Lovers Walk (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 8) — Post Two of Two


Much has been written on the topic of how to fall in love or recharge one’s erotic life, in numerous languages from Latin, Arabic, Occitan, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese (and probably more). Most people are familiar with the Kama Sutra; classicists know of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria; medievalists talk about Andreas Capellanus’ De Amore (especially in the context of the troubadour tradition of Courtly Love); Arabists consider Ibn Hazm’s Tawq al Hamamah, the Ring of the Dove; and many are becoming acquainted with Tantric Buddhist and Taoist Alchemical sexual techniques.

Despite all these works devoted to the contemplation of falling in love or rekindling it, the nagging question of how to fall out of love remains. Ovid did address the question in his Cures for Love, offering several techniques for the man wishing to fall out of love with his nubile infatuation. Yet the other works — Ibn Hazm and Andrew the Chaplain both treat love in a more refined Platonic sense, while the Chinese and Tibetan practices focus on physical transformation. They don’t focus on the question of whether a man in love is truly sane — which is how we will approach the question of infatuation: a pathological affliction capable of being addressed medically.

For those who are interested, Ovid offers advice on techniques particularised to the faults of the love object:  “Any talent you know your mistress is short on keep cajoling her to display; if she hasn’t a voice, then insist on the poor girl singing; if she’ all arms and legs, make her dance; her accent’s appalling?  Engage her in endless conversation.  She can’t strum a chord?  Then ask for a solo lyre recital.  She walks awkwardly?  Promenade her.  Her breasts are great udders?  Don’t let her wear a bra.”  You get the picture.  (From “The Cures for Love” in the 1982 Penguin edition of The Erotic Poems, translated by Peter Green.)

I’ve also both read and heard that wearing onyx (the stone) can help bring discord into a relationship, leading to its ultimate demise.

While I am not aware of such techniques being part of the Chinese medical tradition, it does have some options unique to its own world view.

Biomedically, the neurochemical which is responsible for bonding in humans is oxytocin (prolactin is also a player).  Oxytocin production can be stimulated by rubbing the skin.  It is released especially from the forehead, low abdomen, armpits, and genitals.  It is also released in the brain during orgasm.  How shall we interpret this in Chinese physiological terms?

This is going to be highly theoretical and is a first attempt, so bear with me.

Orgasm is considered to be a discharge of Heart fire into Kidney water.  (This provides a yang force for ejaculation from the male and conception in the female.)  We could postulate that this discharge of energy disrupts the San Jiao mechanism in some way, since Minister Fire connects these two organs.  Alternately, the Pericardium could also be affected, since it, too, is Minister Fire, although it is not usually described as residing in the Kidneys.  It could be that this discharge upsets the distribution of yuan qi in such a way that the orientation of the shen to its destiny is interrupted — or confirmed.

In terms of the Channels of acupuncture, the Ren Mai is concerned with bonding, particularly with the mother, while the Du Mai is oriented towards helping someone move out into the world and individuate.  On the other hand, Willow and Xander were caught in a vanilla Ren Mai to Ren Mai position.  The Ren Mai is opened with the luo vessel of the Lung meridian, while the Du Mai is opened with the shu-earth point of the Small Intestine meridian.  Both these channels also bear a relationship to the Triple Warmer mechanism, the Du Mai in particular (via the back shu points).

Pairing the two concepts, however, makes me think that the Lungs get drawn into the act also — that perhaps something happens to the Po spirits.  We know that they are attracted to yang in general, qi being what contains the po in the Lungs.  Are they attracted to yang fluids — such as saliva — exchanged during intimate moments?  We know that saliva swallowing was a technique practised in Daoist sexual arts.  Usually this “jade fluid” is considered to be a yin substance, and thus unlikely to attract the po.  Breathing one another’s breath, however, might lead to some sort of communion between po-souls.  If this were the case, the solution would be relatively straightforward:  address the po-souls directly.  Send them back to where they came from, or settle them in some manner.  Astringe and contain them.

The po souls are oriented towards perception.  They also work to drag the body to death, so that they can return to the earth.  In terms of Central Asian shamanic cosmology one could say they are the souls which live beneath the earth, as opposed to the hun which nest in the trees which touch the heavens in the Upper World.  (I suppose this means a shaman could help in the matter of falling out of love, but Willow seems to have gathered that already.)

Of course, when one thinks of obsession, one also thinks of the Spleen.  What role does the Spleen play?  Can the Heart fire have gotten stuck in the Spleen if it did not find its ultimate end in Kidney water?  I think this is a valid possibility, and perhaps more likely than the foregoing convoluted reasoning.

If that is indeed the case (and it seems more likely to occur in a high school romance scenario), the treatment principle would be to vent constrained fire from the Spleen.  Xie Huang San rules such cases.  The base three herbs (Gan Cao, Fang Feng, Huo Xiang) drain the Spleen by virtue of being a combination of two acrid herbs combined with a sweet and supplementing herb.  (Two acrid herbs with a sour herb would have strengthened the Liver, while two sweet herbs and one acrid would have tonified the Spleen.)

The second two herbs, zhi zi and shi gao are cooling.  Zhi Zi has the advantage of going to the Triple Heater, while Shi Gao and Huo Xiang operate synergistically.  Huo Xiang (patchouli leaf) opens and revives the Spleen with its fragrance, allowing Shi Gao (calcined gypsum) to enter and drain the fire from the Spleen.  A much overlooked function of Shi Gao is to generate fluids.  In this particular case, the fluids help restore a Spleen whose fluids have been injured due to the constrained fire.

For acupuncture, i will continue with the Extraordinary Vessel theme we started earlier this week.  I would open the Ren Mai with left Lu-7.  The other Ren Mai points I would choose, needling from below to above, are:  CV-5 (TW mu), CV-12 (ST mu, using a mildly dispersing technique), and CV-14 (HT mu).  The goal is to activate the TW mechanism to draw the fire in the SP-ST back into the Heart.

I would pair the Ren Mai with the Du Mai, to help the patient recognise his or her ability to go out alone into the world.  To be honest, using the Du in this way may not be as effective as using the Yang Qiao Mai, which is activate for  post-pubescent individuation.  But, since the first breaking away from the maternal bond happens when young, it may be useful to remind the patient that what they need to do now is analogous to that earlier situation.  In addition, Du-4 and Du-14 are two points with a relationship to activating the yang qi of the sinew vessels.  Thus, needling Du-4 and Du-14 may help activate those energies which allow the patient to move out into the world and once again be his or her own person.   I might add Du-3, Yao Yang Guan, the Lower Back Yang Passage, since the treatment is aimed at getting yang fire to release from the Spleen and return to the Heart.  Following this line of reasoning, some might add Du-20, one of whose alternate names is Fivefold Meeting of the Three Yang, or something similar to that.

So those are my thoughts on treatment options for those who wish to end their current infatuations.

As always, these posts are for entertainment and theoretical purposes only.  If you feel you or someone you don’t want to love could benefit from the traditions in Asian Medicine, please seek a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

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