Former Algonquin Highlands resident, Carol Kilby, says it’s taken her almost a decade to write the book she’s titled Evolutionary Dancer. Out, In, and on the fringe of the Church. However, she jokes, “some might suggest, it’s taken 13.8 billion years to write.”
The reference is to the story of the Universe, which Kilby shared with visitors to the Gaia Centre for Eco-Spirituality and Sustainable Work when she and partner, Paul Irwin, lived there for 16 years. They had a labyrinth set up in the woods on the property with stations marking key moments in the universe story, from the Big Bang to present day.
Kilby and Irwin moved to Algonquin Highlands in 2004 after retiring from ministry in the United Church of Canada. In 2015, the United Nations Year of Sustainability, they opened the Gaia Centre.
The non-profit charitable organization hosted workshops, retreats, and events bringing teachers to the County.
Retiring again, the couple moved to Scarborough in May, 2020.
Kilby said the genesis of the book came from when she was invited to take part-time leadership at Kinmount United Church.
“I took the teachings from the new science and earth-based spirituality with me. The open-minded congregation and I entered into an experiment in evolutionary spirituality. We looked for daily wisdom relevant to the climate crisis, in not just one holy book, but two, the second being creation itself.
“We tackled unusual topics such as, “will we evolve for shifting times?” and “I spy with my evolutionary eye” and “becoming evolutionary elders for adventurous churches,” Kilby said.
She said the response to these gatherings was so rich, she’d go home and write them down.
“We were discovering how the old sacred story of the Hebrew-Christian Bible and the new sacred story of the Universe from modern science made for powerful dance partners. But more than being compatible, they were stronger and more relevant for our times together than apart. That was the discovery that became the book.”
She said readers can expect lots of stories.
“In the first section, stories of the teachers, artists, mystics, shamans, yogis, and others whose strange ideas challenged the beliefs, ideas, and assumptions that I’d learned in what has been basically a Christian culture, up to now.”
She added there are original stories from Grandmother Universe, her inner storyteller. Kilby said she emerged, much to her surprise, as she led folks through the woodland cosmic labyrinth at Gaia Centre telling the story of the Universe – its origins, evolutions, and becoming conscious in the human ones.
In the second section, the stories come from the Sunday conversations in Kinmount. She said there are discoveries about bible stories and “readers will see that the environmental crisis is driving not only the evolution of consciousness but the evolution of religion and the emergence of a new kind of human – one who lives in mutual relationship with Mother Earth.”
In the last section, she said readers will find samples of inter-spiritual evolutionary rituals they used.
“And many will be surprised they can be used whatever one’s path – be it out, in, or on the fringe of the church.”
Kilby anticipates the digital version will be available at Amazon.ca in late December and the print book sometime in January 2021.