Selfless (Buffy, Season 7, Episode 5)


Anya’s vengeance demon activities have returned to their old verve, and she wreaked justice upon a fraternity with a spider demon which had a particular taste for ripping out men’s hearts. Buffy goes to take care of the situation, and puts a sword through Anya’s chest.  Vengeance demons aren’t killed that way, though, and the sword through Anya’s own heart hurt, but did not kill her (technically, the swordthrust looks like it would have pierced the aorta, not the heart, but maybe vengeance demon anatomy is different from human anatomy).

Vengeance, however, is no longer so captivating to Anya. After her break up with Xander (who in my opinion is a total asshole and deserves his own heart slowly eaten out while he remains fully conscious), Anya reverted to the state in life she was in before she met him.  She couldn’t make it that way again, but neither did she have a business in the human world to return to, the Magic Box having been destroyed by Willow. That business was her ‘human’ side, and while not based on Xander’s presence, was very much tied in to their relationship dynamics.  Anya decides to ask D’Hofferan to reverse her vengeance wish, which demands the life of a vengeance demon.  Anya accepts the cost, expecting to be wiped out of existence, her dilemma solved.  Instead, D’Hofferan executes Halfrek, leaving Anya virtually friendless.  In the end, Anya asks Xander, ‘what if there is no me?’ — a question many ask when the pain of a break-up does not subside, despite attempts to ‘make it’ in the world outside.

While Anya may not have lost herself, she is no longer in touch with her own heart. Xander did a more exacting job of extracting it than any spider-demon could have hoped to match.  (In the side plot, we also see Spike’s own heart-wrenching manipulation by the first evil, who appears to him as Buffy, trying to comfort him and soothe him to her side, knowing his heart is the key to his soul.)

So what do we do? Again, I will defer actual treatment with the CDs to talk about a unique aspect of the Channel Divergences, and draw out the implications of that aspect for understanding the physiology of the CDs.  The unique aspect is that unlike any other channel system, all the Channel Divergences go to, or through, the heart.  Other individual meridians within the other channel systems (EVs, luo mai, primary channels, sinew vessels) may go to the Heart, such as the heart and small intestine primary meridians, but here all the channels of the Channel Divergence system connect with that organ.

To review some of the functions of the Heart in Chinese Medicine, in terms of how its qi is used in treatment:

The heart ‘vaporises’ phlegm.  In contrast to the Kidneys which soften phlegm, or the Lungs which expel it, or the Spleen which transforms it, the Heart just causes it to disappear.  Phlegm is a clouding of potential, so that beyond being burdensome out of unfulfillment, it thickens and becomes difficult to realise.  This can happen paradoxically because desire to succeed is frustrating potential (heat thickening phlegm), or more frequently because cold reception to one’s talents congeals one’s potential.  In both cases, the phlegm can be seen as a type of bi-syndrome inasmuch as it is a blockage caused by heat/cold combining with damp/phlegm in the face of change/ wind.  The CDs, as mentioned already, are particularly effective for treating bi-syndrome.  One could posit this is due to their unique relationship with the Heart.

The Heart stores the shen. The shen is here to direct the rectification of a lineage through the body and life of the patient.  The shen has its own lessons to learn and its own destiny to fulfill.  In their capacity to treat form, rather than function, the CDs may be useful for phlegm nodules.  Looked at another way, CDs treat blockages to the realisation or embodiment of the function of one’s spirit, that is, of one’s ‘curriculum’ in life.  For this reason, CDs are sometimes used when a patient presents a very confusing case.  Often the issue is a blocking of the expression of a patient’s joy in being able to effect their destiny or spirit’s inner knowledge of who they really are.

The Heart controls the mai.  ‘Mai’ can mean vessels, and thus by implication, the luo mai and the mai which undergird the extraordinary vessels are controlled by the Heart.  I’ve earlier mentioned how the luo mai embody emotions, and how the EVs deal with existential or ‘karmic’ issues in a person’s life.  Here, the Heart and CDs are again involved in regulating the relationship of perception, reception, and feeling to the form of one’s life.  ‘Mai’ also means pulse, and perhaps therefore the ‘pulse’ of life can be regulated by the CDs as well.  Is someone burning the candle at both ends?  On too fast a track?  Stuck?  Going at an excruciating pace?  Perhaps a CD treatment is called for.

Overall, the implication of the CD trajectory through the heart is the idea that the heart-shen-mai mediates between jing-essence-lineage-destiny and wei-defence-exterior-change.  If the body cannot defend against some pathogen or some entity which is capable of damaging the body, the CDs are called in to raise that lineage-destiny to in an effort to sequester the harm.  However, in the process, the resources to embody and pass on that destiny (jing), or to feel it (blood), or to find satisfaction (fluids) in it, is used up.  Burn out is a Channel Divergence issue.

When the Heart is thought of as the Self, we can then treat Anya’s search for herself.  I would suggest going through each of the CDs in sequential or reverse order.  Let each elemental pair find its way back to the Heart, to remind Anya of how her form is capable of living out her character.  In this regard, the Channel Divergences become the key channel system for the confluence of internal and external alchemy.

As always, these posts are for entertainment and educational purposes only.  If you or loved one are suffering from burn-out or blockages from insults to the form of your character and desire, please seek a qualified practitioner.  As always, Happy Slayage!

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