I Only Have Eyes for You (Buffy, Season Two)

Ah, the Sadie Hawkins dance.  When girls asked the boys to the dance.  Somewhat of a dated notion in the nineties, I suppose, but Principal Snyder strikes me as the sort of administrator intent on maintaining tradition for the sake of tradition, long after its golden hue has rubbed off and its silver age has been tarnished.

The golden age of high school was of course the 1950’s, and it is two unredeemed ghosts from that era that we encounter in this episode.

Curiously, they did not seem cursed to re-enact their tragedy the previous year, but perhaps the Sadie Hawkins dance was cancelled due to mourning the school mascot and late principal.

Some ghosts only want forgiveness. (That they then go and possess other people and re-enact the scenes of their crime is a side matter.)  Interestingly, Buffy didn’t seem to realise that not only was the boyfriend doomed to relive his experience at the Sadie Hawkins dance, so was his faculty paramour.  It might be that she also needed the opportunity to grant forgiveness.

Buried in the layers of Chinese medicine are ways to treat these ghosts who seek atonement or who can’t move on because they have been attached to a loved one.

Herbally, one would want to make use of fragrances.  Although Tian Ling Xiang was mentioned in a previous post, here I would like to emphasise the more ethereal nature of essential oils.  Like the fumes of alcohol emanating from the dregs of wine which fed the spirits of Europe, so also can the perfumed oils of “the East” help release spirits bound to this plane.

Ghosts which remain on this side of the veil of existence can be classed into three groups, depending on what sort of emotions need to be resolved.

First are the emotions of forgiveness and benevolence.  Oils which allow these spirits to release those emotions include pine, douglas fir, juniper and cedar — all oils made from the needles of evergreens.  One is reminded of the larch drums which Siberian shamans use.

The second class includes ghosts who linger because they cannot let go of a loved one or because a living person cannot let go of them.  For this oils made from aromatic seeds are useful — dill, caraway, fennel.  Interestingly, these seeds all come from herbs widely used in Russian cooking.

Finally, for those ghosts which cannot see the light, or are so weighted down they cannot move upwards, oils of a burning nature, such as bergamot, can be used.

The acupuncture points which can be needled on these ghosts (if you can sense their bodily forms) include PC5 (Intermediary Courier) and TH6 (Draining Descendants) for the first level, that which relates to forgiveness.  The first point brings the message; the second releases the obligation the ghost’s descendants would have incurred for its actions; or alternately, it drains away the wrongs which would have fallen on the descendants if the ghost has no offspring to clear its karma.

(I wonder if these points, in combination with the point Xin Jiao, would help clients who need to forgive?)

For the second level, in which ghosts linger due to love, TH7 (Hui Zong:  Meeting of Ancestors) and SI11 (Tian Zong:  Heavenly Ancestors) are used.  These points let them know that they have loved ones and family both here and in the hereafter.

The third level makes use of GB37 (Guang Ming:  Bright Light) and ST42 (Chong Yang:  Surging Yang), to give the ghost the yang strength needed to ascend.  Finally, if the ghost is entirely yin and sticky, BL12 (Feng Men or Feng Fu:  Wind Gate or Wind Palace) and BL23 (Shen Shu:  Kidney Shu or Gao Gai:  High Cover) can be needled to contain the ghost or expel it as an external pathogen.

Making certain the person carrying out these exorcisms is protected from infestation is also important.  How one chooses to create a protective field which also gives the entities access to other realms depends on the particular tradition in which the exorcist feels most comfortable.  For some, this is surrounding oneself with light.  For others (such as the aforementioned shamans), it may be chanting or singing.  Others may rely on jade, lapis, or some other amulet-stone.

Regardless of the method chosen, remember that the purpose of an exorcism is an act of compassion, not one of taking on the suffering of the ghost — or patient, for that matter.

These posts are theoretical knowledge and not commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine today.  If you feel they may be helpful, seek out a knowledgeable practitioner (priest, shaman, monastic), who may or may not be a qualified herbalist or acupuncturist.

Remember compassion.


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