Jewish Magic and Superstition
by Joshua Trachtenberg, 
5 THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD
THE ties that bind man to his home and his associates are insoluble—even death cannot part them. Long after the body has departed this life, the spirit still frequents its ancient haunts, maintaining a shadowy connection with the world it knew and loved. This is the conception of death that has prevailed since man first had ideas on the subject, and it persists to this day more or less overtly.
Among Jews it was never completely ousted by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. After all, according to the prevailing polypsychism of the Middle Ages, man is possessed of several spirits: the Continue reading
Shakyamuni being tested by the Daughters and Children of Mara under the Bodhi tree.
By the Wanderling
Centuries ago the coming Buddha sat under the Bodhi-tree and vowed not to move until he learned to eradicate suffering, unfolding Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, the Consumation of Incomparable Enlightenment. But Mara, the personification of evil, tried to usurp his plans by sending his three daughters Tanha (desire), Raga (lust), and Arati (aversion), to seduce him and break his concentration. However, the coming Buddha was too strong for Mara.
In Buddhism Mara is the lord of misfortune, sin, destruction and Death. Mara is the ruler of desire and Continue reading
Funeral Ceremonies of the Ibo
By Karen Hauser (1992) [Edited]
The Ijaw and Ibo perform intricate burials and funeral ceremonies. The most elaborate performances are for the chiefs, and there are several types of death that are considered shameful and are not given any burial at all.
In the Kalabari, when a chief dies, his family takes his body to a special funeral compound (“Oto Kwbu”) to be washed. This involves a painstaking ceremony in which special pot of water and cloths are brought in, both of which are forbidden to touch the ground. Then the chiefs sisters tie an Okuru around his waist and his legal wives dress him with special cloths. Continue reading
Papyrus of Ani
In Kemet, the priests often compiled an individualized book for each ruler at their death, called the “Book of Going Forth by Day”. This book is more commonly known as the Book of the Dead. It usually contained declarations and spells to help the deceased in their afterlife. The “Book of the Dead” for scribe Ani from Thebes is the manuscript called the Papyrus of Ani.
This aspect of African funerary literature which is often mistaken for a codified ethic of Ma’at, is Spell (Chapter) 125 of the Book of the Dead or Papyrus of Ani. The lines of this spell are often collectively called the “Forty-Two Declarations of Purity” or the 42 Negative Confessions.
These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb. Seemingly depending on the time of reign. They also appear to express each tomb owner’s individual conception of Ma’at, as well as working as a magical absolution—misdeeds or mistakes made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe that particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased. Continue reading