Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (Buffy, Season 2)

This was actually the first Buffy episode I ever watched.  I caught the middle of it at a friend’s house, just as Amy was invoking “Diana, goddess of love and the hunt.”

I thought to myself, “That is not the right goddess to be invoking.  Who wrote this?”  After all, one doesn’t invoke avowed virgin goddesses asking them to provide women to sate one’s lust!  (This is Xander we’re talking about — pure chaste love isn’t on his radar.)  So, I wasn’t surprised when the spell backfired.

To be honest, I chalked the series up to a Xena like disregard for any semblance of historicity, despite my friend telling me that Amy was just a “beginning witch” — and thus her ignorance was quite in character.  Getting hooked on Buffy would have to wait until years later, when a friend would physically put in my hands the DVD set of the third season and tell me to watch it.  (So I watched it, and the next season, and the first two seasons, and the last three seasons, plus Angel and the comic book for season 8… not to mention other JW productions… and now I’m writing blog posts as I watch the series yet again.)

Despite my initial doubts, this particular episode certainly offers a wealth of diagnoses: wounded pride and revenge, obsession, and “the pimple patrol.”

I’m afraid I don’t have any solutions for the wounded pride aspect yet.  On the other hand, I would think of treating it as an insult to the Kidneys (self) and Heart (joy) manifesting outwards through the Wood channels (desire for action) — the Liver fighting back against the Spleen’s (society) insults to the communication between the Heart and Kidney.  This mechanism is not dissimilar to what I’ll discuss below.

As for obsession, since all women were apparently obsessed with Xander, treating each of them would overly tax the available resources, so I will not be pursuing this option as a solution.  (Triage wins again).

That leaves the pimple patrol.  I will help Amy out by addressing the symptom which Ms. Calendar threw at her.

Acne can be due to various causes according to Chinese medicine, but is most often associated with heat or heat toxins in the blood.  Wen Qing Yin, which is a combination of Huang Lian Jie Du Wan and Si Wu Tang, is often an effective treatment for several skin conditions, including acne rosacea.  The formula clarifies the blood by eliminating heat toxins while simultaneously encouraging the production of new, vigorous blood.

As for acupuncture, we can clear fire toxins from the blood.  While we could use the SI channel since it relates to fire toxicity and also to the process of separating pure form impure, I think a closer look at the physiology at issue is warranted.  (If I were to still focus on the SI meridian, I would add points on the Stomach meridian, since it is the source of blood and the external venter of heat;  I would address the blood which is stored in the Jue Yin level and treat either the PC or the LV.)

Acne during puberty is likely the result of either the last fetal toxins being burned off or the body’s attempt to vent the heat being generated by the increase of jing-essence and the awakening of ming men fire.  This internal fire is contained in the ShaoYin level of the Heart and Kidneys.  Usually this fire is vented either through the JueYin Pericardium channel or the ShaoYang Triple Heater channel.  Since the JueYin level is the reservoir of blood, this would lead to a manifestation of heat in the blood.  The treatment then would be to facilitate the removal of heat from the ShaoYin system.  I would choose PC-7 and LV-8 as points on the JueYin channel, and I would add TH-5 on the ShaoYang channel.  This particular combination will clear heat from the blood as it is stored in the Liver, while moving heat from the blood level outwards through the Luo point of the TH channel.

The mechanism by which wounded pride manifests as a desire for revenge in Xander’s case is similar.  ShaoYin was insulted or closed off by TaiYin — that is, the Kidneys-Self was shut out by the closing of TaiYin-Spleen-Society, forcing heat to enter the JueYin level, from which it could be vented via the ShaoYang Gallbladder channel.  In this case, I would think of using GB-41 or GB-25 as the ShaoYang point, since it more clearly reflects the presence of the insult to the Kidneys which store the jing and relate to the extraordinary vessels.

As always this is a theoretical discussion.  If you feel you could benefit from the use of Chinese Medicine, please see a qualified practitioner.


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