4:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST
Thursday, September 14 - Sunday, September 17
Shrine Mont Conference Center, Orkney Springs, Virginia
Each year Illuman hosts a gathering of men, typically in New Mexico, that, in the past, we have called Soularize. This year's gathering marks a new beginning, with a new name, AWAKEN, and a new location on the East Coast, Shrine Mont, a retreat center nestled at the foot of the Allegheny Mountains in northwestern Virginia. Throughout our time together, we will gather as a community of hundreds of men for intensive inner work with the goal of reclaiming our hidden wholeness and interconnectedness within our own selves, with Spirit, and one another.
We are all born with innate resources that become increasingly hidden and disavowed through the conditioning of our dominant Western culture. As suppression, wounding, and trauma lead us into the ‘spell of separateness’, we lose access to our hidden wholeness and the gifts we all carry. Yet our longing and quest for healing does not disappear.
During our time together at AWAKEN, we will acknowledge and feel the grief of this long held separateness. Through the power of the elemental forces of nature (Earth, Water, Fire, Air/Wind) in shared rituals, we will awaken from this illusion of separation and reclaim our place as interconnected, beloved, and belonging. As we cultivate our vulnerable humanity in each other’s presence, we become vessels for the re-emergence of our hidden wholeness. This transformative process is not only self-healing, but also essential for the restoration of the entire interconnected Earth community, and the well-being of all of our descendants and ancestors. As separate beings we are diminished, but through our inter-BEing, we reclaim our kinship in true community and become powerful healing agents of change.
Our chief guides through this experience will be Lakota spiritual teacher Doug Good Feather, mystical poet Chelan Harkin, and (via pre-recorded address) Illuman founder Father Richard Rohr. Click here for more details on each of them.
There will also be several optional breakout sessions offered throughout the weekend with poets, playwrights, and spiritual teachers. Click here for more details on those.
We invite you to join us for this vital and courageous work!
WHAT: A three-night, four-day conference for any and all male-identified persons who want to deepen their inner work, their connection to the more-than-human world, and their relationships with like-minded men. Time will be spent in nature wanderings, large group sessions, ritual practices, and small group council circles.
WHEN: Registration opens at 3pm Thursday, September 14. The included dinner is at 5:30pm. The opening Session will begin at 6:30pm. The event closes with lunch on Sunday, September 17 at 12:30pm.
WHERE: AWAKEN 2023 will be held at Shrine Mont Conference and Retreat Center in Orkney Springs, Virginia, nestled in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.
COST: Registration includes your admittance to the event, a shared room with attached bath (with at least one roommate) for three nights, and nine meals (Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch). Sign-up early for our best rates!
- Super Early Bird (through April 30): $500/person
- Early Bird (through June 30): $530/person
- Standard (through September 1): $560/person
SCHOLARSHIPS & DONATIONS: We don't want finances to be a barrier to any man, so full or partial scholarships are available in exchange for volunteer hours during the event for any who need them. (You will still be able to participate in all essential aspects of the weekend.) Volunteers are very needed, so if this option works better for you, please don't hesitate to sign-up. If you would like to volunteer in exchange for a scholarship, please fill out this form.
If you have resources available, we also invite you to consider paying above and beyond your own registration amount to support scholarships for any men who may need to pay less. There will be options to do so when you register.
Housing at Shrine Mont is spread out among a number of small cottages and several larger hotel-style buildings. (Click here for a map of the grounds and, from there, click on the name of a particular House to see details and floor plans. Options include Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Norfolk, Richmond, Williamsburg, Washington, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.) The confirmation email you receive once you register for an on-site package will include a link to a form where you can sign-up for the building and room you wish to stay in.
If you wish to share your room with a particular roommate, you should coordinate with that person in advance and arrange for him to register at the same time so you are each able to sign up for the same room. If you do not arrange your own roommate, the other bed in your room will remain open until another man signs up for it (a great way to make new friends!). Rooms are first-come, first-serve, so be sure to sign-up for your room as soon as you register.
A limited number of handicap-accessible rooms are also available.
If you prefer to stay off-site, there are also a number of hotels and short-term rentals in the area. Click here for a list of nearby housing options. (Be sure to purchase the "Off-Site Registration" package when registering.)
The Awaken Planning Team, Illuman Board of Directors, Wisdom Elders, Conveners, and the Chapter Development Council will be holding meetings on the morning and/or afternoon of Thursday, 9/14, before the event officially begins. If you are a member of one of these groups AND need to arrive at Shrine Mont a day early (Wednesday, 9/13) in order to attend, you can select the "Extra Night Add-on" during the registration process. Please note there is an additional charge of $100 for the extra night. If you have selected this option, do NOT use the regular room sign-up sheets to select your room. Instead, you will be sent a separate sign-up sheet for a different set of rooms on-site.
If you are not a member of one of these groups, please do not select this option. These rooms are reserved only for those attending the pre-event meetings. If you wish to arrive in the area early (or stay afterwards), you will need to arrange off-site accommodations for those nights.
Please try to plan your travel to arrive at Shrine Mont before the included dinner at 5:30pm on Thursday, September 14, and to stay through the closing ceremony which ends at 12:30pm Sunday, September 17. A final (included) lunch will also be served Sunday at 12:30pm.
If we are forced to cancel the event due to COVID restrictions or for any other reason, you will be offered a full refund.
“There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.”
~ Thomas Merton, excerpt from Hagia Sophia: The Expression of the Divine Feminine ~