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. AND with the wonderful remodel happening at Ekone, there are additional sleeping spaces and another meeting space for this to become a reality immediately!
We are open to what the Elders sense is needed. We can create the space and hold the container, but welcome your input. What we can say right now is:
- We are hoping that this offering is shaped by the needs and desires of the returning elders.
- 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.
- There may be some ritual roles we consider opening to returning elders, such as grave yard stewards or opening gauntlet station elders, but this has yet to be discussed.
We’re greatly enthused for what might come out of this. 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!
At this point it is too early to say when we would want returning elders to arrive, but surely before the new particpants arrive on Wednesday. Perhaps it will be that you can arrive anytime from Monday until Wednesday morning. We would ask that you all stay through the end on Sunday.
Returning Elder Program Registration Process:
Cost is still TBD. Last year the entire EROP was subsidized both in terms of money and in terms of labor. This year we do anticipate the entire EROP will have to have higher prices so that the program is sustainable.
Scholarships will be available. Our goal is to ensure that money is never the reason men can’t participate.
To participate as a Returning Elder, there will be a simple application (not yet ready). You will receive a phone call for a brief interview from the coordinator as well.
The next step, following your interview, is to complete a medical form, travel form and submit payment via the payment page.
Check back here for when registration opens.