Earlier this month, over 50 Illuman men descended on John Knox Ranch in Fischer, Texas for Illuman’s 2023 Oracle leadership retreat. The Texas Hill Country provided beautiful weather, especially for our early morning sits and nature wanderings. It also treated us to an early morning Texas thunder storm, complete with rolling thunder common to the area
The theme of the event was Wholeness, a focus which will extend throughout the year into our annual Awaken gathering at Shrine Mont in Virginia, September 14-17. A ritual thread based on this theme was woven meaningfully throughout the weekend.
Another focus was deepening the practice of Council and encouraging more men to become active in it via local Councils Circles, Virtual Council Circles, Passion Circles. (See the Illuman Guide to Council Practice for instructions on how to start and run your own Council Circle.) Several training sessions focused on enhancing our Council practice, as well as using Council as a tool for personal and collective discernment. We will harvest these learnings and update the Council Practice Guide linked above.
The Reweaving Council Delivers Summary Report
Another major accomplishment at this Oracle was the receipt and discussion on Reweaving Council’s 53-page summary report, based on nearly a year of work. This report was delivered to and formally accepted by Illuman’s Board of Directors, and summaries of each major focus-area were delivered at the retreat. Major emphases included a proposal to think of Illuman as a living, evolving “organism” (rather than just another “organization”), along with the need for greater “trust, transparency and communication” within that organism going forward.
Illuman Strategic Framework Process Begins
Building on the work of the Reweaving Council, Oracle also kicked off Illuman’s new Strategic Framework Process, focusing first on refining the organism’s “mission, vision and values.” We defined mission and vision as a verbal representation of Illuman’s overarching purpose, expressed in terms both of the problem(s) we are trying to solve as well as the new possibilities we want to bring into being. We approached this exercise by applying Illuman’s spiritual practice of inner work to the context of doing Illuman’s business. (See Richard Rohr, The Task Within the Task.)
To do this we separated into four work groups, using a facilitated process to “name” Illuman’s purpose. Words and phrases were captured, clustered and prioritized in an effort to identify a top level purpose. We used the concept of “include and transcend” to encapsulate all the various problem/possibility areas Illuman addresses into one, overarching theme.
A report with these details will be distributed within a couple of weeks. Options for consideration of mission and vision language will follow soon after. All Illuman men will have an opportunity to weigh in on these statements and provide feedback on which they find the most resonance with.
Overall, Oracle 2023 was a beautiful and inspiring time of reconnection among Illuman leaders, filled with meaningful rituals, significant inner work, and significant collaboration on behalf of the whole Illuman organism. In the words of one participant, it may be that we will look back on Oracle 2023 as the inflection point at which Illuman began transforming and reconfiguring itself to thrive in its second decade.
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