Returning to the MROP as an initiator took me deeper than the first time. It was a perfect mix of time in service, in nature, and with brothers. I had no idea that the preparation time on Monday and Tuesday would be so meaningful as well. It is a role I could see doing again and again not only for myself, but on behalf all the men coming through for the first time.
~ Thoughts from an MROP Initiator
The following is for men who have already gone through the EROP:
The EROP was originally conceived less as a formal rites of passage that you might go through only once, and more as a gathering of elders, which you might return to multiple times over the years to deepen your eldering work. In this original vision, the gathering of elders would have multiple breakouts to tend to various pieces of this journey, and different men would elect what to focus on based on what was coming up for them. More free time was in mind as well, as there was less of a programmatic agenda and more a sense of showing up for a 5 day elders council and seeing what happened.
Of course, as the creative process went along, the spaces for free time shrunk, the rituals and other pieces grew, and in the end we had something much closer to an MROP, with a beginning, middle and end, and not so much our “Council of Elders”.
Introducing the Gathering of Elders
While we celebrate what we ended up with, we also acknowledge the need for what we originally conceived: a less formal, more flexible container for Elders to return to over the years.
This offering was a pilot in 2019, in which largely the returning elders work together throughout the entire EROP to hold the container. This second time around, we’re introducing the possibility for a far greater amount of autonomy and flexibility for returning elders to tend to what is needed for men. Some men will want to stay with the work of a core group, but others might be feeling the need for other ways of being alone as well as together.
- Themes of what you are looking at will continue to evolve and will reflect in part the men coming.
- There is no expectation that returning elders are serving as team members who are putting on the EROP–you are free of much of the workload!
- We will all be aware of what will happening in the lodge for the first time EROP participants, and you will be welcome in the lodge to witness and participate as desired, but we are expecting that you will also choose to use your time in other ways as well.
- You will have opportunity if desired to spend more extended time in the graves if you desire, as well as on the land.
- Returning elders hold some of ritual roles, such as grave yard stewards and opening gauntlet station elders.
We’re greatly enthused for the continued development of this offering Perhaps it will be a time that Elders choose to work on something as a group, and perhaps Elders will bring projects (like a writing project) and work mostly on their own…whatever shapes up, we anticipate that bringing Elders together for an extended period of time will be full of goodness!
Ideally Returning Elders arrive Tuesday at some point, as their council and preparation precedes the arrival of the first time participants. However, there is a bit more of a looseness around the beginning and ending of this offering. If a returning elder is only able to come for the weekend, for example, that is likely acceptable, and a prorated payment can be arranged.
Returning Elder Program Registration Process:
Standard Cost is $545, Supporting Cost is $650.
Scholarships will be available. Our goal is to ensure that money is never the reason men can’t participate. This is essential! Ask. And if you are a person of means, consider giving towards scholarships!
To participate as a Returning Elder,
After that we will reach out to have you complete a medical form, a travel form and submit payment via a check with “EROP returning elder” in the subject line to:
Illuman Of Washington
19110 – 17th Ave NW
Shoreline WA 98177