Men's Rites of Passage
The Men's Rites of Passage is the most popular Illuman event. This 5-day, 4-night programme helps men to awaken their spirit of adventure and explore the secrets of masculinity, their deepest spiritual capacities, leadership potential and the meaning of life.
The question of what it means to be a man confuses most men. Many of them long for the support and guidance of other men on the path to manhood, maturity and a deeper communion with the divine. Ancient cultures used rites of passage and vision quests to help boys transition into adulthood.
Men are invited to take part in the rite of passage if they are prepared to be truly involved from beginning to end, without being mere observers. All participants start from scratch with no plan and no prior expectations. All that is required is to come with a "beginner's mind”, as new disciples seeking wisdom.
The rite of passage, just like life itself, is not a spectator-oriented "sport".
It is not about religion, but about deep spirituality. It's about ancient traditions that guide us, helping us to become men, and about trusting that our lives are guided by something much bigger than we can imagine.
To live a shallow, unexplored life is emptiness. The path of enlightenment begins with ancient traditions that teach the five insights without which one cannot fully engage in the adventures and mysteries that life has to offer. Men's Rites of Passage open the door to this adventure.
THE MEN'S RITE OF PASSAGE IS
- a personal discovery of masculine spirituality and the "sacred secret",
- a time to enjoy the healing, amazing power of nature,
- a process that helps to deal with different issues: loss, mourning, relationships with the father, other men and people in general,
- a chance to assess life's priorities and ask brave questions about your next step,
- a call to listen to the still small voice of God,
- an incentive to return to life with a renewed determination to seize the opportunities.
THE MEN'S RITE OF PASSAGE IS NOT
- a traditional lecture-based retreat,
- an information seminar on men's spirituality,
- sensitivity training or experience of renunciation,
- a threatening process that forces participants to engage in some strange or unsafe activity,
- physical endurance test.
RICARD ROHR (OFM)
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest (Ordo Fratrum Minorum), an internationally renowned representative of contemporary Christian spirituality and one of the most prominent advocates of men's ministry .
Rohr is the founder of the Center of Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the author of several international bestsellers. He has been working on matters of initiaton for more than thirty years.
Biography of Richard Rohr
Richard Rohr was born in 1943 in Kansas, USA. He joined the Franciscan Order in 1961, achieved his Master’s degree in Theology in 1970 at the Dayton’s University and was ordained to the priesthood the same year. In 1971, he founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1986 the Center of Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In the United States, Richard Rohr has become known mainly through audio and video recordings of his talks and through the regular publication of Radical Grace, a publication of the Centre for Activism and Contemplation.
His most popular books:
“The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective”
“Adam's Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation”
“Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality”
“Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation”
“The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe”
Richard Rohr has served in local churches and prisons, and has given talks and seminars around the world. Today, the great visionary and recollection master lives as an eremite in a small house in the Franciscan community of Albuquerque. He is considered one of the central figures of the renewal of contemporary Christian spirituality .
Rohr considers the proclamation of the Gospel to be his most important task, and he uses various means to this end. His writings are dominated by the following themes: liberation, the integration of activism and contemplation, community building, peace and justice, masculine spirituality, the Enneagram and spirituality in nature.
Since the late 1990s, Richard Rohr has been organising Men's Rites of Passage in the USA and in Europe, which he has developed specifically for people in the Western world. For at least 15 years, he has worked mainly with men in the M.A.L.Es (Men As Learners and Elders) project.
His book "Adam's Return" is devoted to the theme of male initiation.
Here is a video of Richard Rohr talking about why men need initiation:
Richard Rohr turned 70 in 2013. Having largely abandoned his international travels, he made a new project, The Living School, a mysticism training for women and men, the main focus of his work.
Richard Rohr has entrusted the work with men, and in particular the organisation of initiation events, to Illumanin the USA. In Europe, his work is continued not only by the Männerpfade, but also by men's organisations in Ireland, Great Britain, Austria and the Czech Republic. The event in Lūžņa will establish a new tradition of carrying out this work in Latvia.
Richard Rohr's work focuses on the practice of Christian mysticism. For more information, visit the website of the Centre of Action and Contemplation www.cac.org.
Frequently asked questions
What is initiation?
Initiation is the rite of passage from one stage of life to the next.
What is the purpose of initiation?
Transitions between different stages of life often happen unnoticed and unconsciously, and it takes a lot of time and energy to adapt to the new phase. Celebrating this transition in initiation allows us to be more conscious of the new experience. With initiation comes a change in mindset that can give participants a new vitality and help them adapt better to change. Initiation can give you the strength to face life in all its harshness and take full responsibility for your actions.
What are rites of passage or initiation?
Rites of passage help to personally discover masculine spirituality and the sacred mystery. It is a time to enjoy the healing power of nature. It is a process that helps to deal with loss, mourning, broken relationships and unfulfilled dreams. It is an opportunity to weigh up life's priorities and ask brave questions about how to proceed. It is an invitation to listen to our deepest truth and, as some would say, to the still small voice of God, an opportunity to return to daily life with a renewed determination to put our gifts to use.
What rites of passage are not?
Rites of passage are not a traditional lecture or information seminar on male spirituality. It is not a sensitivity training or an experience of renunciation, it is not new-age mumbo-jumbo, it is not a dangerous process that forces participants to do something unfamiliar or unacceptable, and it is not a test of physical endurance.
These rites are not psychotherapy or a wellness activity, nor are they an outdoor survival camp.
Why do I need initiation?
By asking probing questions, the initiation helps you to get to know your identity better and perhaps give your life a new direction. It allows you to consciously mark the transition from young man to adult male life, and to be aware of your mission in the world. The rite of passage is accompanied by men who have already been initiated, who help them to understand what makes a man a man. Initiation gives the participants courage and vitality for the tasks ahead.
How does initiation relate to the little boy in us?
Many men still have the "little boy" in them, who makes himself felt in all areas of life: work, relationships, sexuality, "bringing up" the next generation... The little boy is the behaviour and beliefs we learnt in our youth but which no longer fit us as grown men – like clothes that have become too tight for our adult stature and limit our agency. It's different for each person, for example, one of the manifestations of being a little boy can be the moments when we choose to please others instead of defending our own opinions, just like we used to do in our relationships with our parents...
Talking and being with other men during initiation can reveal when you are acting like a little boy and when you are acting like a grown man. Usually, after the rite of passage, there is no sudden turn in life, but rather a long process of growth.
Who is Richard Rohr (OFM), according to whose principles these rites of passage are carried out?
American Franciscan priest Richard Rohr is one of the founders of the Christian men's movement. All the men who will accompany you in the initiation process have been initiated in the tradition of Richard Rohr.
Can any man participate?
We encourage everyone who is serious to take part. Age, background, status and sexual orientation are irrelevant. We support men of all faiths, including those who do not belong to any faith community. Our event is inclusive.
What do we mean when we say that rites of passage create a safe space?
A safe space is needed to better understand events in our lives that we might prefer to ignore, and to reflect on beliefs and convictions that may be long outdated. This space (both in time and space) must be protected by men of integrity. These men are us! Together we create a safe "space" where men can tell their stories openly, reveal their feelings and perhaps their secret desires, without fear of judgement or being judged.
We create a safe space by making it clear what to do and what not to do, making it clear what is expected of participants before the event, and making sure the basic rules (procedures, times, etc.) are respected. Most importantly, we provide this space mainly because we, the "elders", are aware of our responsibility.
What is our tradition of rites of passage?
Thousands of years ago, older men around the world initiated the youth of their tribes and societies into the mysteries and mysteries of masculinity through ancestral rituals. Women did not take part in these events! The boys were sent on a journey of initiation, where they felt their power in the face of death, suffering, loneliness, pain, etc. They were not only made aware of their light and dark sides, but also of how to live with them both.
We continue this tradition. Richard Rohr has "translated" the basic principles of initiation into a "language" that we Westerners can understand, so that men in the Western world can also enjoy the benefits of initiation. The initiation events we organise are based on these basic principles, both in terms of their setting and their attitude.
Is this a religious event?
No! Initiation events in this form were created more than 20 years ago by the Franciscan friar Richard Rohr. The basic structure has remained unchanged, but has been modified over time to be acceptable to men of all religious persuasions, including atheists. More than 5000 men worldwide have completed the programme.
Most traditional rites of passage involve some form of physical injury. Is this also the case in this event?
NO! No one is physically harmed during the ritual. It is not a test of endurance or strength.
Where will we sleep?
Men sleep in tents in the open air. Participants are told what to bring before the event.
Is there an age limit?
No, there is no maximum age limit.
How fit do I need to be?
Good physical fitness is required, but this is not a physically demanding event. We try to anticipate elements that might cause difficulties for someone and adapt them to individual needs. However, all participants are primarily responsible for their own physical well-being.
How much does it cost?
The cost per participant is EUR 550,- (including VAT) if the participant comes with his own tent, mattress and sleeping bag. If you wish to use a pre-built tent with a comfortable mattress (sleeping bag provided), the cost is EUR 620,- (including VAT).
What if I have psychological difficulties during the event?
You will have access to a confidential conversation with members of the team. They will provide a space where you can be safe and supported.
If you have any further questions and would like to register for the event, please contact