important elemental symbols are those of oil, water, fire and wood:
(many of these associations have been noted elsewhere)
Oil is strongly associated with BOB and the BL. The presence of BOB is
often acompanied by the smell of oil or scorched oil. There is a pool
of oil at Glastonbury Grove (the Gateway). When Coop is in the BL (ep29)
the coffee he is drinking turns into oil just before BOB arrives. The
Log Lady says that before her husband was killed he brought home some
oil and told her "This oil is an opening to a gateway."
Given that that fear is the key required to enter the BL from the WL (ep28),
it seems fairly clear that oil is able to somehow store fear. The pool
of oil at the Grove could then be used to enter the BL if no other source
of fear were available. Note that the Log Lady gives Coop the oil before
he enters the BL.
NB: it may seem that I'm contradicting myself about how to cross between
the Lodges, saying that it requires the FWWM chant on one hand, and fear
on the other. Note however that these refer to different modes of transport.
The incantation can be used for the spirits to cross from one Lodge to
another. However, to physically move between the Lodges fear is required
at the precise time that the physical gateway becomes available.
Water - The image of the waterfall recurs throughout the series,
and there are numerous references to 'the Lakes' in the TP area. Note that
there are both black and white lakes - Black Lake which is crossed to get
to One-Eyed Jacks, and Pearl Lakes, which is where Leland spent his childhood,
and where the Robertsons used to live. Maddy and Laura's bodies are both
discovered in or near water. When BOB leaves Leland it seems very significant
that the sprinkler system is set off and the whole scene is drenched in
water. BOB's reaction at this point is interesting; as the sprinkler water
begins to fall, he looks up and cries out, almost in pain or anguish at
the water itself. Water is of course in a sense the opposite of oil - they
do not mix. Therefore, given the references to water, and accepting the
previous assertion about oil, it seems reasonable to suggest that water
is the WL spirits' equivalent of oil. That is, it is the repository in which
they can store whatever it is they 'feed off'. I think the best candidate
for this role would be love, if only because it is set up as the opposite
of fear when we are told by the Major that "fear and love" open the doors
to the Lodges (ep28). There is also Hawk's description of Sherriff Truman
after he has lost his 'love' (when Josie dies): "It was like taking a walk
to your favourite spot and finding a hole where a lake used to be."
Perhaps this is why BOB has had such a strong association with Pearl Lakes
in the past. That may have been the source of the WL spirits' power, the
place where they stored their love, so it would make sense for him to attempt
to desecrate the lake, and deprive the white spirits of their life-blood.
Incidentally, when Josie dies, the finding is that her body wieghs only
65 pounds, and it is never made clear how this might be possible. Could
it be possible that upon her death, all her love was taken or transferred
from her body - leaving the corpse extremely dehydrated and underweight?
Fire - There are many obvious references to fire throughout: the
FWWM incantation, the smell of burning oil accompanying BOB, the fire at
the Mill, numerous references to playing with Fire, the fact that the Log
Lady's husband died in a fire (ep24), one of the only things the Major remembers
after his disappearance is "stepping from the flames", etc. etc...
I think that fire is a vessel for the spirits of the BL when they are in
transition. A related theme is that of electricity, which is prominent especially
in the movie FWWM (see the TP FAQ for examples). It seems that the BL spirits
are unable to move freely, at least in this world, so the importance of
fire and electricity may be that it acts as a medium through space and time.
Wood - Just as there is a dichotomy between oil and water, I would
suggest a similar dichotomy between fire and wood. Bernie Roehl's theory
lists many of the associations to wood. Major ones include the name 'Ghostwood
Estate', the continuing feeling of a 'presence' in the woods, the relationship
between the Log Lady and her Log, and the apparent transference of Josie's
soul into the wood of the Great Northern. Wood is able to act as a vessel
for the WL spirits just as fire is for the BL spirits, and possibly also
spirits who were brought to face the BL before their natural time (eg. Josie).
This is drawing something of a long bow, but I would also note the relative
strengths and weaknesses of wood and fire - wood (trees) being a source
of life, slow to grow but solid and stable; whereas fire is much more volatile,
a flame can flicker in and out of existence in an instant, but the power
of fire is intense, and once it takes hold it can spread by virtue of its
own energy to do enormous damage.