So, what is it about Sirius that warrants monuments being built to it across the globe for centuries on end? Why does it pop up in some many arcane religious traditions? Why is the five-pointed star that symbolizes it appearing on our nation's flag and the badges of our cops?
The answer is quite a dozy. And naturally, it involves extraterrestrial contact. Robert Anton Wilson, writing on Temple's findings from The Sirius Mystery, states:
"Temple claimed that Earth had been visited by an advanced race from a planet in the system of the double star, Sirius, around 4500 B.C. Temple based this assertion on the fact that definite and specific knowledge of he Sirius system can be found in the mythology of the Babylonians, the Egyptians, and some surviving African tribes -knowledge which modern astronomy has only rediscovered with the fantastically delicate instruments of the last two decades."
(The Cosmic Trigger Volume I, pg. 9)
|A depiction of Temple's 'Nommos', amphibious extraterrestrials|
Wilson, citing both Temple's and his own research, goes on to trace this theory to the Sirius traditions appearing in various esoteric orders.
"Temple believes the Contact (which he tends to portray as physical, involving actual space-ships) occurred in Sumeria around 4500 B.C. The knowledge thus gained, he argues... was passed on via various secret societies of initiates in the Near East, Egypt, Greece and so on, at least until the time of the 5th century (A.D.) neo-Platonist Proclus. Thereafter, Temple loses track of it, and suggest that it appeared in 'such bizarre and fascinating figures as Giordano Bruno, Marsilio Ficino, John Dee and even Sir Philip Sidney and the Earl of Leicester -not to mention the troubadors of Provence, Dante in Italy, and the massacred tens of thousands of Albigensians in France, the Knights Templar and infinite range of hopeless causes over two and a half millennia...'
"...As we have already seen, Kenneth Grant traces the Crowley tradition back to 4500 B.C. in the Near East, and J.G. Bennett traces the Guurdjieff tradition back also to that time and that place. Neither Grant nor Bennett could have anticipated that Temple would demonstrate, with a great deal of archaeological evidence, that some sort of Contact with Sirius did occur at that time, at that place. Yet both of them assert secret teachings concerning Sirius were passed on by Crowley and Gurdjieff."
(ibid, pgs. 186-189)
Temple even argues that these extraterrestrials left behind certain 'markers' for humanity to find as we evolved so that the knowledge these various esoteric orders handed down could finely be understood.
"But in considering the very origins of the elements of what we can call human civilization on this planet, we should now take fully into account the possibility that primitive Stone Age men were handed civilization on a platter by visiting extraterrestrial beings, who left traces behind them for us to decipher. These traces concerned detailed information about the system of the star Sirius which is only intelligible to a society as technologically advanced as ours today. Today was the time when we were meant to discover these coded facts, I feel sure. Today is the time we should prepare ourselves to face the inevitable reality that extraterrestrial civilizations exist, and are in all probability far more advanced in culture that we ourselves -not to mention in technology which would enable them to travel between the stars.."Meanwhile the Old Ones are waiting patiently within our solar system for man to make that evolutionary leap too where we shall be worthy of further contact.
(The Sirius Mystery, pg. 269)
"All traditions seem agreed that they 'ascended to the heavens' and left the Earth. But there is no guarantee that they went back to Sirius. In fact, anyone capable of mastering the technology of suspended animation for an interstellar voyage would find it a simple matter to re-enter that state and then simply to stay put. So that the Nommos may very well still be somewhere in the solar system, either asleep or slowly bestirring themselves now that things are getting more interesting down here.
"Is there any clue in the traditions as to where any sleeping Nommos might be? There is in the Dogon tradition. For the Dogon differentiate very clearly between the fiery, roaring landing craft which they described as bringing the Nommos to Earth, and the new star which appeared in the sky while they were here which would seem to be a reference to their large base parked in orbit. This is called 'the star of the tenth moon...'
"...It didn't take me long to realize that the tenth main moon of Saturn is anomalous in the solar system, and is the only one which seems to have a smooth surface without craters or other lumps and bumps. Its name is Phoebe. It has a retrograde orbit around Saturn wildly different from all the other Saturnian moons, so that when our space probe photographed the moons of Saturn, Phoebe was the only significant one which was not close enough to give a good photo."
(ibid, pg. 32)
Saturn is of course hugely important in both the religions of Antiquity and alchemy, which also supposedly derived from Egypt.
"...the merry reign of Saturn, the god of sowing and husbandry, who lived on earth long ago as a righteous and beneficent king of Italy, drew the rude and scattered dwellers on the mountains together, taught them to till the ground, gave them laws, and ruled in peace. His reign was the fabled Golden Age: the earth brought forth abundantly: no sound of war or discord troubled the happy world: no baleful love of lucre worked like poison in the blood of the industrious and contented peasantry. Slavery and private property were alike unknown: all men had all things in common. At last the good god, the kindly king, vanished suddenly; but his memory was cherished to distant ages, shrines were reared in his honour, and many hills and high places in Italy bore his name. Yet the bright tradition of his reign was crossed by a dark shadow: his altars are said to have been stained with the blood of human victims for whom a more merciful age afterwards substituted effigies."
(The Golden Bough, James Frazer, pg. 630)
Another of the chief holidays in ancient Rome was the winter festival of Saturnalia, dedicated to the great ruler of the so-called 'Golden Age.' More on this festival can be found here. As to the Saturn's meaning in alchemy:
"In Hermeticism, while mere chemists regarded Saturn as lead, to philosophers Saturn was the colour black, the colour of matter after solution and putrefaction, or else of common copper, first of metals, or of Ramon Llull's azoic virtiol, which separates metals. All these things are images of the office of divider, which is both an end and a beginning, the halting of one cycle and the beginning of a fresh one, the stress being laid more strongly upon the break in or slowing of development."Anyway, back to Temple's theories concerning the Nommos. The only real problem, according to Temple, is the horrible bigotry we humans have shown toward the Nommos in regards to their appearance, dating back to first contact.
(Dictionary of Symbols, Chevalier & Gheerbrant, pg. 829)
"For the creatures credited with founding civilization in the Middle East were frankly described by the Babylonians who revered them and built huge statues to them as being 'repulsive abominations.' If ever anything argued the authenticity of their account, it was this Babylonian tradition that the amphibians to whom they owed everything were disgusting, horrible, and loathsome to look upon. A more normal course for any invented tradition of the origins of civilization would have been to glorify the splendid gods or heroes who founded it. But instead we find specific descriptions of 'animals endowed with reason'... who made their awed and thankful beneficiaries want to be sick with revulsion. And what is more, the traditions admits this freely!
"The problem of revulsion is a difficult one. It seems to be partly a result of what we are taught when young. No doubt psychologists would have a great deal to say about it. But whatever origins it may have, it seems to be almost uncontrollable once a propensity to it has developed. If someone finds snakes or spiders repulsive, it would take a great deal of persuasion to get him to change his attitude, and hypnosis is generally required to overcome genuine phobia. As humans, we tend to dislike all slimy creatures, creepy-crawling creatures, creatures which ooze or slither or wriggle."
(The Sirius Mystery, pg. 278-279)
The readers is advised to be weary of Temple's theories for multiple reasons. An obvious one would be the 'visionary' that guided Mr. Temple to the Sirius mystery in the first place.
"(To show how convoluted this whole business is, I might mention that Arthur Young, founder of the Institute [for the Study of Consciousness], was the one who originally turned Robert Temple on to the idea of trying to find out how the Dogon tribe knew so much about the dark companion of Sirius..."
(The Cosmic Trigger Volume I, Robert Anton Wilson, pg. 242)
Regular readers of this blog should remember the name of Arthur Young, one of the major financial patrons behind the collective that formed around inventor, Fortean researcher, and sometimes intelligence asset Andrija Puharich. Young himself also has bizarre links to the intelligence world, which go all the way up to the Kennedy assassination itself. More information on the whole Young/Puharich/'psychic mafia' collective can be found here, here, and here. This makes Mr. Temple's own claims of persecution by various intelligence agencies all the more comical. Observe:
"But the sad part of the aftermath of The Sirius Mystery was the extreme and virulent hostility towards me by certain security agencies, most notably the American ones...
"In my opinion, based on both instinct and information, it was the Soviet Union which was most active in suppressing serious study of both extraterrestrial intelligence and paranormal phenomena. It may seem ironical that although the American CIA persecuted me for so many years, I lay much blame for this with the Soviet Union, acting through their agents, the Aldrich Ames types."Well, so long as it was 'godless' communism that was actually behind the persecutions... BTW, is it just me, or do a striking number of UFO researcher seem to adopt battered wives syndrome when addressing their encounters with various American intelligence services?
(The Sirius Mystery, pgs. 7-8)
Another major problem I have with Temple's theories is how closely they mirror the fiction of legendary science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. Temple acknowledges a friendship with Mr. Clarke in The Sirius Mystery, yet never addresses how closely his theories correspond to some of Clarke's most celebrated works, all of which came out before Temple's research seemingly would have begun.
Temple's 'markers' theory, for instance, could have almost been wholly derived from the plot line of Clarke's short story, "The Sentinel", which was later adapted into the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In these works humanity is guided a by a series of monoliths left by an unseen alien race, which they first encounter at the Dawn of Man in Africa. A later one is discovered on the moon, which in turn is sending a radio transmission across the solar system. In the movie the final destination of this transmission was Jupiter, but in the novel it is one of the moons on Saturn.
Another of Clarke's novels, Childhood's End, present an alien species referred to as 'the Overlords' who intervene in Earth's affairs to save the human race from extinction. The Overlords refuse to reveal themselves to humanity in person for 50 years while humanity is being conditioned. The wait is later revealed as being due to the frankly hideous, and demonic appearance of the Overlords.
Probably the biggest issue I have with Temple, however, is his insistance upon the Nommos being a flesh and blood extraterrestrial species arriving in physical spacecrafts. As much as Temple ridicules other researchers for their unwillingness to accept the extraterrestrial hypothesis, he seems rather rigid in his own belief system.
Temple seems to put a great deal of stock in the descriptions the Babylonians gave of the Nommos, yet he seemingly ignores their classification of these beings. Consider this account he gives of the legendary Babylonian historian Berossus:
"Berossus, according to the close account of Apollodorus, calls the amphibians by the collective name of 'the Annedoti.' They are described as 'semi-daemons,' not as gods."The daemon is a tricky being to get a handle on. Here is a brief description:
(The Sirius Mystery, pg. 277)
"According to another line of thought, daimons were the souls of the dead, protective or malign spirits which acted as intermediaries between the immortal gods and living, mortal men. Each person had his or her own genius, which acted as a secret adviser by way of sudden intuitions rather than by thought process. They were in some sense the person's inner source of inspiration."According to Manly P. Hall, these daemons were closely linked to elemental beings, nature spirits. He states:
(Dictionary of Symbols, Chevalier & Gheerbrant, pg. 284)
"The Greeks gave the name daemon to some of these elementals, especially those of the higher order, and worshipped them."Further cementing this link, Temple himself likens the Nommos to mermaids and speculates that they inspired these mythical creatures. The mermaid in turn was derived from beings known as undines, water elementals, and did not have the cute and fuzzy trappings of The Little Mermaid.
(The Secret Teachings of All Ages, pg. 330)
I have often toyed with the notion that the extraterrestrial mythology that has sprung in the 20th century may have a far more Earthly origin that relates to these types of beings in Classical mythology. Several noted researchers such as Jacques Vallee and John Keel have devised fine theories concerning these ties which arguably do a much better job of explaining the more outrageous aspects of Fortean encounters than the extraterrestrial theory. For more on this topic, check here.
Further, Temple completely disregards entheogens and how they may relate to his research. He makes this abundantly clear early in the 1998 edition of The Sirius Mystery:
"I certainly met a lot of interesting characters through the Sirius Mystery. But others I avoided. For instance, the late Timothy Leary was very keen for me to join him in California for some joint grooving on the subject of Sirius, after he got out of prison, but the idea of such a thing was so repellent to me that it still makes me shudder. There is nothing I hate quite so much as drugs and the drug-culture."Yet the 'drug culture' cannot be totally avoided as the oracle centers of Antiquity were themselves meccas of the Classical drug culture. Even Temple acknowledges this while describing the trances priestesses of Delphi went into while supposedly contacting the god Apollo for visions of the future:
"...the mantic bowl into which the priestess... will gaze as she goes into trance. A female attendant stands with a jug of water to refill the bowl as it becomes necessary. The bowl was filled with a hot steaming liquid containing powerful decoctions of narcotic herbs such as henbane, thorn apple and black and white hellebore, which helped induce a prophetic frenzy in the self-hypnotized priestess. The terrible smell was explained away to the public as 'fumes from the rotting corpse of the monster Python', supposedly oozing up through a chasm under the temple (although modern excavators have proved that there was no chasm).
(ibid, pg. 172)
It seems plausible all the oracle centers Temple describes had similar rites associated with entheogens. Further, he links his Sirius theory with certain myths of Antiquity that have also been associated with entheogens. For instance, Temple notes that Sirius B has a fifty year orbital cycle and goes on to link this with the appearance of the number 50 in certain myths such as the Argonautica as well as the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh, arguing that knowledge of the Sirius system was preserved in this fashion for several thousand years.
"...the fifty Argonauts who accompanied Jason. 'His teeth are the teeth of a dragon', we are told -reminiscent of Jason sowing the dragon's teeth. And Gilgamesh also puts his teeth to the ground... Each of his fifty heroic companions carries a specially felled tree for the journey -and the only reasonable purpose to go around carrying a tree seems to be that these trees were used as oars, especially as there is an association with a boat. This again is like the Argonauts. We thus have found a Near Eastern tale from which the tale of the Argonauts was derived two thousand years or so later by the Greeks."
(ibid, pg. 135)
The myths of Jason and the Golden Fleece has also has compelling linked to entheogens.
"In the case of Jason, the Golden Fleece was ultimately Amanita muscaria. In such a quest, the hero is a shaman whose identity... becomes consubstantial with the drug of his shamanism so that many of his characteristics have ethnobotanical referents and some of the events are not only his experience, but that of the entheogen itself, that is his analogue. Hence, Jason was trained as a shaman and displayed symbolic features such as his single, muddy foot, his non-birth, and his name as a drug man. Amongst those who sailed with him on the quest were the Dioskouroi and their cousins, the Moliones, whose identities also are ethnobotanical, as Pillar, St. Elmo's Fire, Cap, Lotus, and hermaphroditic Sphere. Similarly, the Fleece has metaphoric characteristics of the quested entheogen, such as the Golden Apple, the fleecy Hide, the Shield, the tiny Man, the Egg, the Serpent, the horned Bull, the Bird, and the Ball of Eros. To initiate him for his heroic ordeal of consubstantiality, Medea anoints him wit the herb of Prometheus, whose theft of Fire was ultimately that of Vision and the sacred plant. The theme of the Fleece persisted in alchemical occult knowledge, becoming ostensibly the parchment on which was written the secret formula of chrysopoeia, although it, too, recalls the ethnobotanical original."
(The Apples of Apollo, Ruck, Staples & Heinrich, pg. 87)
Ultimately Robert Anton Wilson proposes a much more compelling and broad minded theory for the Sirius Mystery than Temple himself:
"Temple's evidence... could be interpreted to indicate the arrival of people from Sirius who had come here in a physical space ship 4500 B.C. According to Temple, information about this had been passed on through various initiatory orders in the ancient Mediterranean and in Africa to the present time. But the evidence could also be interpreted to mean that methods of interstellar telepathy between the Earth and the Sirius system had been discovered back then and that many have been tuning in on that channel ever since."Wilson goes on to link things back to entheogens nicely, which I believe cannot be avoided when one tackles all the aspects of Classical civilization (the oracle centers, the Mystery schools, the god Apollo, Jason and the Argonauts, etc) that Temple attempts to associate with extraterrestrial contact. Wilson remarks:
(The Cosmic Trigger Volume I, pg. 10)
"... the beginnings of religion (awareness of, or at least belief in, Higher Intelligences) is intimately linked with the fact that shamans -in Europe, in Asia, in the Americas, in Africa -have been dosing their nervous systems with metaprogramming drugs since at least 30,000 B.C.
"The pattern is the same, among our cave-dwelling ancestors and American Indians, at the Eleusinian feasts in Athens and among pre-Vedic Hindus, in tribes scattered from pole to pole and in the contemporary research summarized by Dr. Waltar Huston Clark in his Chemical Ecstasy:people take these metaprogramming substances and they soon assert contact with Higher Intelligences."
(ibid, pg. 147)
So much for Temple. One final point to which I would like to draw the reader's attention to before wrapping up is the bizarre connection Sirius has had with the mystical number 72 during major political turmoil over the past few centuries. But first, a brief description of the mystical aspects of 72. Wikipedia states:
"The Shemhamphorasch is a corruption of the Hebrew term Shem ha-Mephorash (שם המפורש), which was used in tannaitic times to refer to the Tetragrammaton. In early Kabbalah the term was used to designate sometimes a seventy-two Letter name for God, and sometimes a forty two Letter name. Rashi said Shem ha-Mephorash was used for a forty two letter name, but Maimonides thought Shem ha-Mephorash was used only for the four letter Tetragrammaton. "
72 is significant in numerous other religious and esoteric system, but for now that will have to do. While skimming through David Ovason's The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital for material on Sirius I happened to stumble upon this curious passage:
"...modern astronomical observations have established that, due to the precession of the equinoxes, the stars appear to edge forward in the zodiacal belt by one degree every 72 years.
"Sirius, which today we recognize as a binary, is set in 14 degrees of Cancer. This means that the following 72-year tabulation is reasonably accurate:
"In 1992 Sirius was in 13.59 Cancer
"In 1920 Sirius was in 12.59 Cancer
"In 1848 Sirius was in 11.59 Cancer
"In 1776 Sirius was in 10.59 Cancer
"In 1704 Sirius was in 09.59 Cancer"
(pgs. 137-138)The years 1776, 1848, and 1920, in which Sirius apparently completed a full degree's movement through the zodiacal belt, witnessed the rise of major political movements. 1776 witnessed the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which laid the ground work for our experiment in democracy. It also bore witness to the founding of the Bavarian Illuminati on May 1st, 1776. Much speculation surrounds this organization which is well beyond the scope of this article to address. That being said, the Bavarian Illuminati had an undeniable, if little understood and much sensationalized, political influence on the emerging socialist movements in Europe, beginning with revolutionary France. Rhodes Scholar, CFR member and former head of the Library of Congress James Billington reliably chronicled these events in his invaluable and heavily sourced Fire in the Minds of Men.
And it is here I leave you for now dear readers as the Dog Days burn on.