Reign of the Anuannaki: The Alien Manipulation of Our Spiritual Destiny
Jan Erik Sigdell | Sept. 2018 | Bear & Company | 160 pages | ISBN: 978-1591433033 | $16.00
OK, so here comes another one. It’s probably beyond pointless to try to break down some of the ridiculous claims in Christian reincarnation believer Jan Erik Sigdell’s forthcoming Reign of the Anunnaki: The Alien Manipulation of Our Spiritual Destiny (Bear & Company, 2018), but I will serve up notice of them anyway. Sigdell’s book was originally published in German in 2016, and the serviceable translation comes to us from the author’s own pen, if not from his own original ideas. Divided into six chapters, the book is basically a digest version of Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles series, but the author at least recognizes that Sitchin’s works, and those of Michael Tellinger that were inspired by them, are unscientific and lack sufficient academic grounding to justify their more extreme claims. Sigdell thinks he can provide that.
He gets off to a rocky start when he announces that he has elected not to distinguish between different Mesopotamian cultures and instead will speak of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and other peoples collectively as the Mesopotamians. He views them as sharing the same fundamental faith, even though their myths and legends, while similar, differed over time. He does actually distinguish between them in the book, when the English, French, and German translations he relies upon make distinctions. It is a matter of convenience. Similarly, it seems challenging that he intends to do a deep dive into Babylonian texts without (a) understanding when and how they differ from their Sumerian counterparts and (b) having a reading knowledge of the various Mesopotamian languages. Instead, he expects to discover the truth about these texts by comparing a number of English and German translations.
The body of the book is a series of descriptions of Mesopotamian myths and an extended conversation with the author’s own failing faith in Sitchin’s claims. He confesses that he once believed more strongly in Sitchin’s ideas than he does today, and it is the diminution of his trust in Sitchin’s skills that led him to try to salvage the ancient astronaut theory by revising it out of existence. At the most basic level, he intends to argue that “there is in my view no real contradiction” between the ancient texts as given in standard translation and the hypothesis the deities are actually space aliens. This is a pointless assertion at heart since there is also “no real contradiction” between imagining space aliens to be demons or gods and seeing them as denizens of other planets, so long as they share one key element: they don’t show up for real. Once any being materializes where we can see it, it becomes subject to physical laws and its essence can be discovered. Without this, the “interpretation” of these claims is merely speculative, based on an unproved assumption that a phenomenon actually exists. It would be like hunting the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz and arguing about whether it is truly made of emeralds, or if the green color comes from some other mineral.
I can’t entirely impress on you exactly how much of this book is a comparison of Sitchin, Tellinger, and a French ancient astronaut theorist, and exactly how little original material that leaves in the volume. While Sigdell pays lip service to the “mainstream” point of view, his sympathy lies with the ancient astronaut theorists, and therefore the majority of each chapter is an extended comparison of the three authors under a false idea that the “truth” can always be found “somewhere in the middle.” To that end, he sees the ancient astronaut theorists and the “mainstream” as two opposing camps, the thesis and antithesis, whose synthesis must necessarily include space aliens as a matter of logic. That this is a false idea can be seen with a rather simple analogy: I say 2 + 2 = 4, but my enemy says 2 + 2 = 6. Therefore, 2 + 2 = 5. Unfortunately for Sigdell, questions of pure fact—Are space aliens real and did they visit the Earth?—are not open to using rhetorical tricks to force aliens into existence through a logical proof.
Anyway, the heart of Sigdell’s argument rests on the idea that scientists refuse to engage with the ancient astronaut theory out of pique: “Such an interpretation is not confronted with logical contradictions; instead it is greeted with emotional reactions.” He believes that scientists don’t want to believe in aliens and therefore unfairly dismiss claims from Sitchin et al. that he himself admitted were founded on unconvincing and incomplete proofs. Who, exactly, is seeking out an emotional truth?
Sigdell covers the usual bounty of Near Eastern fringe delights: The Enuma Elish, questions about the plural Elohim of the Bible, similarities between Biblical and Mesopotamian texts, and other so-called “mysteries” that have been a staple of overheated fantasies about ancient history since George Smith first labeled Mesopotamian myths The Chaldean Account of Genesis in 1876. Naturally, there is a passage about the Sons of God / Watchers and their Nephilim offspring, with special reference to the Book of Enoch, because what fringe history text is complete without them? Sigdell differs slightly from other authors in that he imagines that the Watchers are intermediaries between the Anunnaki and earthlings rather than Anunnaki themselves. He also covers such shopworn “mysteries” as vimanas, Quetzalcoatl, and other debunked staples of the ancient astronaut theory.
Here is basically everything you need to know about the depth of Sigdell’s research and argumentation:
Scientists, with their limited worldview, deny the existence of Atlantis and Lemuria but cannot present real evidence against it: it cannot be true because it is not allowed to be true, because it does not fit the consensus worldview. And yet there is evidence that these cultures really existed and may even have experienced extraterrestrial influences.
Seriously? He thinks no one has yet to provide evidence that Lemuria did not exist—a fictious continent imagined to explain how lemurs moved between Madagascar and India, which geology clearly demonstrates could never have existed?
Eventually the book reveals itself to be an advertisement for Gnostic Christianity, which Sigdell sees as the best mix of Judeo-Christian and Mesopotamian mythologies and the only true path to breaking free of Yahweh’s demented control of reality. The author expounds at great length on what he sees as the true mission of Jesus, and basically he lays bare what I have for a long time contended about the entire field of ancient astronautics: it is a way to try to be able to believe in the Bible and in myths and legends with a scientific gloss to make them feel more “real.” For Sigdell, organized religion is false, a set of illusions created by space aliens to keep humanity enslaved. Only by studying ancient astronautics, he believes, can the true religion and the saving grace of the real spiritual powers of this world be uncovered. He seems to want to return to the primitive faith of what he sees as the universal creator god El, from the time before the Jews—whom he seems to cast as villains in the story—replaced him with Yahweh, whom he, following Sitchin, believes was a Sumerian space alien who masterminded the Jewish takeover of Canaan. The sublime and the hateful sit side by side in this book, and the implications of Sigdell’s views are disturbingly close to Aryan nationalist Jason Reza Jorjani’s similar denigration of Yahweh and Allah as evil space aliens in Prometheus and Atlas.
Sigdell ends the book by attacking Yahweh because he “hijacked reincarnation” (emphasis in original), since this is apparently now a power of space aliens—he reveals in the end his underlying belief that “aliens” are “gods” are indistinguishable. He tells readers that whenever they encounter aliens or spirit beings they should demand that they answer whether they have come in the name of Christ. “If the answer is ‘no’ (or if no clear answer comes), do not take advice from it!”
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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