MROP 2019: Initiator Program

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 Initiator

for men who have already
gone through the MROP:

If you have ever wanted to return to an MROP and even help put one on, serving as an initiator is your opportunity. This is not a repetition of the MROP experience, but rather gives an initiated man the opportunity to deepen his understanding of the MROP while he plays an important role of service in supporting the initiation of other men.  For our MROP in 2019, Belden Lane will be the weaver focused specifically on working with all the initiators.

About Being an Initiator

Being an initiator is a multifaceted and essential role.  It gives initiated men the opportunity to create and hold the container for the entire MROP process. Following the tradition of a community of elders initiating others into their next stage of life, we are inviting you to join us as an initiator as we “keep the edges hot” in our role of supporting the rites. This will deepen your experience of what happened at your own MROP as you are a part of each gathering in the Sacred Space for the rituals and teachings as well as playing special roles throughout the MROP.

When the initiates are meeting in their small groups, you’ll also be meeting in council with a Wisdom Elder and the other initiators.  When the initiates are out on their day in the wilderness, you too will spend time by yourself out in nature.  Initiators also join in the everyday tasks to make the MROP happen, such as taking turns serving food or washing dishes.  Together with the kitchen team and the core team, we’ll all stand shoulder to shoulder, giving our prayerful strength and support to our brothers and to the men being initiated. Thus there is a wonderful rhythm of time together, time alone, time in sacred space, time doing self-care and resting, and time in service.  Come join us for a meaningful week.  You’ll leave refreshed, reinvigorated, and you’ll have helped paid forward the gift of the MROP to others.

Ideally initiators would arrive early with the rest of the team, a day before the Initiates arrive.  One days before the MROP begins, you will be involved not only the physical work of setting up, but there are other key preparatory activities, including a fair amount of time with brothers preparing the space and ourselves for what is to come.  It is a great chance to spend time with the Weaver and Ritual Elder, and a great amount of bonding occurs with everyone before the initiates arrive.  You’ll play an important role in the welcoming of initiates, so even if you aren’t able to come until then, we ask all initiators to arrive as early as possible.

Everyone who comes is asked to carry their own weight financially.  If you need a scholarship, however we will do our best, recognizing that our priority is to scholarship initiates over initiators. Ideally, money should never be a reason one can’t participate.  

This program is for you if:

  • You have been through the MROP and are an initiated man

  • You have a keen desire to deepen your spiritual journey by revisiting the messages of your initiation

  • You want to be an active “initiator” – a man who invites and supports other men to become initiated into the Journey of Illumination

  • You understand that you are not going through the rites again

  • You can be present and be part of the container for the entire MROP event

  • Are willing to serve wherever you’re needed in the moment

Many initiators bring men with them who haven’t yet gone through the rites themselves.  For some, the thought of going to MROP where they know a friend will be there is a huge help.  Please consider who you might invite to the MROP.

As we are able to use initiators, and as initiators are able to serve, we may have additional roles before and after the MROP as well, as we walk this cohort of men through what we expect to be a transformative experience.

The Role of Initiators in the MROP

Definition of "Initiator"  -- 
a substance that starts a chain reaction; 
an explosive device used to detonate a larger one; 
someone who inspires, starts things moving.

Belden Lane, Initiator Weaver

1. The first intent of the Initiator program is to support the men who are coming to be initiated….holding a container for the entire process. 

  • You are the spiritual elders (the fathers, uncles, and grandfathers) who have come to WITNESS what these men are going through, having been there yourselves. To have people witness to our growth at crucial times in our lives is profoundly significant.

  • You represent what these men want to be, the larger community they want to enter as mature and accountable men.

  • You may seem to stand in the shadows, but your presence is strong. They're looking at you….wondering what it's like to be men committed to living in their true selves.

  • They look at you and marvel that you've come back to this experience—paying again to come here—because of wanting to support them. Wanting to GIVE BACK!

  • And they'll leave here saying about their experience: "You know, this must have happened to me. I must have been drawn and quartered, dying to my old life. I must have released the grief I'd been holding…..because THESE men were there to watch it. They saw me do it! They bore witness. Because of them, I can't back down now. I gotta live it."

  • So you are "Witness Bearers." You are "Servant Elders" (pitching in to share some of the nitty-gritty work of the team and kitchen crew, as needed). And you are Prayer Supporters, committed to praying for the men coming to be initiated. 

2. But you're also here, secondarily, to revisit your original work at your own Rites. To go deeper (through work in Council, time alone, and your movement through the rites a second time).  You'll see the process with greater clarity, honor more fully the emotions it brought up for you, and understand what it still demands of you. 

  • If you're a Feeling Person—overwhelmed in ways during your first time through—you'll catch things you missed before. You'll grasp the power of the symbolism in the rituals. You'll hear the teachings with greater clarity. 

  • And if you're a Thinking Person—having worked hard at observing and understanding all the pieces as you went through it initially—you can let yourself feel it more fully this time. Not having to hold back and guard yourself from being hurt in the same way you might have done previously. 

3. So your role is to stand with the team this week…..with one foot outside the circle and one foot in. You're here for the other men, observing the process, praying them through it as they struggle, discerning where they might be having problems and sharing any concerns you have with us as leaders. One foot OUTSIDE the circle, watching the process unfold. 

  • But you've also got the other foot firmly INSIDE the circle, allowing yourself to be vulnerable again. Even more open perhaps than when you were last time. You know what you've been able to live out in your life since your own Rites, and what you haven't yet incorporated. And you're ready to commit in a much deeper way this time.

4. If there's a last goal that we have in mind in the Initiator Process, it's to encourage you actively to begin seeing yourselves as men who lead, men who INITIATE! You aren't men who sit back, waiting for others to take the initiative. You'll go back home from here with the intention of vigorously supporting your local group of men….helping to create that group if it's still being formed. 

  • We want you to see yourselves differently as a result of this week. You aren't men any longer for whom things are done. Our hope is for you to see yourselves as on the inside now, as an intimate part of the Illuman work, as men who do. 

What does it mean to be an Initiator?

A man who's willing to step up where other men might hold back in hesitance or fear. 

  • First in generosity – picking up the check

  • First in forgiveness – overlooking the slights of others

  • First in gratitude – appreciating those who go unnoticed

  • First in courage – speaking out when others are being hurt


TOTAL COST FOR THE INITIATOR PROGRAM - $500

(Early Bird Discount $450 - before June 30, 2019)

Notes:

  • We ask that all men participating in the Initiator Program also complete the Medical and Travel Forms.

  • Check-in registration begins - Wednesday, October 2, 2019 @2:30 PM EST

  • The Initiator Program begins - Wednesday, October 2, 2019 @4:00 PM EST

  • It is absolutely necessary to attend the entire Initiator event, from the opening on Wednesday through the final liturgy on Sunday. You may not come late or leave early except for absolute emergencies.

We ask that all Initiator Applicants also complete the Medical and Travel Forms information forms. Links to these forms will be provided after you have registered.


Initiator Application Form

To apply for initiator program, please fill out this application:

Date of Birth *
Date of Birth