The much anticipated third season of Twin Peaks is now being aired on Showtime and has certainly not failed to deliver. Much has been discussed on internet blogs and in books of its occult references, such as the backward speech uttered by the inhabitants of the mysterious Black Lodge and the evil doppelgängers and spirits that inhabit the lodge. The lodge itself has a ‘zig-zag’ red and white floor which disorientates and acts in a similar way to the black and white chequered flooring of the Masonic lodge room, reflecting the light and darkness of human nature. But what is the Black Lodge exactly?
A White Lodge is mentioned in series two which aired way back in 1991, and the Black Lodge is its suggested opposite, though when the leading character Agent Dale Cooper enters the ‘lodge’ through a portal, he is told it is the ‘waiting room’. The viewers become disorientated as Agent Dale Cooper encounters a number of strange ‘spirits’ who speak backwards and in riddles, creating confusion, until Cooper’s possessed doppelgänger escapes the lodge instead of him. Twenty five years later we find season three revealing that Cooper is still trapped in the lodge and his evil doppelgänger is in the outside world killing people and doing all kinds of dirty deals. Hints of Aleister Crowley’s novel Moonchild can be seen with the opposing White and Black Lodges, Crowley’s book having similar White and Black Lodges, with White Magicians fighting Black Magicians, though the motives of the white faction may not be what it seems.
There is also symbolism aplenty in Twin Peaks; the prominent imagery of the owl reminds us of the Minerva symbol of the Bavarian Illuminati and the owl symbolism that is linked to the gatherings of Bohemian Grove. The Arthurian references to Glastonbury Grove where the portal to the Black Lodge is found ‘under the sycamore trees’ only adds to the occult leanings. There are also visions and prophetic dreams, tarot cards being read by the Madam of the local brothel One Eyed Jacks, and the emphasis of the light and darkness of human nature; scratch the surface of a seemingly peaceful small American town and you find a dark world of gangsters, prostitution, blackmail, drug trafficking and corruption.
Backwards speech was famously promoted by Aleister Crowley in his book Magick, but an older reference can be found in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, which has Alice entering a world through a mirror where she encounters a book with backwards writing that can be read by holding the pages up to the reflection. The 1960s witnessed the Beatles adding ‘backwards masking’ to their songs, most notably Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Strawberry Fields and on Revolution 9 on the White Album. This gave their music an interesting edge during the experimental psychedelic era, an era which also involved various artists, writers and musicians exploring occult themes and Eastern philosophies. David Lynch, the director and co-creator behind Twin Peaks has been involved in promoting Transcendental Meditation for some time and once organised a benefit concert that included a reunited Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on the bill. David Bowie featured in the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me as the enigmatic FBI Agent Phillip Jeffries who disappeared, and by series three, with Bowie being ill during filming, he was replaced by a machine that resembled a giant ‘coffee pot’. Bowie had also dabbled in the occult in the 1970s and his lyrics are littered with references to occult themes, such as in the song Quicksand, where he sings that he is ‘immersed in Crowley’s uniform’ and on Station to Station, where he sings of a ‘magical movement, from kether to malkulth’.
Lynch’s surrealistic view of the concealed darkness within small town America, with its interweaving occult themes laced with hidden meanings, combine not only to create a fine story, but add to the compelling darkness of the classic drama itself.
The Eye of God – the fictional book by Twin Peaks character Dr Jacoby as featured in the Mark Frost book The Secret History of Twin Peaks, (Macmillan, 2017). The Eye of God – or All-Seeing Eye, is a symbol used in Freemasonry.