Astronaut Theology: Zecharia Sitchin, Caprica Pass On

Zecharia Sitchin, the man that too many people incorrectly credit as the "creator" of Ancient Astronaut Theory, passed away after a rich and full ninety years of life on October 9, according to a brief statement from the family on his website. I hope this won't sound insensitive, but it's my hope that people will take the opportunity to put some of his theories to rest as well.

I read The Twelfth Planet many, many years ago and was very impressed with it, but wasn't too impressed with its sequels. Aside from the noticeable repetition of the information, Sitchin's writing style was often a hard slog and the definitive tone wasn't always matched by the evidence on hand. However, Sitchin's work eclipsed that of his more controversial predecessor Erich Von Daniken, particularly in the 90s (though I think the pendulum has begun to swing back).

Though it appeared towards the end of the 70s AAT boom, The Twelfth Planet was so compelling because Sitchin presented a kind of epic narrative of his (controversial) interpretations of the Sumerian tablets. It wasn't just data- it was a story. Strangely enough, it all reminded me a lot of Dune, with its labyrinthine political intrigues and apocalyptic desert battles (not to mention Dune's inferior sequel syndrome).

Sitchin's theorizing also tied into the neo-Gnosticism of the 90s conspiracy underground and had a huge influence on the works of theorists like William Bramley, Jim Marrs and David Icke. That eventually trickled down to the YouTards and the snakehandlers, who tossed in the usual Collins Elite "fallen angel" propaganda and the usual desperate stretching of Genesis 6:4 to explain any and all anomalous phenomena.

At the same time, Sitchin's overly literal interpretation of some of the myths (which are bound to be corrupted, given the passage of time), and the entire issue of Nibiru being a planet with a 3600-year orbit also opened up AAT to ridicule. The elderly, bookish Sitchin was often his own worst salesman, and could often be seen on documentaries like a deer caught in the headlights, stiffly reciting his interpretive theories as unassailable fact. To be frank, that turned a lot of people off.

All that being said, Sitchin's many contributions to alternative history are crucial, and he did produce a ton of breakthrough discoveries, particularly in the multiple visual references to the double helix. Some of the "debunking" of his theories was flat-out deceitful (I'm thinking of one snakehandling parasite in particular), but Sitchin's dogged refusal to revise and rethink some of his interpretations helped make a lot of that criticism stick.

Particularly with a topic as incendiary as AAT, it's very important to give the novice some room to question and explore. The best work done in the field does that. What's more, when you make definitive statements on controversial issues, the burden of proof is on you. When you question definitive statements made by the orthodoxy, the onus is on them. Important distinction.

All that being said, allow me to raise a toast to a freethinking brother, who lived his life kicking at the doors of orthodoxy, and put everything on the line to speak his truth, even if it may not be yours or mine.

Well, I'd like to say that Caprica's cancellation was a surprise but the show was just too demanding on an audience whose attention is being atomized. I enjoyed it because I recognized that the series was actually presenting us with an allegorical version of third century Rome. I was looking forward to seeing who the plutocrats secretly bankrolling the Soldiers of the One were (you figured that out, right?) and I was looking forward even more to seeing some brainpan-bursting payback for their terror campaign, but had a terrible feeling it wasn't necessarily forthcoming.

Now there's another Battlestar Galactica spinoff coming (BSG being one of the many AAT-centered sci-fi franchises, a fact that fandom doesn't quite know how to acknowledge) and I hope that the new showrunners- hell, all genre showrunners out there- realize that the serial format is ratings death.

Sure, the critics love it and the hardcore fans do as well but Joe Average Viewer doesn't have the patience for it. The next step will have to be working the almighty mytharc in standalone episodes that have a beginning, middle and end.

I know I have a lot of viewers out there in Hollywoodland, so a word to the wise.

And don't forget, the new season of Ancient Aliens premieres tonight, October 28 on The History Channel.


  1. You mention Hollywood viewers; I'm just waiting for the time when I see in an interview Ron Howard or Darren Aronofsky say "Well I got this idea while reading The Secret Sun....."

  2. As a Star Trek Insider, I've been highly suspicious of the AAT Worldview. I tend to think that we REALLY degrade the great history an capacity of humanity! I am a great fan of Graham Hancock, who is absolutly obsessed with his book "Underworld". I think that any civilization on Mars is probably us in the far past! I would have LOVED to see a forum of Gene Roddenberry and Graham Hancock in conversation. Sure NextGen had Vash, and her obession with the "founders", the space seeder civilization. Vash was Star Trek's only AAT Cultist, and we need to use that word! Because when we fall for this AAT material, we're only slandering our own lost history. I think VonDanikan, Sitchen, were unknowing shills for the Universal Armigeddon Party types to help in the great forgetfulness of our true abilities! Many inside fans have felt pressured and even haranged by friends and general society about our feelings as to the true positive capacity of humanity, once you allow that freedom to occur! Star Trek only once allowed a voyage into full acceptance of AAT Theory. This was a Star Trek: Voyager episode called Distant Origin. It was the story of a sentient reptid species called the Voth, and a Voth Scientist who believes in they're origin on Earth prior to humans and mammals. A good discussion of this episode is at: I have heard debates as to Star Trek: Voyager's Roddenberry Canon status because of this episode! Why? Because it leaves open the door that Voyager is in an "alternate timeline" in which the asteroid in the Yucatan extinction event does not take place! This includes scientist fans of Canon Star Trek. NONE of this AAT material helps the dynamic future of humankind. To clear AAT from the mind, read Underworld by Graham Hancock!

  3. I am gutted about Caprica. I was very much into it and looked forward to watching it every week (we don't let the fact that it is not broadcasted in the UK stop us)

    Now all i have left to watch are Stargate Universe and Breaking Bad.

    Someone explain to me how crap such as "Two and a half Men" survives for 6 or 7 season? It's not even funny.

  4. In one sense I can credit Sitchin's 12th Planet with having some influence in my life and the way I think about the world today and its history. I came across his book in my teens at I time when I was smoking LOTS of pot and questioning the reality of the world we live in. I always sensed the world wasn't as it seemed and the 12th Planet provided quite a few answers for my questions. It also coincided with what my intuition seemed to be telling me all along.

    I never read any of his other books. Even though I now know that what Sitchin wrote about in the 12th Planet is not THE answer, it is one piece of this amazing mystery and history we all share. Hats of to the man for opening my eyes a little more...

  5. Chris,

    I was hoping to get Caprica on DVD boxset as I havent seen any, but am seriously interested - especially since my sister and you are both fans. I'll still have to do that, but only one season? Sigh.

    Also, in my humble opinion I suspect that AAT will prove to be extremely relevant to the evolution of our culture. But, like with most subjects with very deep backgrounds there'll prove to be a whole host of complexities and misunderstandings and subtlties connected with it.

    I mean, this is the case with even our most recent histories - never mind things that occurred thousands or perhaps even millions of years ago. (In the understanding of linear time)

    Having said all that, I can't shake the feeling that once humanity is truly able to parse the non-local properties of light and frequency - humanity will come to understand that all possible races in the known universe MUST be fundamentally interconnected - whether that interconnection appears oblique or direct.

    I often like to imagine that the 'human' race will eventually prove to be a race of shapeshifters and alchemists - and I mean this in the most uplifting and unabashedly romantic sense. It's just a theory, mind you. And IF it's true, we got alot of shadow-work and 'facing up' we need to do on ourselves before we get there.


  6. Hate to be Mr. Physics again, but something else has always bothered me about Nibiru with its 3600 year orbit thing...

    If it really did have a weird eccentric orbit that thrust it waaaaay out away from the Sun for thousands of years, it would get cold. Not Chicago in winter cold, or northern Canada cold, or even antarctic cold. We're talking like 2-3 degrees Kelvin cold.

    The melting point of diatomic hydrogen, the lightest gas, is about 14 degrees Kelvin. The entire atmosphere of Nibiru would snow out onto the surface at these temperatures.

    The Annunaki must have some serious winter outerwear...

  7. *Ronald D. Moore sync* been watching carnivale and think the standalone mytharcs would've helped, its pedestrian.

  8. AdamI said...

    "Hate to be Mr. Physics again, but something else has always bothered me about Nibiru with its 3600 year orbit thing...
    If it really did have a weird eccentric orbit that thrust it waaaaay out away from the Sun for thousands of years, it would get cold."

    It could be planet that goes around two different star, but would still get too cold for living, because the distance between star would be too long. I really don't know if it's possible for planet to have brown dwarf that would be it's companion in these eccentric orbit's?

    Maybe the Annunaki was space faring race before the planet got it's orbit, then the temperature would not be issue or problem, + planet core would be hot for sometime.

    I don't buy this Nibiru -story, but something extraordinary happened in our planets near history that messed up the whole solar system.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Chris I have read all of Sitchin's works. They lead me to a more involved tome called "The Shining Ones" by Christian and Barbara O'Brien. To think our earth and it's evolution was homegrown is ludicris.Perhaps ethnogens from the cosmos aided our huge brains to thinking holographically/no linear. To read Graham Hancocks new book "Entangled", one must consider the little machine elves and magic mushrooms as adjunctives to our Gnosis. Our DNA is manufactured reality, give or take. Why we possess so much unused DNA is proof of the design for all life. Of course we enjoy previous contact with extraterrestials! Word. Dennis from the rainforest of western Oregon.

  10. Grey- Heh, as if they'd admit it!

    Doug- Wow, I'm surprised you'd say that. Who Mourns for Adonais? Return of the Archons? Paradise Syndrome? Contagion? How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth? Who Watches the Watchers? The Chase? AAT is at the core of the Trek Universe.

    Suki- It's because there's a war on the mind going on out there. And the mind is losing, badly.

    Judge- Well that's my main objection. It's presented as THE answer, and I'm uncomfortable with that kind of certainty on a topic as complex as exogenesis. I think there are a lot of other worthy researchers whose work was overshadowed since there was such an obvious campaign to push Sitchin's theories over all others.

    Raj- Well said. AAT was supposed to laughed away and discredited, but it's back and the evidence continues to pile. Cogent thoughts there, as always.

    AdamI- Some have said it's an unexploded star and has internal heat but what about light? I prefer Temple's interpretation- Nibiru is Neb Heru, which might be pre-catastrophic Mars or somewhere else.

    Just- I keep forgetting Moore worked on Carnivale. I think it was better when he left, but that's neither here nor there.

    Urbanus- Thanks for that. And yes- I have trouble with the Nibiru business as well.

    Dennis- Awesome thanks for the data.

  11. Just one note, AAT is about the Doctrine Of Exopolitics! Star Trek ruled out Exopolitics as a force in the historical past, BUT it did not rule out a modified doctrine called the Doctrine Of Exocreationism. We could have been created through genetic engineering, not to serve aliens like Stichen wrote, but for a more ethical approach like "The Space Seeder Civilization". They may have created us physically and perhaps a bit psychologically, BUT they did not create our political and social culture as VonDanikan and Sitchen claim! They're only potiential effect is in the current debate about disclosure, and our aspirations for space exploration! I do admit that Who Mourns For Adonis opened my mind in the area, but how belivable is the story of the Greek Dieties / Space Entities? Remember Star Trek V, and that circle of rocks "at the center of our galaxy"? Captain Kirk was right, "what use does a God have for a space ship". There are trixters everywhere in space making spurious claims, remember "Q"? We have to give ourselves credit for the positive advances, or we're lost!

  12. Chris,

    I hope this isn't too off-topic. Just a bit of fun. Feel free to delete, no harm no foul. But I love looking at etymology, and how it can spark mytho-poetic associations in the imagination. So, in that spirit I pulled this off wiktionary. Just grist for the mill:

    ALIEN - From Latin aliēnus (“belonging to someone else, later exotic, foreign”) from alius (“other”). Compare Ancient Greek αλλος (allos, “another, different”) and Old English elles (“else”).

    Belonging to someone else? Some kinda inverted associations right there.

    Also, from

    DEMIURGE - a Latinized form of the Greek δημιουργός, dēmiourgos, literally "public worker", and which was originally a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan".

    Public worker? Makes me riff on a society where a universe-making demiurge is a public-worker. Damn, what kinda society would that be?

    ELECTRON - From Ancient Greek ἤλεκτρον (elektron, “amber”) from έλ- (el-, “sun, bright, shiny”).

    As above so below, at least linguistically. Also,

    WAVE - From Old English wafian, from Proto-Germanic *wab-, from Proto-Indo-European *webh- (“to move to and from, to weave”).

    To weave? A wave as an active verb? My weaving, gnostic spider-sense is tingling.

    And, finally,

    INTUITION - From Medieval Latin intuitio (“a looking at, immediate cognition”), from Latin intueri (“to look at, consider”), from in (“in, on”) + tueri (“to look, watch, guard, see, observe”).

    Immediate recognition, or imediate re-knowing, WHILST being considerate? Guarding? That sounds like a whole different level of reasoning.

    I really, really hope enough of us can start to guard, see and observe with reasonable, playful minds; truth knows we need it now more than ever.


  13. how about the works of robert temple's 'the sirius mystery'?

    who d heck is that george clarke's theory of charlie chaplin's 'the circus' movie of what time traveller something?

  14. Caprica was "meh" - I really wanted to like it, but something about the plot made the show tedious.

    Anyway, I prefer my SciFi Flash Gordon-Lost in Space campy.

    Concerning Sitchin:

    Nibiru exists. In Babylonian Astrology, Nibiru represented Jupiter.

    Nibiru = Jupiter is a very well recorded fact; the Babylonians would use the stations of Jupiter as a calendar.

    The Four Seasons = Cross = Planet of Crossing

  15. We have to give ourselves credit for the positive advances, or we're lost!

    I agree with that 100%

    What a post! I don't understand half of what your all talking about, and it's great, I've got so much to learn!


  16. Nielsen viewers can go frack themselves.

    I enjoyed Caprica thoroughly. Handsome actors, beautiful Vancouver settings, exploration of ideas about religion and terrorism. I was especially excited by their thought provoking take on drug legalization.

    On message boards many people complain that they found Caprica "slow". How extraordinarily dumbed down we have become! Caprica had loads of guns, sex and eye candy. Yet if a show adds the smallest amount of philosophy, it immediately becomes ratings poison.

    Call me old fashioned. But I pine for a time when poets were considered cool.

  17. Very interesting post, we have to admire Stitchin for his bravery, even with the huge leaps he makes, there was an honesty about him, which I believe is rare in the field.
    To Cartography, you are the first person I've seen in a while to mention the theory of Mars past inhabitants being US. I've kind of been toying with this 'view' for a while, thinking of the 'flood' stories in a more universal way. Mars being the pre-deluge earth, and the arch being a craft, landing on 'the new earth'. My own ancient astronaut theory of sorts!


  18. Marty, there is a scholor who shares your and my views! His name is Richard C. Hoagland! He was one of Gene Roddenberry's Science Advisors, and that of Walter Cronkite during Project Apollo.

  19. In honor of those great sci-fi works that fail,
    and that garbage which lives on...

  20. Thanks Cartography, I'm a little familiar with Richard Hoagland, but never read much. For instance, when I was younger I loved the idea of the Face on Mars, but now I don't 'believe in it'. For some of his claims, I see a lot of fantasy mixed with real science, (thats my opinion), but what is it they say about disinformation, you throw in a few bones of truth, so you are more believeable when you lie? I'm not saying Hoagland is lying when he talks about NASA, but I think he's been lied to. I hope I am not being controversial?
    As I haven't read much of his writings, I will do some research before I comment further!
    I do believe in the ancient astronauts theory because it makes a lot more sense to me than billions of years of randomly evolving from a particle of dust.