Each was prepared by scribes for burials, with varying quality depending on the scribe’s skill, and some were prepared with blank spaces to later fill in the name of the dead. In addition to the long-form papyrus versions of the Book of the Dead, spells and passages from the text were recorded other places – on tomb walls, mummy wrappings and even inside King Tut’s golden mask. One aspect of death was the disintegration of the various kheperu, or modes of existence. Funerary rituals served to re-integrate these different aspects of being. The ka, or life-force, remained in the tomb with the dead body, and required sustenance from offerings of food, water and incense. In case priests or relatives failed to provide these offerings, Spell 105 ensured the ka was satisfied. The name of the dead person, which constituted their individuality and was required for their continued existence, was written in many places throughout the Book, and spell 25 ensured the deceased would remember their own name.


5 Formula for preventing a man from having to do work in the underworld. “The Chapters/Book of Going Forth By Day” is the official translation of the title given to a collection of papyrus rolls on the same subject known commonly as the Book of the Dead. Though the word “book” brings to mind a story or text written by a singular author and reprinted repeatedly in the same form, these texts have multiple authors and each version has its own variations. These texts served as a guide for the dead to use on their journeys to the afterlife.

The first funerary manuscripts we know of are the Pyramid Texts, the first of which were sequestered away in the heart of the Pyramid of King Unas of the 5th dynasty dated approximately 2400 BC – a period known as the Old Kingdom. The text was inscribed on the walls of the burial chambers as opposed to being an actual book at this stage. This rigid exclusivity eventually crumbled towards the end of the period of the Old Kingdom when other wealthy Egyptians of high status, like government officials, were able to purchase a path to the afterlife. In her book, entitled, Utterances Going Forth, Sue D’Auria aptly describes this change as the ‘democratization of the afterlife’. These have been dubbed the Coffin Texts owing to the fact that they were most commonly written on the inside of the stone coffins of the deceased. 156 Formula for a tiyet-knot of khenmet-stone placed at the neck of the transfigured spirit. 155 Formula for a djed-pillar of gold placed at the neck of the transfigured spirit.

Two other versions of this formula have been called 30A and 30B, common on heart scarabs, with the title ‘Formula for preventing the heart of a man from opposing him in the underworld’. There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site for chapter 30A. 161 (no title in the papyrus of Iufankh; other sources have the title ‘formula for cleaving an opening in the sky’) There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site. 96 Formula for being beside Thoth and giving transfigured status in the underworld.

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Amongst the myriad antiquities Budge procured throughout his career was his acquisition of the Papyrus of Ani, a manifestation of the Book of the Dead. This version of the text, found in Thebe, contained a number of the chapters that are found in the full version of the text. This was by no means the oldest version of the book we have knowledge of, with other excerpts found inscribed in tombs instated more than 3000 years before Christ.

There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site for part of the full chapter. Chapter 125 has been divided into sections 125A , 125B , 125C , 125D (the full-height illustration of the judgement). An associated composition, with more prominent role for Anubis, has also been labelled 125A, see Allen 1974, . There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site for the main sections A, B and C. 112 Another formula for knowing the powers of Pe.There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site.

43 Formula for preventing the head of a man being removed from him in the underworld. 42 Formula for fighting off all evil stakes, and the slaughter inflicted in the underworld.

There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site for the main part of this chapter. 31 Formula for fighting off those that come to take the words of power of a man from him in the underworld. 22 Another formula for giving the mouth of a man to him in the underworld. 21 Formula for giving the mouth of a man to him in the underworld There is a page with transliteration and translation on this site.

It was the ba, depicted as a human-headed bird, which could “go forth by day” from the tomb into the world; spells 61 and 89 acted to preserve it. Finally, the shut, or shadow of the deceased, was preserved by spells 91, 92 and 188. If all these aspects of the person could be variously preserved, remembered, and satiated, then the dead person would live on in the form of an akh. An akh was a blessed spirit with magical powers who would dwell among the gods. The Book of the Dead is an ancient Egyptian funerary text generally written on papyrus and used from the beginning of the New Kingdom to around 50 BCE. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw, is translated as Book of Coming Forth by Day or Book of Emerging Forth into the Light. Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge was an English Egyptologist, Orientalist and philologist employed at the British Museum.

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