I stand before the masters who witnessed the Genesis, who were the authors of their own forms, who walked the dark, circuitous passages of their own becoming………..I stand before the masters who witnessed the transformation of the body of a man into the body of spirit, who were witness to resurrection when the corpse…….walked out shining…when he came forth from death, a shining thing, his face white with heat……I stand before the masters who know the histories of the dead, who decide which tales to hear again, who judge the books of lives as either full or empty, who are themselves authors of truth. And they are………the divine intelligences. And when the story is written and the end is good and the soul of man is perfected, with a shout they lift him into heaven.
~~ Egyptian Book of the Dead ~~
The ancient Egyptians planned throughout their lives for the afterlife, and how they tried to impose control over what was unknown to them. It`s a long story of the human psyche: there are fears and hopes and how they dealt with them ( and it`s not much different from they way we do) in a world when the only certain thing was death and taxes.
There were no hard and fast rules on who could have a Book of the Dead, but they were expensive items to produce; we are talking of a world where absolutely everything was hand made, and so needed time and expertise to produce. So if you could afford it you had one; if not, you had to make your final journey to the underworld leaning on the benefit of your own wits and native guile. Such as it has always been.