The Master (Mistress) of Speech

Master (Mistress) of Speech

Chapter 1

The Dogon
and Ogotemmêli

I first became aware of the Dogon while reading an article on the Sirius star system. The article told how the Dogon tribe of Mali, Africa had advanced knowledge of the white dwarf star known today as Sirius B. This star is invisible to the eye and so difficult to observe even through a telescope, that no photographs were taken of it until 1970. Sirius B is a white dwarf star that is small and faint but extremely dense and heavy, which is why it exerts an influence on Sirius. The star's existence was first suspected in 1844 because of irregularities observed in the movement of Sirius. Astronomers at the time determined that a second star must be causing the irregularity, and the star in question was finally detected in 1862.

The web site went on to discuss the Dogon's description of this star.

…the Dogon name for Sirius B (Po Tolo) consists of the word for star (tolo) and 'po,' the name of the smallest seed known to them. By this name they describe the star's smallness -- it is, they say, 'the smallest thing there is.' They also claim that it is 'the heaviest star,' and white. The Dogon thus attribute to Sirius B its three principle properties as a white dwarf: small, heavy and white.

They go on to say that it has an elliptical orbit with Sirius A at one foci of the ellipse (as it is), that the orbital period is 50 years (the actual figure is 50.04 +/- 0.09 years), and that the star rotates on its own axis (it does).

This information about the white dwarf star had been told to the French anthropologists Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, sometime between 1931 and 1950. The Dogon told the anthropologists they had received their knowledge from visitors who came to Earth from the stars. One of the key rituals in the religion was the Dogon Sigui festival which was linked to Sirius B. According to Griaule and Dieterlen, there was evidence that the Dogon had been practising the Sigui ritual associated with the white dwarf star since at least the 13th century. They determined this date based on Dogon kanaga masks found stored in a cave in Ibi in 1931. It was the Dogon custom to carve one of these masks for each Sigui ceremony held once every sixty years. At that time, there were nine masks intact and at least three others which had crumbled to dust. This would date the ceremonies back to the thirteenth century.

The Dogon also had knowledge of Saturn's rings, and Jupiter's four major moons. They said their astronomical knowledge had been given to them by the Nummo, amphibious beings sent to Earth for the benefit of humanity. These amphibious beings were said to be more fishlike than human and had to live in water.

FS Ancient Mystery News also reported on the Nummo and told how "Their 'spaceship arrived from the sky and landed with great noise and wind, on three legs. After the landing, something with four legs appeared and dragged the vessel to a hollow, which filled with water until the vessel floated….'”

It was this information about the Dogon that inspired me to track down Marcel Griaule's book, Conversations with Ogotemmêli. Griaule recorded the Dogon religion at a time when the Dogon were one of the last people in Africa to come under French rule. Prior to then, the isolated Dogon had maintained their own beliefs and religious practices. Because the Dogon had been secluded, they were considered by the Europeans to be "the most backward race" in the whole region and the best example of “primitive savagery” known to the world. According to Griaule, Muslim Africans also shared this view, as neither group could understand the Dogon traditions.

Griaule established his relationship with the Dogon people during field trips which began in 1931. After years of questioning the Dogon elders about their religion, Griaule was finally admitted to the Dogon religion's innermost teachings. The Dogon elder Ogotemmêli was chosen to present the secret knowledge to Griaule. This was done in thirty-three days, which began in October of 1946.

Ogotemmêli was considered one of the most powerful minds on the Cliffs of Bandiagara in Mali where the Dogon lived. Ogotemmêli's grandfather had initiated him into the mysteries of the Dogon religion when he was fifteen and after his grandfather had died his father had taken over the instruction. According to Griaule, Ogotemmêli's total initiation had gone on for more than twenty years.

It was because of Ogotemmêli, that Griaule recorded the religion so accurately. Because it is a mystery religion, the Dogon religion can only be fully understood by identifying the repetition in its symbolic patterns. When the religion was created, its continuity was established through its symbolism rather than through its chronology. Without the symbolic consistency, it would have been impossible for me or any other researcher to approach an understanding of it. It appears that the religion was deliberately created this way to protect it from outside influence. My research indicates the Dogon religion was one of the early mystery religions thought to have been lost to humanity.

The unique structure of this religion suggests it was created in an oral culture. This is why it has been so difficult for researchers to understand it. Because we live in a written culture, its symbolic composition is foreign to our way of thinking. The fact it took someone as intelligent as Ogotemmêli over twenty years to learn his own religion attests to its complexity. It is not an easy mythology to understand, but I believe it is without a doubt the most significant mythology recorded to date.

It is because the Dogon insisted on clinging to their traditions that the truth about human existence has been preserved for us. The ancient stories told by Ogotemmêli had been passed on from generation to generation throughout the ages. I believe it is the oldest and most complete oral source document known to history. In his book, Conversations with Ogotemmêli, Griaule admitted he didn't really understand a lot of the religion he recorded and conveyed to the world. He simply wrote it as Ogotemmêli had told it to him. This is one of the reasons why his record is so significant. It is a historical account, for the most part, free of personal bias.

Another important aspect of the account is that Ogotemmêli was blind. He was one-eyed from childhood and became totally blind later in life as a result of an accident. Everything he told Griaule came from history and his memory. Nothing was influenced by changes that he might have seen in later days in the Dogon village.

Careful analysis of this mythology reveals that it is the key source from which other religions, including Christianity, have evolved. It provides us with the sought-after missing link and answers to questions that have plagued humanity since the beginning of time. Historians, psychologists, anthropologists, and other researchers will find the information presented here invaluable to their own understanding of our past. ...

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