A hunting party
Sometimes has a greater chance
Of flushing love and God
Out into the open
Than a warrior
Here in Oregon, we gather monthly to connect and share our inner lives in a trusting, safe atmosphere. We listen to each other and speak from the heart, and draw on long-standing spiritual practices from wisdom traditions around the world to move us deeper into our own faith traditions and experience of the Divine.
Our monthly gatherings use the Way Of Council as a communal contemplative practice where we do our inner work in a group. It isn’t a discussion group; it isn’t a place to debate ideas; it isn’t a place to get or give answers or advice; it isn’t a place to be held accountable by others. Council is a different kind of space…a sacred space, where we can set aside our responsibilities, our anxieties and the roles we play…where we can gather the strength to unmask ourselves and engage with our own stories, engage with God and with other men from the core of who we are.
Where and When:
We gather in Portland, with two groups:
- West Side, 4th Sunday each month at 4:00pm. Contact Chuck Fondse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- East Side, 2nd week each month, times vary. Contact Ted Rydmark at email@example.com.
We gather in Silverton, monthly, times vary. Contact Daniel Jamsa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We gather in Bend, times vary. Contact Sam Pierce at email@example.com.
We practice radical inclusivity, welcoming all men, regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or anything else that may divide. We are neighbors, sons, brothers, fathers and grandfathers who simply want to become better, more authentic men.
Illuman understands the Way of Council as a communal contemplative practice. It affirms the importance of listening and speaking from the heart within a circle of men, but it also recognizes the circle as being more than the sum of its parts. Illuman wants to be open to the mystery of the Spirit that arises within the wisdom and discernment of the Council. It recognizes that we run out of words in the presence of something larger than ourselves. This necessarily widens the circumference of the circle of men, extending our vision to a wider community to which we also have to listen.
Council also is a form that is being used in schools, in prisons, in places of worship, in living rooms, in retreat settings, in board rooms, all around the world. To see how council is being used inside the California Prison system, watch this 9 minute video. WARNING: You will likely be inspired to go out and make a difference in the world.
Our Implementation of Council
The Way of Council is an essential practice of Illuman, implemented at all levels of our work, from rites of passage to chapter meetings, from our homes to our wider communities. We respect this process enough to equip men to do it well, but we also acknowledge that Council emerges apart from our efforts to control it. Circles have an archetypal life of their own. Council is the best teacher of Council.