How sexuality impacts one’s approach to an apocalypse is explored in this episode, augmented by an excellent soundtrack. Faith and Wood let out their physical tension; Xander and Anya find comfort in the familiarity of one another’s bodies; Willow and Kennedy finally go ‘all the way’; and Buffy and Spike achieve an intimacy which does not rely on sexual activity, but on simple holding and being held by another person.
Sexual encounters aside, the actual plot involves Faith leading the potentials into a trap: They discover a bomb in the vineyard moments before it explodes. Diagnostically, the episode references sweat and scent several times. Wood refers to how when the First appeared to him, it took the form and image of his mother, right down to her perfume. Spike tracks Buffy by her scent (despite not breathing; but then, we saw him waterboarded by a Torakhan earlier in the season, a form of torture which should not have affected a non-breathing creature).
Overall, this episode provides a good opportunity to revisit some Channel Divergence physiologies as they link up with other channel systems. The diagnostic entry point will be a re-examination of the five odours as they pertain to the CDs and point to other channel systems. Then I will examine sexual form and function from several channel perspectives.
To review, the five odours and their five-phase correlates among the Primary Channels are generally listed as:
Rancid, like oil that has been too long exposed to air, is associated with the Wood phase of the Liver and Gallbladder.
Scorched, appropriately associated with the Fire phase of Heart and Small Intestine.
Fragrant, Sweet, corresponding to the flavour of earth and grains (when chewed for a long time), is associated with the Earth phase, and the Spleen and Stomach organs. (The Pancreas are associated with the Spleen in this system.)
Rotten, Rank, or Fishy, like the breath of one who has tuberculosis or a Lung abscess, is associated with the metal phase, and with the Lungs and Large Intestine.
Putrid, Rotting, Decay, the scent of winter’s kill before it freezes, or the smell of wood left underwater and ice for a season, is associated with the water phase, and with the Kidney and Bladder organs.
The Channel Divergences link the yin and yang primary channels of a particular phase of qi (wood, fire, earth, metal, water), and in this way a diagnostic correspondence between patient odour and channel to be treated could be formed. However, let’s complicate the picture in two different ways. The first way is to link the CDs with other channel systems by phase. The second way is to look at the interaction of CD fluids, channel systems, and organ-tissue relationships.
To begin with the first set, but with an eye to the second:
The BL-KD CD is associated with jing, and draws heavily on the Extraordinary Vessel system.
The GB-LV CD is associated with xue-blood, and relates in particular to the mu points and Luo Vessels.
The ST-SP CD is associated with jin-fluids, and intersects with the Heart through its own trajectory, through the Chong Mai’s relationship with blood, and through its ability to nourish the upper sensory portals, including the tongue.
The SI-HT CD is associated with both sweat and ye-thick fluid, which nourishes the Sinew Vessels.
The TW-PC CD is associated with ying qi, and moves heat out to jing-well points through nodes to terminations. Sinew Vessels begin at the jing-well points.
The LI-LU CD is associated with wei qi, and begins the cycle of primary meridians.
Bringing the five-phase odour correspondences into the above chart, several resonances between odour and channel systems occur:
Decaying, putrid odours point towards jing and the EVs. (Note that decay can be associated with the teeth as the SI meridian deposits pathogens there to maintain latency.)
Rancid odours indicate the luo vessels, and emotion left too long un-aired out and unresolved.
Fragrant odours point to the heart and sense of perception.
Scorched odours, that ‘burnt out’ smell, indicate the marrow and sinews may benefit from treatment first.
Rotten, fishy odours suggest that the primary meridian cycle may be most effective in treating the pathophysiology currently underway in the person.
Next, the organ-tissue correspondences as they are associated with CD fluids:
LV is associated with blood and sinews (possibly meaning ‘nerves’); GB governs the bones. In the CD channel system, the SI-HT CD relates to the sinews. This comes about in part because SI-9, on the SI-HT CD trajectory, moves blood into the sinews. The form of the sinews is felt through the movement of ye-thick fluid, the fluid of the SI CD. The function of the sinews is brought about through blood, the fluid of the GB-LV CD. The blood relationship of the Liver is more closely linked to the Luo Vessel system here.
HT rules over the mai, the vessels. This includes the arteries as well as the jing-luo mai, the qi mai, and the bao mai. In other words, the Heart rules over the primary meridian cycle, the luo mai system of collaterals, the extraordinary vessels, and the enveloping vessel. Absent are the CDs (but all the CDs go to the Heart) and the Sinew Channels (but the Sinew Channels are associated with the SI-HT CD).
SP is associated with the flesh; ST is associated with blood. Because the luo vessels are about how events have not been ‘digested’ or assimilated by the person in question, the ST-SP CD and the Luo Vessels have a relationship. Looking at the relation between LV and ST in this respect may be useful, for treatment patterns. The Yin Wei Mai, a major intersection on the ST-SP CD could bear a certain relationship to the flesh, as the inner aspect of the body’s substance, linking everything together.
LU is associated with the skin, which is the domain of wei qi and the sinew vessels; LI is associated with jin-fluids, which provide the source of wei qi. The LU, LI, SJ-PC CD and SI-HT CD all overlap with the beginnings of the sinew vessels. In fact, however, the SI-HT CD is more associated with the end or binding points of the sinew vessels, while the SJ-PC CD is associated with their beginnings. The LU-LI system is associated with wei qi, which is also the domain of the sinew vessels. However, because the LU-LI CD is also associated with the Primary Channels, the LU-LI system goes ‘deeper’ into the body than the sinew channels themselves would.
KD are associated with bones, but the GB ‘masters’ the bones; the BL is associated with jing. This correspondence fits in nicely with the BL-KD CD association with the EVs. However, the SI-HT CD deposits pathogens in the jing-associated teeth. The SI is further associated with the thick fluids which nourish jing-associated marrow. However, the BL-SI and KD-HT channels link up through their TaiYang and ShaoYin associations.
When the topic turns to sexual function, several aspects come to the fore. First, LV-5, the LV luo point, which is also on the LV CD trajectory, influences libido. (The BL-KD CD and its relationship to the lineage-linked jing is clearly implicated in sexual functioning.) Second, the relationship between wei qi and jing shares an analagous relationship to ejaculation: wei qi is the yang qi which propels jing outside the body. In this regard, two other CDs come into play, the SJ-PC channel divergence which conveys yang qi (and links the Heart and Kidneys, essential for climax — the moment when Heart Fire is discharged downwards towards the Kidneys) and the LI-LU CD which deals with wei qi. Third, the SI-HT CD comes into play when sensation is involved; this includes pathophysiologies like vulvadinia and perhaps also hydroceles. The ST-SP CD comes into play with openness and making sense of the person one is relating to (or not relating to) in sexual intercourse.
Perhaps in a future post, I will take each of the couples as a case study to illustrate the interplay of each channel system. For now, however, the post is long enough!
As always, these posts are meant for entertainment and educational purposes, and are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any particular conditions. If you or a loved one have recently begun to smell different and you are concerned about what this may mean, please see a qualified practitioner. Happy Slayage!