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on 8 August 2011
The Sirius Mystery is an examination of the amazing fact that the Dogon tribe in central Africa have possessed for at least many centuries knowledge of the Sirius star system which has only become known to modern man within the last century or so. The obvious implication of this is that there was advanced knowledge of the stars in ancient times. The obvious question which arises is where did that knowledge come from? When this knowledge is interwoven with a mythology which also seems to suggest knowledge of the people from that star system the mystery becomes ever deeper.

The Sirius Mystery poses the question: has the earth been visited in the past by intelligent life from the region of the Sirius star system? The question, whilst seemingly "far-out" at first, is a perfectly valid one given the extent of the knowledge possessed by the Dogon. The Sirius Mystery is first and foremost a record of what cannot be disputed: that the Dogon tribe possess this knowledge, and have possessed it for longer than the technology which allows us to confirm it has existed. This in itself demands explanation; the most obvious question is from where did this knowledge come from? Or rather, from whom?

The author presents his case in a well-argued and logical fashion, laying out firstly the context into which the main question of the book fits by pointing out some examples of anomalous knowledge from apparently ancient times which have not been either refuted or as yet adequately explained such as the Piri Reis maps. This context consists in essence of the fact that there are large areas where the orthodox accounts of history are tragically incomplete. Academia insists that the question of the origins of man has been pretty much answered, and the only thing missing is the, um, missing link, and that the orthodox chronology of human development is accurate, give or take a century or so. Yet at the same time this is ignoring much evidence which blatantly contradicts this view, one of my favourite examples of which is the Antikythera device, an advanced mechanical astronomical computer recovered from a Greek ship known to have sunk around 100BC.

This is of course not all. The obviously mechanical function of the Great Pyramid, the evidence of ancient civilisation far to the west of the current course of the river Nile, the water erosion around the Sphinx and its enclosure suggestive of many thousands of years of rainfall, all suggest that that a rethink is long overdue as far as ancient Egypt is concerned. There are related hints to be found in recorded mythologies from around the globe and the research of the likes of Immanuel Velikovsky whose analysis leads him to the conclusion that cosmic events in relatively recent history have caused global catastrophes on numerous occasions, any one of which might have caused the collapse and burial of an advanced ancient civilisation. Add to this the fact that, as recorded in Forbidden Archaeology by Michael Cremo, there is very good evidence that Homo Sapiens Sapiens has existed alongside other hominids for at least 10 million years, and possibly far, far longer.

It is therefore clear that orthodox history is incomplete, and that there is little attempt to correct it. It is not unreasonable to question whether the dogmatic insistences of academia are not totally unfounded. In my own reading it seems they are, therefore the question whether humankind has had contact with extraterrestrial intelligence is a perfectly valid and hugely fascinating one. Necessarily quoting at length from the work of French anthropologists Griaule and Dieterlen who were the first Westerners to be allowed into the Dogon's secrets in the 1930s, Robert Temple lays out the basic mythology of the Dogon which revolves around the invisible star Digitaria, the White Dwarf Sirius B - only recently confirmed to exist. This can be heavy going but is well worth the effort. Also shown are the connections with ancient Egypt as we currently know it, and the possibility that the knowledge possessed by the Dogon came from, or was also possessed by, the Egyptians and indeed other cultures such as the Babylonian. This then raises the possibility that there were direct connections between the Dogon and the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians and possibly others, and indeed there is the possibility the Dogon originated in Egypt itself.

The Sirius Mystery doesn't claim to know any answers. It simply raises the question and provides in my opinion a very good case why the question is a valid one. It is certainly not proof of anything except that the Dogon do in fact possess this ancient knowledge - which was known anyway. Those reviewers who claim such works as The Sirius Mystery are pseudoscientific nonsense generally have either not read the book or have totally misunderstood its point - and the point is simply that the possibility exists. No-one claims to know the answers for certain, including this author; however an increasing number of people are becoming aware that the questions do exist. Unfortunately for orthodoxy no amount of naysaying, "debunking" and character assassination (as in the case of Velikovsky) can deny that the possibility exists - for if we cannot say with certainty what DID happen in antiquity we certainly cannot say what did NOT happen.

Robert Temple has supplied another tantalising piece of a slowly emerging mosaic which paints a vastly different picture of ancient history and human development than the version insisted upon by orthodoxy. Whilst I personally do not agree with his conclusions, largely because I lean slightly towards the catastrophist school of thought which leads me to believe that the earth's orientation has changed numerous times, this is the result of a huge amount of research and is well written, well argued, and hugely compelling.
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The starting point for Robert Temple's famous work of scholarship is the very precise and detailed astronomical knowledge which two French anthropologists discovered to be possessed by the Dogon tribe in North-West Mali in the 1960s. It transpired that the Dogon knew a great deal about Sirius `The Dog Star', one of the brightest stars in the sky and one of Earth's nearest stellar neighbours at only 2.6 parsecs' distance. Sirius is the most prominent star in the constellation Canis Major (the `Big Dog') and was frequently represented as a dog in Egyptian mythology, in which it held the highest importance. Curiously, Dogon anagrams easily to `On Dog' but this verbal exercise in English-language wordplay is nowhere near the weirdest thing about the Dogon's obsession with the Sirius system.

The astounding thing is that they also know of Sirius B, a white dwarf companion of the main star which is invisible to the naked human eye and wasn't even found by western astronomers until the 20th century. Furthermore, they know precise astronomical details of the orbit period of the binary system: 50 years, a number which Temple discovered to be central to not only the Dogon's sacred rituals but also to those of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Dogon know the white dwarf Sirius B to be of immense density, and describe that if an amount of the star's material the size of a small rock which can be held in the human hand were present on Earth, it would weigh "more than all the iron in the world together" and would be impossible for any human to lift from the ground.

It doesn't stop there. They also claim the system has a third star and can draw diagrams of how the three stars interact and orbit around one another. Astronomers have predicted that based on the behaviour of the now-known binary system there should indeed be a third massive body present somewhere to account for the visibly eccentric movements of the known two, though the third star has yet to be found. They also claim a planet in this triple-star system to be the origin of visitors to the human race millennia ago who imparted all the knowledge of civilisation and classical science to our ancestors, and moreover describe with diagrams very precisely the orbital period of this planet and its trajectory around the star system.

They also know about the four Galilean Moons of the planet Jupiter, and about the rings around Saturn, neither of which are visible without a telescope.

All this is integral to Dogon cosmology and sacred rituals, which they claim to be very ancient and to originate from these visitors from the Sirius system millennia ago.

From acknowledgment that these complex astronomical data have been factually known by the Dogon tribe in great detail for at least centuries, but with no possible `conventional' or `scientific' source available to them, Temple begins his enquiry. The reader is warned that the middle chapters of the book contain a mass of detail about the myths and cosmology of the ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Phoenicians which is often very hard going, but Temple does at least offer a small-print 2-page summary to close each chapter.

Temple concludes that the most likely explanation to fit the facts is something close to what the Dogon claim to be the truth. He finds all the astronomical knowledge held by the Dogon as sacred to also be present in other cosmologies from the classical world, where Sirius invariably plays a `starring' role. There is a great deal of evidence that the legendary visitors might have originated from an aquatic environment and been physiologically amphibious, repulsive and shocking to behold to our human ancestors and a long way from the beautiful angelic beings one might expect if the stories of enlightened godlike visitors from the stars had been just invented. Almost all the really ancient classical cultures make references to these beings, and their descriptions are all similar.

The sobering thing about `The Sirius Mystery' is that Temple is no flaky conspiracy-theorist or alternative historian (for example he doesn't believe UFO sightings to be evidence of latter-day extra-terrestrial visitation). He is a diligent and patient academic scholar who seeks out original documents and sources, often not available in the English language, and has obviously committed years to this study. To construct any convincing alternative narrative to that put forward by the author, you're going to have to do the same work he has done or else your arguments are going to look rather lame, and originating from ignorant ideological convictions.

I hold back from awarding 5 stars to `The Sirius Mystery' because it's a tough read; ultimately the author might have made his point more succinctly with better editing, offering a less prolix torrent of information for the reader and more careful selection of data. But his dedication to solving this mystery is genuine enough. Robert Temple's intelligent academic approach might even be seen by some as too conservative and, in the face of such astounding conclusions about the possible origins of human civilization founded on (apparently) persistently corroborated evidence, his restraint is commendable.
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on 16 November 2010
A fascinating subject but this heavy book is heavy going. Still, for research and diligence alone it deserves five stars.
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on 3 August 2015
just rewriting old stuff, but good read
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on 25 July 2015
Fascinating reading
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on 8 December 2013
If its possible to be punch drunk by a book, then I think author acheived it for me. With so many random facts in the extreeme,countless place names dropped out of thin air, word associations etc it becomes an encyclopedia and to finish he has a go at his contemporaries for not liking him.. Hmmm sad really.. To be honest I have gotten through it expecting an enlightening finale about extraterestrials, but I can`t say I really know what the heck it was all about?? Wasted time and money and if you buy don`t say I didn`t warn you.. avoid!
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on 18 February 2014
Think I better call "The Men in Black". What a complete waste of eyesight. Must be time for another extra terrestrial visit, or are they amongst us.
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