The star people, called Nommos, and also the Instructors, came down to earth in a spinning ship. It made a great noise and wind and spurted blood when it landed. Something came out of the ship: it had four legs and dragged the ship to a hollow. The hollow filled with water and then the Nommos came out. They looked more like fish than humans, and they needed to stay in water.
These Nommos were saviors and guardians for all of human kind. They gave advice. They gave their bodies for men to eat, and in the end they were crucified and will return to earth again one day with human bodies."
All this might be nothing more than one of the world's peculiar creation myths, which teem with beings visiting the earth from other worlds. But there is a difference: the Dogon's story is constructed around precise mathematical information about th star system the Nommos came from, near the bright star Sirius.
The Nommos said that Sirius had a small companion star.It was white in color, very small, and immensely heavy. It rotated on its own axis and made an elliptical orbit of Sirius once every fifty years. All this is precisely true."Until fairly recently, Western astronomers knew nothing about a white dwarf star circling around Sirius. They first suspected that Sirius might have such a companion in 1844, when small disturbances in the star's movement were detected. Then, in 1928, astronomers understood that although Sirius'companion is very small (it is classed technically as a white dwarf and is called Sirius B), it is composed of extremely dense matter and therefore has enough mass to explain the effects.
In 1970 the first photographs of the star were taken. The star's orbit, as the Dogon say, is elliptical and is completed in 50.04 years--a little more than two weeks longer than the Dogon predict."Astronomers admit that the kind of knowledge the Dogon have about Sirius can only be obtained with advanced telescopes, which the Dogon have never possessed. They attempt to account for the Dogon's knowledge by a series of rationalizations.
Sometime after 1928, a Westerner with a compulsion to impart obscure knowledge must have visited the tribe and told them about the discovery of Sirius' satellite. Then, just for the pleasure of confounding the French anthropologist who collected the stories in 1934, the Dogon claimed they had the information for centuries, and that it had been given to them by fish-like people from the stars.
Even more ingenuously, the Dogons seem to have remembered a very ancient Babylonian story and modeled their ridiculous tale of the Nommos on it. This story, recorded in the 3rd centuryB.C., tells how an egg-shaped vehicle landed in the Red Sea, and how out of it came an amphibious people called the Oannes. They looked terrible--half fish and half human--but they gave the people all the information needed to become civilized." Interesting, isn't it?
The next posting on this subject concerns my reading of an original Dogonsource, first published in 1948: "Conversations with Ogotemmeli."
Rich Dolan[link to www.sacred-texts.com]