by Ivan Petricevic
Deep in northwest Africa
- more precisely in Mali - we find one of the oldest and most
fascinating ancient cultures to ever develop on Earth.
ancient Dogon tribe are known for their religious
traditions, their ritual dances, their massive ritual masks, their
wooden sculptures and their architecture.
However, they are also known for their incredible astronomical
knowledge and their fascinating mythological accounts.
Dogon, a mystic connection
The Dogon have a compelling ancient tradition.
They mention myths and
legends that go thousands of years into the past, predating possibly
even their own history.
Some authors, like Robert M. Schoch, argue that the Dogon
were a people who originated in Africa, but who had been forced to
leave ancient Egypt due to religious persecutions.
It is in his opinion that the Dogon may preserve ancient Egyptian
traditions and myths that may even have been carried into the
present age, claiming that the Dogon have a powerful cosmic
The sky for the Dogon is of extreme importance. In fact, if we take
a look at Dogon mythology, we will find that the sky God Amma
is said to have created the very first living creatures knows as
The Nommo are considered ancestral spirits, but they are also
described as being amphibious, hermaphroditic, fish-like creatures.
They are often described as the masters of water, the monitors and
even the teachers. The Dogon maintain that the Sky god Amma created
these beings in the distant pat.
Shortly after Amma created the first Nommo, the being transformed
multiplying into four pairs of twins. One of these twins is said to
have rebelled against Amma and the universal order created by the
Amma is also
Amma, although commonly
referred to as a male actually symbolizes both male and female
principles, which is why its more properly characterized as a
An image of a ritual performed by the Dogon Tribe
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0
To restore order and bring peace, Amma sacrificed a Nommo, and
dismembered its body, scattering it through the universe. Peace was
But are these ancient accounts just parts of myths and legends?
Between 1931 and 1956, French anthropologists
Marcel Griaule and
Germaine Dieterlen traveled to
northwest Africa to study the Dogon tribe.
At the end of 1946, Griaule spent thirty-three consecutive days
holding conversations with
a hogon (dogon shaman) named
Ogotemeli, who is cited as the source of most of Griaule's
future publications about the Dogon.
Griaule wrote almost three thousand pages about the beliefs of the
ancient Dogon tribe, where he detailed Dogon knowledge of plants and
cosmogony among other things.
The Dogon allegedly revealed a number of secrets to Griaule and
explained the Nommos were the inhabitants of a world
circling the star Sirius.
It is said that
these Nommos came from the sky in a ‘vessel that was
accompanied by fire and thunder.'
The Dogon Tribe
allegedly believe how all of their astronomical knowledge
came from the stars, more specifically from a Sky God. It is
also maintained by a number of authors that the Dogon's
knowledge of Sirius A and B was given to them by beings not
In the honor of
the Sky beings, the Dogon celebrate a festival, to honor
their visitation and legacy.
festival, the Dogon wear wooden masks, depicting beings that
are both humanoid in nature, but completely different.
Since the Nommo
were amphibious beings, they needed water as they came to
Earth, so they created a reservoir of water and dived into
it since without a water-rich environment they would not
According to the myth
related to Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen:
"The Nommo divided
his body among men to feed them; that is why it is also said
that as the universe 'had drunk of his body,' the Nommo also
made men drink.
He gave all his life
principles to human beings."
Nommo are also thought to be the origin of the first Hogon
The Dogon tribe and their masks.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
CC BY-SA 3.0
The Hogon is the spiritual leader of the village. He is
elected from among the oldest men of the extended families of the
The Dogon further revealed to Griaule and Dieterlen how their God
Amma came from a specific star in the
Star System of Sirius.
That specific star is called by
the Dogon Po Tolo, while modern astronomers refer to it as
So where did that knowledge come from?
The curious thing is that Sirius B is so far from Earth, that it's
not even visible with naked-eye observations. Sirius is the second
nearest star from our star system, and its located around eight
Here's where it get's even more interesting.
Sirius B was
first discovered by German astronomer Friedrich Bessel,
who deduced that the star had an unseen companion from the
changes in the proper motion of the main component.
astronomer Alvan Graham Clark was the first to
observe the dim companion on January 31, 1862.
But the ancient
Dogon knew about the existence of Sirius B way before modern
astronomers managed to see it through their telescopes.
The obvious question here
How did the Dogon
get this knowledge?
Was it really
given to them by the Sky Gods?
Or is there
Ancient Astronaut theorists argue
that it is possible that the beings known as Nommo's brought them
this knowledge, and they may have been an extraterrestrial
To try and put an end to the mystery and answer where the Dogon
obtained their knowledge from, modern critics suggest that Dogon
astronomical knowledge was given to them by modern ethnologists.
However, as argued by
several authors, that's incorrect since it is a well-known fact that
their stories about Sirus go back hundreds of years earlier than any
modern ethnologist ever traveled to Mali and studied the ancient
Dogon and their history.
This leads to a dilemma. An even greater mystery arises from the
inability to understand the Dogon.
If someone actually
manages to prove that all this information that the Dogon are
telling us is exactly correct, this would be a huge deal, as it
would mean that the earth was in fact visited by beings from
outer space thousands of years ago, and these beings interacted
with cultures around the globe.
All of this means that
the Dogon inherited that astronomical knowledge.
But from whom did
they inherit it from?
Did they obtain
this knowledge from an ancient civilization that predated
Or is it possible
that all of their knowledge came from the stars, as some of
their oral legends suggest?