A hunting party
Sometimes has a greater chance
Of flushing love and God
Out into the open
Than a warrior
Bring your pain, strength, power, weakness, glory, blessings or whatever else it is that you are to address at this moment in life. Council is a place for you to tackle life head on, as awake and honest to what is your reality as you dare. It is also a place to practice a radical form of listening to others and to the Spirit.
Our form of council is 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 place uncommon to the rest of life where you are invited to put down the mantel(s) you carry, where you put down your many identities and roles you play, reconnect to Life itself, and sink deeper into your true self, using a variety of practices that have stood the test of time and come to us from wisdom traditions around the world. A large part of this practice is telling our own stories.
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.
“Guilt may be strong enough to motivate religious behavior, but only desire can lead you deeper on the spiritual journey. The absence of desire means the absence of spiritual life.” -David G Benner
Weaver Jim Taylor offers a wonderful introduction to council here.
We practice radical inclusivity, and welcome all men, regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or anything else that may divide.
In the Seattle area, there are councils on the first and third Saturday of every month from 8 AM – 10 AM. Bremerton meets on the 2nd Saturday of the month, Tacoma on the 1st Saturday of the month, and Leavenworth, Spokane, and Walla Walla meet at other times. Illuman also offers virtual council via video conferencing on a weekly basis. Please contact us for more information!
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.