Conversations with Dead People (Buffy, Season 7, Episode 7)

This composite episode follows our characters through several non-interacting plotlines.  Dawn, at home alone, microwaves a marshmallow and is confronted by the ghost of her mother.  Willow, studying late at the library, converses with the ghost of Cassie, discovering at the end that the ‘ghost’ was, in fact, the First Evil.  Buffy gets psychoanalysed by a former classmate turned Dartmouth psych major, before slaying him.  Andrew and Jonathan uncover the Seal of Danzalthar, and Andrew sacrifices Jonathan to open the seal.  Finally, Spike gets his feed on in a series of scenes which have no dialogue.  In combination with the soundtrack, those scenes highlight the actor’s craft of physicality:  we know what is going on without a word being spoken.

I have to admit, this was initially one of the most difficult episodes for me to diagnose.  However, among the Channel Divergences is one which fits all the plot lines quite nicely:  The Spleen Channel Divergence.  In fact, I have not started thinking of it as the ‘psychoanalytic channel divergence’.

Ordinarily, the channel, like the Stomach CD, treats blood and food stasis (think of Dawn’s marshmallow dinner), especially as its trajectory passes through the ST mu point at CV-12 (where Andrew stabbed Jonathan).  However, because the Spleen CD also connects the Chong and Yin Wei mai, it has the capacity to treat not only problems with post-natal qi, but pre-natal qi as it is expressed in the external world through form (the First as Cassie’s ghost) as well.

How is the Spleen CD ‘psychoanalytic’?  The answer is found through examining the trajectory of the channel.

It begins at SP-12, Chong Men (‘Pulsing Gate’ or ‘Gate of the Chong [mai]’).  This is the point at which the Chong Mai emerges from the interior.  The Chong Mai, as noted in the previous season, is the sea of blood.  Blood includes the emotions, anything ephemeral which has taken on form and substance as part of one’s identity.  The Chong Mai accesses the emotions as they have been passed down through a lineage.  When the Luo Vessel system has reached capacity, the overflow of pathogens, including emotional ones, are ‘drained’ into the Extraordinary Vessels.  Thus, the start of the channel is much like the start of psychoanalysis:  What happened to you in childhood?  what did you receive from your parents?  Who’s fault was Buffy’s parents’ divorce?

From SP-12, the channel moves to ST-30, the first confluence of the ST and SP Channel Divergence.  This point is called ‘qi chong’, and is the transporting point of grain and fluids.  How are the early emotions embodied in the Chong Mai going to affect how the person takes in the resources of the world?

From ST-30, the next points on the channel are CV-12, CV-14, and CV-17.  These points correspond to the Stomach, Heart, and Pericardium.  A person ‘digests’ experiences at ST-12, where Jonathan got stabbed in the gut, right after his own ‘digestion’ of his high school experiences was completed.  The Heart mu point helps orient a person’s own emotional heritage to time, place, and context at CV-14, while CV-17, where vampires get stabbed, is responsible for clarifying the blood and emotions in order to protect the heart and further the heart’s destiny in life.

The channel emerges at CV-22 before progressing upwards to CV-23, both of these being Yin Wei Mai points.  The Yin Wei Mai is responsible for continuity in one’s life.  How do the experiences gained in the world at CV-12 to CV-17 reflect the early formation at SP-12 and ST-30?  How do they show up in a person’s posture?  How has a person behaved inwardly with respect to early patterns, such that contingency plans are always made?  What new burdens have accumulated, as a result of the early emotional patterning affecting one’s path in life?

From CV-23, the channel goes on to ST-9, Ren Ying (‘Human Pulse’ or ‘Human Prognosis), a favoured spot for vampires to engage with their victims, as Spike does towards the end of the episode.  Spike does not recall what he did; as a Window to the Sky point, memory and memory loss can be treated here.  However, its usual application is for thyroid problems.  Thyroid issues often show up as Heart fire or Stomach fire issues (think of Dawn’s marshmallow, or the microwave blowing up).  If Heart fire were the issue, the point would work nicely with CV-14; with Stomach fire as the chief symptom, CV-12 would be a good pairing.

From ST-9, the channel goes to the Middle of Tongue.  (This could include the previously mentioned point, CV23).  Typically, this trajectory would imply the channel can treat  wind-phlegm blocking the tongue, possible trouble with verbal association, or again, poor memory (Yin Wei’s task of ensuring continuity of self).  Spike’s memory is poor; Buffy is only now beginning to open up, after an initial diagnosis was made at ST-9.  Jonathan also found his ability to express what he had digested earlier and how he now integrated it into his all too short life.

Finally, the upper confluence and end of the channel is at BL-1.  This point is the famous meeting point of the Yin and Yang Qiao Mai, the place where one’s view of self and the world meet.  It is the point at which the earliest emotions, and how they have influenced one’s assimilation of the external world into a coherent identity, are brought to ‘light’ to be seen.  From here, the person is enabled to change his or her viewpoint, either of the self, or the world, or both, in order to approach the world differently.  In the process, the inherited emotions or tasks embedded in the ‘curriculum’ or ‘blueprint’ of the Chong Mai are resolved, and the person is free to make his or her own choices in life.

The Spleen Channel Divergence is thus one of the most powerful treatments available to acupuncturists, treating those pathologies which consume us from within, whether autoimmune digestive disorders, or feelings we about people in the world when we were little.

Needle technique in this case is a shallow rattling technique, followed by a deep rattle, and a third, shallow rattling.  The idea is that one is stimulating the external wei qi to come to the defence of deep jing- or yuan-qi, in order to chase the pathogen back outwards to the surface of the body for final expulsion.  Treatment is three days in a row, followed by three days off, for a total of nine treatment days (or 18 days total).  The patient is then reassessed.  Point selection along the trajectory varies by what exactly is being addressed, but at a minimum the lower and upper confluences should be needled.  In the case of deep psychoanalysis, I would begin with Chong Men, SP-12, and then move to ST-30, and on upwards.

As always, these posts are meant for educational and entertainment purposes only.  If you feel you would benefit more by psychoanalysis by needle rather than psychoanalysis by vampire, please seek out a qualified practitioner.

Happy Slayage!