September 2019
Click here to watch a video of men expressing their gratitude for Virtual Council. 
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GERI Retreat Participants and Facilitators at Ghost Ranch, August 2019.
1. Women Transforming Men and Men Transforming Women   by Terry Symens-Bucher,  Illuman President
It wasn’t that many years ago that working on gender issues would fill me with confusion about gender roles and disappointment when my well-intended efforts at gender justice were not seen as necessarily helpful. A woman who noticed my confusion and disappointment once empathized by saying, “It’s hard to be a man in a dying patriarchy.”

I experienced no confusion or lack of appreciation in the four-day workshop co-sponsored by Illuman and Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI) at Ghost Ranch from August 17–20. As developed by partners Will Keepin and Cynthia Bryx, GERI creates a way for men and women to explore and share the truth of their experiences without being reduced to victims and perpetrators or lacking appreciation for the courage it takes to speak our truth.

By the end of the retreat, the twenty-five participants, thirteen men and twelve women, had created rituals to honor the truth each gender group had heard from the other in our time together. Among those participants were eleven initiated “Illuman men,” seven couples, and one father-daughter pair. All the feedback from the Illuman men, as well as other participants and partners, showed the experience was powerful, if not transformative. Basically, GERI creates a space where everyone can hear the deep truth about his or her experience of gender roles. As GERI founder Will Keepin says, the purpose is “convening forums of men and women to hear each other’s deep pain and challenge regarding their experience of gender roles. When men and women hear the truth of the other’s experience, it transforms them.”

The Illuman men who attended would agree. Almost all stated how much we believe this is an integral part of men’s work. I received statements from the Illuman men about their experience and you will find them included in this Drumbeat. GERI and Illuman are in discussion concerning further retreats. I think the time has come for Illuman to engage gender equity and reconciliation deeply and consistently within our Journey of Illumination—a journey that is lit by the moon as well as the sun. GERI has helped me to see that being a man in a dying patriarchy is not hard, when we see the harm done to men and women by patriarchy’s deceptions and skewed vision of gender. With that insight, each of us has the male privilege of helping deconstruct patriarchy’s illusion about what it means to be a man.

I recommend the following video to see and hear Will as a panelist at an event called Opening the Masculine Heart .
2.  NEARING 250 PARTICIPANTS! Soularize 2019 Men Transforming Men: What Does Healthy Masculinity Look Like?
Excitement is continuing to build as we get closer to Soularize 2019. We have an exciting program planned that will include teachings, ritual, wanderings in nature, and the Illuman Way of Council. In addition, we will have a Male Spirituality marketplace and once again hold our Trance Dance on Friday night. Much more to come, but we need to keep a few surprises!

We hope you will make plans today to join us in New Mexico. Let’s stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men across the world, sharing wisdom, commitments, and practices we have found powerful in living fulfilled lives as spiritually healthy men.
Soularize 2019 opens with registration on Thursday afternoon, October 24 and the first session starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. Soularize 2019 will end by 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. Learn more and register on our event website !
Czech Republic MROP Participants and Leaders, September 2019.
3. Men's Rites of Passage for 2019 Continue into the Fall
It has been a busy month for MROPs around the world! Our Brothers in the Czech Republic hosted almost 100 new initiates and 150 Returning Initiated Men for their MROP while our Texas Brothers hosted an MROP in the United States and our Brothers in Washington held an Elder Rites of Passage. We have one remaining MROP opportunity in West Virginia from October 2–6, 2019. To learn more about the West Virginia MROP, we invite you to visit DC Illuman .

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 i nitiation rites, please visit our website . We look forward to highlighting the 2020 MROP opportunities next month!

October 2 – 6, 2019
4. Featured Video ~ Soularize 2018: Session 4 – – Major Life Changes / Loyal Soldier featuring Bill Plotkin
Continuing this month, we are sharing videos from Soularize 2018. In Session 4 , Bill begins by recalling the ecstatic trance dancing from the evening before while he also offers perspective inspired by the conversation he had with other men at breakfast. He then asks those in attendance to reflect on their own experience at the dance as well as their time out on the land of Tamaya, and whether or not anything has been stirred up within them.

This video also features a wonderful interlude during which Bill invites Michael Kimmel to share with the group a poem that came to him during his West Walk and encounter with the Dark Muse Beloved. Michael’s poem is called An Ode to Death and Destruction.” The poem is best appreciated as read by Michael. You can find a copy of the text by clicking on the title.

Later in Session 4, Bill talks about the three major life changes people undergo, most often during Stage Four of the Eco-Soulcentric Developmental Wheel . These changes include Eco-Awakening, Molting, and Confirmation (the passage between early and late adolescence). He adds that these significant changes are becoming less common in the Western World and that it is important for us to recover them.
At the end of this session, Bill introduces the concept of the Loyal Soldier and invites the men in attendance out onto the land with an exercise which involves first getting to know, and then, hopefully, “discharging” their loyal soldiers.

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.
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