Wednesday, August 4, 2010


In the west African nation of Mali there is a natural hill formation that features at one spot a contour of the letter U. For many hundreds of years this site has been the center of the most important religious ceremony in the life of the people of Mali. Once every 60 years the movement of the earth brings Sirius to the center of this formation. This is the occasion of the ceremony suigi. This event is based on a belief that 3000 years ago celestial beings visited Mali form Sirius. Most of the people of Mali see the appearance of Sirius in this formation only once in their lifetime.

Sirius of course is the Dog Star. The months of July and August are commonly called Dog Days. July and August supposedly got that name from the fact that dogs, suffering from heat, become listless and run out of energy. Sounds like me. I don’t have any idea whether celestial beings from Sirius visited Mali or not, but I’ll tell you something. The messages the Mali people think they received when Sirius appears in the sky during sigui isn’t far from other visitations that brought wise men and magi to a new understanding of how God works in human affairs. I do something as often as I can remember to do it. Early in the morning while it is still dark, I look at Sirius and I receive messages about so many things it boggles my mind. The people of Mali are superstitious, dependent on myths, on signs? Yes and so am I. It’s amazing what messages I receive about life and death, love and laughter, hope and healing, just by looking at the Dog Star, especially in these Dog Days.