When I write this, there are three parts left of The Return. Many storylines look dark – not only metaphorically, but literally as well. Twin Peaks isn’t the town it used to be 25 years ago when a row of murders revealed secrets from behind the white picket fence about incest, evil and the threatening unknown. No, Twin Peaks has gotten even colder, darker and more dangerous since.
That’s only part of the story, though. Within the darkness, there are still glimpses of hope, love and even kindness. Ed and Norma are back together. The passing of our dear Log Lady marks the death of one of the few long term citizens of Twin Peaks who seem to have been spared from the destructiveness and darkness settling in town. In fact The Log Lady actually progressed over time in both mind and spirit, despite being part of a world who gradually decayed. (Or maybe she did because of just that.)
However the case, one thing seems clear: The young population of Twin Peaks mostly consists of more or less wicked, depraved and/or troubled people. Steven, Richard, Becky and the many lost souls hanging out at the Roadhouse are all examples of how the young people of Twin Peaks seem like they’re caught up in some bad business or another.
There are also trouble amongst the older people we know from the original run of Twin Peaks. The question mark of how one of them ended up being and acting like she does is growing with each new part of The Return:
What happened to Sarah Palmer? And what is happening in general?
Throughout the journey of The Return, I’ve found myself mostly jumping down the rabbit holes of mythology, spiritualism, symbolism and lore. Here I want to dig myself down a little bit deeper – not down deep into one of the rabbit holes alone, but just a little bit further down a few of those that I have already visited many times before. To do this, I will refer to previous articles that I’ve written, each one concentrating more on a single subject. If something here interests you a bit extra, follow the link to one of my previous articles where the rabbit holes will take you much, much deeper.
THE SPIRITUAL MOUND
Something is very wrong about Sarah Palmer. What happened to her and the actions she takes go way beyond the post traumatic reactions one would undoubtedly experience for a very long time after the amount of tragedies that Sarah went through. Something else is at play here – that has become very clear.
In part 14, when Sarah removes her face at the bar, there’s no blinding, white inner light that shines out of her (as was the case of Laura Palmer). To the complete contrary, her inner being reveals a darkness with hints of previously seen evil entities, a beautiful smile that in its context instead appears cynically twisted, and a bright left hand held up, contrasting the surrounding pitch black.
The appearance of the hand got me thinking. A simple visual association lead me back to the scene from the train car in Fire Walk With Me. The raised, lit up left hand of Laura Palmer, contrasted by a dark background, shows us that Laura is wearing the Owl Cave ring.
Her choice to put it on would affect everything that is and was Twin Peaks. By doing so, Laura chose death before being spiritually possessed. Wearing the ring forced BOB/Leland to kill her instead of using her physical body as a next vessel for the threatening and evil entity. By making this choice Laura lost her life, but she somehow got the last word against BOB in the end.
Back in part 7, Gordon told Tammy that the left ring finger is a person’s “spiritual mound”. In other words, something about the left ring finger can help protect a person from unwanted spiritual possession or influence. Considering that Laura put the Owl Cave ring on her spiritual mound, it makes good sense that the ring is somehow ensuring a spiritual defense to its wearer. In fact, if taking this one step further, the first thing BOB wants to do after killing someone is to physically enter the spiritual mound, violently forcing one of his letters deep under the nail.
With Gordon’s information about the spiritual properties of the left ring finger, BOB’s letter-placing habit becomes something more than just a serial killer’s depraved wish to leave his mark or spelling his name. Now it seems like the purpose was to symbolically destroy his victim’s spirit as well.
Going back now to the hand that appeared inside of Sarah Palmer’s face. I noticed that one of the fingers looked different than the other. The spiritual mound, the left ring finger, is blackened. It also appears to be larger than normal, like it’s swollen. The spiritual mound that we see is affected by some kind of sickness. Can this be an indication that Sarah’s defense against bad spiritual influence has been affected, broken down or even destroyed? Is that what is wrong with Sarah Palmer?
THE BLACK FIRE
The blackened ring finger leads me to the Black Fire. We first heard about the Black Fire in part 11, when Hawk showed Sheriff Truman the map (which I wrote a large piece on already). There’s fire, a neutral element. Fire is neither evil or good. It’s a tool and a source of energy that can be used In different ways and, most importantly, with different intentions. But then there’s the Black Fire, the symbol and result of someone using fire with bad intentions.
One thought that’s been forming in my mind since part 11 has to do with the Black Fire. I’m thinking about how it has affected the whole town of Twin Peaks and some of its inhabitants in particular. According to Hawk, the Black Fire causes disease and death and it will disturb fertility and healthy growth. I’ve become more or less convinced at this point: The Black Fire is why the young people of Twin Peaks seem wicked and full of bad intentions. That’s why they are lost in their lives, prey on victims, becomes victims themselves or manifest somatic illnesses (as in the cases of the girl who throws up in a car and the one who is covered in a rash).
”Sometimes when we are ill we are not on our best behavior. By ill, I mean any of the following: Physically ill, emotionally ill, mentally ill and/or spiritually ill.”
(From the Log Lady introduction to season 2, episode 11)
Was the Black Fire ”released” into the physical world as a consequence of Agent Cooper’s doppelgänger being created in the Black Lodge to take the real Cooper’s place on Earth?
”When I see a fire, I feel my anger rising. This was not a friendly fire. This was not a forest fire. It was a fire in the woods. This is all I am permitted to say.”
(From the Log Lady introduction to season 2, episode 20)
Or was the Black Fire released in relation to the murder of Laura Palmer, a person we now know will play some kind of important role in the battle between those who intend good, and those with bad intentions?
”When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises, and then all goodness is in jeopardy.”
(The Log Lady to Laura Palmer, Fire Walk With Me)
Whatever the case, the Black Fire is a likely candidate behind Sarah Palmer’s ring finger being burnt, blackened and swollen. If this is the case, she might have lost or lowered her ability to protect her against unwanted spiritual influence, causing her to act and manifest herself the way that she does in The Return.
THE WOODSMEN AND THE ROOM ABOVE THE CONVENIENCE STORE
Not only is the behaviors and health of people affected by the Black Fire, but he woodsmen are blackened as well. They’re all seemingly on the side of Mr. C, who might just be one of the reasons behind the existence of this new intruding darkness. Someone said to me ’wait a minute, the blackened woodsmen have been around since the explosion of the Trinity bomb!’. I’m not so sure.
Knowing the timelines of Twin Peaks mix often and much, there’s nothing to actually prove that just because the first scene we saw of the convenience store’s outside with the woodsmen was shown in relation to the atomic explosion, that doesn’t have to mean that they happened at the same time. The only woodsman looking guy that we see in a scene that takes place during the actual time of the bomb test is the ’Gotta light?’ man. The woodsmen swarming the convenience store could be a glimpse of the future consequences of the atomic bomb and the release of BOB.
The room above the convenience store also seems to have been marinading in black smoke from a black fire since we saw it last. Here are some screenshots that I believe speak for themselves:
(Pictured above: Images of the room above the convenience store, Fire Walk With Me)
(Pictured above: Images of the room above the convenience store, The Return, part 15)
Side by side:
Another thing mentioned in part 15 is the planet Mars. Like a big star on the sky, the planet is spotted by Chantal, and she points it out to Hutch before the scene ends. Blink and you’ll miss it. Chantal did’t have to point out Mars – I mean, why did she? Those are not questions that I asked myself, but rather me arguing that she mentioned Mars because it does have a significance. Even though the word ’Mars’ was heard said through a mouth full of fast food, I believe it’s important.
In my alchemical reading of Twin Peaks I included an interpretation of the Owl Cave petroglyphs. A bunch of astrological elements can be found there, Mars as well. Here is a summary of the alchemical and astrological meaning of the planet Mars:
Mars is the planet of war. It represents surrender, death, endings and submerging, but at the same time it also may represent the chance to (re)birth, starting over and new beginnings. The aggressive, driven and battling side of Mars is however the most influential. Interestingly, Mars also symbolizes the path to the individual understanding and confronting of the shadow self.
”My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature reside. There is also a legend of a place called the Black Lodge. The shadow self of the White Lodge. Legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it The Dweller on the Threshold.”
(Hawk to Agent Cooper, season 2)
Mars further symbolizes conjunction, battle, power, blood, passion and a strong goal orientation. Mars is associated with and shares its symbol with iron, the metal that can be found in blood.
I interpret Chantal’s mentioning of the planet Mars in the context of everything else that’s going on after part 15 like this:
There will be confrontation ahead. We’ll witness a battle of epic proportions, whether or not it will be mental, physical, emotional or spiritual. My guess is: all of them.
”I can see the smoke. I can smell the fire. The battle is drawing nigh.”
(From the Log Lady introduction to season 1, episode 4)
…and finally: Yes, I do believe these are Sycamores! The connections between Sycamore trees and portals continue to grow.
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