August Full Moon
by Russell Brown
Of all the 2,000 acupuncture points in Traditional Chinese Medicine, only one is named for the Moon. Located on the chest, a couple of inches directly below the nipple in the seventh intercostal space, it’s the 24th point on the Gall Bladder meridian. Acupuncturists consider the Gall Bladder to be the Official of Decision-Making, and a healthy Gall Bladder allows for balanced judgment, sense of purpose, self-assertion, and optimism. The 24th point’s name is Ri Yue (日月), which translates in English as “Sun and Moon.”
The names of acupuncture points are stories, they’re metaphors, meant to restore our memory of our original nature. And so the combination of Sun and Moon is a metaphor—and to a deeper degree, an instruction for executing the Gall Bladder’s primary function of decision-making. The light of ri (Sun) represents outer vision: the world as things are, what our senses can tell us, what our eyes can take in. The light of yue (Moon) is reflective inner vision, what we can see without our senses, the deep radiance of stillness, of not knowing. In ri, sunlight creates contrast, the illusion of separation; in yue, the progressive softness of twilight allows all things to blend back together.
The combination of the two allows for ultimate clarity. And quite literally, in Chinese, when you place the characters ri (日) and yue (月) together, they form a new character altogether: ming (明),which means “illumination” or “transcendental vision,” rolling all ten thousand things—the sum of the universe itself—back into one.
The Sun and the Moon are not opposites, and one is not “better” than the other. They are the two greatest sources of natural light for all of Earth. In fact, they are bonded by their capacity to illuminate. But a diseased Gall Bladder splinters the world into subjective binaries that cloud decision-making and undermine self-determination. Needling the acupuncture point Ri Yue (Sun and Moon) is actually a request to erase perceived oppositions and broaden perspective, to step
back a hundred miles so that we can recognize that the things we position in relative opposition have common purpose and there is no one absolute correct answer. This is how best to make a decision: with both the Sun and the Moon, with all the light in the universe.
Speaking of light, it’s important to note that this week’s Full Moon is the second Full Moon in the sign of Aquarius. (The Full Moon in July was also in Aquarius.) It is very rare and sacred that a sign has two occurrences of a Full Moon—so much light cast in a single sign. In Chinese, we would call this guang ming: “brightest illumination.” Guang ming is also the name of an acupuncture point, unsurprisingly also on the gallbladder meridian, that is one of the most powerful points for treating eye disease and strengthening vision. It’s a very special point that also helps align one’s external narrative with their true inner plan and reason to exist. How does it do that? With more light; the Sun and the Moon in its brightest illumination.
When I am met with hard choices, and wrought with uncertainty, I sit still and imagine light bursting out of my eyes in all directions. “More light,” I tell myself. I want to see things more clearly. I want an unobstructed view. I don't need to be correct. I need more light.
This Full Moon, I invite you to cast more light on the decisions you must make. Can you step back a hundred miles from the immediacy of your choices to widen your perspective and recognize that those choices are not in opposition? Can you use your nighttime vision to see how things blend, and appreciate how those choices relate to one another, unify, and serve similar goals and virtues? Can you perceive that which you consider an obstacle to actually be a lesson in the larger story of your life? Could you consider that you are choosing the vehicle for the curriculum you were destined to learn, long before you were born?
Russell Brown enjoyed a career in feature film development, working on some fun
movies—including the “Fast and the Furious” films and “Cruel Intentions”—and some terrible ones for which he secretly fears he may someday be karmically punished, before enrolling in acupuncture school in 2002, on a whim. He owns Poke Acupuncture in Los Angeles, CA and has operated pro-bono acupuncture clinics for the HIV/AIDS community at the Immune Enhancement Project in San Francisco and Being Alive in L.A., and was the in-house acupuncturist for the Alexandria House, a transitional home for women also in L.A. He is very proud to be an acupuncturist, a profession which—by its very nature of “pinning someone down”—is in defiance of the modern world’s dark prioritization of productivity, speed, and volume. Learn more about him at www.pokeacupuncture.com and follow him on Instagram: @pokeacupuncture