I have always been drawn to the mysteries of the ancients. Years ago, when I was a teenager I asked myself ‘what did they know that we no longer know, living so close to the land’. That question gave me my path, although I didn’t realise it then.
I stumbled upon this book a few years ago in my bookcase – I must have bought it when someone recommended it to me, put it to one side and then spotted it one day, just when I was ready for it. The entire premise of the book is to look back at what ancient, successful cultures knew, and use this information to help us today.
Thoroughly researched and superbly written, English author Lucy Wyatt begins by making the point that we will only solve the problems of today through a change of mind-set, not through science alone. She points towards us needing a different belief system – one that gives us a framework for action. That it’s more important than ever that we rediscover a spirituality and practical knowledge base that makes new sense of the world and connects all parts to the whole. That at the moment the debate around belief and knowledge is in danger of being polarized between ‘irrational’ religion and ‘rational’ science.
Throughout the book she takes us on a journey tracing back the origins of civilization, looking closely at the Egyptians in particular, and moving on to explain how the origins of ‘One God’ came about. She asks the question ‘have we been misled? Has the Bible perhaps not given us the whole truth?’ She explains that what replaced the Egyptian belief system ma’at was a new Roman ethos based on power and glory rather than harmony and eventually became the powerful ideology of a relatively new religion. Rome embraced Christianity and this has brought us to today.
Towards the end of the book she offers a new way of looking at things, drawing on the wisdom on the past to help us reshape our future. She talks of how the Renaissance was one attempt at a recovery process, and brings in geometry, quantum physics and magic.
She argues that as twenty-first century civilization faces economic, ecological and spiritual meltdown, to survive this century as civilized people we need to refer back to a time when city life was in harmony with nature and the wider environment. She makes the point that we cannot dismiss the ancients as ‘primitive’ when they had a blue print for civilization that first appeared over 5000 years ago, and that perhaps we should look at the ancient past for solutions, such as the possibility of an unknown zero-carbon technology.
The book explains that for the last two thousand years much has been hidden, primarily because the Greeks and the Romans did not have access to the whole archetype. It reveals more about the original concepts going back to the end of the the last Ice Age, identifying the earliest principles and what happened to them.
Lucy surmises: … we will only be truly civilized when we understand how to integrate the paradoxes and that chaos, in the sense of freewill or creativity, needs to be at the heart of order. Our fate is in our hands. We don’t have to wait for circumstances to force change upon us. If we use our nous now we can avoid a fate worse than death, which would be to live inadvertently, in a hell of our own making. We can start to live in harmony today, not wait for tomorrow. We have free will and we can choose to be civilised’.