Surprise (Buffy, Season 1)


I barely remember my seventeenth birthday.  I can recall my sixteenth and my eighteenth, and even my nineteenth.  But the seventeenth seems a remote memory.  I do remember finding an early 20th century cake recipe and trying that out (it was quite moist, and kept well).  Obviously, not as eventful as Buffy’s 17th birthday.  But then, my birthday is during the summer, hers during the school year.  I was always mildly jealous of people who celebrated their birthdays during the school year.

While Buffy was busy sorting through nightmares and falling in love, Ms Calendar received a visit from an apparently long lost uncle.  It seems she had gotten distracted from her family duty — to watch Angel and make certain he never forgets what he did to her people.

Lineage, filial piety, and one’s destiny are all intertwined in Chinese medicine.  Particularly since the Song dynasty, when the Confucian morality of filial piety was incorporated into the framework of five phase theory, and the Ming dynasty, when the “Ming Men” or “Gate of Destiny” school of thought became dominant.

Ming men is actually a somewhat difficult term to translate, and calling ming “destiny” doesn’t quite convey the full force or nuance of the character.  Ming is the mandate of heaven, the pattern of life which you unfold physiologically and socially.  Destiny is achieved usually by living out the term of your life, which may be longer or shorter than those around you.  It is intimately bound up with jing, essence, as well as with your lineage.

Lineage can be a powerful factor in a person’s medical profile, and Ms Calendar is no exception.  Usually, this lineage is conceived of as physical and familial:  parent to child, grandparent to grandchild.  But not always.  The fully realised person can choose his or her own lineage, and if a soul has fulfilled the task of its lineage, it will no longer incarnate in that family.  Likewise, if a family’s remaining tasks are not suitable to the curriculum a particular soul must learn, it will not incarnate in that family.  Usually, however, a soul returns to the same family until its karma is worked out.  “It” referring to either the soul or the family.

So what does this have to do with acupuncture and herbal medicine?

The highest work of medicine is the cultivation of destiny.  Since Ms Calendar seems to have gotten distracted from hers, it is time that we bring her what aid she needs.

Earlier, we had diagnosed Jenny Calendar with heart shock.  Did we perhaps misdiagnose her?  I don’t think so.  I think our previous diagnosis did not go far enough.

Shock to the heart can affect its communication with the Kidneys.  The Kidneys store ming men, the fire of the gate of life.  For destiny to manifest itself, the shen of the heart must be in good communication with the jing of the kidneys.

Our first treatment settled the heart enough that we can now focus on bringing its fire into the water of the kidneys without disturbing them.

Herbally, I would use a two medicinal formula as a base:  Huang Lian and Rou Gui.  This combination is said to “lead the fire back to its source” — anchoring the heart fire in the kidneys.  However, we want to make certain that Ms Calendar is able to hold herself together at this time, and so I would add Shan Yao, which tonifies the kidneys and astringes them (and thus consolidates the mission of her lineage).  I also want this mission to manifest itself in her life again.  In other words, I want to work on the outward manifestation of minister fire.  It is currently not manifesting outward because of an emotional shock; therefore, I would work on the Pericardium channel.  Chuan Xiong is a blood invigorating medicinal which goes to the Pericardium.  Since the PC is also known as the Heart Master, it is often pictured as the Confucian scholar who tells the emperor how to order his house.  For Ms Calendar, it will help her order her mission in life.  I might consider adding Shu Di Huang to strengthen the connection of Chuan Xiong (a blood herb) with Shan Yao (a kidney, and thus in some way, a jing herb).

If one wants to try a traditional formula, Huang Lian E Jiao Tang might work nicely, for similar reasons.  The E Jiao serves a similar purpose as Shan Yao in the smaller formula I presented above.

As for acupuncture, how do we cultivate destiny?

Ordinarily, I would immediately go to the jing level and think of working with the Extraordinary Vessels.  Using primary meridians, I would think of the Kidney and Triple Warmer channels.  Luo Vessels, I would think of bleeding the Wei Mai or Du-1 and CV-15, to clear out old emotional habits.  Divergent channels, I might think of the first confluence — BL-KD, since not only do these go to the heart, they also are linked to jing.  The divergent channels, in fact, can be quite powerful in this regard, since they all go to the heart, the residence of the shen.

Why one chooses a particular channel system over another, however, is important to clarify.  Luo vessels clear the emotions; CDs access the heart; EVs move jing and help it to unfold; primary channels bridge the interior and exterior worlds.

In other words, no one set of points is applicable in all cases.  For Jenny Calendar’s case, since she does not need to see her destiny — it is already revealed and opened to her — and merely needs to reconnect to it, I would choose three points, a combination of primary and extraordinary channels:  KD-1, Ren-17, Du-20.

KD-1, bubbling well, accesses the qi of the Kidneys quite directly, as it is a jing-well point.  It can be viewed as a point which helps allow the jing to bubble up from within the person.

Du-20, the meeting of the hundred spirits of the body, can be seen as the highest level of one’s development, the place where heaven enters into one’s body, and the place from which the soul (“ling”) returns to heaven.  As such, it has a relationship to that mandate of heaven.

Ren-17 is the mu point of the Pericardium.  As such, it relates to how one orders one’s life.  By needling this after KD-1 and Du-20, we are bringing the jing qi and shen qi into relationship with this proper ordering.

Together, these three points should access the jing level and orient towards expressing the heavenly mandate in a well ordered manner.

As always, the concepts described in this post are for theoretical purposes only.  If you feel that Asian medicine may help you nourish your destiny, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

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1 Comment

  1. Nikolauskas said,

    July 11, 2010 at 17:05

    Thanks for the nice article of medical subject


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