Jim Harold: Where we came from? Where we’ve been? They are eternal questions that tell us a lot about where we're going as the human race. Welcome to Ancient Mysteries on the air. I’m Jim Harold and this is Ancient Mysteries on the air. Welcome once again and thank you for joining us. Now on this program, and we’ve been doing these programs overall for jeez almost 10 years now as I record this in early June, and we often have talked in all of our shows, and in this newest show about the mechanics of places like Ancient Egypt. How did they build the pyramids? Some people believe in ancient aliens and all of these different things. But a lot of times it focuses on the mechanical and the architecture and those types of things. Today we are going to take a look at the spiritual side and how it may or does influence us according to our guest today. Our guest today is Paul Boudreau and he is interested in the spiritual connotations of places like ancient Egypt. He holds a Masters degree and ancient myths and sites have captured his imagination and attention since childhood. As he struggled to understand the importance of what was taught to him as fairy tales. He has been fortunate enough to travel the world and to personal experience many of man's highest creations both ancient and modern. On-site exploration of Egyptian temples, tombs and pyramids demonstrated in his mind the need for more detail and precision in how we look at ourselves in the world.
His recent book along with Lloyd M. Dickie is “Awakening Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer.”
Paul Boudreau, welcome to the program today.
Paul Boudreau: Thank you Jim. Good morning.
Jim: So lets start in regards to what got you interested in this? I was looking a little bit at your bio and it sounds like you've worked in ecology as a career. So how do you make this jump? What piqued your interest about these ancient sites?
Paul: Well it definitely started many, many, years ago as a child listening to fairy tales and stories of the Bible and what not. I was struck with how crazy the stories were. I mean Genesis with naked people running a garden with a talking snake. I knew that these myths have been protected, nurtured and cultured for thousands of years. Why such crazy stories coming down to us after all this time. So as a young boy I was struck with trying to understand, “What's in it for me?” Why were they protected by our civilization and why are they still been told to us every day?
In terms of the ecology part, Lloyd and I have worked together for many years as fisheries ecologist. And we’ve spent many hours cutting fish on the back of a fishing boat doing research. This provided us with some down time to talk about our personal interests. Lloyd obviously had the same reaction as I did to these myths and these stories. In terms of you just couldn’t trust the stories that were being told.
So this launched us on a multi- decade, probably lifetime, search of the myths to try to explore what's behind them, where they came from? We then applied our scientific training and experience to ask, coming up with hypotheses, doing research and finding information - and again going back and testing. And we feel that we've been able to identify a number of common themes through ancient myths that really relate to us, ourselves, today in our present-day search for who we are and what we might be. They are not tales of long, long, ago and far, far, away. They are about me right now as I stand and talk to you.
Jim: And that's the question. I think the average person, maybe not even somebody listening to us, but the average person who is just going about their life and so forth, they think this is thousands of years ago, these are ancient tales. Some people, for example you talked about Genesis, some people take that literally - some people think it's a fairytale. However, I think more people probably think, not talking just about that, but all of these different myths and all of these different tales such as Gilgamesh and that, people think that those are just morality tales. Those are things that don't relate to my life. So you ask the question earlier when you said, “what’s in it for me?” So what's in it for them? Why do these stories relate to us today?
Paul: As an example of the kinds of levels that we explore in the book in terms of the myths, we explicitly try to look at stories from a number of different levels: the literal, the figurative, the esoteric. And we found that absolutely every myth can and probably should be looked at from all of these levels. And by looking at them from these different levels one can tease out more information, more lessons.
A simple example that I talk about is the wolf in Red Riding Hood. I think everyone knows the Red Riding Hood story. A wolf is a wolf – you know it as a hairy beast with long teeth if we look at the wolf literally. With a little reflection, it's also obvious that we use the term wolf for someone who is leading you down the wrong path - someone who is a bad influence.
At higher levels, one can easily see that the story has do with the process, the role of the wolf in Red Riding Hood’s development. It is unfortunate that Granny had to get eaten, but the end of the story is that Red Riding Hood meets the hunter and they go off to a different life.
So these different levels are very important. I think every good myth has all those levels. They have to entertain us. They have to engage us. As well as providing possibly higher information about ourselves. And the challenge for me is to bring myself to these myths to try to map the story to myself and what my life experiences are and what I'm trying to do in my present life.
Jim: Were these ancient cultures, like Egypt, were they plugged into something that somehow we've become disconnected to from the years? Did they have some ancient spiritual wisdom or again some kind of direct access that somehow we've gotten disconnected from over the years?
Paul: As a biologist/ecologist - and the Egyptians and the Sumerians were writing 5,000 years ago – as a biologist/ecologist 5,000 years isn’t a long time evolutionary - just from our biology. So my own personal belief is that in fact we're not that different as people - as people with aspirations, as people who are trying to find themselves. They definitely had a different civilization and culture. They had different tools for which to remind themselves as to what their goals were. It's hard to say. I believe that I've met people in present-day world that I appreciate have higher consciousness than I usually tap into. I believe that that has existed throughout our civilization. Obviously I think this is an important task and we should be using all tools we possibly can to investigate this. And sitting in the Kings Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Egypt is an incredible experience that some Egyptians would have experienced as part of their initiation.
So it is hard to say. I can only speak for myself but I would like to think that we are the same as the Egyptians with the same challenges and the same efforts that are required. Awakening higher consciousness isn’t an easy thing at all. So it takes effort and maybe it is not for everyone.
Jim: In terms of this book, “Awakening Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer”, what questions did you ask? Which questions were you seeking to get answered throughout this work?
Paul: The main one is to challenge the often times common view that ancient myths such as Gilgamesh and The Pyramid Texts from Egypt, that they were primitive. That they were fairytales? The key question that Lloyd and I were asking was “Is that true?” Are they just unrelated to anything I live today? By exploring the original text and actually trying to look at a number of different interpretations we believe we've found many pieces of language in these ancient texts that describes me as I live. One of the myths we talk about in our book is the myth of the netherworld. The Egyptians called it the Duat. It was written about by both the Sumerians and the Egyptians. I can’t imagine a better description of what I go through as I try to connect with my real being other than these journeys that the Sumerians and the Ancient Egyptians write about as a journey through the Duat. In both cases we can talk in our book that you have to be prepared, that you have to have the right garments, you have to have the right memory and training. Then once plunged into this other world, you're challenged and you have to meet these challenges. And at the end of the journey one comes up into a different world. You come up into a world as a different being. So this connected with something that Lloyd and I both have experienced in our lives.
So to find that connection is critical to our work. In the early chapters of the book we implore our readers to engage in this process of bringing themselves to the myths. These are not something that you read to relax as you go to sleep. These are something that requires a part of you to be listening and applying to yourself. So that was the main question “Are they more than just spells and myths?” For us they became very powerful over our time of studies.
Jim: Well it all starts with literally. The creation myth – and I want to careful because when we say myth, I don't think that you're necessarily suggesting that it is something isn't true or doesn't have a seat of truth, its just the terminology that you're using - when you talk about these stories such as the beginning is the creation story, what were the differences and the similarities to the Egyptian and Sumerian creation stories. And again, what are your thoughts on them? Because a talking snake is pretty hard to believe in some cases.
Paul: Definitely I haven't met a talking snake yet so its still speculative.
In terms of creation, all of the creation myths focus on this initial movement from the void, from the undifferentiated waters to a recognition of opposites. A recognition of different sides be it heaven/earth, land/water - you know those kind of things. And so when we read the creation myths we see them as describing ourselves as the void. So right now, for most of my life, I'm the void. I’m just just this undifferentiated mass that goes on reading, walking, talking, sleeping. But in my life I've had a few instances when I woke up to see that there was more than just that undifferentiated void. There was me and I was there.
One of my earliest memories that I'll share has to do with me as a very small child at Christmas with my nose pressed to the window on Christmas Eve and seeing Santa Claus come walking down the street. I can see now that it was an emotionally charged moment to see Santa Claus when I wasn't in bed. And so all of my Christmas presents flash before my eyes. But at that moment I was there! And it still sticks with me as a real start to my processing. “Where was I before?” As I grew, people challenged that I could even experience that as a young child.
So that “void”, just having the phrase and seeing the descriptions in the creation myths in the Sumerian, Egyptian and Hebrew lineages helps solidify that yes that was true, it did happen and that there was more for me to see in myself. Having that in front of me helps me in my journey. OK - so there is more for me to see and these myths are pointing me in the right direction.
Jim: The question of supernatural - super natural abilities. I think that is the thing that makes these stories all the more incredible. I’ll use Biblical things because I’m more familiar with that. Take for example David and Goliath. People don’t see giants walking around every day - or a talking snake or in other cultures these supernatural capabilities.
Did you find any evidence that any kind of supernatural tales or supernatural attributes found in the stories actually mapped to reality? That there actually we're giants? Or that there was actually a talking snake – or filling the blank?
Paul: You’re getting beyond my expertise. But there are many strange things in the world. As an ecologist working on the back of a fishing boat, I've seen organisms that are mind-blowing. For me supernatural- there is nothing more supernatural than waking up in the moment. And I still look upon it as a personal experience. And maybe there were giants? Maybe there were talking snakes, but that doesn't help me progress in my own development. To equate those David and Goliath stories to the urging of my soul to try to combat this “giant of the world” around me is more my approach to these kind of the tales. You know they're fast runners that I can never match. The human capacity for achievement is incredible. We will still have a lot to learn about ourselves as humans and where we've come from. You are probably aware of the recent research on the Göbekli Tepe.
Jim: Yes of course.
Paul: The most fascinating thing about that site for me is that it was built by hunter gathers. Now I always bought into this, maybe it’s a myth, this line of thought that we needed civilization, and agriculture and progress to build.
Jim: Not a bunch of nomads just living off the land.
Paul: Yeah, so to see real physical evidence from ten thousand years ago that what hundred gathers could do, shows me the kind of limits of what we still have to learn about ourselves. Although we live in a world with progress and civilization and settlements and agriculture, we have to accept that there maybe other ways of living. To be able to carve those megaliths as hunter gathers just goes contrary to what I was taught about hunter gathers as being a poor and miserable life or something like that.
So to get back beyond the Greeks to Sumerian and Egyptian, some things that Graham Hancock, Bauval and Schoch are trying to investigate in terms of 10,000 years ago, I think that there is a lot we still have to learn. Whether we find giants or talking snakes in that journey I don't know? But to me it's a fantastic time to be looking at our history and what we were as earlier humans and what we might have known at the beginning of our civilization.
Another point if you allow me is that we've access now to an incredible amount of information. Obviously information on the myths was critical to what Lloyd and I did. For Sumerian there's an online site from Oxford University called the Electronic Textual Corpus of the Summary Language (ETCSL) if any of your listeners want to Google. Or there’s the Pyramid Texts Online – no spaces - Pyramidtextsonline. We can see the original texts and approach them in a real way. So we're able as individuals to participate in a way that we couldn't have a number of years ago when we would have had to go to the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris or go to Egypt to explore and expose yourself to these things. We are now able to take our personal studies to the online material and that's incredible. But we still don't really know how some of these megaliths were carved. So maybe we’ve got some skills that weren’t available 5,000 – 10,000 years ago but we may have missed a few things along the way.
Jim: One of the stories that you talk about in the book is the story of Gilgamesh – this demigod, God of super human strength. He’s a king. It sounds pretty fantastic. What did you find about that story because certainly that's one my daughter was just studying last year in school. It’s fascinating and it'll be interesting see the kind of things you found out about something. I mean I know you can't give it all to us in a couple of minutes, but just some highlights.
Paul: Again what we did was looked at the Gilgamesh story and questioned whether it was describing me as a person. What we developed was a model where yes indeed Gilgamesh is a demi-god but he is causing a lot of havoc as a demigod and not being very productive. Its not until he gets paired with his wild animal nature, Enkidu, that the pair, Gilgamesh and Enki, do great things. They chop down a forest and they kill the Bull of Heaven.
For Lloyd and I we see this as a story of the two sides of my own personality. Not my personality but my own Being in terms of the fact that there is a godlike part in me, but I also have to recognize the animal side because I still get hungry, I still get angry, I still get crabby. I have to work to balance the two.
The key piece of the Gilgamesh story is at the end where Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh goes on to strive for immortality. And after great efforts he holds in his hands the flower of immortality. Just at the time that he has the flower and his whole life is fulfilled, he lies down and goes to sleep. I love that part of the story because that’s such a great description of me. In spite of my best efforts to be calm, to be connected and balanced, most likely I’m going to lie down and fall asleep.
So we look at it from more of a psychological point of view in terms of the need to balance our godlike sides with our animal sides. Carl Jung, the psychologist, used the phrase enantiodromia which is the reconciliation of opposites. We look at Gilgamesh as exploring this reconciliation of opposites and what can be done when the two parts are working together. What happens when they work in independently of one another?
We see a lot more in it than just a hero story that is engaging and it's fun to read. We see a lot more in it than just the literal.
Jim: In terms of how these can serve us - so if I understand correctly you feel - let me know if I'm understanding correctly - we can read and learn about these ancient stories and then at least metaphorically they have wisdom for us that can help us awaken our own higher consciousness. Is that the gist of it?
Paul: Absolutely. We certainly see our lower consciousness. But to see both sides.
So we read these stories, we learn about these stories, how do we turn that into action? How do we turn that into living a better life, being a better kinder more productive person?
Paul: The challenge is to be – to be a person. To see our foibles, right now, right in the moment - not tomorrow, not five minutes from now. We see our challenge as being present in the moment. This is consistent with a number of different religious traditions. The Western world has a bulk of these myths which have come down to us and they are useful to us in terms of awakening us to what we are right now and trying to see our different sides.
I don't anticipate that someday I'll awaken and walk on water. That I think is outside my scope. But while I drive the car, while I walk, while I enjoy a sunrise - those are all moments that I think the myths can help remind us of what's going on. Having a language is really critical. And one of the challenges of talking consciousness is we still don’t have an easy-to-use language for discussing that with people. If I told you that this morning I had a crisp apple on the back deck in the sunshine you would have a pretty good idea of what I was experiencing, even though we've never met. But to say that last Wednesday there was moment when I was awake, that doesn’t convey the same meaning. I think that five thousand years ago the Sumerians and Egyptians were struggling for a way to capture these moments of something higher. Much like we are today. Language is as critical for me seeing the world as it is my talking to someone. Without language everything comes back to that void again. Its hard to nail it down. Its hard to see what’s going on, give it some structure to move away from the void and then to try to integrate that into everyday life.
Jim: If people want to learn more about this journey. To learn more about these ancient tales and provide wisdom for our lives today, where would they go? I know that you have a website and the book.
Paul: The book is “Awaking Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer”. Its published by Inner Traditions just a little over a month ago. As scientist we've included many, many references in the book to the people that we've read and thought about and built on. So obviously the reference list in the book. We also have a lot of online resources. The website is http://awhico.com the first two letters of awakening higher consciousness. I invite the listeners to do a Google or Bing search on awhico and they’ll be able to find Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and whatnot so if they have any questions we would love to hear from people. Yeah again we have all of the social media outreach that allows people to contact us. On the website we’ve got a few blog post about the symbolism in ancient Egypt and how the ancient Greeks learned much of what they talked about from the ancient Egyptians. So there’s lots on line.
Jim: Very good. We certainly appreciate it.
Paul Boudreau, thank you for joining us today.
Paul: Thank you very much Jim.
Jim: And thank you for tuning in Ancient Mysteries on the air and keep investigating those mysteries.
To listen to this podcast, follow this link: http://content.blubrry.com/paranormalplus/Guidance_From_Ancient_Myths-Ancient_Mysteries_On_The_Air_6.mp3