The Dogon Tribe’s Amazing Knowledge Of Astronomy – Who Taught Them?

The Dogon people of Mali, like many African tribes, had a tumultuous history. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, they settled to the Bandiagara Plateau, where they presently live.

Their homeland, 300 miles (500 kilometers) south of Timbuktu, is a desolate, dry, rocky terrain with cliffs and gorges, studded with small towns made of mud and straw for the majority of the year. Although most anthropologists would label the Dogon and adjoining tribes as “primitive,” the two million individuals that make up the Dogon and nearby tribes would disagree.

Except in the sense that their way of life hasn’t changed much throughout the years, they don’t deserve it. Despite their lack of interest in Western technology, they have a deep and sophisticated philosophy and religion.

Outsiders who have lived with them and come to embrace their lives’ simplicity describe them as a happy, fulfilled people with a millennia-old attitude toward life’s core principles.


The Dogon, on the other hand, make an incredible claim: they were taught and ‘civilized’ by beings from outer space, notably from the star system Sirius, which is 8.7 light years distant. They back up their claim with what appears to be an unusually in-depth understanding of astronomy for such a “primitive” and isolated society.

They know, for example, that Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, has a companion star that is small, dense, and highly heavy but is undetectable to the naked eye. This is absolutely correct.

However, Western astronomers were not aware of its existence until the mid-nineteenth century; it was not described in detail until the 1920s, and it was not photographed until 1970 (due to its poor brightness).

The core principle of Dogon mythology is this strange astronomical truth. It is depicted in sand paintings, built into their sacred building, and may be seen in their most private rites.

sculptures and patterns sewn into their blankets — motifs that are almost certainly hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.


Overall, this has been regarded as the most compelling evidence yet that Earth had an interplanetary link in its recent past – a near encounter of the instructive variety, one would say.

The scope of Dogon knowledge has also been examined, in try to determine whether all they say is real, or if their information came from an Earthbound source – say, a passing missionary.

So, how did we learn about Dogon beliefs in the West? There is only one fundamental source, which is thankfully extremely comprehensive. Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, two of France’s most renowned anthropologists, chose to study the Dogon in depth in 1931.

They lived almost regularly with the tribe for the following 21 years, and in 1946, Griaule was invited by the Dogon priests to divulge their most holy secrets.

He participated in their rituals and ceremonies, learning – as much as any Westerner could – the extremely intricate symbolism that arises from their primary belief in amphibious creatures known as Nommo who arrived from outer space to civilize the world. (The Dogon revered Griaule as much as their priests, to the point where a quarter of a million tribesmen flocked to pay him homage at his funeral in Mali in 1956.)

The results of the two anthropologists were initially reported in the Journal de la Societe des Africainistes in 1950, in a cautious and academic piece titled “A Sudanese Sirius System.”

Germaine Dieterlen stayed in Paris after Griaule’s death and was named Secretary General of the Societe des Africainistes at the Musee de I’Homme. She compiled their findings in a massive volume titled Le Renard Pete, which was published in 1965 by the French National Institute of Ethnology as the first of a planned series.


The two books demonstrate unequivocally that the Dogon belief system is founded on a startlingly accurate understanding of astronomy combined with a type of astrology. Sirius, and the other stars and planets that they believe orbit around it, are at the center of it.

They also claim that its major partner star, po tola, is composed of stuff heavier than that found on Earth and orbits in a 50-year elliptical orbit. All of this is correct. However, Western astronomers only discovered something unusual around Sirius some 150 years ago.

They had noticed some abnormalities in its velocity, which they could only explain by postulating the existence of another star nearby that was interfering with Sirius’ movements due to gravity.

When testing a new telescope in 1862, American astronomer Alvan Graham Clark saw the star and named it Sirius B.

However, it would take another half-century for a mathematical and physical explanation for such a little object exerting such huge power to be discovered after the first detection of Sirius’ peculiarities.

In the 1920s, Sir Arthur Eddington proposed the notion that some stars are ‘white dwarfs,’ or stars nearing the end of their lives that had collapsed in on themselves and become superdense.


The description was spot on for the Dogon variant. But, in the three years between Eddington’s introduction of the hypothesis in a popular book in 1928 and the arrival of Griaule and Dieterlen in 1931, how could they have learnt about it?

Both anthropologists were perplexed. ‘The dilemma of how men could know of the movements and certain properties of almost invisible stars with no tools at their disposal has not been solved,’ they wrote.

Another researcher, Robert Temple, an American scholar of Sanskrit and Oriental Studies living in Europe, arrived at this moment and became enthralled by the two concerns raised. To begin with, should the evidence of the Dogon’s astronomical knowledge be trusted? Second, assuming the first question was answered affirmatively, how could they have gotten this information?


After some serious reading of the source material and discussions with Germaine Dieterlen in Paris, he became convinced that the Dogon did indeed hold ancient wisdom that concerned not just Sirius B, but the entire solar system.

The Moon, they added, was “dry and dead as dry dead blood.” Saturn was depicted with a ring around it in their depiction (Two other exceptional cases of primitive tribes privy to this information are known.) They were aware the planets orbited the sun and chronicled Venus’ motions in their sacred building. The four “major moons” were known to them.

Galileo was the first to view Jupiter. (At least 14 have now been identified.) They were correct in their assumption that the Earth rotates on its axis. They also believed there were an unlimited number of stars and that the Milky Way, to which Earth was connected, was governed by a spiral force.

Much of this was passed down through Dogon mythology and iconography. Objects on Earth were believed to symbolize what happened in the heavens, but the concept of ‘twinning’ obscured many of the computations, so the evidence could not be stated to be completely clear.

The essential facts in the case of Sirius B, on the other hand, appeared unarguable. Indeed, the Dogon chose the tiniest yet most significant object they could find to represent Sirius B: a grain of their vital food crop. (Po tolo literally translates to “fonio seed star.”) They also used their imaginations to illustrate the immense weight of the mineral content: ‘All earthly humans combined cannot lift it.’

Temple was particularly taken with their sand drawings. The egg-shaped ellipse could be interpreted as reflecting the “egg of life” or some other symbolic significance. The Dogon, on the other hand, were adamant that it indicated an orbit, a fact discovered in the 16th century by the renowned astronomer Johannes Kepler and certainly unknown to untutored African tribes. They also emphasized the importance of the position of

Sirius is exactly where it should be, rather than where one might expect it to be – at a focal point on the ellipse’s edge, rather than in the center.


So, how did the Dogon acquire this ethereal knowledge? There is no ambiguity in the response to this question for the Dogon priests. They are certain that amphibious creatures from a planet in the Sirius system landed on Earth in the distant past and gave on the knowledge to initiates, who then passed it on to future generations.

They worship the animals as “the monitors of the cosmos, the progenitors of mankind, custodians of its spiritual principles, dispensers of rain, and masters of the water,” as they call them Nommo.

Temple discovered that the Dogon drew sand designs to depict the spinning, whirling descent of a Nommo ‘ark,’ which he mistook for a spaceship. ‘The descriptions of the ark’s landing are incredibly detailed,’ he said.

The ark is claimed to have landed to the northeast of the Dogon area, which is where the Dogon claim to have originally originated from.

The sound of the ark landing is described by the Dogon.

They believe Nommo’s “speech” was hurled down in four directions as he descended, and it sounded like the echoing of four enormous stone blocks being struck with stones by youngsters in a very small cave near Lake Debo, according to unique rhythms. The Dogon are most likely trying to portray a tremendous vibrating sound.

It’s easy to imagine standing in the cave and covering one’s ears in response to the loudness. At close range, the ark’s descent must have sounded like a jet runway.’

The Dogon priests utilized other stories of the ark’s landing, such as how it landed on dry land and “displaced a mountain of dust generated by the whirlwind it caused.” The force of the hit roughened the ground, causing it to slip.’


The conclusions of Robert Temple, initially published in 1976 in his book The Sirius Mystery, are both provocative and well-researched.

As a result, his results have been used as ammunition by both those who believe in extraterrestrial visitations in Earth’s early history and others who consider the idea is bunkum (including the vast majority of scientists and historians).

For example, Erich von Daniken, whose best-selling books on the subject have recently been proved to be based, in large part, on erroneous information, has praised the Dogon beliefs, describing them as “conclusive proof… of ancient astronauts.”

A number of science writers, including the late Carl Sagan and Ian Ridpath, have come out against Temple, claiming that the argument is unproven and that Temple has read too much into Dogon mythology.

Years after becoming interested in the issue, Robert Temple found nothing to recant in his response to his publisher, who articulated his core doubt about the book as follows: ‘Mr. Temple, do you believe it?’ ‘Do you think it’s true?’ ‘Yes, I do,’ Temple replied. My personal investigation has persuaded me.

I was only doing some research at first. I had my doubts. I was hunting for hoaxes since I didn’t believe it could be true. But then I started to notice that there were more and more pieces that fit. And my response is, “Yes, I believe it.” The key question is whether the Dogon’s information could have been attained in any other way.

Latest from Articles