Laird Scranton’s Comments


He was kind enough to review this website. Here are his comments.
I’ve reviewed the information presented at the website and will try to summarize my thoughts and reactions to it.
First, in my own studies I have opted not to address the Egyptian ankh as a common symbol of the Dogon and Egyptian cosmologies because I do not see the most likely Dogon correlate (see the diagram of “Amma’s messenger” on p.154 of The Pale Fox) as directly paralleling either the Egyptian Ankh figure, its traditional meaning, its traditional pronunciation, or its precise traditional interpreted meanings.  Rather, the  Dogon drawing is a figure that Griaule and Dieterlen describe as a picture of “Amma in his totality”, representing the two “placentas” of Amma – one complete and one incomplete -in reflection of one another.   I have already written extensively about likely correlations between a second “picture of Amma” – the Dogon egg-in-a-ball – and the eight Dogon ancestors, who I correlate to the eight Ennead or Ogdoad deities, and so feel that it is likely that comparable symbolism could be applied to this figure and therefore – if the Dogon figure could be firmly linked in other ways – also to the Egyptian Ankh.
I think that the website offers a wealth of evidential references, along with proposed relationships that are well reasoned, and some of which seem quite sensible to me within the context of the cosmology as I know it.
My own rule of comparative cosmology, which I impose as a way of insulating myself against wishful or coincidental interpretations, requires that an interpretation begin with a clear statement on the part of the culture being studied. What is lacking in the website references, in my view, are clear statements on the part of the Dogon or the ancient Egyptians that would unequivocally demonstrate that either or both groups, in actual practice, viewed the Ankh symbol in the ways outlined.
– Laird
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