Black & White Lodges

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 be).
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 utilised" (ep27).]

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.

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