A TORTOISE in the palace of the OSUN of OGBOMOSO has just died, aged 344 years. It death was announced on the radio last Sunday. The king lost appetite for one day and has ordered a royal funeral befitting of this royal animal which kept many of his predecessor company in the palace. This death reminds me of three events. .. the death of SENIOR BINGO at Olivet Baptist HIGH School, Oyo, in the late 1960s, the loss of one of my prized Chinese health books, BURN DISEASES OUT OF YOUR BODY, and the death of MERCURY, or MERC for short.
Senior Bingo was a dog which my 1964- 1968 “O” LEVEL set met in the school. Our seniors called it “Senior Bingo”. So did many Senior sets before theirs. My sets, therefore, had no choice but to call this dog Senior Bingo. This was a friendly dog which was not in want of food or water to drink. The cooks served its own rations at our meal times. And it had additional supplies from the waste thrown away. Everywhere he went, roars of salutations of Senior Bingo greeted this male dog. It knew the school uniforms, and followed us students everywhere, on or off campus. Anyone who had any snack it could eat spared senior Bingo something. Then, one day, Senior Bingo died. There was grave yard silence in the school. Even students who came from dog’s eating family or towns lost their appetite for food. As the news went round , some of us could not eat . But, some how, the thought of a special funeral service for the devoted dog escaped us all. Or, should I rather say I did not know how it was buried.
Nevertheless, the way senior Bingo’s death, touched us all inwardly taught me a lesson which was to lead me later to deeper recognition about those entities we humans regards as animals and arrogantly look down upon. I will not digress into this today. But please permit me to remind those of us who are Christians that the first BEINGS that the Bible reports are at the footstool of the throne of the Almighty Creator are not humans but Animal Beings. More importantly, these Animals are of Divine Origin, far, far, far above the origin of Angels, which is far, far, far above the origin of those “IMAGES” of the Creator after Whose Image or shadow those of us on earth are struggling to form ourselves through becoming good nature.
Back to the just departed tortoise. There is a reference to the tortoise in BURN DISEASES OUT OF YOUR BODY. It is about why, in the Arthur’s views, the tortoise is one of the longest living animals. We all know the tortoise does not stress itself. It is a SLOW BUT STEADY animal. So, it does not place its heart and other vital organs under such killer undue pressure as we humans do. The author of BURN DISEASES OUT OF YOUR BODY says the tortoise lives long largely because its head is always up to ensure proper blood circulation to the brain. When his head is up, he says, all the muscles attached to it work in harmonious balance to make blood flow unrestrained by muscles emasculation of blood vessels and nerves. We humans paint a different picture, he says. When we read or write or eat at table our heads learn forward and downward, instead of being upright, and this overworks one set of muscles and over -relaxes another set. Over time, this may pull cervical (neck) bones out of alignment, cervical spondylosis may occur, nerves may be pinched and pain in arms and fingers may occur which, sometimes, may affect their capacity to hold or grip anything. This book suggested an every-day natural remedy of this breached of the THE LAW OF BALANCE as it affects those structures. I have practised it since the 1980s as follows…
1. Lie face and tummy down on a flat surface such as on an orthopaedic mattress or a mat spread on the floor
2. Place your arms on your sides
3. Lift your head up and slowly move your head from left to right and back in cycles of, say, 60 times.
You would notice how heavy your head is. You may hear creaking sounds as rigid muscles relax and allow blood to flow through them or, if they were collapsing, squashing them, allow these vessels to become free again, to move blood easily to the upper extremities, nourishing the eyes, the ears, the mouth and the brains. The brain of a Senior Citizens, shrunken over the years perhaps from poor blood supply and circulation irrespective of the use of GINKGO BILOBA and other herbs which move blood “upstairs” may regain vitality. Memory loss may disappear,and sleep may become better and more restful. You are likely to feel heat or warmth in the neck from this simple exercise.
When I read these lines in the 1980s I joined other campaigner for the redesign of school desks and writing tables in offices to the design of the architects table, which is high and slanted to permit the head to be upright when we read or write.
Mercury or Merc was one of my local guard dogs. You’d think it was an Alsatian the way it was bred and garrulouslily, it conducted itself. My children named it Mercury when they sighted it as a puppy at a friend’s house. Their mother hated dogs, having been once bitten by one. But how would we get it home without breaking her heart?, all four of us wondered. I came up with an idea. Your mom says with pride she is a Political Scientist. Political science teaches democracy. So, we’d tell her we all, including her, debated this matter and she lost 1 to 4. She said she didn’t remember such a debate but, nevertheless, gave in.
Children love animals and nature because they are still at the animistic level of development during which their spirits Waite quietly and calmly within for the bodies to reach a certain stage of maturity. At this point, the spirit breaks out into the world, questioning and overturning oddities until society restraineds it with tradition, culture and the law. As children, we all built sand houses, chased after lizards and chicken. Their mother loved Mercury. The name came from Mercury, the leader of the elemental beings which the learned from Sunday school class teacher, Mrs Sola Sowemimo. Mercury grow with all of us . then, one day, when all were away from home, at school, Mercury died. I was heart broken. So were the children and their mother. I called the best man at my wedding, Mr Dotun Akibtoye, who , like me , understood what I was about to do … give Mercury a befitting funeral. He conducted the service. We humans are to give animals love. In our radiations of love, they form their souls into animals personalities which, upon their death, do not migrate to and dissolves into the group animals soul from which animals on earth derived their souls and existence.
Earth Animals which cannot form themselves into personal animal souls on the account of this missing Hunan link are like drops of water which end up in the mighty ocean. That is why the cat and the dog, especially, seeking personal existence through us, like to lurk all around and about us, for this energy vital to their existence. We would re-nite with them someday, if they live the earth before us. For when many people pass away, finding themselves in meadows or other places after emerging from the dark tunnel, they may have no idea they have crossed over because they find that they still exist, although in a different body and environment. They are often perplexed. It is the appearance to them of some pets or persons they had once loved well while on earth and who loved them which awakens them to the new realities.
So, someday, the tortoise which had just died in the Palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso may be around to welcome him to the ethereal world whenever the Kabiyesi rejoins his ancestors.