From Soularize to AWAKEN, From Tamaya to Shrine Mont
Each year, Illuman hosts a gathering of men, typically in New Mexico and historically called Soularize. This year’s gathering marks a new beginning, with a new name, AWAKEN, and a new location on the East Coast: Shrine Mont, a retreat center nestled at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains in northwestern Virginia.** We will gather as a community of hundreds of men from Thursday, September 14 to Sunday, September 17 for intensive inner work to reclaim our hidden wholeness and interconnectedness within our selves, with Spirit, and with one another.
Our 2023 theme for AWAKEN is RECLAIMING OUR HIDDEN WHOLENESS.
We are all born with innate resources that become increasingly hidden and disavowed through the conditioning of our dominant Western culture. As suppression, wounding, and trauma lead us into the “spell of separateness,” we lose access to our hidden wholeness and the gifts we all carry. Yet our longing and quest for healing does not disappear.
We recognize the symptoms of living under the spell of separation when we experience the unraveling of systems we assumed (a spellbound assumption) were stable and “safe.” Increasing climate disruption, widening economic disparity, cultural and political polarization, and an epidemic of loneliness are among the consequences of the story of separation. These systems—environmental, economic, and political—were created by men (yes, mostly men) and only deepen planetary suffering.
And yet, nature continues doing what nature does. When we follow the thread of our longing and connect with the more-than-human world, we sense the flow of life, the pulsing of creation, the interconnection of all things. There is an awakening from the trance of separation that marks so much of our lives and we move toward alignment with the natural order of things. Instead of contributing to the escalating unraveling, we become co-creators of a more just, inclusive, and interconnected world, a world that works for all.
This is who we are and who we are created to be, as Meister Eckhart (1260–1328) pointed out:
God’s seed is in us. If it were tended by a good, wise, and industrious laborer, it would then flourish all the better, and would grow up to God, whose seed it is, and its fruits would be like God’s own nature. The seed of a pear tree grows into a pear tree, the seed of a nut tree grows to be a nut tree, the seed of God grows to be God.
When we become aware of the impact of “business as usual” and touch into the deep longing seeded in the soul, we experience grief as a portal to the journey of wholeness woven into the whole fabric of life.
During our time together at AWAKEN, we will acknowledge and feel the grief of this long-held separateness. Through the power of the elemental forces of nature (Earth, Water, Fire, Air/Wind) in shared rituals, we will awaken from this illusion of separation and reclaim our place as interconnected, beloved, and belonging. As we cultivate our vulnerable humanity in each other’s presence, we become vessels for the re-emergence of our hidden wholeness. This transformative process is not only self-healing, but also essential for the restoration of the entire interconnected Earth community and the well-being of all our descendants and ancestors. As separate beings we are diminished, but through our inter-BEing, we reclaim our kinship in true community and become powerful healing agents of change.
Join us at AWAKEN 2023!
** The location change is the first of an anticipated movable feast. Our plan is to shift locations around the country every few years to allow easier and more affordable access to any who want to attend. Unlike previous years, Awaken’s registration price now also includes lodging, cutting the total cost of attendance by more than half. The name change was a result of Father Rohr having originally borrowed the name “Soularize” from another similar event hosted by friend-of-Illuman Spencer Burke. Spencer recently requested use of the name back for his own events, hence our need to find a new name.