About Our Reviews
Browse the Books
Contact Us


Decoding the African
Mystery Tradition

By Laird Scranton
Published by Inner Traditions
208 pages, paperback

How could a seemingly primitive group of natives in Mali, West Africa, come by advanced knowledge about the star Sirius, and its companions?            

This knowledge was unavailable to our scientists and astronomers until very recently. The question, once posed, became open to a wide variety of interpretations.

Some of the more unusual were that the knowledge came from ancient Egyptians, the Atlanteans, Victorian explorers, and even extraterrestrials. The most prosaic answer is that these natives somehow absorbed the information from travellers, but this just removes the question one step further – how did the travellers come by it?            

Author Laird Scranton suggests this advanced data does not stop with a single star. He feels that it permeates the Dogon culture and they had an intrinsic knack of presenting such things as creation theory, genetics, quantum physics and string theory, in symbolic form.

Scranton is uniquely qualified to discuss these matters, as he is a person who became interested in Dogon mythology in the early 1990’s. Originally an independent software designer, he decided to launch a 10 year study of ancient myth, language and cosmology, and the result is this book.            

John Anthony West, an expert Egyptologist, who contributes the foreword, is convinced that Scranton is on the right track in pinpointing the Egyptians of ancient times as the most likely source of Dogon cosmology.            

He says there is substantial evidence these ancient people were in turn influenced by a civilisation that preceded them.            

Scranton set himself a formidable task in trying to understand Dogon metaphors, but that is where his computer knowledge became invaluable.            

He finds that the Dogon obsession with the numbers 2 and 8 may be reflected in the electron structure of both water and copper. If that were the only evidence foradvanced knowledge, it could be dismissed as a fortuitous coincidence, but there is much more, such as the similarity of a Dogon structure to the cone of space-time.            

Four creative stages of the Dogon – bummo, yala, tonu and toy – bear resemblance to fourtypes of forcecarrying particles in quantum physics. A Dogon drawing reproduced in the book is an amazing likeness to a scientific diagram of electron orbit shape, based on mathematical calculations of the most probable locations of electrons as they orbit around a nucleus.            

Another drawing illustrates perfectly the property of “spin” in sub-atomic particles. Stephen Hawking alludes to “more than 200 elementary particles.” The Dogon figure of 266 seeds or signs appears to relate to particles we haven’t even discovered yet!            

String theory means the different vibrational patterns of a fundamental string give rise to different masses and force charges. Yet another Dogon drawing corresponds with what we know about such vibrational patterns, and the comparison is absolutely astounding.            

Scranton says: “Although a string is many times smaller than the smallest particle that can be imaged by present day scientists, the Dogon retain a clear sense of what their primordial thread looks like.”            

Moreover, it seems the Egyptians were also possessors of advanced understanding – for example the wave/particle duality of matter is depicted perfectly in the hieroglyphic spelling of the Egyptian word “nu.”            

The Egyptian creator of man, ptah (or pteh) had a genetic connection in the hieroglyphics that made up his name. There is a double spiral very much like the double helix in DNA, the building block of life.            

Archaeology says little about what gave Egyptian culture its jumpstart in sophistication. There is even an echo of Dogon influence in ancient Judaism.            

Then, too, the opening of Amma’s egg, a potent legend of the Dogon, matches the Big Bang that originated the universe we know.            

Correspondences can be found as far afield as the Maoris of New Zealand where the “po” – a primary component of matter – is virtually identical in both creation stories.            

What is the link shared by both civilisations thousands of miles apart? Serpent symbolism crops up in many world cultures. If humanity was helped by visitors from the stars, it may be that reptilian occupants of UFOs are not so far fetched after all. The serpent religion suffered a fall in popularity, as it graduated from all powerful deities to evil demonic powers.

The author makes a convincing case for some intervening force in ancient times that left extremely important clues to their existence with the prevailing natives, knowing perhaps that someday someone would be aware of their presence.            

Whether this force was aliens from the stars, or a very advanced human culture that has long since vanished from history will probably be forever a mystery.            

Can all the similarities referenced by Scranton be merely coincidence? A question to deeply ponder.            

– Reviewed by W. Ritchie Benedict in New Dawn No. 102


Books made available for online purchase through Fishpond (Australia) and Amazon

BOOK REVIEWS appear in
New Dawn
– a bimonthly
magazine – available in newsagencies throughout
Australia and
New Zealand. Receive
New Dawn
your mail box by Subscribing Today!