Triangle (Buffy, Season 5, Episode 11)


Willow and Anya fight for Xander’s attention while Buffy recovers from the departure of Riley.  Buffy is worried about Xander and Anya’s relationship when she hears from Tara that problems might be in the making.  Xander is made to choose between his girlfriend and his best friend when an accidentally summoned Troll (who used to date Anya) corners the three in the Magic Shop.  The whole episode features characters rationalising their and others’ behaviour in the face of silence or in an effort to ‘make things better’.

Rationalisation, the explaining away of circumstances so that someone does not need to confront them or so that they can more easily assimilate the changes which accrue, is a PC luo vessel issue.  It differs from the rigidity of the sense organs in which a person refuses to see any changes at all, which would be a San Jiao luo vessel pathophysiology.  Both PC and SJ pathologies can be seen in many communication difficulties, as two individuals talk past or around one another, without actually hitting on the root causes of the problem under discussion.  It should come as no surprise, then, that when needled, PC-6 can be used for problems with the throat.  The PC luo point, PC-6 is often needled in combination with the San Jiao luo point, SJ-5, linking the Inner and Outer Gate respectively.

The Jia Yi Jing specifies the PC luo for heart pain and heart vexation.  We did visit general vexation earlier in the season, when we treated counterflow in Riley’s Kidney luo channel.  What differentiates general vexation from Heart vexation?  Recall the difference between the JueYin function of clarifying blood with the ShaoYin function of regulating the movement between yin levels, between opening to the exterior and stilling the interior.  The ShaoYin system leads fire to water to invigorate and move it upwards; it balances fire with water to clear heat and excess desire so that the Heart and shen can remain tranquil.

Thus, with general vexation, a disorder affecting a luo mai of the Shao Yin meridian, a sort of restlessness presents in the entire person.  The self is not reaching an emotional satisfaction, the spirit isn’t grasping its essential mission.  Desires are not being swept away, because they are not being brought out into the open.  In contrast, with the Jue-Yin level heart vexation, the shen doesn’t know how to find meaning in a situation, or it is suffering from an excess of meaning as applied to the actions of other people.  The ability of JueYin to clarify blood, to separate one’s own personality from others, is compromised.  This is particularly manifest on an emotional level, that is, where other people’s personalities and their own paths in life are not quite linking up to one’s own.  It is reflected in the name of the point PC-6, ‘Inner Gate’.  The person’s inner boundaries have run amok.

In Buffy’s case, she is taking the meaning from her own experience with Riley, with its hopes and disappointments, and applying it outside herself to Xander and Anya.  Her mission in life has not been compromised, as would be the case in a KD luo vessel counterflow presentation.  Rather, it is not being fully nourished by her own personality; she has been set back and has not grown back to filling it out again.  PC blood needs to be nourished.  (In case of Heart pain, the PC luo vessel is in excess, and would need to move, either by nourishing SP ying or by through dispersal of focus to other parts of life in need of attention.)

Like the San Jiao meridian, few herbs go to the Pericardium, perhaps as a result of its anomalous place among the five solid organs.  Among the herbs which do guide formulas to the Pericardium chai hu (radix bupleuri) is interesting in that it goes to both the San Jiao and the PC.  Chuan Xiong, used for moving blood and relieving pain due to blood stagnation, and Dan Shen, selected to as a single herb embodying the actions of the formula Si Wu Tang, are two other herbs which enter the PC channel.  In this episode, the issue is one of miscommunication, of rationalisation and potential rigidity of perceptions; I would therefore select Chai Hu as the guiding herb.  To be fair, though, the three herbs together make an elegant formula to nourish, move, and regulate both blood and qi.

As always, these posts are meant as educational and entertainment devices only.  If you feel you could benefit from the tradition of Chinese Medicine, please visit a qualified practitioner. 

Happy slayage!

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