The Dogon - Star people? : Mystery Files

The Dogon people in Ceremonial masks
The Dogon people in Ceremonial masks

The Dogon - Star People?


In West Africa lives an ancient tribe of people. Their religion is a strange and secret one. for many hundreds of years the most profound teachings of their religion were a closely guarded secret available to only the highest Dogon initiates

In the 1930s French anthropologists Marcel Griaule, and Germaine Dieterlen, succeeded after more than a decade working amongst the tribe, in gaining their confidence up to the point where the tribal elders allowed them some insights into the secrets of their religion.

Even the highest ranking priests were not privy to the entire teachings. Each was responsible for a part of the complex system, which when placed together made up the Dogon's knowledge.The anthropologists had to piece together the whole story for themselves from a number of sources - What they found out stunned them.

Impossible Knowledge

The Dogon's story told a tale of knowledge that was given to them by visitors who came to earth from another star system. The star they describe is known to them as "Po Tolo" - it is known to us as Sirius B, which resides in the same area of sky as Sirius, the dazzlingly bright "Dog Star" of the Canis Major constellation.

Their knowledge of this star was the first shock. It is impossible to see with only the naked eye, and is difficult to see even with a telescope. In fact it was not observed by Western Astronomers until 1862. They had however, suspected it's existence when certain irregularities were noted in the movements of Sirius in 1844 - movements which suggested that there was another body exerting gravitational pull on the star.

But their knowledge of the existence of the star was only the beginning - There was more, much more.

Hubble view of Sirius A, the tiny dot near the lower left is the Dogon's  "PoTolo" or Sirius B
Hubble view of Sirius A, the tiny dot near the lower left is the Dogon's "PoTolo" or Sirius B

Detailed Knowledge

"PoTolo", the Dogon name for Sirius B, consists of two words. "Tolo" which means Star, and "Po" which describes the smallest seed known to them. It is the seed of a variety of Crabgrass Digitaria exilis, and is used by them to show the stars smallness. They say that the star is the "smallest there is" and yet it is "The heaviest star". It's colour, they say, is white.

The Dogon are perfectly describing what modern astronomers would call a "White Dwarf". A White Dwarf is the smallest class of visible star "the smallest there is". Because they are collapsed stars, they are incredibly dense bodies "the heaviest star" and their colour, as the Dogon have informed us, is indeed white.

The left picture shows a Dogon Sand drawing of Sirius B in orbit around Sirius A. The right: Picture shows a modern astronomical diagram of the orbit. The years showed being the positions of Sirius B in the orbit on those dates
The left picture shows a Dogon Sand drawing of Sirius B in orbit around Sirius A. The right: Picture shows a modern astronomical diagram of the orbit. The years showed being the positions of Sirius B in the orbit on those dates

The Dogon also say that the star has an elliptical orbit, with Sirius A residing at one focus of the ellipse - it does!. They say that the star rotates on it's own axis - It does! And that It's orbital period, is fifty years - it is!

Their astronomical knowledge also includes the fact that the planets orbit the sun, that Jupiter has four main moons, and that Saturn has rings. They keep four calendars, one each for the Sun, Moon, Venus and Sirius.

A female Dogon figure who's head is represented by an altar on which are several heads of  the amphibious Nommo
A female Dogon figure who's head is represented by an altar on which are several heads of the amphibious Nommo

The Bringers of Knowledge

According to Dogon Lore, their impressive astronomical knowledge was given to them by creatures known as the Nommos. These are described as amphibious beings which had been sent from the Sirius star system to Earth, for the benefit of all mankind.

The Nommos are also known to the Dogon as "The Monitors" and "Masters of the Water" - The name Nommos, comes from a Dogon word meaning "to make one drink".

The Nommos are said to have landed in the northeast of their homeland "spinning and whirling...with a great noise and wind" The vessel skidded to a stop, ploughing up the earth and "Spurting blood". After landing, it was said that the vehicle was dragged to a hollow by a thing with four legs. The hollow then filled up with water allowing the vessel to float in it.

Fact or Fable?

So, what are we to make of the Dogon's story? Is it simply myth, an elegant story constructed to account for the origins of the Dogon people? - or is it a factual representation of something that actually happened way back in the mists of time?

Interestingly enough, there exists a similar legend from Babylonian writings which record visitors from another planet known as the Oannes. They arrived in an "egg shaped" vehicle which landed by the Red Sea. They too came to this planet for the benefit of all mankind, and were also described as amphibious creatures - "half men, half fish".

Were the Dogon visited by Amphibious Aliens? Who can say? If the Dogon were not visited by interstellar callers, it still leaves us with a puzzling enigma - how else did they come by their incredibly detailed information about an unknown star, invisible to the naked eye, centuries before the invention of the telescope?

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Comments 9 comments

efeyas profile image

efeyas 4 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

Very interesting as always! Makes one wonder....


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Thanks efeyas,It does indeed. I try to keep an open mind about these things.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 4 years ago from UK

I'm very intrigued by the masks in your first picture. I wonder what they're supposed to represent? Fascinating story, as always!


nemanjaboskov profile image

nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

Another interesting hub, Bill... There really isn't a logical explanation for this, is there? So many mysteries out there...


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ Amanda Severn - Yes, those masks seem to have built-in double chins :)


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

@ nemanjaboskov - Yes, either they got their information where they said they had got it, or it's all one big helluva coincidence.


mintinfo profile image

mintinfo 4 years ago

Sorry mate but my Professor who is a direct Dogon descendant says the Dogon have nothing to do with aliens. The Dogon have been studying the stars since they were in Egypt building Pyramids. They left Egypt to avoid the arab invaders who now inhabit the land. All that alien talk is simply superstition made up because outsiders cannot get access to Dogon secrets.

Also, the Dogon will no longer perform their Sirius ritual anymore. Their last ritual revealed that some major planetary changes will be coming within the next 30 years.


Gaizy profile image

Gaizy 4 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK Author

Thanks for the info mintinfo. Does your prof. know how the Dogon came by their knowledge of Sirius B? Whether you buy the aliens story or not, it's still pretty perplexing how, long before the invention of telescopes, they came by their detailed knowledge of something that is invisible to the naked eye.


mintinfo profile image

mintinfo 4 years ago

They use a combination of eye vision and 3rd eye vision. They know that the natural energy of the universe is waves. Matter is formed when the frequency of waves fluxes and reaches a critical mass to produce matter. Thoughts are a form of that process, like Einstein's E=mc2. We can create matter and store it as memories or we can capture matter sent out from Sirius A using our 3rd eye or Pineal Gland.

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