Passion (Buffy, Season 2)

Passion — without it, we are truly dead.  At least that’s what Evil Angel claims in the closing voice over of this episode.

Passion comes in many forms.  Passion is the sadistic pleasure of Angel plotting cruel games.  Passion is the fear and fright of Jenny Calendar as she runs from Angel.  It is the quiet elation and hope of Giles when he sees iced champagne and roses on the stairs to greet him, the cold shock and hot anger which follow his realisation of what Angel had done.  Passion is the sharp grief of Willow and the hardened resolve of Buffy.

The source of all illness, the Yellow Emperor reiterates time and again, are the passions of a disordered soul.  These passions were categorised into seven emotions in Chinese Medicine, but they blend endlessly and often seemlessly with one another.  So much so that the effect of the seven emotions on the qi of the body becomes illustrative of a larger dynamic within the human being.

Anger causes qi to rise upwards, leading to excess above and deficiency below.  It uproots the person, causing the skin to crawl and the blood to boil.  The ShaoYang channel tries to vent this heat, releasing it outwards and drawing qi upwards, but this compromises the storage of blood — which follows qi — in the JueYin vessel.

Shock scatters the qi, dispersing in particular the yang of the heart and rippling across the stillness of Kidney water.  It interrupts the ShaoYin mechanism.  Fear on the other hand, drains out Kidney water, causing qi to descend, likewise interrupting the communication between Heart and Kidney.

Pensiveness knots the qi, inducing stagnation.  It is characteristically disregulating to the TaiYin’s physiology, and dampness can begin to accumulate.  It is no surprise that eating and worry — and ice cream and break ups — lead to manifestations of dampness in our clients.

Likewise, sorrow dispels the qi, shutting down the functions of Spleen and Lung.  The book “Where the Red Fern Grows” expresses this mechanism most poignantly, as the grieving soul can no longer nourish the body.

Elation slackens the qi, and it should be remembered that the character for this emotion indicates an excess of feasting, of merry-making, of partying.  This slackness, therefore, is akin to the slackness of muscles in drunkeness.  It is also indicative of an emperor whose bureaucracy is slowly slipping from his grasp due to his own debauchery.  Nothing can be done except bring to mind his duties to his ancestors and the lineage from which he springs.  Needle Kd-1.

The treatment for these passions is to live according to the seasons, as the Yellow Emperor outlines at the start of his Simple Questions (Su Wen).  In the winter, bathe in a secluded area, hold one’s libido in like a happy secret, sleep later and arise with the sun.  In spring, starting on Feb 7 (the Spring Festival), take up action, develop one’s strength, go to bed with the sun. The summer is an appropriate time for freedom and a certain laxity; in training, work to combine the finesse of winter with the strength of spring.  In the autumn, abundant harvest arrives, bring all things to completion, and begin the process of storing away for winter.  Rise and go to bed with the sun.

The sages who lived thus, actively worked to “be in full possession of themselves” and avoided anger, shunned worry, lived in recollection.

If one goes countercurrent to the movement of yin and yang as manifested between the equinoxes and solstices, the qi in one’s body will also move countercurrent.  True qi will desert its post, and pathogenic wind or cold will invade through the skin, or rise up from the interior, unable to be purged out.

This is the foundation of cultivation.  It is the source of clarity and spontaneity, living according to one’s authentic nature.

It takes work on the part of the patient; the physician can only help clear away the debris to make the path more clear before you.

Such, then, is the view of the Yellow Emperor on the matter of Passion.

Happy Slayage (unless you are reading this in the spring, in which case, one ought to live and let live according to the season in which new life bursts forth).



  1. chironspupil said,

    August 4, 2010 at 22:09

    Yuan Zhi is said to level the 7 affects or emotions. It may be useful to use as a single herb, or added to Gui Zhi (or Chai Hu) Long Gu Mu Li Tang.

  2. mike feldman said,

    August 5, 2010 at 16:29

    interesting post

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