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the Dawn of Civilization => Africa, the Cradle of Life => Topic started by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:30:22 am

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:30:22 am

                                            T H E   D O G O N S   O F   M A L I   

The Dogon are a group of people living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. They number just under 800,000.

The Dogon are best known for their mythology, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organization, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:35:51 am
The Dogon village of Banani.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:38:54 am
The Bandiagara Cliffs

Geography and demography
The principal Dogon area is dissected by the Bandiagara Escarpment, a sandstone cliff of up to 500m (1,640 ft) high, stretching for about 150km (almost 100 miles). To the southeast of the cliff, the sandy Séno-Gondo plains are found, and northwest of the cliff are the Bandiagara highlands. The current population is at least 450,000. Historically, Dogon villages have frequently fallen victim to slave raiders. Neighboring tribal groups acted as slave merchants, as the growth of cities increased the demand for slaves across the region of West Africa.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the jihads that were triggered by the resurgence of Islam caused slaves to be sought for warfare. Dogon insecurity in the face of these historical pressures caused them to locate their villages in defensible positions along the walls of the escarpment. The other factor influencing their choice of settlement location is water. Nearby is the Niger and in the sandstone rock, a rivulet runs at the foot of the cliff at the lowest point of the area during the wet season.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:42:21 am

Dogon art

Dogon wood sculpture,
probably an ancestor figure,
17th-18th century

Dogon art is primarily wood sculpture, although some pieces are made out of stone or forged from metal. Dogon art serves both an every day and ritualistic function. The carvers who create this art continue the tradition in making the pieces as the mentors who taught them did. The purpose of Dogon art is to preserve the peoples' tradition and not for an individual claim to a piece. Both carvers and especially blacksmiths are important figures in their culture and many myths surround their work and are retold by the Dogon. Knowledge is passed from the elders to those whose job is going to be making these ritualistic and everyday pieces. Pieces used in rituals are created by the blacksmiths who employ similar techniques when working with metal as when working with wood.

Dogon art revolves around religious values, ideals, and freedoms (Laude, 19). Dogon sculptures are not made to be seen publicly, and are commonly hidden from the public eye within the houses of families, sanctuaries, or kept with the Hogon (Laude, 20). The importance of secrecy is due to the symbolic meaning behind the pieces and the process by which they are made.

Themes found throughout Dogon sculpture consist of figures with raised arms, superimposed bearded figures, horsemen, stools with caryatids, women with children, figures covering their faces, women grinding pearl millet, women bearing vessels on their heads, donkeys bearing cups, musicians, dogs, quadruped-shaped troughs or benches, figures bending from the waist, mirror-images, aproned figures, and standing figures (Laude, 46-52). Signs of other contacts and origins are evident in Dogon art. The Dogon people were not the first inhabitants of the cliffs of Bandiagara. Influence from Tellem art is evident in Dogon art because of its rectilinear designs (Laude, 24).

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:48:49 am

Culture and religion

The majority of Dogon practice an animist religion, including the ancestral spirit Nommo, with its festivals and Sirian mythology. A significant minority of the Dogon practice Islam, and some have been converted by missionaries to Christianity.

The Dogon record their ancestry through a patrilineal system. Each Dogon community, or enlarged family, is headed by one male elder. This chief head is the oldest living son of the ancestor of the local branch of the family. According to the NECEP database, within this patrilineal system polygynic marriages, with up to four spouses can occur.

Most men, however, have only one wife; and it is rare for a man to have more than two wives. Formally, wives only join their husband's residence unit after the birth of their first child. Women may leave their husbands early in their marriage, before the birth of their first child. After having children, divorce is a rare and serious matter, and it requires the participation of the whole village. An enlarged family can count up to hundred persons and is called guinna.

The Dogon are strongly oriented toward harmony, and this harmony is reflected in many of their rituals. For instance, in one of their most important rituals, the women praise the men, the men thank the women, the young express appreciation for the old, and the old recognize the contributions of the young. Another example is the custom of elaborate greetings whenever one Dogon meets another. This custom is repeated over and over, throughout a Dogon village, all day. During a greeting ritual, the person who has entered the contact answers a series of questions about his or her whole family, from the person who was already there. Invariably, the answer is sewa, which means that everything is fine. Then the Dogon who has entered the contact repeats the ritual, asking the resident how his or her whole family is. Because of the word sewa is so commonly repeated throughout a Dogon village, neighboring peoples have dubbed the Dogon the sewa people.

Hogon House

The Hogon is the spiritual leader of the village. He is elected between the oldest men of the enlarged families of the village. After his election he has to follow a six-month initiation period, during which he is not allowed to shave or wash. He wears white cloths and nobody is allowed to touch him. A young virgin that has not yet had her period takes care of him, cleans the house and prepares his meals. She returns to her home during the night. After his initiation, he will wear a red bonnet. He has an armband with a sacred pearl that symbolises his function. The virgin is replaced by one of his wives, but she also returns to her home at night. The Hogon has to live alone in his house. During the night, the sacred snake Lébé comes to clean him and to transfer wisdom.

The Dogon maintain an agricultural mode of subsistence, and cultivate pearl millet, sorghum and rice, as well as onions, tobacco, peanuts, and some other vegetables. Marcel Griaule stimulated the construction of a dam near Sangha and incited the Dogon to cultivate onions. The economy of the Sangha region doubled since then and onions are sold as far as on the market of Bamako or even in Ivory Coast. They also raise sheep, goats and chickens. Grain is stored in granaries.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:54:32 am



Circumcision Cave Painting

Boys are circumcised in age groups of three years, counting for example all boys between 9 and 12 years old. This marks the end of their youth, and they are now initiated. The blacksmith performs the circumcision. Afterwards, they stay for a few days in a hut separated from the rest of the village people, until the wound has healed. The circumcision is a reason for celebration and the initiated boys go around and receive presents. They make music on a special instrument that is made of a rod of wood and calabashes that makes the sound of a rattle. The village of Songho has a circumcision cave ornamented with red and white rock paintings of animals and plants. Nearby is a cave where music instruments are stored. The newly circumcized men must walk around naked for a moon after the procedure so that their achievement in age can be admired by the citizens of the tribe. This practice has been passed down for generations and is always followed, even during winter.

They are one of several African ethnic groups which practice female circumcision, also called excision. According to Sékou Ogobara Dolo, at least in the Sangha region, the milder form is practiced. This means that only the clitoral hood is removed, which is similar to male circumcision. Girls are circumsized around the age of 7 or 8 years, sometimes younger. Circumcision for both male and female is seen as necessary for the individual to gain gender. Before circumcision they are seen as 'neuter'.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:57:08 am

Funeral Masquerade

Due to the expense, their traditional funeral rituals or “damas” are becoming very rare. They may be performed years after the death. Damas that are still performed today are not usually performed for their original intent, but instead are done as a source of entertainment for tourists interested in the Dogon way of life. The Dogon use this entertainment to gain profit by charging the tourists money for what masks they want to see and the ritual itself (Davis, 68). The traditional dama consists of a masquerade that essentially leads the souls of the departed to their final resting places through a series of ritual dances and rites. Dogon damas include the use of many masks and statuettes. Each Dogon village may differ in the designs of the masks used in the dama ritual. Every village may have their own way of performing the dama rituals. The dama consists of an event, known as the Halic, immediately after the death of a person and lasts for one day (Davis, 68). According to Shawn R. Davis, this particular ritual incorporates the elements of the yingim and the danyim. During the yincomoli ceremony, a gourd is smashed over the deceased’s wooden bowl, hoe, and bundukamba, (burial blanket), which announces the entrance of the masks used in this ceremony while the deceased entrance to their home in the family compound is decorated with ritual elements (Davis, 72-73). Masks used during the yincomoli ceremony include the Yana Gulay mask, the Satimbe mask, the Sirigie mask, and the Kanaga mask. The Yana Gulay mask’s purpose is to impersonate a Fulani woman and is made from cotton cloth and cowell shells. The Satimbe mask represents the women ancestors who are said to have discovered the purpose of the masks by guiding the spirits of the deceased into the afterlife. (Davis, 74) The Sirigie mask is a tall mask that is only used in funerals for the men that were alive during the holding of the Sigui ceremony (see below) (Davis, 68). The Kanaga masqueraders, at one point, dance and sit next to the bundkamba which represents the deceased.


The yingim and the danyim rituals each last a few days. These events are held annually to honor the elders that have died since the last Dama. The yingim consists of the sacrifice of cows, or other valuable animals, and large mock battles performed in order to help chase the spirit, known as the nyama, from the deceased body and village and towards the path to the afterlife (Davis, 68). The danyim then takes place a couple of months later. During the danyim, masqueraders perform dances every morning and evening for anytime up to six days depending on how that village performs this ritual. The masqueraders dance on the deceased’s rooftops, throughout the village, and the area of fields around the village (Davis, 68). Until the masqueraders have completed their dances and every ritual has been performed, it is said that any misfortune can be blamed on the remaining spirits of the dead (Davis, 68).

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 08:59:22 am

Crocodile Totem


The Dogon know different cults:

Sigui: the most important ceremony of the Dogon. It takes place every 65 years and can take several years. The last one started in 1967 and ended in 1973, the next one will start in 2032. The Sigui ceremony symbolises the dead of the first ancestor (not to be confounded with Lébé) till the moment that humanity acquired the use of the spoken word. The Sigui is a long procession that starts and ends in the village of Youga Dogorou and goes from one village to the other during several months or years. All men wear masks and dance in long processions. The Sigui has a secret language that women are not allowed to learn. The secret Society of Sigui plays a central role in the ceremony. They prepare the ceremonies a long time in advance, and they live for three months hidden outside of the villages while nobody is allowed to see them. The men from the Society of Sigui are called the Oloubarou. The villagers are afraid of them and fear is cultivated by a prohibition to go out at night, when sounds warn that the Oloubarou are out. The most important mask that plays a major role in the Sigui rituals is the Great Mask or the Mother of Masks. It is several meters long and is just held up by hand and not used to hide a face. This mask is newly created every 65 years.
The Amma cult: worships the main, creator god Amma. The celebration is once a year and consists of offering boiled millet on the conical altar of Amma, colouring it white.
Crocodile Totem

The Lébé cult: worships the sacred snake Lébé, who was the first mortal human being. Lébé was transformed into a snake. The celebration is once a year and takes three days. The altar is a pointed conic structure on which the Hogon offers boiled millet while mentioning in his benediction eight grains plus one. Afterwards, the Hogon performs some rituals in his house that is also the home of Lébé. The last day, all the village men visit all the Binou altars and dance three times around the Lébé altar. The Hogon invites everybody that assisted to drink the millet beer.

The Binou cult: uses totems, common ones for the entire village and individual ones for totem priests. A totem animal is worshipped on a Binou altar. Totems are for example the buffalo for Ogol-du-Haut, and the panther for Ogol-du-Bas. Normally, nobody will ever be harmed by its own totem animal, even if this is a crocodile as for the village of Amani. Here is a large pool of crocodiles that do not harm any villager. However, a totem animal might exceptionally harm if one has done something wrong. A worshipper is not allowed to eat his totem. For example, an individual with a buffalo as totem is not allowed to eat buffalo meat, but also not to use leather from its skin and even not to see a buffalo die. If this happens by accident he has to organise a purification sacrifice at the Binou altar. Boiled millet is offered and goats and chickens are sacrificed on a Binou altar. This colours the altar both white and red. Binou altars look like little houses with a door. They are bigger when the altar is for an entire village. A village altar has also the ‘cloud hook’, that will catch clouds and make it rain.
The twin cult: the birth of twins is a sign of good luck. The enlarged Dogon families have cult rituals during which they evoke all their ancestors till their origin, the ancient pair of twins from the creation of the world myth.

The Mono cult: the Mono altar is at the entry of every village. Unmarried young men celebrate the Mono cult once a year in January or February. They spend the night around the altar, singing and screaming and waving with fire torches. They hunt for mice that will be sacrificed on the altar at dawn.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:00:56 am

Dogon villages

Dogon villages have different buildings:


Male granary:

storage place for pearl millet and other grains. Building with a pointed roof. This building is well protected from mice. The amount of filled male granaries is an indication for the size and the richness of a guinna.
A Dogon's male granaryFemale granary: storage place for a woman's things, her husband has no access. Building with a pointed roof. It looks like a male granary but is less protected against mice. Here, she stores her personal belongings such as clothes, jewelry, money and some food. A woman is economically independent and earnings and things related to her merchandise are stored in her personal granary. She can for example make cotton or pottery. The amount of female granaries is an indication for the amount of women living in the guinna.
Toguna (also called case a palabres): building only for men. They rest, discuss and take important decisions in the toguna. The roof of a toguna is made by 8 layers of millet stalks. It is a low building in which one cannot stand upright. This helps avoiding violence when discussions get heated.

A TogunaHouse for women that have their period:

this house is on the outside of the village. It is constructed by women and is of lower quality than the other village buildings. Women having their period are considered to be unclean and have to leave their family house to live during five days in this house. They use kitchen equipment only to be used here. They bring with them their youngest children. This house is a gathering place for women during the evening.

( A typical Dogon Village

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:10:06 am

Dogon languages

Dogon has been frequently referred to as a single language. In reality, there are at least five distinct groups of dialects.  The Dogon language family is internally highly diverse, and many varieties are not mutually intelligible, actually 12 dialects and 50 variations. There is also a secret language Sigui So, which is used by the Society of the Masks during the Sigui ceremonies. Women have no right to learn Sigui So.

It is generally accepted that the Dogon languages belong to the Niger-Congo language family, but there is less certainty about their place within this family. The Dogon group has been linked to the Mande subfamily but also to Gur. In a recent overview of the Niger-Congo phylum, Dogon is treated as an independent branch before Volta-Congo.

The Dogon languages show few remnants of a noun class system (one example is that human nouns take a distinct plural suffix), leading linguists to conclude that Dogon is likely to have diverged from Niger-Congo very early. Another indication of this is the Subject Object Verb basic word order, which Dogon shares with such early Niger-Congo branches as Ijoid and Mande. It is a passive voice language.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:13:16 am



According to Robert Temple, the central element of Dogon cosmogony and cosmology is the star Sirius, which they call Po Tolo. This star was the seed of the Milky Way galaxy and is the "navel" of the entire universe. The Dogon describe the universe as "infinite, but measurable", and filled with many yalu ulo, or spiral star systems, including the one containing the Earth's sun. According to the Dogon perception of the universe, most of the universe is part of the "external" star system, while nearer to Earth is the "internal" star system. The stars in the "internal" system include many that they claim affect the lives of people of Earth and play a part in human history, including not only the Sirius star system, but also Orion, Pleiades and others.

An ethnic group that lives near the Dogon, the Bozo, have a similar mythology about Sirius in the sky and refer to it as the "Eye Star".


A number of researchers investigating the Dogon have reported apparent knowledge that has subsequently become embroiled in controversy. From 1931 to 1956, two French anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, spent 25 years with the Dogon, during which time they were initiated into the tribe.  Griaule and Dieterlen reported that the Dogon appeared to know that the star, Sirius, in the constellation, Canis Major was in fact a binary star. They also appeared to know of the rings of Saturn, and the Moons of Jupiter, which are usually considered invisible to the unaided eye.  In 1852 American missionary D.T. Stoddart wrote a letter to astronomer John Herschel that ".. at twilight, Jupiter's satellites could be seen with the naked eye and the elongated shape of Saturn also.", according to Hunter Adams.

MIT professor of physics, Kenneth Brecher, commented that "They (the Dogon) have no business knowing any of this", and the controversy escalated when author Robert Temple suggested an extra-terrestrial source of the Dogon's knowledge.  Griaule and Dieterlen made no claims on the source of the Dogon's knowledge.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:16:01 am

Robert Temple

Robert Temple, in his 1975 book The Sirius Mystery, devoted a central role to the Dogon to support his hypothesis on ancient astronauts. Temple read the information that had earlier been gathered and published by Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen during their long anthropological study of the Dogon. The starting point of his interest in the Dogon was the mystery of how they acquired knowledge of Sirius B, the invisible companion star of Sirius A.

A substantial bulk of Temple's book consists of comparative linguistic and mythological scholarship, pointing out resemblances among Dogon, Egyptian and Sumerian beliefs and symbols. Greek and Arab myths and words are considered to a lesser extent. Temple did not argue that the only way that the Dogon could have obtained their accurate information on Sirius B was by contact with an advanced civilization. He also considered alternative possibilities, such as a very ancient, advanced, and lost civilization that was behind the sudden appearance of advanced civilization in both Egypt and Sumeria. He personally found the theory of alien contact more convincing, but he did not claim certainty about it.

Since the release of Temple's book, some scholars have offered alternative explanations for Temple's claims.

Astronomer Carl Sagan dealt with the issue in his book Broca's Brain (1979), stating that there are many problems with Temple's hypothesis. As an example Sagan mentions that the Dogon seem to have no knowledge of another planet beyond Saturn which has rings, which would suggest that their knowledge is more likely from European, and not extra-terrestrial sources.

Another astronomer, Ian Ridpath, points out in an article in the Skeptical Inquirer (1978), "The whole Dogon legend of Sirius and its companions is riddled with ambiguities, contradictions, and downright errors, at least if we try to interpret it literally".

 Ridpath concludes that the information that resembles the facts about Sirius was probably ascertained by way of cultural contamination.
Journalist and skeptic James Oberg collected claims that have appeared concerning Dogon mythology in his 1982 book.

 According to Oberg, the Dogon's astronomical information resembles the knowledge and speculations of European astronomical knowledge of the late 1920s. He cites Sagan in the assertion that the Dogon could have gotten their astronomical knowledge, including the information on Sirius, from European visitors before their mythology was recorded in the 1930s.

Oberg also points out that the Dogons were not an isolated tribe, and thus it was not even necessary for outsiders to inform the Dogon about Sirius B. They could very well have acquired such knowledge abroad, passing it on to their tribe later. (Sirius B was first observed in 1862, and had been predicted in 1844 on dynamic grounds.) In this way, by the time Temple visited the Dogon in the 1970s, they could have had a great deal of contact with the western world and had time to incorporate Sirius B into their religion. However, Oberg does concede that such assumptions of recent acquisition is "entirely circumstantial" and has no foundation in documented evidence and concludes that it seems likely that the Sirius mystery will remain exactly what its title implies; a mystery.

One unexplained aspect of the reported Dogon culture is the assertion that the Dogon knew of another star in the Sirius system, Emme Ya, or "larger than Sirus B but lighter and dim in magnitude." In 1995, gravitational studies showed the presence of a brown dwarf star circling around Sirius.  Since this was not theorized until the late 1950's, the controversy is not settled and the mystery remains alive. No critics have yet been able to dispute this claim.

Temple's book and the debates that followed its release publicized the existence of the Dogon tribe among many New Age followers and proponents of ancient astronaut theories. Speculation about the Dogons on numerous websites is now mingled with fact, and with Temple's explanations on Dogons, leading to controversy among the public about Dogon mythology. Temple, however, has stated in the reprint of The Sirius Mystery that he in no way supports cults that have been inspired by his book.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:23:03 am



The Dogon are an ethnic group located mainly in
the administrative districts of Bandiagara and
Douentza in Mali, West Africa.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:35:17 am

This area is composed of three distinct topographical regions: the plain, the cliffs, and the plateau.


Within these regions the Dogon population of about 300,000 is most heavily concentrated
along a 200 kilometer (125 mile) stretch of escarpment called the Cliffs of Bandiagara.


Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:39:53 am

These sandstone cliffs run from southwest to northeast, roughly parallel
to the Niger River, and attain heights up to 600 meters (2000 feet).


The cliffs provide a spectacular physical setting for Dogon villages built on the sides of the escarpment.
There are approximately 700 Dogon villages, most with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

A Dogon family compound in the village of Pegue is seen from the top of the Bandiagara escarpment.
During the hot season, the Dogon sleep on the roofs of their earthen homes.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:45:49 am
Abdule Koyo, a Dogon man, stands on the top of
the Bandiagara escarpment that overlooks the
Bongo plains.

As the rocky land around the Bandiagara has
become less and less fertile, the Dogon have
moved farther from the cliffs. Millet cultivation i\
s more productive in the fertile Bongo plains.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:49:42 am
Without any equipment but his own muscle
and expertise, a Dogon man climbs hundreds
of metersabove the ground. Ireli villagers use
ropes made of baobab bark to climb the
Bandiagara cliffs in search of pigeon guano
and Tellem artifacts. The pigeon guano is
used as fertilizer and can be sold at the
market for $4 per sack. The Tellem artifacts,
such as brass statues and wooden headrests,
bring high prices from Western art collectors

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:55:44 am

The precise origin of the Dogon, like those of many other ancient cultures, is undetermined. Their civilization emerged, in much the same manner as ancient Sumer, both sharing tales of their creation by gods who came from the sky in space ships, who allegedly will return one day.

The early histories are informed by oral traditions that differ according to the Dogon clan being consulted and archaeological excavation much more of which needs to be conducted.

Because of these inexact and incomplete sources, there are a number of different versions of the Dogon's origin myths as well as differing accounts of how they got from their ancestral homelands to the Bandiagara region. The people call themselves 'Dogon' or 'Dogom', but in the older literature they are most often called 'Habe', a Fulbe word meaning 'stranger' or 'pagan'.


Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 09:58:05 am

Certain theories suggest the tribe to be of ancient Egyptian descent - the Dogon next migrating to the region now called Libya, then moving on to somewhere in the regions of Guinea or Mauritania.


Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:00:41 am

Around 1490 AD, fleeing invaders and/or drought, they migrated to the Bandiagara cliffs of central Mali. Carbon-14 dating techniques used on excavated remains found in the cliffs indicate that there were inhabitants in the region before the arrival of the Dogon. They were the Toloy culture of the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC, and the Tellem culture of the 11th to 15th centuries AD.

The religious beliefs of the Dogon are enormously complex and knowledge of them varies greatly within Dogon society. Dogon religion is defined primarily through the worship of the ancestors and the spirits whom they encountered as they slowly migrated from their obscure ancestral homelands to the Bandiagara cliffs. They were called the 'Nommo' - [see below and on the file Amphibious Gods.]

There are three principal cults among the Dogon; the Awa, Lebe and Binu.

The Awa is a cult of the dead, whose purpose is to reorder the spiritual forces disturbed by the death of Nommo, a mythological ancestor of great importance to the Dogon.

Members of the Awa cult dance with ornate carved and painted masks during both funeral and death anniversary ceremonies. There are 78 different types of ritual masks among the Dogon and their iconographic messages go beyond the aesthetic, into the realm of religion and philosophy.


The primary purpose of Awa dance ceremonies is to lead souls of the deceased to their final resting place in the family altars and to consecrate their passage to the ranks of the ancestors.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:04:15 am

The cult of Lebe, the Earth God, is primarily concerned with the agricultural cycle and its chief priest is called a Hogon.


All Dogon villages have a Lebe shrine whose altars have bits of earth incorporated into them to encourage the continued fertility of the land.

According to Dogon beliefs, the god Lebe visits the hogons every night in the form of a serpent and licks their skins in order to purify them and infuse them with life force. The hogons are responsible for guarding the purity of the soil and therefore officiate at many agricultural ceremonies. [Serpent is a metaphor for DNA]

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:12:01 am

In the village of Sangha, onion bulbs are smashed and shaped into balls that are dried in the sun. The onion balls are trucked as far away as the Ivory Coast to be sold as an ingredient for sauces. Introduced by the French in the 1930s, onions are one of the Dogon's only cash crop.

Millet Harvest - Dogon women pound millet in the village of Kani Kombal. Millet is of vital importance to the Dogon. They sow millet in June and July, after the rains begin. The millet is harvested in October.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:17:55 am

Nowadays, the Dogon blacksmiths forge mainly scrap metal recuperated from old railway lines or car wrecks. So, little by little, the long process of iron ore reduction, which demands a perfect knowledge of fire and its temperatures, has been abandoned.

One of the last smelting was done in Mali, in 1995, by the Dogon blacksmiths. The event became the subject of a film which was entitled 'Inagina, The Last House of Iron'. Eleven blacksmiths, who still hold the secrets of this ancestral activity, agreed to perform a last smelt. They gathered to invoke the spirits.

They sank a mine shaft, made charcoal, and built a furnace with earth and lumps of slag. The last furnace - or Inagina -meaning literally the 'house of iron' gave birth to 69 kilos of iron of excellent quality. With this, the blacksmiths forged traditional tools intended for agriculture, the making of weapons, and jewelry for the Dogon people.

Youdiou Dances - During the Dama celebration, Youdiou villagers circle around two stilt dancers. The dance and costumes imitate the tingetange, a long-legged water bird. The dancers execute difficult steps while teetering high above the crowd.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:24:01 am

The cult of Binu is a totemic practice and it has complex associations with the Dogon's sacred places used for ancestor worship, spirit communication and agricultural sacrifices. Marcel Griaule and his colleagues came to believe that all the major Dogon sacred sites were related to episodes in the Dogon myth of the creation of the world, in particular to a deity named Nommo.

Binu shrines house spirits of mythic ancestors who lived in the legendary era before the appearance of death among mankind. Binu spirits often make themselves known to their descendants in the form of an animal that interceded on behalf of the clan during its founding or migration, thus becoming the clan's totem.

The priests of each Binu maintain the sanctuaries whose facades are often painted with graphic signs and mystic symbols. Sacrifices of blood and millet porridge the primary crop of the Dogon are made at the Binu shrines at sowing time and whenever the intercession of the immortal ancestor is desired.

Through such rituals, the Dogon believe that the benevolent force of the ancestor is transmitted to them.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:24:58 am

Kananga masks contain geometric patterns. These
masks represent the first human beings. The Dogon
believe that the Dama dance creates a bridge into
the supernatural world. Without the Dama dance,
the dead cannot cross over into peace.

Their self-defense comes from their social solidarity
which is based on a complex combination of
philosophic and religious dogmas, the fundamental
law being the worship of ancestors. Ritual masks
and corpses are used for ceremonies and are kept
in caves. The Dogon are both Muslims and Animists.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:30:08 am

A 'Togu Na' - 'House of Words' - stands in every
Dogon village and marks the male social center.
The low ceiling, supported by carved or sculptured
posts, prevents over zealous discussions from
escalating into fights. Symbolic meaning surrounds
the Togu Na. On the Gondo Plain, Togu Na pillars
are carved out of Kile wood and often express
themes of fertility and procreation. Many of the
carvings are of women's breasts, for as a Dogon
proverb says, "The breast is second only to God."

Unfortunately, collectors have stolen some of the
more intricately carved pillars, forcing village elders
to deface their Togu Na posts by chopping off part
of the sculpted wood. This mutilation of the sculpt-
ed pillars assures their safety.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:33:55 am


Amaguime Dolu, a diviner in the village of Bongo, performs a ritual. He derives meaning and makes predictions from grids and symbols in the sand. At dusk, he draws a questions in the sand for the sacred fox to answer. The Dogon people believe the fox has supernatural powers. The Dogon may ask questions such as: "Does the man I love also love me?" or "Should I take the job offer at the mission church?" In the morning, the diviner will read the fox prints on the sand and make interpretations. The fox is sure to come because offerings of millet, milk and peanuts are made to this sacred animal.


Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:38:08 am

Allegedly, when the Dogon left Egypt, they brought with them sacred knowledge in the form of oral traditions, perhaps handed down by the ancient priests of Egypt.

The Dogon creational tale is laced with metaphors that are similar to other legends of creation throughout the world. One need only compare them and understand their metaphoric content, to understand the nature of our reality, past, present, and future.

According to Dogon mythology, Nommo was the first living being created by Amma, the sky god and creator of the universe.

He soon multiplied to become six pairs of twins. [This is a metaphor for one source/soul splitting into two - yin /yang, when it enters into the electromagnetic energies of third dimension. See twin flames] [Also see 12 Around 1]

One twin rebelled against the order established by Amma, thereby destabilizing the universe. [The focus in our duality has always been to restore balance, through healing, especially as many myths foretell that at the end of time there will be a judgement day.]

In order to purify the cosmos and restore its order, Amma sacrificed another of the Nommo, whose body was cut up and scattered throughout the universe. This distribution of the parts of the Nommo's body is seen as the source for the proliferation of Binu shrines throughout the Dogon region. (This is similar to the story of Isis -- Osiris -- and Horus.)

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:45:06 am


The Dogon are famous for their astronomical knowledge taught through oral tradition, dating back thousands of years, referencing the star system, Sirius. Sirius is the dog star. It is linked with the Egyptian goddess Isis. The astronomical information known by the Dogon since that time, was not discovered and verified until the 19th and 20th centuries, making one wonder how the Dogon came by this knowledge. Their oral traditions say it was given to them by the Nommo. The source of their information may date back to the time of the ancient Egyptian priests.

As the story goes ... in the late 1930s, four Dogon priests shared their most important secret tradition with two French anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and Germain Dieterlen after they had spent an apprenticeship of fifteen years living with the tribe. These were secret myths about the star Sirius, which is 8.6 light years from the Earth.


The Dogon priests said that Sirius had a companion star that was invisible to the human eye. They also stated that the star moved in a 50-year elliptical orbit around Sirius, that it was small and incredibly heavy, and that it rotated on its axis.

Initially the anthropologists wrote it off publishing the information in an obscure anthropological journal, because they didn't appreciate the astronomical importance of the information.

What they didn't know was that since 1844, astronomers had suspected that Sirius A had a companion star. This was in part determined when it was observed that the path of the star wobbled. In 1862 Alvan Clark discovered the second star making Sirius a binary star system (two stars).

In the 1920's it was determined that Sirius B, the companion of Sirius, was a white dwarf star. White dwarfs are small, dense stars that burn dimly. The pull of its gravity causes Sirius' wavy movement. Sirius B is smaller than planet Earth.

The Dogon name for Sirius B is Po Tolo. It means star - tolo and smallest seed - po. Seed refers to creation. In this case, perhaps human creation.

By this name they describe the star's smallness. It is, they say, the smallest thing there is.

They also claim that it is 'the heaviest star' and is white in color.

The Dogon thus attribute to Sirius B its three principal properties as a white dwarf: small, heavy, white.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:48:18 am

Nommo Description

The Dogon elder, Ogotemelli, describes Nommo as having the upper part as a man and the lower portion as snake; or as having a ram's head with serpent body. [Serpent=DNA]

Author Robert Temple describes the Nommo as amphibious beings sent to Earth from the Sirius star system for the benefit of humankind. They look like Merfolk; Mermaids and Mermen. [Metaphor: amphibious - referring to the flow of the collective unconscious - creational source].


After the landing in a space ship, something with four legs appeared and dragged the vessel to a hollow, which filled with water until the vessel floated in it. The Dogon call this spaceship 'Pelu Tolo' or 'Star of the Tenth Moon'. [4=4th dimension or 'time'. It also references closure]. [10=10101010 = computer programming for On, Off, On Off, etc. 10 also references 1 = New beginnings in Numerology.]

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:51:44 am

Nommo supposedly came from the Sirius star system.

Their spaceship spiraled down from the sky. Spirals reference the golden ratio or the movement of consciousness from higher frequency into physical reality. [See Sacred Geometry]

The ship landed somewhere to the northeast of the Dogon's present homeland. There was a great noise and wind. The ship landed on three legs, skidded to a stop, scoring the ground. Four legs appeared and dragged the vessel to a hollow, which filled with water until the vessel floated.

At the same time a new star was seen in the sky, which possibly was a large space ship. The star was described by the Dogon as having a circle of reddish rays around it. This circle of rays was like a spreading spot yet it still remaining the same size.

There is a Dogon drawing of the spaceship hovering in the sky, waiting for the Nommo who landed on the Earth. It represents three stages of 'Pelu Tolo' when it is spurting different amounts of blood or flames [as if it crash landed].

They called the Nommo 'Masters of the Water', 'The Monitors', 'The Teachers or Instructors', 'Saviors', and 'Spiritual Guardians'.

I have to wonder if the word 'Nommo' means 'No More' - 'No Longer'.

Dogon art shows grids, perhaps depicting an understanding of the nature of our reality, based on grid programs.

The earliest Egyptians believed Sirius - 'Sothis' - was the home of souls that have crossed over. It is the brightest star in our night sky. This belief is also shared with the Dogon.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:53:14 am


The Dogons have described
perfectly the DNA pattern
made by an elliptical orbit
created by the two stars
of Sirius as they rotate
make around each other.
They believe Sirius to be
the axis of the universe,
and from it all matter and
all souls are produced in a
great spiral motion.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 10:57:12 am

The Dogon also claimed that a third star Emme Ya - sorghum female - exists in the Sirius system. Larger and lighter than Sirius B, this star revolves around Sirius A as well. It has not been proven to exist, though some people have called it Sirius C.

Sirius C translated from the Dogon language into English is called the "Sun of Women". It is described by the Dogon as "the seat of the female souls of living or future beings". Its symbol contains two pair of lines that are relevant features of a Dogon legend. The Dogon believe that Sirius C sends out two pairs of beams and that the beams represent a feminine figure.

Some of the ancient Egyptian temples, such as the Temple of Isis at Denderah, were created so that the light of the helical rising of Sirius would travel down the main corridor to place its red glow upon the altar in the inner sanctum of the temple. When that light reached the altar, the beam of light from Sirius was transformed into Sothis, the Star Goddess, Isis.

In a manner of speaking, the same belief system was involved in the Greek Temples, such as the Parthenon, which were oriented to receive the beams of light from the Pleiades into their inner sanctums, where the beams were then transformed into seven women. As the beams from the Pleiades entered the Egyptian temple of Hathor it became the seven Hathors female judges of mankind.

Within the Dogon tradition, those pairs of feminine figures beamed down from the Star/Sun/Planet of Women to their original home near the Hoggar mountains bringing many aspects of civilization to the ancestors of their tribes.

Dogon oral traditions state that for thousands of years they have known that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and that Jupiter has moons and Saturn has rings.

The Dogons calendar is quite non-traditional in that its fifty year cycle is based neither on the Earth's rotation around the Sun (as is our Julian calendar) nor the cycles of the Moon (a lunar calendar). Instead, the Dogon culture centers around the rotation cycle Sirius B which encircles the primary star Sirius A every 49.9 - or 50 years.

Post by: Bianca on September 21, 2007, 11:09:51 am

Temple lists a number of astronomical beliefs held by the Dogon that seem curious. They have a traditional belief in a heliocentric system and in elliptical orbits of astronomical phenomena. They seem to have knowledge of the satellites of Jupiter and rings of Saturn, among other things. Where did they get this knowledge, he asks, if not from extraterrestrial visitors? They don’t have telescopes or other scientific equipment, so how could they get this knowledge? Temple’s answer is that they got this information from amphibious aliens from outer space.

Afrocentrists, on the other hand, claimed that the Dogon could see Sirius B without the need of a telescope because of their special eyesight due to quantities of melanin (Welsing, F. C. 1987. "Lecture 1st Melanin Conference, San Francisco, September 16-17, 1987"). There is, of course, no evidence for this special eyesight, nor for other equally implausible notions such as the claim that the Dogon got their knowledge from black Egyptians who had telescopes.

A terrestrial source? 

Carl Sagan agreed with Temple that the Dogon could not have acquired their knowledge without contact with an advanced technological civilization. Sagan suggests, however, that that civilization was terrestrial rather than extraterrestrial. Perhaps the source was Temple himself and his loose speculations on what he learned from Griaule, who based his account on an interview with one person, Ambara, and an interpreter.

According to Sagan, western Africa has had many visitors from technological societies located on planet earth. The Dogon have a traditional interest in the sky and astronomical phenomena. If a European had visited the Dogon in the 1920's and 1930's, conversation would likely have turned to astronomical matters, including Sirius, the brightest star in the sky and the center of Dogon mythology. Furthermore, there had been a good amount of discussion of Sirius in the scientific press in the '20s so that by the time Griaule arrived, the Dogon may have had a grounding in 20th century technological matters brought to them by visitors from other parts of earth and transmitted in conversation.

Or, Griaule's account may reflect his own interests more than that of the Dogon. He made no secret of the fact that his intention was to redeem African thought. When Walter van Beek studied the Dogon, he found no evidence they knew Sirius was a double star or that Sirius B is extremely dense and has a fifty-year orbit.

Knowledge of the stars is not important either in daily life or in ritual [to the Dogon]. The position of the sun and the phases of the moon are more pertinent for Dogon reckoning. No Dogon outside of the circle of Griaule's informants had ever heard of sigu tolo or po tolo... Most important, no one, even within the circle of Griaule informants, had ever heard or understood that Sirius was a double star (Ortiz de Montellano).*

According to Thomas Bullard, van Beek speculates that Griaule "wished to affirm the complexity of African religions and questioned his informants in such a forceful leading manner that they created new myths by confabulation." Griaule either informed the Dogon of Sirius B or "he misinterpreted their references to other visible stars near Sirius as recognition of the invisible companion" (Bullard).

The only mystery is how anyone could take seriously either the notion of amphibious aliens or telescopic vision due to melanin.

See also von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin, and UFO.

Post by: Bianca on September 26, 2007, 12:26:22 pm

Post by: Bianca on September 26, 2007, 12:28:54 pm

Post by: Bianca on September 26, 2007, 12:34:06 pm


Post by: Bianca on September 26, 2007, 02:57:23 pm

Post by: Bianca on September 30, 2007, 05:57:02 pm


Post by: Bianca on September 30, 2007, 06:05:32 pm


Post by: Bianca on September 30, 2007, 06:10:01 pm

The Dogons are hardworking and ingenious people. They grow a wide range of crops for market
despite thin soils and only four months of rain each year.

Post by: Bianca on September 30, 2007, 06:13:39 pm

The toguna is the most important public edifice in a Dogon village, in which men's assemblies and council meetings are held. (togu = shelter, na = big, great or mother, therefore toguna = great shelter) Its position is chosen by the chief and the village is built around it. The toguna posts, therefore, are cultural artifacts of major importance and power, created by man, imbued with spirituality and aged by the earth.

In general, togunas are low constructions on three rows of supports (wooden uprights or stones) covered by beams that support a thick roof of millet stalks. The wooden posts, among the most impressive and monumental works of traditional Africa, are carved of kile wood (Prosopis africana), a very hard wood.

Post by: Bianca on October 29, 2007, 02:39:24 pm

                                                  The Dogon Controversy

At this point, some of you might want to mention the Dogon tribe in Mali. But I have my reserves. If you don't know the story of the Dogons, it is my duty to let you know.

The Dogons occupy a region in Mali, south of the Sahara Desert in Africa. The tribe counts about 100,000 members. They live in the Homburi Moutains, near Timbuktu.

The precise origin of the Dogons is uncertain. This uncertainty led to myths and theories regarding their origin. However, they are believed to have Egyptian roots. They lived in Lybia for some time, then in Guinea or Mauritania, and around 1490 AD, they moved to Bandiagara cliffs of central Mali. Carbon-14 dating techniques on remains excavated from the cliffs show that there were other people inhabiting the region before the Dogon's arrival: the Toloy culture and, later on, the Tellem culture.

The Dogon are best known for their extensive carving of masks and wooden figurative art. The primary colors used by the Dogon are usually red, black, and white, and popular patterns include spirals and checkerboard motifs, both of which can be traced to their origin stories.

Post by: Bianca on October 29, 2007, 02:43:35 pm

The Dogons were studied by the French anthropologists Dr. Marcel Griaule and Dr. Germaine Dieterlen. The first encounter took place in 1931, and the study continued for thirty years. A detailed study was written between 1946-1950. Their most significant work was Le Renard Pâle, on Dogon cosmology.

Dogon's interest revolves around Sirius, the most brilliant star in our galaxy. Supposedly, the priest told the scientists a myth about the star Sirius.

The matter of interest is that, as Griaule and Dieterlen reported,  the Dogons claim that Sirius is accompanied by a star they call põ tolo, invisible to the naked eye. Tolo means 'star', while põ  is
the smallest seed they know. Seed also refers to creation; in our case, human creation. They also  seem to know that this start moves in an elliptical orbit around Sirius, that it is small and dense, and
its period is 50 years. The tribe says that põ tolo is composed of s super-dense metal called sagala, heavier then the iron on Earth.

They also describe a third star, Emme Ya ("Sorghum Female"), accompanied by a single satellite. They also know that Saturn has rings, Jupiter has four moons and that the planets orbit the sun. They have calendars for the sun, the moon, Sirius, and Venus. The Sumerians were also worshipping in 4000 BC the sun, the moon, and Venus.


The image  above is taken from Griaule and Dieterlen's study, as being the drawing made on the sand by the Dogons. The description given is purely symbolic though. According to Skeptical Inquirer Fall 1978, "A, Sirius;
B, põ tolo, the object equated with Sirius B, shown in two positions; C, emme ya, the sun of women, equated
with Sirius C; D, the Nommo; E, the Yourougou, a mythical male figure destined to pursue his female twin; F,
the star of women, a satellite of emma ya; G, the sign of women; H, the sex of women, represented by a womb shape.

The whole system is enclosed in an oval, representing the egg of the world." The oval is "the great placenta from which have emerged, in the course of time, all space, all living beings, and everything in the world.

Post by: Bianca on October 29, 2007, 02:50:30 pm

In the Dogon cosmological system, as reported by Griaule, twins and twinness are very important. As a matter of fact, almost all ancient civilizations had this belief: the Egyptians had Isis and Osiris, the Greeks had Zeus and Hera.

The Sirius (Sirius A, the Dog Star) obsession started early, and for the 'earliest' we know the the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians (Acadians, Babylonians, Assyrians). Later on the Persians used the star. Some say Sirius and the Biblical star Mazzaroth are one; later on the star was called Sihor, name learnt from the Egyptians prior to their exile.

Egyptians identified Sirius first with Hathor, then with Isis. As I said, the pair male - female was quite common back then, so Isis's brother and husband, Osiris, was identified with Orion (Sirius B).

A third star existed also in Egyptian mythology, Sirius C, belonging to the Dark Goddess or sometimes Anubis, the jackal-head god and son of Osiris and Isis, responsible for the passage of the souls to the underworld. Anubis was weighing the heart against a feather, to determine the good deeds of the deceased.

The whole commotion started when Robert Temple published an article in The Observatory in 1977 and his book called The Sirius Mystery, in 1976. His claim is that the Dogon's are right when they claim their knowledge had been brought by extraterrestrials, as Temple puts it, 'visitors from Sirius'.

It is true that the Dogon legend says that their knowledge was brought to them by the Nommos, amphibious beings sent to Earth from Sirius for the benefit of mankind. The Nommos, would mean, translated, "Masters of the Water", "Monitors", "Teachers".

The Nommos are said to have arrived in a vessel, along with fire and thunder. These beings' bodies are covered by fish scales, and they resemble more a fish than a human being. They resemble mermaids and mermen. The interesting fact is that their legend seems to match the Sumer, Babylonia, Acadia, and Egypt's tales.

Post by: Bianca on October 29, 2007, 02:53:54 pm

The Nommos came to earth and created a water reservoir, then dove into it. "The Nommo divided his body among the men to feed them; that is why it is also said that as the universe 'has drunk of his body', the Nommo also made men drink. He gave all his life principles to human beings."

What I see so far is nothing but a legend of creation, that, as I said, is not only similar to old mythologies, but even to Jesus. They continue saying that the Nommo was crucified and resurrected and in the future will again visit the Earth, this time in human form.

It makes me recall the Chila Balam book, in which one can see how easy it was for the Aztecs to change their religion, adapt it to Christianity. According to P. and R. Pesch  of the Warner and Swasey Observatory in Ohio, French schools were common in the Dogon area since 1902. There was nothing that could stop a tribesman to pursue his education there. Also missionaries were common in the area, which would explain the "Jesus" similarities in their legends.

Now let's take a look at the discoveries made by men in 19 hundreds, regarding Sirius and the whole system. Sirius B, the star accompanying Sirius A (the brightest star on the sky) was first discovered in 1862, by Alvan Graham Clark, an American optician, while testing a new telescope. White dwarfs were understood to have a dense nature in 1920s. As for Emme Ya, it goes so that around 1920s and 1930s the astronomers thought they found a third member in the constellation. However, Irving W. Lindenblag, of the U.S. naval Observatory, reported no evidence of a companion. Also, in 1920s, the white dwarfs were known to be heavy, and Sirius B was the heaviest known by then. Things have changed though lately, and neutron stars appeared, which are heavier and denser.

These information were widely published back then in newspapers, and it's a pretty big coincidence that the Dogons mentioned data, both correct and incorrect, as it was presented in the media.

According to P. and R. Pesch, "Temple claims that the Dogon know the period of Sirius B to be 50 years. What Griaule and Dieterlen report is that 'The orbit's period is counted twice, that is, as 100 years... in order to recall the fundamental principle of twinness'. Even if we accept this as meaning that Temple claims, we still encounter some difficulties. The ritual calendar of the Dogon is reportedly based on the period of põ tolo. However, this ritual calendar runs on a 60-year cycle."

Post by: Bianca on October 29, 2007, 02:55:22 pm

Another one of Temple's claims is that the Dogons, by saying "Põ tolo and Sirius were once where the Sun is now", meant to describe our coming to this solar system from the Sirius system, "and leaving those stars for our star, the Sun". Questions were asked though and the general conclusion was that Sirius could have never and will never be able to develop or support life. Had it been, Sirius B, at some point, would have roasted anything around. Even now life in the system wouldn't be 'too pleasant'. If you're interested in finding out more on the subject, check Skeptical Inquirer.

It is known now that Sirius is 23 times more luminous and about twice the mass and diameter of the Sun.

However, in 1995 two French researchers, Daniel Benest and J.L. Duvent, wrote an article in the prestigious journal Astronomy and Astrophysics with the title Is Sirius a Triple Star?. They suggested (based on observations of motions in the Sirius system) that there could be a small third star there. Are we talking about Sirius C? They thought the star was probably of a type known as a "brown dwarf" and only had about .05 the mass of Sirius B. If this observations turns out true, then we might have to reconsider the whole Dogon myth.

Even so, I would more likely attribute the knowledge not to the Nommos and the visitors from outer space, but to the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians. For now though, no reply came to support or deny the news, which doesn't make too strong of an evidence for us to consider the existence of Sirius C.

Post by: Bianca on June 07, 2008, 09:49:03 pm

                                                             WHO ARE THE DOGON?

An illiterate West African tribe known as the Dogon-who live in the Bandiagara Cliffs of Southeastern Mali-startled the scientific world in the 1950s when it was discovered that their priests have had extremely complex knowledge of astronomy for at least 700 years.  They have known for centuries about the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, the spiral structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, and intricate details about the stars including their mass and orbits.  Much of the complex astrological knowledge that the Dogon have had since the 13th century either can not be confirmed by modern scientists or was not discovered until the 20th century.  Kenneth Brecher of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was dumbfounded and stated bluntly: “The Dogon have no business knowing any of this.”  Robert Temple, an acclaimed member of the Royal Astronomical Society, speculates in his book The Sirius Mystery that “space-beings from the Sirius star-system must have brought this marvelous knowledge down to the Africans.”

Two French Anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, lived and worked with the Dogon from 1931 to 1956 and eventually became so loved and trusted that they were initiated into the tribe.  After 16 years of stage by stage initiations, the Dogon called a conference and revealed to these Europeans their intimate secret knowledge of the solar system that was eventually recorded in a book entitled The Pale Fox.  The Frenchmen were told that our solar system consists of a fixed star with planets rotating around this star and moons rotating around the planets.  They said a force we describe as “gravity” was responsible for holding the planets and moons in place.  The Dogon gave names and a complete description of the properties and behavior of the planets, moons, and fixed stars such as Polaris, Sirius, and the Pleiades.  Mars, for example, was called “Yapunu toll” meaning “planet of menstruation” perhaps because of its red color.  A calendar based on the six positions or phases of Venus determined when the Dogon would plant and harvest their food for best results.  However, no aspect of Dogon knowledge has created more astonishment than their description of the properties of the star known as Sirius B (po tolo to the Dogon).

It is incomprehensible to modern scientists how the Dogon could know so much about Sirius B, an invisible star to the naked eye, located 51 trillion miles away.  The Frenchmen were told that Sirius B is the sky’s tiniest and yet heaviest star and has a 50 year elliptical orbit around Sirius A, the brightest star in the sky.  The Dogon said that this dwarf star (Sirius B) is the most important star and the origin of all other stars and that it is composed of a metal heavier and brighter than iron.  Although Sirius B is invisible to the naked eye, the Dogon have chosen a new astronomer-priest every 60 years when the orbits of Sirius B, Jupiter, and Saturn come into synchronization.

A ceremony called the “sigui” is held and a mask is carved to celebrate this 60-year event.  Griaule and Dieterlen said they were shown a cave in Ibi, Mali that contained 12 sigui ceremonial masks, which would date the ceremonies back to the 13th century.  The first Western report of Sirius B was not until 1862 by Alvan Clark who observed the companion star through his new telescope.  The Dogon told of several other companion stars around Sirius A that were not confirmed by modern astrophysicists until 1979 with the “Einstein” orbiting observatory.  The Dogon also have an annual “bado” celebration that honors the one year period in which Sirius B rotates on its own axis.  Modern scientists still can not confirm this one-year rotation on its own axis.

Charles Finch in his book entitled The Star of Deep Beginnings says that the Dogon have never been proven wrong in any of their descriptions of the properties and behavior of Sirius B and that they are also probably correct in calling Sirius B the mother of all stars.  Finch says that Sirius B is as old as the universe (12 billion years) and the closest star to our solar system.  Moreover, he states “since all newborn stars (like our sun) are created from older stars, our solar system including Earth and everything in it may owe its very existence to Sirius B as the Dogon say.”

The advanced scientific knowledge of the Dogon makes them the most astonishing and enigmatic people in all Africa.  Hunter Adams III of the Argonne National Laboratory admits that in certain domains of astronomy and cosmology the Dogon have no historical peers.  He says there is nothing remotely similar to the knowledge of the Dogon in the literature of the ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, Greeks, Chinese, on Medieval Arabs.  It’s truly a shame that entrenched Western racist attitudes towards African scientific knowledge can only attribute Dogon knowledge to the presence of space aliens.  Unfortunately, most agree with Robert Temple of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain that “space-beings from the Sirius star-system must have brought this marvelous knowledge down to the Africans.”