Blood Ties (Buffy, Season 5, Episode 13)


Tired of everyone around her keeping things from her, Dawn decides to break into the magic shop, escorted by Spike.  Finding the Watcher’s Diary kept by Giles, Dawn discovers she’s the Key.  As Giles phrased it,  “The Key is not directly described in any known literature but all research indicates an energy matrix vibrating at a dimensional frequency beyond normal human perception.  … Only those outside reality can see the Key’s true nature.”  Dawn wonders aloud what ‘outside reality’ means.  Spike suggests run of the mill lunatics, but Giles diary adds that  “the key is also susceptible to necromanced animal detection, particularly those of canine or serpentine construct… The monks possess the ability to transform energy, bend reality…”

Rigidity of sense perception is a trait characteristic of the Triple Heater luo vessel, hinted at by the name of its point, ‘Outer Gate’.  The seven upper orifices of perception are sometimes referred to as ‘gates’, but the point also refers to how people let in — or allow out in the form of attention — certain perceptions, while blocking other perceptions.

In the Jia Yi Jing, fullness of the TH luo is indicated by hypertonicity of the elbows:  the person cannot bring things in towards them, nor can they push things near them away.  Depletion of the TH luo, on the other hand, is seen in cases of a complete loss of the use of the elbow:  the person cannot regulate how far or close something should be to their bodies (or perceptions).

Thus, if anyone wants to see the key, they must simply work with the Triple Heater collateral.  This can be done through bloodletting at TW-5 and along the trajectory of the luo mai (as it curves around the forearm to pour into the chest), or, as hinted at by the monks, through meditation, transforming the qi and blood of the meridian and bending it to conform more closely to the jing-shen of the person meditating.  In other words, blood-personality must conform to the essential template of the person as granted by the lineage, but it must also work towards and follow the curriculum necessary for the shen to move freely and spontaneously.  These two aspects are seen in how the material aspect of blood, derived from post-natal qi (in the form of food), is stamped with the red colour, which Han dynasty physicians likened to the seal of the shen within the Heart; and the spiritual component of the Hun-ethereal spirits carried by the blood, which by their nature come and go with the shen, following it around.  If they do not follow the shen, the hun are in rebellion.

I would not, of course, recommend the sort of bloodletting that Dawn takes upon herself in this episode, when she asks her mother and Buffy if the blood flowing from her arms is ‘real’.  Only a few drops obtained from a lancet and wiped away with alcohol, until the blood returns to a solid red colour, is sufficient.  In case of depletion, follow the blood-letting with some moxa on the point.  This will also help stop bleeding (although if bleeding is excessive, use charred jing jie or burnt human hair to clot the blood).

In terms of herbal medicine, not many herbs enter the Triple Heater channel, although several formulas work with the mechanism of the Triple Heater as a whole.  Individual herbs which can be used as envoys include Chai Hu, Xiang Fu, Zhi Zi (and Shan Zhi Zi).

Of the above herbs, Zhi Zi has a particular affinity for the blood. However, it can be quite cold. On the other hand, Xiang Fu is well known for its ability to regulate menstruation and relieve menstrual pain. Therefore, it, too, could potentially function as a blood/ luo related herb.  Xiang Fu is also said to treat ‘cold’ anger, and thus is a more warming herb is needed, I would select Xiang Fu.  (For Glory, I would select Zhi Zi, as she needs a little cooling down and stabilisation.)

Which of the three herbs would also help rigidity of the sense organs in particular,  and what is the physiological effect of each herb? Chai Hu treats the qi, but brightens the eyes. Because it weeds out the old to make room for the new, it allows for seeing new options — perception is widened through taking away extraneous and unhelpful patterns of previous ways of looking at the world.  Zhi Zi drains heat, which in the Buddhist traditions of herbal medicine is roughly synonymous with desire.  Thus, Zhi Zi may free up perception because it takes out egoism and greed from the way a person sees or senses the world. Xiang Fu, as mentioned, is used for cold anger, the sort of anger that is set and unmovable.  With the return of suppleness, qi, and thus perception of alternative ways of expression that anger, can progress.

As always, these posts are for entertainment and educational purposes only.  If you feel you would benefit from the traditions contained within Chinese Medicine, please see a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!

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