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The Shining Ones: An Account of the Development of Early Civilizations Throught the Direct Assistanc Hardcover – Import, 2001
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Hardcover, Import, 2001
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Book looks like new, no marks whatsoever. Dust jacket in clear archive-quality Mylar sleeve.
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Top Customer Reviews
The O'Briens have a unique book, in that they posit that the fabled Anunnaki are from a higher plane or dimension, rather than the usual Sitchin-oriented spacefarers. This gives the reader a lot to think about. They back this up with the first non-orthodoxy translations of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets that I have seen outside Sitchin. They use these translations and "The Book of Enoch" to trace a three-stage journey of "The Shining Ones" and their human 'charges' through thousands of years: in a small valley we have come to know as Eden, subsequent movement to the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers area, and final disbursement worldwide on a 'Teaching Tour'. This is obviously the O'Brien's life-work, and it shows. Highly recommended.
I have an interest in human origins which goes beyond the mainstream-accepted version. Back in his career, Zecharia Sitchin translated certain Sumerian cuneiform documents and came up with his version of human origins: via the Anunnaki as a space-faring, gene-cloning race from the planet Nibiru. Most other subsequent authors on this subject have started with Sitchin's translation and expanded-out in areas of their interest. In a sense, they are thus Sitchin-clones.
I bought this book as a comparison to Sitchin's translation. (I had to send to England for it. Ahem, Amazon...) By the way, the O'Briens translate the central characters as 'Anannage', but I will use the common 'Anunnaki' to minimize confusion.
One strength of the O'Brien's book is in translations of Sumerian cuneiform documents. They clearly list the source document, and then display a few translated lines from the best academic translation they can find (verbatim). If the translation does not make sense in an area, they show a list of possible definitions of a suspect Sumerian word - often down at the syllable level. Next, they weigh the choices - most often leaning toward the most-archaic meaning. This includes whether a given definition makes sense in the context of the whole. Whether or not you agree with a particular outcome, you are left with a detailed record of their derivation. The whole process is plainly visible.
Two critical translations set the tone of this work:
First, contemporary scholars take the Sumerian word "Enlil" (the leading earth-based Anunnaki) as en-lil-li, where 'lil' is understood to be Wind and 'li' is "a euphonic argument that could be ignored in translation." The Sumerian word "Dingir" translates as "aristocratic or theocratic category of person." So, 'dingir en-lil-li' is translated as "God of the Wind" - an Air God.
Instead, the O'Briens note [p.63] that the older phonetic rendering of the Sumerian ideogram taken above as 'lil' was actually 'ge' - the genitive 'of'. Likewise, the older phonetic rendering of the Sumerian ideogram taken above as 'li' was actually either 'gub' or 'li' - with twenty-four separate meanings in the sign lists. The O'Briens note, "The archaic sign from which the ideogram had evolved was simply a picture of a plant in a pot. Of the many later meanings, there was only one that could be represented by the early pictogram, and that was li meaning 'cultivation'." So, 'dingir en-lil-li' is translated by the O'Briens as 'dingir en-ge-li' and translates as "Lord of Cultivation."
Second, the location of the "Settlement of the Anannage" was confused in an ancient translation. The archaic Sumerian ideograms had the phonetic values of 'Khar-sag' or 'Gar-sag' (or as 'Garden in Eden' from the Hebrew). The O'Briens note [p.83], "The usually quoted text is from an Akkadian translation of the original, but the Philadelphia version was written only in Sumerian. The Babylonians, at a time distance of over five millennia from the original event, were at the same disadvantage as modern translators, and were responsible for many of the fundamental misunderstandings."
In an argument similar to "Enlil" above, the O'Briens go back to the original Sumerian ideograms and derive that a phrase the Babylonians translated as 'the canal Nunbiirra' (located near Enlil's much-later city of Nippur in Sumer) should actually be translated as 'the great river flowed swiftly'. The latter, along with clues from "Kharsag Epics Nos. 1-9" (Philadelphia version) and the George Barton translations entitled "Babylonian Inscriptions," place Kharsag far away from the Mesopotamian setting around Nippur. From the O'Briens [p.67], "The geographical area, with which the epics were concerned, was ... the mountain-girt valleys where modern Lebanon, Syria and Jordan now adjoin - the same area (around Mount Hermon) in which the parallel Hebraic account of Eden is set."
("Shem" is also a big Sitchin-word; he translates it as 'heaven'. However, the O'Briens point out [p.109] that the root word SHM can be read as Sham or Shem and translated as either 'heaven' or 'plant' - possibly both. They state, "Originally, 'shemim' [plural of 'shem'], in archaic Hebrew, should have meant 'high places where plants were grown'...")
Using the above two critical translations, the O'Briens determined that the Anunnaki denouement on Earth was in a couple of small valleys to the northwest of Mount Hermon. Their "Settlement" was of a 'gentleman farmer' style of existence. Over a couple centuries, they developed the area [p.128] with a dam, canals, crops & orchards, laboratory-style building & library, worker-style housing, and a "Great House" for Enlil and Ninlil (his 'wife'). Oh, and they hybridized humans along the way, as laborers. This continued for a couple thousand years, until a thousand-year-class storm and resultant flood wiped out the Settlement. After that, the Anunnaki dispersed into the Mesopotamian setting.
A similar 'diminution' happens with "Noah's Flood." Both Sitchin and the O'Briens use the extended Sumerian version rather than the 'sketch' version in the Old Testament. Sitchin's flood is huge, possibly drowning the world. The O'Brien's flood only encompasses the 'Lowlands' south of Mount Hermon - the extended rift valley holding the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Sitchin assumes a close pass of the planet Nibiru for the flooding. The O'Briens postulate water from the Mediterranean reaching the below-sea-level Lowlands.
A second interesting aspect of this book is in the portrayal of the Anunnaki. In this regard, the O'Briens are the "Jacques Vallée" of the Anunnaki researchers. In "Passport to Magonia," astrophysicist Jacques Vallée broached the idea that UFOs - which had been only thought of as nuts-and-bolts-style craft - might just be inter-dimensional or non-physical-at-base constructs or even entities. This idea was bitterly fought for decades, but now seems to be a well-established 'camp'. Similarly, the O'Briens assert from "Kharsag Epics Nos. 1-9" (Philadelphia version) that the Anunnaki descended from a higher, non-physical realm to the Earth. They are vague on the 'process' of descending. (Sitchin's Anunnaki are hard-core physical beings, just advanced technologically.)
This non-physical inclination by the O'Briens may be inferred from the dedication of their book to "Huzur Maharaj Charan Singh Ji," (1916-1990) a Sikh man who was the Satguru of "Radha Soami Satsang Beas." Radha Soami translates as 'lord of the soul' and 'satsang' describes a group that seeks truth. According to Wikipedia, "This philosophy, based on the teachings of mystics from all religions, has had its headquarters at Dera Baba Jaimal Singh near the river Beas in northern India since 1891." This dedication has relevance to the implied worldview of the authors, as the Satguru is cited as "The Basic Scriptural Authority for the Main Theme of this Work" [p.5] and is occasionally quoted in the book.
The mystical system of the above concerns physical, astral, causal, and 'the mind' regions, followed by two spiritual regions. (There are a few further regions, but are increasingly esoteric and do not pertain here.) Interestingly, the area between the lower and upper spiritual regions is "an area of intense darkness which the soul can only cross with the help and the light of the Master." (Quote by Huzur Maharaj Sawan Singh [p.38].)
Now, the O'Brien's worldview shows itself in this book via the following quote [p.41-2]: "The Material Universe and the two immediately higher regions, the Astral and the Causal, are ruled and administered by the Negative Power - 'Kal Niranjan' - under a mandate from the Supreme Being ... While he cannot prevent a determined Soul from contacting a Perfect living Master, and obtaining spiritual liberation, the Negative Power, nevertheless, serves the important function of 'spiritual filtration'. It is his task, allotted to him by the Supreme Lord, to ensure that no soul gets past a given point in the spiritual ascent without first having attained the proper degree of purification. To this end, he is permitted to trick and mislead the unfortunate soul in order to keep it trapped in the endless cycle of transmigration."
Remember the above, as we talk about the Anunnaki...
In Sitchin, Enki gets the most 'press' and has a possibility for human-style emotions. He is a contender for the Anunnaki throne, though denied it by descent-rules. He is a real Player. Enlil is usually the steely, unfeeling, potentially-deadly being in the background. With the O'Briens, the reverse happens. Enlil has center-stage, and Enki is a rarely-mentioned bit-player at best. (Enki's son, Marduk, has a major role - usually Loki-like - in the Sitchin universe. In the O'Brien version, Marduk is not even mentioned.)
There are also differences in male/female emphasis. Sitchin gives three Anunnaki females positions of power - Ninlil, Ninharsag, and Inanna. Each has a story. The O'Briens consolidate those three female Anunnaki into just one person - Ninlil. She just has other names. The O'Briens even identify Ninlil with Gabri-el of Archangel fame.
In Sitchin, there is a big emphasis on the Space background of the Anunnaki. 'Tiamat' was a long-ago planet where the asteroid belt now exists. It was destroyed during the entry of the planet Nibiru into our solar system. Parts of Tiamat reassembled as Earth. There were all sorts of Solar System changes in this period...
The O'Briens mention 'Tiamat' only briefly in passing. They mention the name during the period where the Watchers (lower-level, all-male Anannuki reinforcements, sent-down later) have taken human wives, had children, and the children grow up to be monstrous and renegade. Further, the Watchers have told humans 'secrets' which the "Most High" (Anu, the non-physical chief Anunnaki) goes ballistic over. Anu orders the Watchers imprisoned for life, and the children and 'contaminated' humans (i.e., possessors of disallowed secrets) to be killed off.
It is within this section [p.173] that the O'Briens say, "Only the much later Babylonian records carry accounts of Tiamat and her 'monstrous brood', and the difficulties that the Anannage faced in disposing of them. By that time, the accounts were garbled and confused, and much distorted by the religious overtones that were imposed by the deification of the Anannage principals." So, the O'Briens must logically-imply that Tiamat was a human female probably in possession of empowering Anunnaki 'secrets'. She did not go down easily...
In the O'Brien's version of the above, the "Noah's Flood" occurred just after this time and was 'damage control'. The Anunnaki had not succeeded in eliminating all humans who had 'secrets' from the Watcher rebellion. Anu ordered a general flood to wipe out all humans in the Lowlands (mentioned above), except for the Noah family who had none of the 'secrets'. According to the O'Briens, it all worked as planned. (My personal observation is that this may have been the origination of the "Mystery Schools" from 'secret-contaminated' humans who escaped this purge.)
(In my opinion, the Anunnaki were either naive about sexuality and/or were taken advantage of by the 'Negative Power' mentioned above. Sending male/female pairs of Watchers down to the Lowlands to teach would have resulted in very different dynamics to an all-male contingent. In standard history, eleventh-century Popes tried to do effectively the same thing with their priests using celibacy rules, with similar twisted results. Therefore, Anu or equivalent powers really bear the responsibility for the sexuality-consequences, not the earth-bound Anunnaki...)
In an earlier section [p.148-50], the O'Briens are quoting from the Akkadian work, Atra-hasis, "which was copied by the Scribe Ku-aya, in the reign of Ammi-saduqa about 1635 B.C., from non-extant, earlier material." It is during the time of the rebellion of the 'lowly' Anunnaki workers, which leads up to the creation of human-Anunnaki hybrids as a substitute work-force. (Sitchin and the O'Briens are very close in their respective views of this event - just at different locations.) The Atra-hasis states, "Let one god be slaughtered (and) from his flesh and blood let Nintu [Ninlil/Ninharsag] mix clay, that god and man may be thoroughly mixed in the clay [followed by destroyed lines...]"
The O'Briens throw a fit at this Atra-hasis quote, stating "...the reader will appreciate that the great Anannage were not such ninnies, or such scoundrels, as to murder one of their own people and then require Ninlil to mix 'clay' from his flesh and blood." However, on just the previous page of the O'Brien work, Enlil had taken up weapons when his House was surrounded as part of this rebellion, and was only persuaded to 'stand down' by his gate-guard, Nusku. Viewing the Tiamat paragraph above for Anunnaki ethics, I could easily see a 'sacrificial goat' being selected to enforce Enlil's authority. This is how Sitchin regards the quote.
The hybridization-process showcases the O'Brien's 'uneasiness' with the Anunnaki possessing advanced physical technology. This results from the O'Brien's translations that the Anunnaki are at base from a higher plane. (To quote James T. Kirk, "Why does God need a starship?") Similarly, quotes from the 'Book of Enoch' used by the O'Briens clearly describe Enoch getting into some advanced craft and being physically transported to what turns out to be Mount Hermon. And, there are other Enoch flights. The O'Briens bravely describe these, but then 'duck' the implications. On the other hand, Sitchin has determined the Anunnaki to be purely-physical beings and runs with the technology quotes.
The O'Briens also have a high regard for the "Patriarchal Tribes" versus the "Gentiles" [p.156]. This is based on the relative percentage of Anunnaki genes from the above (circa 8,200 B.C.) hybridization and an earlier one implied in Atra-hasis quotes (around 40,000 B.C.). Of course, this assumes that the human-Anunnaki hybridization was 'better' than the Original in all ways. We should remember that the hybrid-humans were created to be uncomplaining slave-labor...
(Note in this regard that the O'Briens also assume genetic-hybridization with the Anunnaki in the 40,000 B.C. case. However, the quotes could easily imply just genetic tinkering with human genes.)
There is one other tantalizing area the O'Briens broach: a highland/lowland division of the original area. The 'good stuff', like their original Settlement and Ba'albek, is in the highlands. Common human stuff is in the lowlands. This might tie into the mystery of the Ba'albek 'trilithon stones'...
The last half of the book goes into the different geographic-areas the Anunnaki dispersed into, following their departure from the Mesopotamian setting. This is fascinating research, and caused me many unsettled nights of questions popping up. Some areas were unknown to me: One upland area of Crete bears an uncanny resemblance to the original Settlement. High beings from the Greek Gods to the Norse Gods to the Tuatha Dé Danann of Ireland are brought within this point of view. This part is magisterial.
Minor quibbles: In "Part IV: The Astronomical Surveyors," 'square root signs' were omitted from multiple calculations. The numbers themselves are fine; the publisher and proofreader just neglected to review the book with a mathematical eye to catch this. Perhaps they did not have a font for the square root sign and it just 'fell out' throughout the book. In addition, there are also occasional words that are strangely-proportioned, appearing almost like Gutenberg hand-set printing. In them, size of a character and the spacing of characters vary oddly to make a line the needed width. This is just a minor annoyance. I might suggest that prior to a next edition, the entire book be scanned into a modern character-recognition program and output in modern fonts. The charts and maps are also what one might find in an early 1980s book and could be upgraded.
To sum up, the O'Briens have produced a worthy 'companion' to the Sitchin literature. It is fact-based, as much as possible. There is much original research here. It is highly recommended for its 'broadening' perspective.
(It will be interesting to see how much of our 'true' history derives from each source...)