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Dogon's Connection to the Sirius System

Ancient Mysteries Regarding the Double Star System

By Emily Marie ConcannonPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 8 min read
Dogon's Connection to the Sirius System
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Who Are The Dogon People?

The Dogon people are a tribal group living in Northeastern Africa. They currently reside in the nation of Mali and primarily make their abode in the Plateaus of the country. Their history dates back all the way to ancient Egypt, if not longer.

The Dogon people are believed to have been a contemporary people of the ancient Egyptians. It's debated whether they lived with them or apart, but they most likely had significant contact during the Egyptian empire.

Their language is distinctive from the Egyptian language. Some people speculated the Dogon were descendants of ancient Egypt who fled to the regions of Mali after the empire collapsed. However, most experts contest this idea since their languages developed separately.

However, both people share certain characteristics and traditions, which hints at their close contact in the past. Some of the commonalities between the Dogon and the Egyptian peoples include:

  • Symbols
  • Myths
  • Respect for Sirius
  • The Ben-Ben Stone (Amma's Stone)
  • Transmission of souls to the Milky Way

The ancient Egyptians had close connections to the Kushittes of Nubia. Both held the Ben-Ben Stone in high reverence, with some scientists speculating this stone was a meteorite that the pre-historic peoples believed was sacred.

The Dogon people may have fled away from the Nile after the Islamic conquests. Since they claim to be from the Nile, this seems like a logical explanation.

The Ben-Ben stone is just one example of how these people were connected. The Kushites, Dogon, and Egyptians all believed they were seeded from the sky. Today we'll explore the Dogon cosmological belief system and why I think Ancient Alien theorists completely disrespect these peoples' traditions.

By Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash

What Did the Dogon Know About the Cosmos?

The Dogon people have a high respect and historical reverence for the sky and certain constellations. Experts disagree about the extent of their knowledge, but no one contests that the universe plays an integral part in the Dogon mythos. From the moons of Jupiter to the rings of Saturn, the Dogon seem to possess knowledge beyond their time.

To begin, let's list all of the astrological knowledge the Dogon are reported to possess:

  • Saturn has rings
  • Jupiter's major moons (Jovian moons)
  • Planets orbit on their axis
  • The Earth is a sphere
  • Advanced calendars based on the sun, Venus, Sirius, and Earth
  • Sirius A and Sirius B

Researchers who contacted the Dogon in the mid-1930s claim the people had extremely detailed knowledge of the planets. Traditional images of Saturn depicted the planet with a halo or rings. They told researchers that Jupiter has four large companions.

There is some skepticism about these claims, which we will explore more later. However, this knowledge is amazing for people who were believed not to have telescopes.

By NASA on Unsplash

Knowledge of the Sirius System

Perhaps more astounding then their knowledge of the local solar system was their apparent knowledge of the planet's orbits and the Sirius System.

According to researchers, the Dogon people told them that the Sirius System consisted of two major stars. Their word for a star is "Tolo." They claimed the main star (we call Sirius A) had a companion star called Po Tolo.

Po Tolo means "Heavy Star." The Dogon told them that Po Tolo was close to Sirius A but was a heavier red star that was passed its prime. They also described their orbits in alarming detail, claiming they had an orbital period of approximately 50 years.

This is incredibly astonishing for people without telescopes. Sirius A is very bright and clearly visible to the naked eye. However, Sirius B is much smaller and was only discovered in Europe in the mid-1800s.

They accurately stated that Sirius B is heavy since it's a dense dwarf star. It's also a red star, unlike its neighbor, which burns a bright bluish-white (much hotter than our sun). Finally, it has an orbital period of approximately 50.1 years.

There's some skepticism over these claims, which we'll explore in the next section. But one thing is certain, their mythos and knowledge of the universe were far advanced in relation to their neighbors.

By nemo on Unsplash

Skepticism of the Extraterrestrial Theory

Some experts, such as Carl Sagan, called these claims of advanced knowledge into question. For example, it's actually not impossible to see most of the Galilean moons of Jupiter with the naked eye.

Many cultures believed these small lights to be stars, but perhaps the Dogon believed they were companions of the massive gas giant. It's remarkable they could associate these moons with the planet, but it's not unbelievable that they could see them with the naked eye.

However, it's hard to rationalize how they knew about Saturn's rings. Sagan claimed this could have been a coincidence. He points out that the Dogon were unaware of the rings of Uranus and were unaware of any other planets beyond Saturn.

Maybe the Dogon believed Saturn had a halo or some other miraculous feature? Was it the researcher's bias that associated these features with rings?

Carl Sagan believed that if extraterrestrials had visited the Dogon, they would have told them about the other planets and their rings. They probably would have told the Dogon about the other moons of Jupiter and Saturn as well. Why would they share incomplete knowledge?

What's far more difficult to rationalize is their knowledge of the Sirius System. How did they know the orbital period of the stars? How did they know there were two when most of the western world only realized this less than a century before the French scientists visited the tribe?

Carl Sagan believed this might be an example of transferred knowledge or knowledge contamination. The French researchers seemed biased in their attempt to validate their theories about the star system. Sagan speculates that these researchers may have "poisoned the well" when discussing these native traditions.

They lacked a great deal of ethics and didn't uphold standard practices when discussing their mythos. We'll explore their mythology a little more below, and I'll explain why I don't believe in the ancient alien "theory."

By Enoch Appiah Jr. on Unsplash

Did Aliens Really Visit the Dogon People?

There is some disagreement over the idea of aliens and whether these beings visited Earth. What we do know is the Dogon people are a highly intelligent tribe with a great deal of working knowledge of the solar system. Regardless of whether aliens visited Earth, the Dogon people should be given credit for their knowledge.

The Dogon people claim the Nommo people visited their tribe back at the dawn of time. They were amphibian people from the smaller Sirius star (Sirius B). They claimed they came to share knowledge and settle the planet.

These Nommo people were originally red when they fell from the sky but turned white when they touched the Earth. They spent the day on the ground spreading their knowledge and would sink beneath the waves after dark.

The Dogon still honors these visitors with dances, songs, and other rituals.

I'll only give the ancient alien "theory" a brief paragraph since I want to spend most of this section discussing the Dogon tradition as they told it.

According to the ancient alien theory, these Nommo were extraterrestrials. They visited Earth in the distant past because their home faced environmental degradation. In exchange for a place on Earth, they gave the Dogon advanced astronomical knowledge.

Below, in the final section, I'll explain why I side with Carl Sagan on this "theory."

By Egor Myznik on Unsplash

What I Believe

For what it's worth, I don't believe the "ancient alien theory." Part of this is based on logic. It's not that I don't think aliens could exist someplace in space, and Carl Sagan believed they might have existed too.

What I don't agree with is the idea that these beings could traverse space and only have partial knowledge of the universe.

Why do they know that Saturn has rings but not a moon system?

Why did the Nommo know Jupiter has four moons and not the over 70 we now know about?

Why did the Nommo know about Sirius B and not the other planets in our solar system?

However, my biggest issue with the ancient alien "theorists" is they discredit these cultures.

They display above-average intelligence? Must've been aliens!

They know stuff before Europeans? Must've been aliens!

Why is it possible for us today to know about medicine, art, the solar system, etc., but not ancient peoples? We discovered these things through science, why is it so hard to think people in the past might've known how to do science too?

Did you know they found evidence of ancient lenses in ancient Crete and Mesopotamia? I'm not claiming ancient people had telescopes, but some archeologists are starting to consider that they may have had them long before we claim they were first invented.

Is it so hard to believe these people may have known things because they had more skill than we realize? Is it more rational, ethical, and fair to think our ancestors lacked basic know-how to discover ways of uncovering the mysteries of the universe?

By Les Anderson on Unsplash


Thank you so so much for reading this! I really appreciate it!

I had the unfortunate experience of being recommended ancient alien videos from the History channel. At first I ignored them, but then I decided to give them a shot.

I found that not only were these videos extremely racist, but they also don't give our ancestors credit! In their video on ancient medicine, they talk about how Neanderthal skeletons show signs of bone repair after major surgery. This is actually true and it's really rather incredible!

But rather than crediting our Neanderthal ancestors, they say "how could these people have this knowledge? Aliens!" How come they couldn't have figured it out exactly the same way we did in modern times?

Thanks again for reading! I wanted to make an article that shared these peope's AMAZING story without assuming they were too stupid to actually know these things.

The Dogon deserve the credit! LOVE YOU ALL :):)


About the Creator

Emily Marie Concannon

I am a world nomad with a passion for vegan food, history, coffee, and equality.

You can find my first novel on Kindle Vella here: :) I appreciate all your support and engagement! :)

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Comments (4)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Whoaaaa, I had never heard about the Dogon people before. And for people with no telescopes, they knew a lot! Also, I know right, just because people from long ago knew something we don't or before us, doesn't mean it's aliens. This was a very fascinating article. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Rick Henry Christopherabout a month ago

    Very well written and informative. I really enjoyed reading it

  • Donna Reneeabout a month ago

    Yes!! Personally, I love sci-fi but the “must’ve been aliens!” explanation for everything is annoying. I loved how you dove into this open minded and celebrated their beliefs and their knowledge!!

  • Gina C.about a month ago

    Very interesting read, Emily! I admit that the idea of aliens have visited the ancient civilizations had always intrigued me - but you point out some super relevant questions here that I had not thought of. After reading your thoughts, it does seem that these incredible people were severely under credited! Thank you so much for this highly interesting and informational piece!

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