Bargaining, Part 2 (Buffy, Season 6, Episode 2)

The first half of the two-part episode ‘Bargaining’ ends with an image of Buffy’s corpse coming back to life — still buried in her coffin.  Buffy needs to claw her way out of the earth if she is to survive.  We later see Spike offer his sympathies; he had to do the same, once.  Newly reborn, Buffy’s senses are still hazy:  her sense of sound seems acute, but her vision remains blurry for much of the episode.  Eventually, Buffy makes her way to the Tower from which she jumped at the end of Season Five.  Dawn follows Buffy up the Tower and pleads with Buffy to come down.  ‘It was made by crazy people’, Dawn explained, and its stability, having been constructed without a clear blueprint, was questionable.  Indeed, we see the tower as it begins to collapse.  While at the top of the tower, Buffy explains to Dawn that where she had been, everything was shiny and clear.  “Is this hell?” Buffy asks.

Clarity is the culmination of the Water phase in human life.  Associated with wisdom, the virtue of the Kidneys, clarity comes about when jing is entirely transformed and the vice of water, fear, falls away.  In terms of the Kidney channel itself, the Kidney points on the abdomen reflect the relationship between completing one’s journey in life and the ‘curriculum’ with which one is born.  Those points are nearly all intersection points with the Chong Mai.  In fact, the Kidney channel, of all the channels, contains the most Chong Mai points, illustrating the conceptional relationship between the jing stored in the Kidneys as it unfolds in the emotional life of the blood contained in the Chong Mai as ‘sea of blood’.  In a sense, the Chong Mai facilitates the movement from Kidney jing to Liver blood.

The chong mai is the first of the extraordinary vessels.  The Nan Jing refers to the EVs as the vessels which catch the overflow of the luo-mai, the collateral vessels.  The Luo Mai are associated with blood and the emotional aspects of life.  Those emotions which cannot be immediately dealt with are held in the body in the form of spider veins.  These spider veins can accumulate, pass into the next channel in the cycle, or eventually drain into the EVs.  When they drain into the EVs, the idea is that the person now must incorporate resolving those emotional challenges as part of his or her blueprint in life.  As the first of the EVs, the chong mai in particular embodies this characteristic.  The chong mai is the blueprint from which the rest of life unfolds.  Clearing the chong mai helps induce clarity in life, through the delineation of that blueprint.

In the collapse of the tower which gave Fifth-Season Buffy the opportunity to sacrifice herself to save the world, we see an implosion of the structure of her previous curriculum, whose culmination was self-sacrifice.

Now that Buffy has a new incarnation, what will be Buffy’s new curriculum?  She completed that blueprint whose end was self-sacrifice; it does not need to be repeated.  What is the goal for this new existence?  That is the question this season asks; it will be answered in Season Seven (moving from self-sacrifice to self-giving).  However, the initial question Buffy confronts is doubt about the sufficiency of her self-sacrifice.  Did she do something wrong, that she’s come back, in more or less the same body?  What does this mean, existentially?

The ling-soul is the capacity for self-cultivation, through the working together of the virtues of the five little shen – the hun, po, shen, jing, and yi/ intent.  Part of self-cultivation is exactly the work of getting piety, reactivity, reflectivity, materiality, and intent to operate harmoniously in one’s life.  Buffy’s shen or ling soul has returned to her body, but as we find out, something in that body, some element of the jing is different.  Given that the chong mai is the sea of blood, perhaps some of the difference in jing is due to the use of fawn’s blood in Willow’s spell.  (The fawn’s blood, by the way, should have clotted once it was collected, if it was not continually stirred, but perhaps this is part of the magic of the jar of Osiris).

In any case, I am going to assume Buffy’s pulse is ‘tied to the bone’, a classic Chong Mai pulse.  She also has the classic Nan Jing symptom of chong mai disorder:  rushing and urgency in the body.  (Today, we might consider these terms to refer to anxiety or panic attacks.)  The chong also treats generalised counterflow of qi and blood.  Given that Buffy was so recently a corpse whose qi and blood were decaying, restoration of movement and integration would seem to be counter the flow of normal events.

I would treat her by opening the Chong Mai at SP-4, then needle KD-12 DaHe (‘Great Luminance’), and close again at SP-4.  Sp-4, as a luo-point, treats counterflow, while KD-12 is needled to help restore clarity to Buffy’s new life.

As for herbs, Lu Jiao Shuang is noted by Ye Tian-shi to treat Kidney Channel Blood.  Since the chong is often thought of as a collateral of the Kidney channel, using this medicinal, in combination with Wu Wei Zi and Dang Gui should help stabilise the new found ability to move Buffy is experiencing.  Wu Wei Zi is useful in cases where someone feels a deep seated guilt over something for which they were not truly responsible, in this case, coming back to life.  Dang Gui causes the hun to rejoice in itself, letting Buffy rejoice in the cycle of life.


I would like to revisit the CV here as well.  After the chong mai, the ren mai is the next vessel to be activated.  The ren mai is responsible for attachment.  We see attachment take several forms in the opening episode:  Anya-Xander, Willow-Tara, and Dawn-Buffy.  Dawn in particular starts the redevelopment of Buffy’s curriculum in life:  “I need you to live.  I’m your sister.”  She plays on the hun’s capacity for fraternal piety (LV-Chong connexion) and brings it into the terrain of the ren mai.

I would raise another possibility:  using the Ren Mai to treat attachment to ideas, to an excessive fixity of ideology.  For example, could it work to treat Willow’s insistence on needing to get Buffy out of the hell dimension in which Buffy tells Spike she was not?  I would focus especially on TanZhong, CV-17 in such a case.  Tan Zhong is the place were sacrifices were held by the emperor at the direction of his Confucian advisors.

Of course, if we treated Willow, would Buffy have come back to life?  Would we have had a sixth season?

As always, these posts are for entertainment and educational purposes only.  If you know of anyone recently raised from the dead, who is seeking clarity in their new life, please seek out a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!


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