainly focus on free-verse, open-form poetry. You won't have to worry about rhyming, cadence, nor other aspects of some classical poetry.

We will gather virtually as a large group, but we will also experience some time one-on-one with another participant, and there is an extended lunch and wandering included for Saturday. All this is to say that the retreat has a lot of variety in it. You won't be sitting watching experts talk about poetry. You will be invited to be fully involved.

This will be the fifth year for the writing retreat sponsored by Ohio Illuman. We are thrilled to invite men from around the world to join us in this reflective writing journey as we gather virtually to share our real-life mythic experiences.
Visit our online shop and pick up an item to show your support of Illuman!🎗
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!
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. 
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 for more information.


Without us God will not,
but without God, we cannot.
~ Fr. Richard Rohr ~