Interested in the long answer? Read on.
Nibiru’s Mesopotamian Roots
The idea that unknown planets lie in the outer reaches of our solar system isn’t a new one. In fact, it’s that same curiosity that lead to the discovery of Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and all of the other far-flung objects that orbit our host star. Astronomers are driven in large part by the excitement of finding something new, whether they’re exploring areas close to home or far, far away, leading to all sorts of new observations and deep realizations about the universe at large.
Unfortunately, the extension of curiosity about the unknown seems to lead inevitably to those who would fill in the gaps in our knowledge with pure, unadulterated bullshit.
The word nibiru comes originally from the Akkadian language, spoken by the people of ancient Mesopotamia, and means “crossing” or the place where two points merge. The word was used esoterically to describe a star in the sky that was believed to mark the seat of the gods, specifically Marduk, the creator of the universe in early Babylonian myth.
A cuneiform tablet dating to about 1750 BCE outlines Nibiru’s role in the sky for the Mesopotamians of the time:
Nibiru, which is said to have occupied the passageways of heaven and earth, because everyone above and below asks Nibiru if they cannot find the passage. Nibiru is Marduk’s star which the gods in heaven caused to be visible. Nibiru stands as a post at the turning point. The others say of Nibiru the post: “The one who crosses the middle of the sea (Tiamat) without calm, may his name be Nibiru, for he takes up the center of it”. The path of the stars of the sky should be kept unchanged.
Zecharia Stitchen: The Root of Planet X
While the Babylonian myth is wonderful in its antiquity, surprising in its apparent monotheism, and generally interesting, it has no bearing on reality. None. Its claims are as patently unrealistic and outside of reality as every other myth, cult and religion that has ever existed.
So how did Nibiru, an ancient Middle Eastern godhead, manage to gain popularity in modern times?The blame lies mainly at the feet of Zecharia Stitchen, a passionate proponent of the ancient astronaut theory, and author of many books that attempt to prove that theory’s validity. With claims based on his own interpretation of ancient Mesopotamian texts, Stitchen put forward the idea in his books, specificallt The 12th Planet, that an unknown planet called Nibiru, inhabited by a race of aliens called the Annunaki, periodically passed directly by the Earth, going so far as to claim that the planet dropped off alien visitors each time that it did. Gravitationally bound to our Sun, but existing far beyond Pluto and within the Oort Cloud, the 3,600 year orbit of this planet will, according to Stitchen, bring it into contact with Earth next somewhere around the year 2900 CE.
Stitchen is an interesting fellow, to be sure, and I’ve read and enjoyed a few of his books, finding value in some of his observations and conclusions, but there is no doubt that 99 percent of what the man puts into print and on the airwaves is absolute nonsense.
Nancy Lieder Talks to Aliens (Not Really)Founder of ZetaTalk.com, Nancy Lieder claims to be in close contact with a race of aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system via an implant that said aliens placed into her brain. In 1995, these aliens informed her that an object, called “Planet X” by Lieder, would sweep through the inner solar system in May of 2003, causing a shift of Earth’s magnetic poles and destroying most of humanity.
Given the pre-2003 claims alone, it’s obvious that Lieder is either a fraud or delusional, but the failure of Planet X to make an appearance on the appointed date saw the entire theory officially discarded.
Unfortunately, the mix of Mayan dating systems, popular films, and the writings of people like Stitchen and Lieder have all combined to create the so-called 2012 phenomena, causing people to believe all kinds of nonsensical things regarding unknown planets, aliens, astronomical collisions, and more.
Wanting to Believe
Whether we care to admit it or not, humans are prone to believing crazy things, and that includes each and every one of us, skeptic or not. Collectively, we believe in dusty old religions, shiny new cults and everything in between – and this Nibiru/Planet X foolishness falls somewhere in between the two.
We hope for these fantastical scenarios for a few reasons, not least among them being sheer boredom. The world seems to many of us to be stagnant and unchanging, set in its ways, with no real place for an out-of-the-box thinker, and that leads us to wish for the absurd in order to break the monotony.
To this end, some of us are doomsday proponents, some are gun fanatics anxiously awaiting a zombie apocalypse, and some of us try very hard to believe that a mysterious, somehow unobserved planet is going to collide with the Earth in December 2012 or some other arbitrary date. Fortunately, no such planet exists and no such collision is forthcoming, no matter what lunatics like Zecharia Stitchen and Nancy Lieder tell you.
The bad news: we still need to do our Christmas shopping.