Book of the Dead

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The Book of the Dead ancient Egyptian funerary text

  • Translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day
  • Another translation is Book of Emerging Forth into the Light
  • Consist of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person’s journey through the Duat, or underworld, and into the afterlife
  • Meant to protect the dead from dangers which they face when attempting to reach the other world
  • The spells were usually found on papyrus or leather with the corpse beside it in the coffin, actually inside the mummy wrappings, or inserted inside of a small statue of a funerary deity
  • Many of the spells were recited by priests at the funeral and also that their presence within the reach of the deceased made them available to him when he needed them
  • There are presently over 200 spells, but not all are contained in any one discovered papyrus
  • After death the Egyptian hoped to be free to return to the earth during the day or be accepted as one of the blessed in the realm of Osiris
  • The contents are a variety of hymns, magic formulas, prayers, and incantations which are to be recited to help the decease overcome obstacles which might prevent him from achieving objectives
  • One example gives the body power to enter the Hereafter immediately after burial