Molto interessante questa popolazione, lo sciamano e la mitologia.
Data la vastità dell'argomento riporto solo qualche stralcio perciò per approfondimenti vi consiglio di visionare la fonte originale.
Buona Lettura!I DOGON
I Dogon sono una popolazione africana del Mali. Questa popolazione, di circa 240.000 individui, occupa la regione della falesia di Bandiagara a sud del fiume Niger e alcuni gruppi sono stanziati nei territori attigui al Burkina Faso. Sono prevalentemente coltivatori di miglio e hanno una particolare abilità come fabbri e scultori.
La lingua dogon presenta caratteristiche particolari, molte varianti e molti dialetti. Ogni membro di questa popolazione ha quattro nomi: un nome proibito, segreto, un altro che è "corrente", uno che si riferisce alla madre e uno è il nome della classe di età. Per evitare problemi con le altre parole di uso comune, questi nomi sono presi dai dialetti di altre tribù Dogon. Ogni nome ha un significato linguistico.
I Dogon si sono spostati dalla regione Mande a sud est del Mali durante il XIV secolo e si sono fermati nella regione di Bandiagara che allora era abitata dai Tellem. La loro storia si collega a questo punto con quella dei vicini Bozo con cui intrattengono molti rapporti di scambio e reciprocità.
Tradizionalmente, praticano la religione dell'animismo e nonostante i contatti con l'Islam nero e con altre religioni monoteistiche, essi mantengono un legame molto forte con la fede animista.
La religione dei Dogon presenta un unico Dio creatore, Amma, che ha generato i suoi figli con la Terra, sua sposa: Yurugu.
Il Nommo è un essere quadruplo, in quanto formato da due gemelli, ciascuno sia maschio che femmina; è il maestro della parola e la insegna ai primi otto esseri umani Dogon: i primi quattro maschi e le ultime quattro femmine, ma in possesso anche dell'anima del sesso opposto, cioè ermafroditi. Nati dalla prima coppia umana plasmata nell'argilla da Amma, genereranno ciascuno una famiglia di antenati Dogon prima di rientrare nella Terra e diventare essi stessi Nommo
La loro antica religione animista si esprime in cerimonie e danze rituali, in cui le maschere sono il simbolo più importante.
Una volta ogni sessant'anni viene celebrato il Sigui, cerimonia itinerante di villaggio in villaggio, che rappresenta la perdita dell'immortalità da parte dell'uomo, attraverso la rievocazione della morte del primo antenato Dyongu Seru, rappresentato dalla iminana una grande maschera che viene intagliata a forma di serpente ed è alta circa 10 metri. Questa straordinaria maschera viene poi conservata in una grotta segreta.
Il villaggio è costruito seguendo le forme umane: la testa è costituita dal togu-na, la casa della parola, una bassa tettoia dove l'hogon e gli anziani si ritrovano per discutere le questioni importanti del villaggio; il tronco e gli arti sono occupati dalle case di fango con i relativi granai dal caratteristico tetto di paglia di forma conica.
I Dogon e l'astronomia
Gli antropologi francesi Marcel Griaule e Germaine Dieterlen, che per oltre un trentennio, tra il 1931 e il 1956, hanno vissuto tra i Dogon , hanno riferito che essi sembravano possedere conoscenze astronomiche molto avanzate, sull'origine delle quali si sono sviluppate numerose controversie. In particolare nel 1933 Griaule trascorse un lungo periodo in compagnia dello sciamano dogon Ogotemmêli, che si può considerare la fonte primaria delle notizie relative alla cosmogonia dei Dogon.  Stando a quanto riportato da Griaule, da oltre 400 anni questo popolo sarebbe stato al corrente del fatto che la stella Sirio (sigi tolo o "stella del Sigui"), ha una stella compagna (pō tolo o la "stella del fonio"), che orbita attorno ad essa, effettivamente scoperta nel 1844 e nota come Sirio B. I Dogon sosterrebbero, inoltre, l'esistenza di una terza stella compagna (ęmmę ya tolo o "stella del sorgo").Sempre gli stessi autori riferirono di avere riscontrato conoscenze relative agli anelli di Saturno e alle lune di Giove.
Nel 1976 Robert Temple, nel suo libro The Sirius Mystery, riprendendo le osservazioni di Griaule e Dieterlen, si spinse a sostenere che la cosmologia dogon fosse il frutto di un remoto contatto con una civiltà extraterrestre, i Nommo, esseri anfibi intelligenti provenienti da un pianeta di Sirio C.
Più recentemente, sono stati sollevati numerosi dubbi sulla validità dei lavori di Griaule e Dieterlein.
Nel 1991, l'antropologo olandese Walter van Beek, dopo un lungo periodo di ricerche tra i Dogon, concludeva che essi non sembravano possedere conoscenze astronomiche particolarmente approfondite né il sistema di Sirio assumeva per la popolazione una particolare importanza:
« Though they do speak about sigu tolo [which is what Griaule claimed the Dogon called Sirius] they disagree completely with each other as to which star is meant; for some it is an invisible star that should rise to announce the sigu [festival], for another it is Venus that, through a different position, appears as sigu tolo. All agree, however, that they learned about the star from Griaule.  »
Tali verifiche hanno fatto sorgere dubbi sul valore dell'opera di Griaule, che da taluni viene oggi considerata una colossale mistificazione; altri, più benevolmente, ritengono che Griaule possa avere inconsapevolmente influenzato i suoi interlocutori o che, più semplicemente, possa avere avuto accesso a conoscenze che nel frattempo siano andate perdute.
Al di là delle controversie sulla buonafede di Griaule, resta il dato che la fonte delle eventuali conoscenze dei Dogon su Sirio, piuttosto che in una misteriosa entità extraterrestre possa essere ricercata nei frequenti contatti avuti dalla popolazione con esploratori, viaggiatori, missionari e soldati occidentali.FONTE
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dogon12.jpg
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000 The Dogon are best known for their mythology, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organization, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions.
Culture and religion
The majority of Dogon practice an animist religion, including the ancestral spirit Nommo, with its festivals and a mythology in which Sirius plays an important part. A significant minority of the Dogon practice Islam, another minority practice Christianity.
The Dogon record their ancestry through a patrilineal system. Each Dogon community, or enlarged family, is headed by one male elder. This chief head is the oldest living son of the ancestor of the local branch of the family. According to the NECEP database, within this patrilineal system polygynous marriages with up to four wives can occur.
Most men, however, have only one wife, and it is rare for a man to have more than two wives. Formally, wives only join their husband's household after the birth of their first child. Women may leave their husbands early in their marriage, before the birth of their first child. After having children, divorce is a rare and serious matter, and it requires the participation of the whole village. An enlarged family can count up to hundred persons and is called guinna.
The Dogon are strongly oriented toward harmony, which is reflected in many of their rituals. For instance, in one of their most important rituals, the women praise the men, the men thank the women, the young express appreciation for the old, and the old recognize the contributions of the young. Another example is the custom of elaborate greetings whenever one Dogon meets another. This custom is repeated over and over, throughout a Dogon village, all day. During a greeting ritual, the person who has entered the contact answers a series of questions about his or her whole family, from the person who was already there. Invariably, the answer is sewa, which means that everything is fine. Then the Dogon who has entered the contact repeats the ritual, asking the resident how his or her whole family is. Because the word sewa is so commonly repeated throughout a Dogon village, neighboring peoples have dubbed the Dogon the sewa people.
The Hogon is the spiritual leader of the village. He is elected between the oldest men of the enlarged families of the village. After his election he has to follow a six-month initiation period, during which he is not allowed to shave or wash. He wears white clothes and nobody is allowed to touch him. A young virgin that has not yet had her period takes care of him, cleans the house and prepares his meals. She returns to her home at night.
After his initiation, he will wear a red fez. He has an armband with a sacred pearl that symbolises his function. The virgin is replaced by one of his wives, but she also returns to her home at night. The Hogon has to live alone in his house. The Dogon believe the sacred snake Lébé comes during the night to clean him and to transfer wisdom.
The Dogon maintain an agricultural mode of subsistence, and cultivate pearl millet, sorghum and rice, as well as onions, tobacco, peanuts, and some other vegetables. Marcel Griaule stimulated the construction of a dam near Sangha and incited the Dogon to cultivate onions. The economy of the Sangha region doubled since then and its onions are sold as far as the market of Bamako and even Ivory Coast. They also raise sheep, goats and chickens. Grain is stored in granaries.
Due to the expense, their traditional funeral rituals or "damas" are becoming very rare. They may be performed years after the death. Damas that are still performed today are not usually performed for their original intent, but instead are done as a source of entertainment for tourists interested in the Dogon way of life. The Dogon use this entertainment to gain profit by charging the tourists money for what masks they want to see and the ritual itself (Davis, 68). The traditional dama consists of a masquerade that essentially leads the souls of the departed to their final resting places through a series of ritual dances and rites. Dogon damas include the use of many masks which they wore by securing them in their teeth, and statuettes. Each Dogon village may differ in the designs of the masks used in the dama ritual. Every village may have their own way of performing the dama rituals. The dama consists of an event, known as the Halic, immediately after the death of a person and lasts for one day (Davis, 68). According to Shawn R. Davis, this particular ritual incorporates the elements of the yingim and the danyim. During the yincomoli ceremony, a gourd is smashed over the deceased’s wooden bowl, hoe, and bundukamba, (burial blanket), which announces the entrance of the masks used in this ceremony while the deceased entrance to their home in the family compound is decorated with ritual elements (Davis, 72-73). Masks used during the yincomoli ceremony include the Yana Gulay mask, the Satimbe mask, the Sirigie mask, and the Kanaga mask. The Yana Gulay mask’s purpose is to impersonate a Fulani woman and is made from cotton cloth and cowell shells. The Satimbe mask represents the women ancestors who are said to have discovered the purpose of the masks by guiding the spirits of the deceased into the afterlife. (Davis, 74) The Sirigie mask is a tall mask that is only used in funerals for the men that were alive during the holding of the Sigui ceremony (see below) (Davis, 68). The Kanaga masqueraders, at one point, dance and sit next to the bundkamba which represents the deceased.
The yingim and the danyim rituals each last a few days. These events are held annually to honor the elders that have died since the last Dama. The yingim consists of the sacrifice of cows, or other valuable animals, and large mock battles performed in order to help chase the spirit, known as the nyama, from the deceased body and village and towards the path to the afterlife (Davis, 68). The danyim then takes place a couple of months later. During the danyim, masqueraders perform dances every morning and evening for anytime up to six days depending on how that village performs this ritual. The masqueraders dance on the deceased’s rooftops, throughout the village, and the area of fields around the village (Davis, 68). Until the masqueraders have completed their dances and every ritual has been performed, it is said that any misfortune can be blamed on the remaining spirits of the dead (Davis, 68).
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crocodile_totem.jpg
Dogon society is composed of several different cults:
The Amma cult: worships the highest creator god Amma. The celebration is once a year and consists of offering boiled millet on the conical altar of Amma, colouring it white. All other cults are directed to the god Amma.
Sigui: the most important ceremony of the Dogon. It takes place every 60 years and can take several years. The last one started in 1967 and ended in 1973, the next one will start in 2027. The Sigui ceremony symbolises the death of the first ancestor (not to be confused with Lébé) till the moment that humanity acquired the use of the spoken word. The Sigui is a long procession that starts and ends in the village of Youga Dogorou and goes from one village to the other during several months or years. All men wear masks and dance in long processions. The Sigui has a secret language, Sigui So, that women are not allowed to learn. The secret Society of Sigui plays a central role in the ceremony. They prepare the ceremonies a long time in advance, and they live for three months hidden outside of the villages while nobody is allowed to see them. The men from the Society of Sigui are called the Olubaru. The villagers are afraid of them and fear is cultivated by a prohibition to go out at night, when sounds warn that the Olubaru are out. The most important mask that plays a major role in the Sigui rituals is the Great Mask or the Mother of Masks. It is several meters long and is just held up by hand and not used to hide a face. This mask is newly created every 60 years.
The Lébé cult: worships the ancestor Lébé Serou, the first mortal human being, who, in Dogon myth, was transformed into a snake. The celebration takes place once a year and lasts for three days. The altar is a pointed conic structure on which the Hogon offers boiled millet while mentioning in his benediction eight grains plus one. Afterwards, the Hogon performs some rituals in his house that is also the home of Lébé. The last day, all the village men visit all the Binou altars and dance three times around the Lébé altar. The Hogon invites everybody that assisted to drink the millet beer.
The Binou cult: uses totems, common ones for the entire village and individual ones for totem priests. A totem animal is worshipped on a Binou altar. Totems are for example the buffalo for Ogol-du-Haut, and the panther for Ogol-du-Bas. Normally, nobody will ever be harmed by its own totem animal, even if this is a crocodile as for the village of Amani. Here is a large pool of crocodiles that do not harm any villager. However, a totem animal might exceptionally harm if one has done something wrong. A worshipper is not allowed to eat his totem. For example, an individual with a buffalo as totem is not allowed to eat buffalo meat, but also not to use leather from its skin and even not to see a buffalo die. If this happens by accident he has to organise a purification sacrifice at the Binou altar. Boiled millet is offered and goats and chickens are sacrificed on a Binou altar. This colours the altar both white and red. Binou altars look like little houses with a door. They are bigger when the altar is for an entire village. A village altar has also the ‘cloud hook’, that will catch clouds and make it rain.
The twin cult: the birth of twins is a sign of good luck. The enlarged Dogon families have cult rituals during which they evoke all their ancestors till their origin, the ancient pair of twins from the creation of the world myth.
The Mono cult: the Mono altar is at the entry of every village. Unmarried young men celebrate the Mono cult once a year in January or February. They spend the night around the altar, singing and screaming and waving with fire torches. They hunt for mice that will be sacrificed on the altar at dawn.
Dogon and Sirius
Certain researchers investigating the Dogon have reported that they seem to possess advanced astronomical knowledge, the nature and source of which has subsequently become embroiled in controversy. From 1931 to 1956 the French anthropologist Marcel Griaule studied the Dogon. This included field missions ranging from several days to two months in 1931, 1935, 1937 and 1938 and then annually from 1946 until 1956. In late 1946 Griaule spent a consecutive thirty-three days in conversations with the Dogon wiseman Ogotemmêli, the source of much of Griaule and Dieterlen's future publications. They reported that the Dogon believe that the brightest star in the sky, Sirius (sigi tolo or 'star of the Sigui'), has two companion stars, pō tolo (the Digitaria star), and ęmmę ya tolo, (the female Sorghum star), respectively the first and second companions of Sirius A. Sirius, in the Dogon system, formed one of the foci for the orbit of a tiny star, the companionate Digitaria star. When Digitaria is closest to Sirius, that star brightens: when it is farthest from Sirius, it gives off a twinkling effect that suggests to the observer several stars. The orbit cycle takes 60 years. They also claimed that the Dogon appeared to know of the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter.
Griaule and Dieterlen were puzzled by this Sudanese star system, and prefaced their analysis with the following remark:-
The problem of knowing how, with no instruments at their disposal, men could know the movements and certain characteristics of virtually invisible stars has not been settled, nor even posed.
In 1976 Robert K. G. Temple wrote a book called The Sirius Mystery arguing that the Dogon's system reveals precise knowledge of cosmological facts only known by the development of modern astronomy, since they appear to know, from Griaule and Dieterlen's account, that Sirius was part of a binary star system, whose second star, Sirius B, a white dwarf, was however completely invisible to the human eye, (just as Digitaria is the smallest grain known to the Dogon), and that it took 50 years to complete its orbit. The existence of Sirius B had only been inferred to exist through mathematical calculations undertaken by Friedrich Bessel in 1844. Temple then argued that the Dogon's information, if traced back to ancient Egyptian sources and myth, indicated an extraterrestrial transmission of knowledge of the stars. Neither Griaule nor Dieterlen had ever made such bold claims about a putative esoteric source for the Dogon's knowledge.
More recently, doubts have been raised about the validity of Griaule and Dieterlein's work. In a 1991 article in Current Anthropology anthropologist Walter van Beek concluded after his research among the Dogon that,
"Though they do speak about sigu tolo [which is what Griaule claimed the Dogon called Sirius] they disagree completely with each other as to which star is meant; for some it is an invisible star that should rise to announce the sigu [festival], for another it is Venus that, through a different position, appears as sigu tolo. All agree, however, that they learned about the star from Griaule"
Griaule's daughter Genevieve Calame-Griaule responded in a later issue, suggesting that Van Beek may have been "sent by the political and administrative authorities to test the Dogon's Muslim orthodoxy," and argued that Van Beek did not go "through the appropriate steps for acquiring knowledge." An independent assessment is given by Andrew Apter of the University of California.
In his book Sirius Matters, Noah Brosch postulates that the Dogon may have had contact with astronomers based in Dogon territory during a five week expedition, led by Henri-Alexandre Deslandres, to study the solar eclipse of April 16, 1893. Robert Todd Carroll also states that a more likely source of the knowledge of the Sirius star system is from contemporary, terrestrial sources who provided information to interested members of the tribes. James Oberg however, citing these suspicions notes their completely speculative nature, writing that: "The obviously advanced astronomical knowledge must have come from somewhere, but is it an ancient bequest or a modern graft? Although Temple fails to prove its antiquity, the evidence for the recent acquisition of the information is still entirely circumstantial.". Additionally, James Clifford notes that Griaule sought informants best qualified to speak of traditional lore, and deeply mistrusted converts to Christianity, Islam, or people with too much contact with whites. Oberg points out a number of errors contained in the Dogon myths, including the number of moons possessed by Jupiter, that Saturn was the furthest planet from the sun, and the only planet with rings. Intrigue of other seemingly falsifiable claims, namely concerning a red dwarf star orbiting around Sirius (not hypothesized until the 1950s) led him to entertain a previous challenge of Temple's:
"Temple offered another line of reasoning. "We have in the Dogon information a predictive mechanism which it is our duty to test, regardless of our preconceptions." One example: "If a Sirius-C is ever discovered and found to be a red dwarf, I will conclude that the Dogon information has been fully validated." (OK, I'll bite—but if such a star is not discovered, Temple has risked no converse conclusions.)"
This alludes to reports that the Dogon knew of another star in the Sirius system, Emme Ya, or a star "larger than Sirus B but lighter and dim in magnitude." In 1995, gravitational studies indeed showed the possible presence of a brown dwarf star orbiting around Sirius (a Sirius-C) with a six-year orbital period. A more recent study using advanced infrared imaging concluded the probability of existence of a triple star system for Sirius is "now low" but could not be ruled out because the region within 5 AU of Sirius A had not been covered.