|THE ETERNAL JOURNEY
The Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead with Dr Alice Stevenson and Francesca Fremantle
Saturday 29th October at 1:00 pm
Explaining what happens to us when we die is one of the principal functions of religions. Some of them even go as far as issuing detailed guidance as to what we can expect on our voyage to the next world.
“The Book of Emerging Forth into the Light” was a series of magic spells complied by Egyptian priests over 1000s of years to help the dead soul traverse the underworld and attain the afterlife. A papyrus copy would be placed in the tombs of Pharaohs. Over the years the privilege began to be accorded to lower mortals too. Prussian Egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius produced the first modern translation of these incantations in 1842 and it was he who coined the name “The Book of the Dead”. In her talk, Egyptologist and curator of the Petrie Museum DR ALICE STEPHENSON will explore the spells, prayers and incantations contained within this collection of funerary texts paying special attention to the orignal manuscript held in the Petrie Museum.
“The Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State” is a guide for the dead soul to facilitate its journey through limbo and on to eventual resurrection. According to legend it was composed in the 8th century by Padmasambhava, a Buddhist master who built the first monastery in Tibet. In 1927 an English translation was published by American anthropologist Walter Evans-Wentz. He named it “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” in recognition of its similarities with the earlier Egyptian text. Aldous Huxley introduced it to Timothy Leary who in turn used it as the basis for his 1964 manual on LSD usage “The Psychedelic Experience”. It was after reading Leary’s book that John Lennon wrote “Tomorrow Never Knows”.
Fremantle received her doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is a teacher with the Longchen Foundation, established by Chögyam Trungpa and Dilgo Khyentse, and directed by Rigdzin Shikpo.