My interest in the esoteric began in earnest when I came across some literature from the Ptolemeic period of Ancient Egypt; stories about one of the sons of Ramesses II, who had lived centuries earlier. This prince, Khaemwaset, was already a fascinating historical character, as among other major works, he had overseen the founding of an important library in honour of his father, and restored several pyramid complexes, including those at Giza which were already a couple of thousand years old when he was alive, and has led to him being hailed as the world’s first archaeologist, historian, and restorer of monumental architecture. So to discover that he should have been immortalised in stories as being the greatest magician that ever lived, in having discovered the Book of Thoth, and having travelled to the Underworld while still alive, suggests an oral history that was either designed to entertain, or more likely, to preserve the memory of what he had uncovered in both an entertaining and symbolic fashion.
The Book of Thoth was said to have the power such that anyone who found and read it would know how to enchant the earth and the sky, see the wind, how to hear the sun, know the secrets of the gods and the songs of the stars, and understand the language of the birds.
The box containing the Book of Thoth was said to be buried at the bottom of the Nile, guarded by snakes and scorpions and a mighty serpent who cannot be killed, in an iron box, in which there is a bronze box, in which there is a wooden box, in which there is an ivory and ebony box, in which there is a silver box, in which there is a golden box containing the Book.
Understanding The Language of the Birds is a term used to explain a deep understanding of symbolic language, but it can also be used to describe a person who is attuned with nature, or one who has achieved a certain level in some belief systems that explore so-called “higher states”.
The story about Khaemwaset – also known as Setna – and the Book of Thoth can be found here http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/thebookofthoth.htm
Another legendary story about him is The Sealed Letter http://www.egyptianmyths.net/mythsealletr.htm
There’s also a short article (link below) that I find is a great introduction to the Language of the Birds:
“There is often mention, in diverse traditions, of a mysterious language called “the language of the birds”—a designation that is clearly symbolic, for the very importance that is attributed to the knowledge of this language, as the prerogative of a high initiation, does not allow us to take it literally. We read, for example, in the Qurʾān: “And Solomon was David’s heir. And he said, O mankind! Lo! we have been taught the language of the birds (ullimnā manṭiq aṭ-ṭayr) and have been given abundance of all things” (27:16). Elsewhere we read of heroes who, having vanquished the dragon, like Siegfried in the Nordic legend, instantly understand the language of the birds; and this makes it easy to interpret the symbolism in question. Victory over the dragon has, as its immediate consequence, the conquest of immortality, which is represented by some object the approach to which is guarded by the dragon; and this conquest essentially implies the reintegration into the center of the human state, that is, into the point where communication is established with the higher states of the being. It is this communication which is represented by the understanding of the language of the birds; and in fact birds are frequently taken as symbols of the angels, that is, precisely, of the higher states.”
Read the full article at the link below
More on the Language of the Birds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_of_the_birds