Ellen Kuschner's Sound and Spirit radio program explored death yesterday.
She spent some time on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
She played part of a moving interpretation of the Book, meant to be read aloud, presumably to the corpse in the moments after death.
"Dear friend, the moment has come, as it must for us all. You are dead. Now you are free to go into the light. Do not allow yourself to be diverted, lest you go to a place where you should not go..."
Many cultures, said Ellen, believe that the soul spends about a year finding its way before it can rest--purification, purgatory--
Ellen, herself a Jew, said that the Jewish religion doesn't rule out reincarnation, either, and she read some references.
She played a wonderful cut from a recording by Laurie Anderson* about a conversation with a ouija board:
In 1978, I spent some time in California in the fall, looking for a quiet place to live. I finally found what seemed to be the perfect apartment. But the night after I moved in I heard a tremendous pounding sound. As it turned out, I had moved in right above a Hawaiian hallow log drum school. Every other night, it was converted into a hula school with a live band of six Hawaiian guitars.
I decided to soundproof my place but I didn't hang the door very well and all the sounds kept drifting in. About this time, like a lot of New Yorkers who find themselves on the West Coast, I got interested in various aspects of California's versions of the occult. We would sit around at night when the Santa Anna winds howled outside, and ask questions to the ouija board. I found out a lot of information on my past 9,361 human lives on this planet. My first life was as a raccoon.
Ã‚Â— And then you were a cow. And then you were a bird. And then you were a hat, spelled the ouija.
We said Ã‚Â“a hat?Ã‚Â” We couldn't figure it out. Finally we guessed that the feathers from the bird had been made into a hat. Is this true?
Ã‚Â— Yes, spelled the ouija. Hat counts as half life.
Ã‚Â— Hundreds and hundreds of rave eyes.
Now this is apparently my first life as a woman, which should explain quite a few things. Eventually though, the ouija's written words seemed to take a kind of personality, a kind of a voice. Finally we began to ask the board if the ouija would be willing to appear to us in some other form.
Ã‚Â— Forget it, forget it, forget it, forget it, forget it, forget it.
The ouija seemed like it was about to crash. Please, please, what can we do?
*The Ouija Board
Laurie Anderson et al
LAURIE ANDERSON - THE UGLY ONE
WITH THE JEWELS AND OTHER STORIES
- Warner Bros. 45847