Donna Seebo did a great interview on the book in early August.
You can listen to the podcast at: https://soundcloud.com/paul-r-boudreau/interview-podcast-of-aug-6-with-donna-seebo .
Here is the transcript of the interview:
Donna Seebo: Hello. Are you ready to travel to Egypt? Learn a bit of history? What about myths and fables that have been passed down through the millennia? Do you know where they originated from? What about the mysteries of Egypt? Oh my goodness. There have been so many publications about this and as it would turn out the more we think we know, many times we discover how little we really do know. My guest today is Paul Boudreau. We are going to be talking about Awakening Higher Consciousness – the subtitle of this book is guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer. Sumerian culture which is so very very old. I want to welcome to the show Paul Boudreau
Paul I am so delighted to have you today because we are going to be talking about history which is one of my favorite subjects. But it is history that not very many people are acquainted with.
Paul Boudreau: Hello Donna, it a great pleasure to be on your show. You have background which fascinates me. You probably know more about Egypt than I do but I would love to contribute to the discussion and bring what Lloyd and I have written recently in our book about Ancient Egypt, Sumer, Hebrew – all those ancient cultures that we have been studying for 3, 4, 5000 years.
Donna: Doing great. I am very fortunate to come across this book. It is quite an adventure to read.
Paul: I am glad to hear that.
Donna: Well I’ll tell you what, I think there is always something to learn and you definitely know more than I do – you and Lloyd Dickie both. Now, Lloyd is a person who has a masters degree from Yale University and a doctorate from the University of Toronto. He is a retired ecologist and has been a former professor of oceanography and biology at Dalhousie University. He, like you, has loved Ancient Egypt. He has been involved in many different site visits. You also were an ecologist and biologist. And you have an interest in ancient myths and also on site explorations.
How did the two of you guys get together? I mean you had a lot in common, but you were from really different arenas. How did you get together?
Paul: It was totally through work. It was very practical. I needed a job to support my wife and two kids. Lloyd was looking for a young researcher to do some marine ecology so we were thrown together to do some marvelous things on the back of fishing boats cutting up fish on the Georges Bank in the middle of March. In the down time we got to talking about other things and more interesting things. This common interest came about concerning spirituality and our experiences as children. By that point Lloyd had been to Egypt several of times. I piggybacked on his interest and managed to join him a couple of times in Egypt. It has been a great ride.
Ecology is not that far from spirituality in many respects. But that might be for a different show.
Donna: I understand that. I really am thrilled when people share their knowledge about what they’ve discovered because there is so much history that we have been misinformed about. With technology today we are catching up, if that ever happens. We are catching up with the reality that there was more going on on this planet and not everyone was walking around looking like an ape and gurgling and drooling.
I really think that there is so much that we don’t know, that we are beginning to become aware – especially of ancient civilizations. A lot of this is due to archaeological digs.
Now you guys chose Egypt and Sumer. Why? Why did that grab your interest so much?
Paul: Well they wrote for the first time. Before Sumer, before Ancient Egypt, there was no writing. The thrust of our work has to do with written myth and story. There are many other ways to convey meaning, knowledge and information. But if you look at what is actually written, what we can read, those are the two cultures that started it all. And so it was a no-brainer that if we wanted to start at the beginning of literature that is where you go.
Donna: Now you start off right at the very beginning of your book, and I am going to quote directly from it, “the Sumerian epic tale Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and Netherworld, from the third millennium BCE, more than five thousand years ago.” Now that is a long long time ago.
How were you able to determine the time frame?
Paul: Archaeology is going hand-in-hand with a lot of the work that we are now looking at in understanding ancient cultures. Even 100, 200 years ago we didn’t understand Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Rosetta Stone has to come along before we could make progress in understanding Egyptian and the Sumerian cuneiform likewise laid under the ground for centuries/millennia. In the last couple of hundred years people have really done marvelous things in understanding the language and what it means. You mentioned the internet. Both of these languages have great resources on line. For the Sumerian there is the Electronic Textual Corpus of the Sumerian Language – ETCSL. It comes out of the Oxford University. It lists all of the Sumerian literature with the words and the translations. So anybody can go on their computer and read things that we really didn’t have a clue what it meant a couple of hundred years ago. So this field of study is so new and there is still so much to learn.
Donna: Myths – they are magical as far as I am concerned. Most people are very familiar with the Greek stories, the Roman stories. But these myths actually have a basis in Mesopotamian Egypt and you state in your book that these myths have been distributed to Europe and the European environment as we know it. It was distributed by the Hebrews as well as the Greeks. I think it is very hard sometimes for individuals to realize that number one there was a global economy that was in place when the Sumerians were around and number two, all of these cultures were blooming and exchanging information. And that these stories were carried by sailors who were considered scholars.
So lets go intohow you found out about these early early myths and what made you decide to really get into the guts-of-it so to speak?
Paul: I think both Lloyd and I have to go back to our youngest age. We were raised in North America and exposed to Christian myths and fairy tales and whatnot. By the time I was in my mid-twenties years ago, I wont say how many, we both shared the sense that we had heard these stories, but they just sounded ridiculous. You know, naked people running around the garden with a talking snake. Why would that myth have persisted and have been so important that I was told about as a young person in the 1900’s? We both shared a sense that there had to be more. It is fine to be entertained and amused, but there had to be more to these myths.
We encountered a number of excellent books early on. One is “Hamlet’s Mill” which some of your listeners might be aware of. They were at that time looking at what kind of information can be carried in a myth or a fairy tale or whatever. The more we looked, the more evidence there was that they do contain real information. Sometimes there is information about a volcano exploding, sometimes is a foreign takeover by another culture, but if you look at it in the right light, there was always something deeper than just entertainment.
Now our interest of course was spirituality and personal development so we looked at both Egyptian and Sumerian as what kind of stories are they telling us about “me” right now as I read it in 2015. The more we probed from that side, the more it became apparent that yes there are lessons in this 5,000 year old stories that relates to me now and gives me a language, a vocabulary, that helps me understand some of the things that I have to see in my life. They point to additional things that I have to learn as I continue to live.
Myths have many levels to be looked at, to be seen at. Some of them can be seen as just an entertaining story such as two giants fighting. But there are other things that with a bit of effort, a little bit of preparation, become available to us as readers, people interested in development.
Donna: There is a statement in your book where you feel that the wealth of material, new information, that you and Lloyd have discovered allows people to not only look at the past, but it offers assistance and wisdom for todays life. There is a big concern on the part of both of your about the loss of what you perceive as spiritual values. And of course this is an old, old story. This was being talked about 5,000 years ago and it is those myths that have come forward and distributed among many different cultures, and that’s why you hear the same story, maybe in different costuming, but the essence of it is still the same. They have been carried forward for good reason. Because there is something that is solid in there.
You say that this is the basis of civilization. This what encourages people to move forward and not to go back to the dark ages.
Paul: Most, if not all, of what we deal with are somehow related to creation. Creation myths are often seen in the physical world as trying to explain how the earth came about. We look at creation in all the various cultures that we deal with as descriptions of that moment of awakening. The moment of something coming out of nothing. Something organized coming out of the void or chaos. We do see this as the story of us as humans awakening to our potential. So we are not as you said drooling running around clubbing each other but we actually have an awareness of who we are. And we can see ourselves as different from our environment or our biology or our for that matter our emotions which “run ragged” on us.
We look at the stories of creation as creation of ourselves as individuals. If you don’t wake up to that, I can see that there is not much future. Progress and appetites will continue to drive you. That is the crux of our present day challenge. How do we waken up to ourselves and our potential that is more than just making money or driving the biggest car? I think we have to return to that as we look forward and figure out how we marshal our intelligence, our resources, our physical resources, our economic resources. It has a huge impact on where we are going to be 20, 50, 100 years from now.
Donna: That is true. I also think that what you have just addressed applies to cultural environments that are still in the Middle Ages. Cultural positionings and attitudes that we are seeing that have to go. They don’t fit anymore. Its like a 1950’s girdle that a women 55 that is trying to put on and she doesn’t have the figure of a 13-year old that was maybe wearing it. I know that is a bit of a ridiculous example but I think that is what is happening in today’s world. I think that people such as yourself and Lloyd are trying to assist in people understanding that the human race has gone through this scenario more than once.
I was intrigued by some information you put in your book. You said only – and by the way for those who are listening, the book is “Awakening Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer” the Sumerian people lived in that part of the world.
In the past 25 years you said that it has become widely known that the fragments of writing found at Amarna from the reign of Amenhotep IV who was more known as Akhenaten in the 18th Dynasty of Egypt contain snippets of the Babylonian versions of the early Sumerian story of Enkidu’s Descent to the Underworld. Who knew? In the last 25 years we have just figured that out?
Paul: Exactly! That is what I was saying about language. We have not been working on them for very long – not much time. We tend to break things up and lump. You are either an Egyptian specialist or a Sumerian specialists and we are not encourage to bridge that gaps.
The same thing with the Sumerian. When people lump the Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian cultures together as one culture, but they are separated by two thousand years. The Sumerian writing that began 3,000 BCE – 5,000 years ago – was written down 1,500 years before the Babylonians got into it.
I am grateful that the Babylonians did carriy those stories on, but 1,500 years is a long time to modify a myth if you will. In the book we try to look at the early Sumerian writings but we also try to see how it evolved as it came down through the millennium through the Akkadians, through the Babylonians, through the Hebrew to ourselves. You can still see the nugget, but you are better off by having exposure to these various, not interpretations, but various representations of the myths. I think that it is part of the prep. work to see how it has come down. The nugget is certainly still there, but to lump the Sumerians who were a non-semetic with the Akkadians who were Semitic and lived slightly differently. Even if we look at ourselves and look back 2,000 years to the “time of Christ”, we are quite a different people. We have quite different resources. So that is all part of it – to try to get sense of what, where, how these myths were created and passed down. There is still so much to learn.
Donna: The 10 commandments you found were in the writings of the Egyptians and the Sumerians. Now that I thought was extremely interesting. We’re going back 5,000 years and here we have thought that it was primarily associated with the Jewish people and the story about them leaving Egypt. But it went back so much further. So we have these adaptations through the centuries that I find most intriguing but a lot of people don’t even want to look at that.
Paul: That’s right. I don’t know what they are afraid of. I am encouraged to know that these thoughts, these values have been around for so long. I think that gives good weight to these important issues that we have to keep in mind.
It is amazing to us that they were captured in the very first literature that was ever written by man – ever written by humans. It is incredible! We generally think of progress where you start off small and you build on it, but at the very first moment that literature arrived, these values were being captured and we feel that this shows the importance of these values even for the Sumerians, even for the Egyptians. If they were going to write about something, they weren’t going to write necessarily about how many ears of corn they ate that morning. They were going to write about real things that they knew they had to protect. We’re still living with those values and learning what those values mean. It is quite a story.
Donna: Yes it is and the Hebrews have such a significant positioning in this because they’re the ones that the Christians adopted a lot of information from, the Muslims adopted a lot of information from. It always amazing me how someone will say “I am this way.” and “I’m the other way.” when you’re all related. Why in the world can’t you get along for heaven’s sake. Do you really understand your history? Do you understand the links? And most of them don’t. They’ll sit in a state of denial until the “cows come home.” And they don’t even have cows so you know how long that’s going to take. It’s amazing.
Paul: Yes, they’ll argue about fine details, but not recognize that they all came down from Abraham who was a Sumerian or grew up in the area of Sumer. It doesn’t make sense to me.
Donna: Its just really fascinating.
Now we go into you accept the properties of number. How is that important in a lot of these stories?
Paul: It gets back to creation. We are now taught and we use number from an engineering point of view or a counting point of view. But the early Egyptians looked at number as carrying a lot of basic information about the way we look at the world that we don’t understand or don’t give credit in the present day world.
A lot of what we have encountered has come down through the Greeks. A lot of people don’t realize that all of the great Greeks, or most of the great Greeks, were taught by Egyptians. That is where they got their learning. And somehow the number, the values of number, didn’t get translated very well from the Egyptians to the Greek culture.
You can count zero, one, two, three, but in terms of creation it is a very powerful moment or very powerful thought to think about a one, a unity, a whole dividing and having two sides. Think of the Yin/Yang symbol, I’m sure that you know that one. It is one symbol, one circle, but there are these two movements, these two tear drops that suggest movement within them. That is just one example of how numbers to be seen at different levels from counting. It is a bit of magic how that sort of creation happens. How you move from one thing to another. I think that’s important whether its a cell in biology dividing to give way to new life or whether it’s a “Paul Boudreau” trying to see who I am in the world.
But this is an old story of humanity. And it has been costumed differently with each successive century – whichever culture picked it up and costumed it in the culture of their times. It is quite a powerful story because it covers so much in the various levels of human maturation.
Paul: A lot of the creation myths that we talk about have to do with a journey, a quest or something. Gilgamesh was the first journey myth that was written down. There is a lot of fascinating stuff that goes on in the Gilgamesh myth. The one that I still enjoy and brings a smile to my lips is that this is a demigod who should be happy and he has challenges, he has to find a life-mate in Enkidu. They do great things but ultimately Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh goes on to find the key to his immortality. And without getting into the whole story, at the end, Gilgamesh has this flower in his hand that he has gone a whole lifetime of work to get ahold of. It is his lifetime quest. He has the flower and he lies down by a pool and goes to sleep and a snake steals it away from him. It brings a smile to my lips because that is a great description of my own intentions in terms of how often I want to learn, or lose weight or if I want to become conscious at the moment. That whole description of me saying “Oh I’ve worked hard enough, I am just going to take a little break.” And then when I wake up I am back to square one again I find that I have lost everything.
That is just one example of how we’ve enjoyed the Gilgamesh myth in terms of describing things that I still encounter on a daily basis. If I couldn’t laugh I would probably cry at how many times I fall asleep in the run of a day when I am faced with some real progress.
This whole journey that was captured 5,000 years ago is just a delightful tale that deserves to be retold and recaptured as we go along.
I think it is similar to what we found in the Egyptian with the journey of the soul through the Duat or Netherworld. It’s a common theme that describes our lives. There is still so much more that we could in them.
Donna: In Egyptian culture awakening of the higher consciousness self was very important. Now I am using our words for today when I say that. But it is something that has intrigued people because when the tombs were discovered they found that there were basically two kinds of language that the Egyptians used. One which is visual which is absolutely amazing to look at. And the other is actually their language. And these two complement each other and it took quite a while before people put the two of them together. Didn’t it?
Paul: Yeah they used architecture, they used drawings, they used language. One of the things that we get into in the book has to do with the common perception that most of Egyptian culture was funerary – that most Egyptians were concerned with funerals and death. But just like our culture, the Egyptians built tombs, absolutely they built tombs and they were marvelous. But they also built temples for celebrating as we would do churches. And they also did pyramids, which, we are still trying to figure out exactly what the pyramids. But we have to be careful not to lump all of the Egyptian culture together in terms of funerary culture. We find many instances of literature that is uplifting and useful to the living soul as The Bible or Hebrew. Its just that the early explorers had a certain perspective. They saw everything through a lens of “people burying people.” We are quite convinced that there are other aspects.
The pyramids are fabulous but I don’t see much evidence at all that they were used as tombs. It is much more likely that they were used as places of instruction and initiation.
The whole “Book of Coming Forth by Day” which most people call “The Book of the Dead” – The Book of Coming Forth by Day is all about coming out into the light. It is a much more powerful title than the Book of the Dead. Looking at it that different way helps one explore these images and language in a more useful way than thinking that these are “just about dead people.” We do a great disservice to the Egyptians by not seeing them as alive and interested in spiritual development and all those other things that we still struggle with today.
Donna: Oh yes! And one of the things is that they loved their animals. There is so much that again we are just beginning to get a grip on because of those as archaeologists are willing to explore – people like you and Lloyd.
I am just so interested in this book “Awakening Higher Consciousness: Guidance from Ancient Egypt and Sumer”.
Paul its just a fascinating read. I know that we are just about out of time, but I would like to give a paragraph to my listeners that is in your book that I think sums up nicely what is the point of your publication. “The Sumerian and Egyptian myths directly influenced the Judaic culture and formed the bases of some Old Testament stories, which, in turn, influenced present-day Western culture. That is, we in the West can trace our cultural roots directly to myths written down some 4,500 years ago! But the challenges modern societies face lie in understanding what these myths are telling us and determining how we can make use of them in our everyday life to awaken our higher conscious.”
What a fabulous paragraph! Very well said.
Now you have a website Paul Boudreau and it is awhico – A like Adam, W like Walter, H like Henry, I like Ida, C like Charlie and O – I really felt like I had to spell tht out - .com. Awhico.com and what are people going to find there?
Paul: We’ve written a few blog postings since the book came out. All the photos from the book are there in color on the website. There are links to Facebook and Twitter. If people do a Google search for “Awhico” they’ll find that we have a Linkedin site, Facebook, Twitter and we’d love to hear from people and get their feedback.
We also post upcoming events and opportunities where we will be speaking with other people. So there is lots of stuff on line and we would love to hear from people.
Donna: I think it’s a delight and I love the photographs in your book. I think they are marvelous!
Its just a great read! History is fabulous and we are also going to learn new things about history because as we become educated and investigate more and more and not take for granted what people in the past have said, we are going to be surprised how so many of these cultures, these peoples that we are descendent from one way or another had a richness that we still carry forward today. I think its marvelous.
Paul Boudreau, thank you so much for being my guest today.
Paul: Thanks you so much Donna. Maybe we will get to talk again?
Donna: Yes sure – let me know when you come out with your next book.
Paul: I will indeed – thanks so much.
We are in an absolutely amazing time period because we are seeing so may amazing things that links us to ancestors that had to go through much of the same stuff that we are going through today. I call it stuff because as human beings have to go through these repeat performances. So maybe, just maybe, there is going to be a wakeup call when people are going to realize that we can do things differently. We can be aware. That there are opportunities available to us to make this world and this life even better than it is today.