As the TP universe apparently revolves around
the Black and White Lodges, they seem like a good place to start. So, this
is what is going on...
First, there is no 'White Lodge' (WL), at least not in the sense of there
being a place separate from Twin Peaks in the same way that there is a Black
Lodge (BL). In Fact, Twin Peaks IS the White Lodge (or at least, used to
I think the best source of information we have about the Lodges is Windom
Earle, since he has spent the most time researching them. When he describes
the Lodges to Leo (ep26), he says "Once upon a time there was a place of
great goodness called the White Lodge." Note that he uses the past tense
here and elsewhere for the WL. He then goes on to describe the WL, which
is an idyllic paradise - the garden of Eden. "Gentle fawns gamboled there
amidst happy, laughing spirits. The sounds of innocence and joy filled the
air. And when it rained, it rained sweet nectar that infused one's heart
with a desire to live life in truth and beauty."
Earle is describing TP as it once was, a place of perfect harmony. But that
place no longer exists...
"But, I am happy to point out that our story does not end in this wretched
place of saccharine excess. For there's another place, its opposite: a place
of almost unimaginable power, chock full of dark forces and vicious secrets.
No prayers dare enter this frightful maw." Note that here Earle uses the
present tense to suggest that the BL has usurped the power of the WL.
[ this interpretation is at odds with the common views that 1) both Lodges
exist separately from our world, or 2) both Lodges are really the same physical
place. I believe the first view is wrong because the last two lines of Mike's
poem state : "One chants out between two worlds, Fire Walk with Me". This
indicates that the chant only operates between 2 worlds - if both Lodges
were independent from Earth that would make 3 worlds (of course, it is possible
that the poem only links the BL to earth and not the WL, but I don't then
like the asymmetry of the fact that we are not given a corresponding link
to the WL). In addition, Annie Blackburn, who makes a number of significant
statements in her short appearance, tells Coop "Every forest has its shadow"
(ep28), which alludes to the BL as a shadow-self of the WL. I don't accept
the second view because Earle is very clear in describing the separate Lodges
and in saying that the BL "is tangible, and as such it can be found and
The WL and BL both existed from the beginning of time. TP happens to be
the site of the WL, which happens to be in our world and in our time-plane.
The BL also has a physical 'site', though it is in a different temporal
and spatial plane. Both worlds are completely independent of one other,
but occasionally there are points in time and space at which physical gateways
open up between the worlds -- as depicted by the petroglyph in Owl cave.
Coop tries to explain the fact that time for each Lodge is independent to
Sheriff Truman using the meteor metaphor, essentially describing the ideas
of relativity. From our point of view, time in the BL does not progress
linearly (and vice versa). This will become important later.
Just as there are spirits that inhabit the BL, there are spirits in the
WL. The WL spirits still exist in the woods, but they have very little power
in our present. At some point in the history of TP power over the WL was
possessed by the spirits of the BL. In fact, we are told precisely when
this occurred, again by Earle. It was when the Dugpas began to experiment
with the power that they could gain via the BL. The spirits in the BL conferred
some of their power on the Dugpas in return for an entry to the woods of
TP. The power of the Dugpas was really an illusion -- the BL spirits were
exploiting them to increase their own power. The BL spirits are not able
to cross between the two worlds at will - they need a special 'invitation':
the spoken words "Fire Walk With Me". When these words are spoken, a spirit
may cross from one Lodge to the other. So, in return for certain power,
the Dugpas gave the spirits the opportunity to enter the WL through their
chants, and they also provided the spirits with the fear that they need
to survive outside the BL.
[ Incidentally, this is why Mike repeatedly recites the poem: he wants to
enable BOB to enter his world so that there can be a confrontation. It is
also why Philip Gerard's arm had a tattoo of the phrase FWWM - people would
often see the tattoo, and naturally enough read it, thus giving frequent
access to our world so that Mike could inhabit Gerard's body. When Mike
no longer wanted to partner BOB in their killing, he cut off the arm to
prevent the easy access. BTW, Mike is not reformed -- but he has become
the enemy of BOB -- more later. When BOB kills Laura Palmer he leaves the
phrase FWWM written on a piece of paper so that he will be able to return
when the note is found. ]
Ever since the rise of the Dugpas, the WL spirits have become increasingly
impotent. Now, their only hope to conquer the spirits of the BL is to enlist
the help of exceptional humans, notably The Major (not Coop). When the spirits
became aware of the activities of Project BlueBook, they saw an opportunity
to attract some help. They began signalling the Bluebook team to lead them
to the forest. They attracted what they required when Major Briggs became
involved. Ironically though, they also attracted the opposite of what they
required with the arrival of Earle.
[ Major Briggs and Earle are both exceptional people, one is purely good
while the other pure evil. Recall that when Coop investigates Dead Dog farm
(ep19) the real estate agent tells him of the legend of the farm: "Of all
the people in the world the best and worst are drawn to Dead Dog.. most
turn away. Only the purest of heart can feel its pain. And somewhere in
between, the rest of us struggle." This ties in with the other local legend
(the one that Hawk tells Coop about in ep18): "My people believe that the
White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature here reside.
There is also a legend of a place called the Black Lodge ... the shadow-self
of the White Lodge. The legend says that every spirit must pass through
there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow-self...
But it is said, if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage,
it will utterly annihilate your soul."
Together, these legends suggest the idea of the progression of the soul.
Somewhere in the middle, most of us struggle, but probably through reincarnation,
we have the chance to gradually increase the purity of our hearts (which
could refer to pure good or evil). When one's heart is sufficiently pure,
the BL is entered - if it is faced with perfect courage the soul may pass
to perfection. If not, the soul is annihilated. Major Briggs and Earle have
both been attracted to TP, though the purity in each of their hearts is
very different. ]
Major Briggs is being used by the WL spirits in an attempt to infiltrate
the BL. They require someone exceptional, and with perfect courage so that
they can enter without being annihilated. From time to time, Major Briggs
is abducted by the WL Spirits. This is what happens when he disappears from
the campsite with Coop (ep17). It has also happened many times before (as
revealed by his wife in ep18). It seems that the Major is being sent into
the BL, probably on a kind of fact-finding mission. When he returns, the
WL spirits take his experiences from him to learn how they may enter the
BL themselves -- leaving Major Briggs with no memory of what has happened.