Blood is a primitive fluid sustaining the current flow of life and the collective soul of humanity. From ancient to modern, the concept of blood revolves around its tripartite pact—the spirit, soul, and body. There is no doubt to the fact that the act of blood shedding and death coincide, and all current flow of life and activities are lost with the loss of blood.
Before the advent of science and medicine, religion played a great role in interpreting natural phenomena. Diseases and death were believed to be results of divine punishment. The sacredness of blood covenant (the connection of blood and spirit) gave birth to the practice of sacrificing animals and humans to appease spirits and gods of the underworld, as the word “sorry” wasn’t anyway palliative enough. The sacrifices of lambs, bulls, birds, goats and humans required blood shedding—an act that makes blood fluid visible to the eyes, either for vengeance or penance. Blood was seen as a contract between the spiritual and physical world. Most common was the sacrifice of Christ whose blood is still being invoked by Christian faithful for atonement of sins and cleansing of incurable diseases. According to the Holy Bible, Jesus commanded His followers to keep drinking His blood. “…this cup is the new testament in my blood, this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me”1 1 Corinthians 11:25. The shedding of Christ’s blood to save lives foreshadowed what would later become a norm for prognosis. The act of diagnosing an ill patient to save him now mostly requires bloodletting (old usage) or phlebotomy for laboratory analysis. Blood donation and blood transfusion are done to save lives. The birth of a new child is witnessed by blood loss. A woman loses blood to affirm her menstrual cycle of fertility
The sacredness of blood formed the basis of some religious festivals, the libation of blood from a cut, occult initiations, sexual perversion, genital mutilation and circumcision which have witnessed the outright recklessness of blood and widespread of blood diseases. Ghosts, zombies, demons, and witches are said to be as blood thirsty as mosquitoes that do not care about infected blood. Vampires are said to detect a drop of blood a mile away faster than
sharks. The fear of vampire was so threatening that the first outbreak of tuberculosis in Europe spread the myth about revengeful vampires going on blood drinking spree. Families gathered and painfully watched their siblings cough out blood. Some of them were infected. Some doctors taking care of patients were infected with tuberculosis and died. The Ogbanje or Abiku spirit reincarnation in Africa also spread myths about connection of human blood and spirit. The outbreak of horror movies inspired by the literary writings and oeuvre of Allan Edgar Poe also reinforced the myth about the spirits of the dead seeking hospitality and incarnation through life that is in the blood.
Suffice to say is that the modern day medical practice still borrows a lot from religion, especially, Christianity. From Hippocratic oath of swearing to healing gods, to religious symbols of the cross in Red Cross and the First Aid Box, to caduceus as a symbol of medicine, and to the history of hospitals dating back to the activities of missionaries. Now, a physician must wear white coat to look pure like a priest that is ready to cure the diseases of sins, so patients can have faith in him. The hospital must be disinfected with fragrance to look like incense. Nurses must look like nuns. Pills and water complement each other like wafer and communion wine. It is not unusual to read this motto in front of hospitals: “Doctors care but God cures.”
Blood and Soul. Soul is the natural life of man inherited from birth. Science came from nature, medicine came from herbalism, bloodlines came from blood and gender came from biological sex. Soul is the animated organ of self-consciousness—the harmony of the mind, the will, and the emotion. Mind is the primary cognitive experience of emotion that determines what is good or bad. This cognition begins naturally with the affection that goes with nursing and feeding a child. Other basic elements like hormones and emotions ensure that soul matures by progressing from self-consciousness to collective consciousness. While hormones are means to emotional expressions, emotions are often triggered by external stimuli that often lead to the secretion of hormones—the chemical messengers that help regulate the bodily functions and behaviour. All emotions are deep-rooted in the body, where the family and friends are raised. Every thought: fear, joy, anger, happiness, pleasure, sadness, and the foods contribute to the survival of the body. Pleasure hormones like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin can make the body feel good while extreme emotion hormone like adrenaline, and stress related hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine can be inimical to the body. Studies have shown that injury and stress have effect on by product quality of meat humans consume.
These studies proved that animals being slaughtered in pain often release hormones of toxic chemicals into their blood. This may be the reason why butchers in most advanced countries hang meat for few days to allow the blood to drain completely; a practice that is most unlikely practiced in many African and Asian countries who would rather prefer to consume raw and fresh meat coming directly from the abattoir.“Stress, fear and pain when animals are being slaughtered or waiting to be slaughtered results in several disease processes in the humans which eat the meat. Most notable are cardiac problems, impotency and general fatigue…. Experiments including laboratory dogs slaughtered in stressful conditions result in impotence of rats fed with the dog’s meat. These results correlate with studies of humans in St. Georges, Utah. Studies made of domestic farm animals (cattle, pigs and poultry), and of laboratory animals (dogs and rats) show in all cases elevated levels of steroid hormones, generally associated with adrenocortical secretions. Primary substances include adrenalin, cortisone-like secretions, and steroids which stimulate fear pheromone production. All of these are known to result in poor health and poor vitality. This study confirms this link in food consumed by humans.”4
Furthermore, blood is the collective soul of human race. Blood is a family. The death of a family member can be anemic to the rest of the family. The fluidity of bloodlines creates a culture that makes blood thicker than water. Love and care remind of hospitality, the origin of the term, hospital—a home for the sick. Parents care for their family, government cares for the society, doctors and nurses care for the sick. “Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless” Eric Hoffer.
Blood and blood donation still remains the exclusive right of man. Though there is said to be an artificial blood that can transport oxygen and carbon dioxide, no known substitute has ever replaced its other vital functions: coagulation and immune defense. Blood donors donate blood out of cheer willingness to save lives. The birth of Red Cross was for humanitarian service. The main hindrance to blood donation in the world is less related to blood infection by donors but more of social factors like fear and anxiety. People fear donating blood as they fear surgery. The fear associated with needles sting, sight of blood and sudden death has contributed to the low patronage of blood donor and transfusion in the world. Other misconceptions include trust issues that blood may not be used for the purpose of donation. Also, blood donation stands against some religious beliefs. Some believe that it is during crisis that they can donate blood.
Blood and body. Flesh and blood makes a human. “…for the life of the flesh is in the blood…”3 Blood represents power and control. So much reason many diseases are hungry for blood. They want to control humanity by breaking down its defense, and tie the body down to bed in pain and suffering. Whatever controls man’s blood controls the man. Healing becomes a fight, a conflict between life and death. The thirsty bloodsucker mosquito can detect blood vessels faster than a trained nurse. Blood wants an environment where cells are well cultured to live maximum cellgevity life.
Blood cells die and are replaced. The reason is simple. A visitor entering a house for the first time can notice something wrong, which the old occupants of the house may not know. Cells living in an environment for so long may be too attuned to notice something wrong in its environment that a new cell being born can easily sense. This however doesn’t discredit the fact that old cells detect something wrong with its environment.
In conclusion, there is complete harmony when a doctor heals a patient. He has touched the body, spirit and soul of the patient. He has touched the blood relations of the patient. He has touched eternity. The rain will descend, but the nutrients must come from the earth to give life to the seed. A comprehensive study of blood involve the harmony of its tripartite pact: spirit, soul, and body.
(c) Blessing Alade
- The Holy Bible: King James Version. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, 2001.
- Holy Blood—voice of blood (12’’ Vinyl) Vision of God. Visionofgodrecord.com
- Irwin H. Putzkoff, MD Schmuckintush: Animal Stress Results in Meat Causing Disease.
RAP Publication, 2001. https://web.archive.org/web/20161027224500/http://www.scn.org/~bk269/fear.html