Goodbye Iowa (Buffy Season 4, Episode 14) Part 2/2


Towards the close of this episode, when Adam is revealed as the Big Bad of the season, Adam makes a statement which leads not so much to a diagnosis so much as to a treatment plan.  “I know what I am, but not who I am.”  Adam, of course, tried to go about discovering who he was by approaching the matter mechanistically:  the vivisection of humans and demons.  He is trying to probe the deeper and most intimate sources of how human life is expressed.  For the Classical Chinese physician, the channel system which governs this are the Qi Jing Ba Mai:  the Extraordinary Meridians of the Eight Vessels.

These Vessels are considered to be the repository not only of jing, the essence inherited from before birth, but also of those factors, particularly emotional ones, which the individual person, or his family lineage, has not been able to resolve.  They can thus be thought of as ‘karmic’ in the sense of a long-term expression of response to lived environments.  In this regard, the EVs are that system in the body which conveys, as a template, the genetic and epigenetic expression of post-natal qi.  Through the action of source qi, post-natal qi is assimilated to the pattern the jing provides, giving rise to flesh and form in the body.

The extraordinary vessels, filled with jing and shen as they are, deal with the existential issues Adam considers — who am I?  They are the deepest part of the body’s channel physiology and come into play in the unfolding of the jing (KD-6, BL-62) as it is transmuted by ming men fire (SJ-5, PC-6) into qi (LU-7, SP-4) and shen (GB-41, SI-3).

As described in previous posts, the EVs — like all the channel systems — can be thought of as a description of the movement of a person through existence.  Jeffrey Yuen discusses how the Ren, Du, and Chong form the basis of individuation and growth; the Wei Mai integrate the yin and yang functions of the body; the Qiao Mai reflect one’s view of the world and self; the Dai mai discharges and drains what needs to be let go, or retains what the person is unwilling or unable to address at particular times in his or her life.

Specifically, the Chong provides the central blueprint of a person’s life, the sea of blood, from whose union with qi shen arises.  The Ren Mai involves attachment, its formation and the solidity such reassurance gives to children as they grow.  It is the consolidated Sea of Yin which allows what is necessary for growth to be held adequately, without being torn by the dissipating nature of Yang.  The Du Mai is about unfolding into an upright posture, the individuation and going forth into the world, the dissipation or outward movement of the Sea of Yang.

For Adam, then, an EV treatment might be most appropriate to aid him in his quest for self-knowledge.  Adam’s EV functioning is unclear.  One could regulate the Yin Qiao Mai and couple it with the Chong Mai, with the intent to facilitate his ability to look inward at his blueprint; yet he seems to know his blueprint from the disc or CD he inserted into the Cyborg portion of his anatomy.  Looking inward at his blueprint does not seem to be the issue.

Another approach would consider that Adam has not lived; he has not engaged with the external world.  This is the province of Du Mai.  He does seem to have a bit of excess in the Yang Qiao Mai, trying to figure out the world, so perhaps the Yin needs to be regulated as well.  His question, at its most basic level, seems to be:  ‘What is my destiny in the world?’

Four points on the Du, Ren, and Qiao Mai open the body to its destiny.  These points happen to be where some people sense their ‘gut feeling’ the ‘core’ or ‘innermost’ part of their gut — the ‘will within the will’ as it were.   The points on the Ren Mai are located two and three thumb widths below the navel, CV-4 and CV-5.  On the low back, in the two intervertebral spaces between L2 and L4, where some people feel a tingling in their spine when something is ‘right’, the points GV-4 and GV-3 can be located.  Finally, the other points, which are rarely thought about in terms of feeling one’s way, are located at the inner canthi of the eyes — the portion of the eye near the tear ducts and nose.  Bl-1, a place at which clarity of vision — or its blurriness — manifests.  All the above points share as one of their several appellations the name, ‘Ming Men’, Gate of Destiny.

I would start first with the Qiao Mai, opening with BL-62, then needling BL-1.  Adam has been looking to excessively at the world, and needs to anchor within; so the next points would be CV-4 and CV-5.  These points are also the mu-points for the Small Intestine and Triple Warmer, referred to above as expressing jing and shen outwards (the SI being paired with the Heart and Vessels which govern and store the Shen).  One could opt to close with LU-7 at this point.  I might consider leading this consolidation back to the source, to GV-3 and GV-4, before ultimately closing with SI-3 (the control point on the Du Mai).

Needles should be inserted fairly deeply.  A vibrating technique should be used to obtain qi.  The needles should be retained for 40 minutes or so (although Adam’s jing is possibly quite motile, as an infant’s would be, and thus needle retention could be shorter in time).  Treatment should be once weekly, for three months.

Herbal treatment would lead the fire back to the source using Rou Gui and Huang Lian, while augmenting yin and jing with either E Jiao or Gui Ban.  In lieu of animal products (not really an issue for Adam, but in countries where animal products are restricted an issue for practitioners), one might try using Shu Di and Luo Shi Teng.  This latter herb usually treats the Luo Mai; but when the luo empty into the EVs, it may be helpful to see if the luo can be engaged through herbal treatment to reverse the flow.

The question of the state of Adam’s jing and ming men fire highlights a plot hole — we don’t really know how he came to life.  Does he have a base creature on which he was built?  Was this creature still alive when the operations were being performed?  Is he primarily an augmented human being?  Primarily a Demon?  Do demons have the same vasculature as humans?

Adam’s physiology raises particularly interesting questions from a Chinese perspective.  Does he have any extraordinary vessels?  Does he have a shen, which would have a curriculum to work out in this world?  Did he embody the unresolved pathologies contained in the luo vessels of a previous existence?  How would a Chinese Frankenstein’s monster be created?  How would the connexions of the various channels be treated?  Would a ‘translation’ of channels into fascial continuity provide a different take on how such a creature could be constructed?

I will leave such philosophical questions for the readers of this post to ponder.

As always, this post is for informational purposes only.  If you think Chinese Medicine can help you engage with your life’s work in greater depth or with greater clarity, please see a qualified practitioner.  Happy Slayage!

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