The long-standing mysteries surrounding Sirius, the brightest star seen from Earth, have been deepened by the discovery in a sixth-century manuscript of a description of the star as red. This discovery implies that the star changed to its present bluish-white brilliance less than 14 centuries ago, even more recently than scientists had thought. Astronomers have long puzzled over far earlier descriptions of Sirius as being red - chiefly in Greek and Roman sources as well as in Babylonian cuneiform texts dating from to B. In Rome, red-coated dogs were sacrificed each year when Sirius rose just before the sun.
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The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali , in West Africa , south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara and in Burkina Faso.
The population numbers between , and , The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions , their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organisation, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions.
The principal Dogon area is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment , a sandstone cliff of up to m 1, Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people's collective refusal to convert to Islam a thousand years ago. 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. The Niger River is nearby 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.
Among the Dogon, several oral traditions have been recorded as to their origin. One relates to their coming from Mande , located to the southwest of the Bandiagara escarpment near Bamako. According to this oral tradition, the first Dogon settlement was established in the extreme southwest of the escarpment at Kani-Na.
Over time, the Dogon moved north along the escarpment, arriving in the Sanga region in the 15th century. It is likely that the Dogon of today combine several groups of diverse origin who migrated to escape Islamization.
It is often difficult to distinguish between pre-Muslim practices and later practices, though Islamic law classified them and many other ethnicities of the region, Mossi , Gurma , Bobo , Busa and the Yoruba as being within the non-canon dar al-harb and consequently fair game for slave raids organized by merchants.
The historical pattern has included the murder of indigenous males by raiders and enslavement of women and children. Dogon art is primarily sculpture. Dogon art revolves around religious values, ideals, and freedoms Laude, 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, 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— 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, Kanaga mask in three pieces; 20th century; x Figure of a seated musician koro player ; late 18th century; Female or male figure; probably early 17th century; Figure of a kneeling woman; circa ; wood; height: They were one of the last people in west Africa to lose their independence and come under French rule.
The Dogon people with whom the French anthropologists Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen worked during the s and s had a system of signs which ran into the thousands, including "their own systems of astronomy and calendrical measurements, methods of calculation and extensive anatomical and physiological knowledge, as well as a systematic pharmacopoeia ".
They were also described as fish capable of walking on land; while they were on land, the Nummo stood upright on their tails. The Nummos' skin was primarily green, but, like the chameleon, it sometimes changed colours. It was said to at times have all the colours of the rainbow. In other instances, the Nummo were referred to as "Water Spirits".
The problem of "twin births" versus "single births", or androgyny versus single-sexed beings, contributed to a disorder at the beginning of time.
This theme became a significant basis of the Dogon religion. It was held once every sixty years and allegedly celebrated the white dwarf star, Sirius B ,  provoking numerous speculations about the origin of such knowledge.
The colour white was a symbol of males. The ritual language, "Sigi so" or "language of the Sigui", which was taught to male dignitaries of the Society of the Masks "awa" , was considered a poor language, and only contained about a quarter of the vocabulary of "Dogo so", the Dogon word language. The "Sigi so" was used to tell the story of creation of the universe, of human life, and the advent of death on the Earth, during funeral ceremonies and the rites of the "end of mourning" "dama".
Because of the birth of the single-sexed male Jackal, who was born without a soul, all humans eventually had to be turned into single-sexed beings. This was to prevent a being like the Jackal from ever being born on Earth again. Because of his solitary state, the first son of God acted as he did. Circumcision and excision are once again the remedy. The Dogon religion was centered on this loss of twinness or androgyny. Griaule describes it in this passage:. The Eight original Ancestors were really eight pairs But after this generation, human beings were usually born single.
Dogon religion and Dogon philosophy both expressed a haunting sense of the original loss of twin-ness. The heavenly Powers themselves were dual, and in their Earthly manifestations they constantly intervened in pairs The birth of human twins was celebrated in the Dogon culture in Griaule's day because it recalled the "fabulous past, when all beings came into existence in twos, symbols of the balance between humans and the divine".
According to Griaule, the celebration of twin-births was a cult that extended all over Africa. Another minority practice Christianity. Dogon society is organized by a patrilineal system. Each Dogon village, 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. The vast majority of marriages are monogamous, but nonsororal polygynous marriages are allowed in the Dogon culture. However, even in polygynous marriages, it is rare for a man to have more than two wives.
In a polygynous marriage, the wives reside in separate houses within the husband's compound. The first wife, or ya biru, holds a higher position in the family relative to any wives from later marriages. Formally, wives join their husband's household only after the birth of their first child. Marriages are endogamous in that the people are limited to marry only those within their clan. It is also forbidden to marry outside of one's caste.
Women may leave their husbands early in their marriage, before the birth of their first child. In the event of a divorce, the woman takes only the youngest child with her, and the rest remain a part of the husband's household. An enlarged family can count up to a hundred persons and is called guinna.
The Dogon are strongly oriented toward harmony, which 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. 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 the word sewa is so commonly repeated throughout a Dogon village, neighboring peoples have dubbed the Dogon the sewa people. The Hogon is the spiritual and political leader of the village. He is elected from among the oldest men of the dominant lineage 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 clothes and nobody is allowed to touch him.
A virgin who has not yet had her period takes care of him, cleans the house and prepares his meals. She returns to her home at night. After his initiation, he wears a red fez. He has an armband with a sacred pearl that symbolises his function. The virgin is replaced by one of his wives, and she also returns to her home at night. The Hogon has to live alone in his house. The Dogon are primarily agriculturalists and cultivate 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 has doubled since then, and its onions are sold as far as the market of Bamako and even Ivory Coast. Grain is stored in granaries. In addition to agriculture, they also gather wild fruits, tubers, nuts, and honey in the bush outside of village borders.
Some young men will hunt for small game, but wild animals are relatively scarce near villages. It is common to find chickens or herds of sheep and goats in Dogon villages, however, animal husbandry holds little economic value. Individuals with high status may own a small number of cattle. In more recent years, the Dogon have also developed peaceful relationships with other societies that have increased variety in their diets. Every four days, Dogon people participate in markets with neighboring tribes, such as the Fulani and the Dyula.
The Dogon primarily sell agricultural commodities: onions, grain, cotton, and tobacco. They purchase sugar, salt, European merchandise, and many animal products, such as milk, butter, and dried fish.
There are two endogamous castes in Dogon society: the smiths and the leather-workers. Members of these castes are physically separate from the rest of the village and live either at the village edge or outside of it entirely. While the castes are correlated to profession, membership is determined by birth.
Was the Sirius Star System Home to the Dogon African Tribe?
The mythology and folklore of indigenous people is often written off as exactly that — legends and parables used to remember elders and teach younger generations lessons about morality. The Dogon are that tribe and they have known for centuries that their ancestors are descendants of a species from the Sirius star system eight and half light years away. The Dogon inhabit an area of Mali called the Bandiagara Escarpment, a stretch of sandstone cliffs nearly miles long, reaching up to 1, feet high. Taking advantage of the area for its natural protection, the tribe built their homes into the side of the cliffs during the 3 rd century B. Although the Dogon live in an area more than 2, miles from Egypt, they have a history that appears to have some intriguing connections with the famed, ancient civilization. The Dogon are incredibly familiar with the system, where Sirius Star aliens are said to have travelled from, imparting them with knowledge hundreds of years ago. These beings, known as the Nummos, were amphibious beings, coming from the same star system as the Egyptian god, Isis.
Sirius and the Dogon. A Dogon Granary courtesy Lecane. In there appeared a curious account in the French anthropological literature describing the traditional beliefs regarding the star Sirius held by the Dogon tribe of Central Africa. The article was written by Marcel Griaule, and a colleague Germine Dieterlen. Griaule was a renowned French anthropologist with decades of experience in Africa.
6TH-CENTURY MANUSCRIPT ADDS TO MYSTERY OF STAR
The Sirius Mystery is a pseudoarchaeology book by Robert K. The book was first published by St. Martin's Press in The book presents the hypothesis that the Dogon people of Mali , in west Africa, preserve a tradition of contact with intelligent extraterrestrial beings from the Sirius star system. These beings, who are hypothesized to have taught the arts of civilization to humans, are claimed in the book to have originated the systems of the Pharaohs of Egypt , the mythology of Greek civilization , and the Epic of Gilgamesh , among other things. Temple's theory was heavily based on his interpretation of the work of ethnographers Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen.
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali , in West Africa , south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara and in Burkina Faso. The population numbers between , and , The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions , their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organisation, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions. The principal Dogon area is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment , a sandstone cliff of up to m 1, Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people's collective refusal to convert to Islam a thousand years ago. Dogon insecurity in the face of these historical pressures caused them to locate their villages in defensible positions along the walls of the escarpment.
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