Monday, July 17, 2017

Sex Magick and Secret Societies at War: The Liminal Symbolism of Twin Peaks

It's not exactly a newsflash that secret society symbolism lies at the very heart of David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks mythos. 

In case the storyline of clashing lodges went over anyone's head, Frost's Secret History of Twin Peaks makes damn sure you get the drift as it hammers a vision of white-lodge Freemasons struggling against black-lodge Illuminati into your head. Secret History even includes a mock version of Meriwether Lewis' Masonic apron and drives home the link between the owl icon and the Illuminati.

Throw in UFOs, Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, Bohemian Grove and pretty much every other bullet point you can conjure from the catalog of high weirdness and conspiracy culture and you're off to the races.

I don't know about Frost, but it goes without saying that Lynch has some experience in the Masonic orbit. How so?, you may be asking. Well, read on:
David Lynch was born Jan. 20, 1946, in Missoula, Mont.His father, Donald, was a research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service. The job meant the Lynch family’s home address was constantly changing — Idaho, Washington state, North Carolina and Virginia. 
Through it all, two things stayed constant: Scouting and camping. Whenever the family traveled with Donald Lynch for his job, they avoided hotels and motels. They camped.“I grew up like that,” Lynch says. “The Boy Scouts was pretty much a continuation of that.” Lynch was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. He attended summer camp at Camp Tapawingo near Payette Lake, Idaho. 
He was a member of the Order of the Arrow. 
The Boy Scouts is a Masonic-founded organization, but the Order of the Arrow (OA) is something else entirely. It's even more Masonic than Freemasonry. It makes the Masoniest Freemason who ever Masoned look like a piker. My wife and I watched an OA ceremony when we visited my son at Boy Scout camp and I felt like I earned an Entered Apprentice degree just watching the damn thing. Wiki tells us: 
The traditions and rituals of Freemasonry contributed more to the basic structure of the OA ritual than any other organization. 
In fact, there appears to be no known fraternal organization more faithful in form to Freemasonry than OA. 
Familiar terms such as "lodge" and "obligation" were borrowed from Masonic practice, as were most of the ceremonial structures and ritual formulae. Even the early national meeting was called a "Grand Lodge," a Masonic reference.
I don't know if Lynch is still active in a fraternal organization (though my guess is that he is) but I'd imagine it's something a little edgier than the Masons, maybe a Rosicrucian or Martinist order. But even so there's Masonic  symbolism all over his work, as well as Rosicrucian and Alchemical symbolism. And some other little tidbits we should look into....

I've been studying Twin Peaks and its would-be spinoff Mulholland Dr recently and it's all so in-your-face I'm a little surprised no one's paid it any mind. Now, there's no shortage of occult symbolism studies of Twin Peaks et al but not so much when it comes to Masonry and its cousins. 

Given how explicit it all is in Secret History this seems like semiotic neglect.  

Red- the color of the Scottish Rite (and according to some, the Illuminati) is all over Lynch's work. It seems to signify sex, magic and sex magick. And there's that checkerboard floor you all learned about in Symbolism 101.  But notice Audrey here is wearing tartan, another arrow pointing to Scotland, the Scottish Rite and the Illuminati (who had their own "Scottish" degrees). 

As we'll see Lynch is a bit ambivalent about red and tartan so it leads one to wonder if there's a red-blue divide in the secret society world as well.

Red is the predominant color in One Eyed Jack's, the casino and brothel across the Canadian border that Benjamin Horne runs and the ostensible earthly incarnation of the Black Lodge. Note also the use of Venetian masks, which we saw in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. 

The scene of the right there has Horne unwittingly seducing his own daughter at Jack's, which parallels the incest between the demon-possessed Leland Palmer and his daughter Laura. 

Note that the Black Lodge features two famous statues of Venus, the De Medici and the De Milo. The sex magick symbols are overwhelming in Twin Peaks.

Speaking of which, in the new series we see the all-important ram's head in Horne's office. We'll be delving into all of that in the near-future.

In case you think the floor thing is a stretch, note the tile pattern of the Red Room, which is either adjacent to or actually part of the Black Lodge, depending on which obsessive you ask. Here the host for the demon Mike (Philip Gerard) stands on the inverted chevrons, which signify a Master Mason. And the color scheme corresponds to the Scottish Rite, as mentioned before.

Speaking of which we have the red bandana, identified with Evil Coop and the Cowboy, the preternaturally-terrifying bad guy from Mulholland Dr. Note the tartan on the Cowboy's coat, which seems to exist solely to drive home the Scottish Rite (or perhaps the Scottish degrees, in the case of the Illuminati) connection. 

Note also the actor who plays the Cowboy is one of the founders of American Cinematheque, whose symbol is the Eye of Horus.

Moving on, we later see the figurehead of the White Lodge, Major Garland Briggs (garlands again), in what very much resembles the Worshipful Master's seat seen in a typical Masonic lodge.

We see the same type of chair facing the madam's desk at Jack's, particularly during this scene after Jerry Horne dresses said madam (named Blackie, of course) down.

This is the Room Above the Convenience store, which has obscured windows like a Masonic lodge. Bob and the Man from Another World sit at a green formica table which may or may not be a reference to the Emerald Tablets of Hermeticism. 

In the outtakes from Fire Walk with Me we are told that these entities are demons of the air who travel through electrical wires. They feed on human pain and sorrow (Garmonbozia), symbolized by creamed corn for some damn reason or other.

Does the Black Lodge really represent the Illuminati? 

Hmm, I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Fire Walk with Me centers on the owl signet ring, which seems to protect the wearer from demonic possession. Which is both good and not-so-good since Bob tends to murder the people he can't inhabit.

And of course the owl signet ring is essentially identical to a Masonic signet ring. Which makes sense since Gerard is a traveling salesman and cryptic conversations about traveling (as in "Are you traveling to the temple?") are a Masonic recognition trope. 

The owl sigil itself also resembles an inverted and simplified "winged kneph," the symbol of the Memphis and Mizraim Order. Just in case it wasn't Masonic enough already.

And no one should be surprised to learn that there's a Masonic Lodge two doors down from the real-life Twin Peaks diner and it's actually over a storefront. We'll be looking at another lodge over a store in the near future that ties directly into the Peaks mytharc.

Neither should anyone be surprised that the facade of the Palmer home resembles the Second Degree Tracing Board, with the arch, vault and columns as well as solar symbol over the door and the planting urns standing in for our old pals Boaz and Jachin.

That same tracing board features a waterfall, as do both opening credits for Twin Peaks. The new credits have the waterfall fading into the curtains and floor of the Red Room, just in case you missed the connection.

Yeah, that's an obelisk.

Of course we also have the Bookhouse Boys secret society, a handy stand-in for badass Masonic posses from the past like the Regulators (which Freemason Billy "the Kid" Bonney belonged to) and the Montana Vigilantes. Their recognition sign is an index finger pointing at an eye.

The Bookhouse Boys' logo is of a cedar tree and a sword, strongly (and significantly) resembling both the Lebanese flag and the Eagle Scout forestry patch. Lebanon is of particular interest to Masonic and Templar orders, as longtime Secret Sun readers know well.

The Boys meet in a pub, just like the old-time Masons of Colonial America. Just in case there's any confusion as to who the "Boys" are actually supposed to represent, we see archaic-looking tools on the wall of their meeting room, telling us these are "Craftsmen".

Speaking of Craftsmen, the Renault brothers make a handy stand-in for the "Ruffians" or the "Three Unworthy Craftsmen" who murdered Hiram Abiff, Phoenician architect of the Temple of Solomon (from present-day Lebanon). 

Their first names - Jean, Jacques and Bernard - all correspond to figures from Masonic history, namely John the Baptist, Jacques DeMolay and the Saint (Bernard of Clairvaux) who founded the Knights Templar.

The Renault surname seems to have Masonic significance as well, if Renault Autos logos are any indication. Note the conjoined chevrons. the yellow-black color scheme correlating to the Masonic beehive. 

Lynch seems to be deeply ambivalent about French Freemasons, at least according to the symbols.

We have another stand-in for the Ruffians in the Woodsmen in the new series. Since the Black Lodge is all about inversion here the Ruffians resurrect the Evil Dale Cooper after he is shot. 

Speaking of the Woodsmen, a Twin Peaks blogger discovered that the lights of the convenience store in the epochal eighth episode match the stars of the Aries sigil (that horned god again) when you invert it. 

Then there's the "Evolution of the Arm" from the Red Room/Black Lodge, which everyone thinks looks like a tree with a brain but Lynch protests is just a head. I'm sure there's absolutely no connection to the FBI agent who made headlines across the nation when he disappeared in the wilderness (a la Dale Cooper) and just happened to be from Braintree. 

No connection at all.

As many fans realize, the concept of the White and Black Lodge comes from Dion Fortune, who was initiated into the occult by the Irish Freemason Theodore Moriarty and was active in the Co-Masonic movement (as well as the Golden Dawn). So even more Freemasonry, just in case there weren't enough already. 

And that circle there looks not unlike a blue rose, wouldn't you say?

Gordon Cole refers to cases involving ultraterrestrials as "Blue Rose Cases", as we saw in this ritualistic dance by Lil(ith) in Fire Walk with Me.

Apparently the blue rose is an Alchemical symbol. Leonora Carrington, occultist, witch and Surrealist, featured it in her paintings (note figure with Eye in Triangle on left). Carrington was married to occultist and Surrealist master Max Ernst, so she probably knew what she was doing here.

Speaking of eyes in triangles, we see them all over the office of Mr. Roque, the mysterious string-puller in Mulholland Dr who seems to operate in a branch office of the Red Room.

One of his underlings is seen sitting in front of this rather unsubtle stand-in for the Royal Arch of Freemasonry (which is also lower degree of the Scottish Rite).

And we see the arch again in the Club Silencio in what looks like a Blue Lodge setting, corresponding here to the mysterious Blue-Haired Lady who ends the film with...

...this universal admonition. 

Suffice it to say Mulholland Dr is about a hell of a lot more than the wish-dream of a failed actress/spurned lover.

A lot more.

Even so, do note the pink triangle pointing at "Camilla Rhodes," whom we later learn is actually the new side-dish for the real Camilla Rhodes. 

There's been a lot of discussion about the atomic explosion on Gordon Cole's office wall, especially after Episode 8. But note a similar image on the wall of the Bang-Bang, as we see in this scene with this Renault whomever, wearing red and black tartan.

Now getting back to the Twin Peaks would-be spinoff Mulholland Dr, remember that the amnesiac Camilla renames herself 'Rita' after the poster of Rita Hayworth in the movie Gilda

What's the connection, you might ask?

Well, Gilda also gave us the name of the atomic bomb dropped on Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads. 

We saw in Episode Eight that Lynch and Frost may believe the explosion at Trinity Site unleashed the Demons of the Air on our dimension. Were they really thinking of Crossroads, given that it was named after the traditional venue for summoning demons? 

Knowing Lynch it's even money. 

Which brings us to the next topic- the real-life Search for the Zone website. It includes coordinates that correspond to this location....

...Lookout Mountain Road in Spearfish, South Dakota. I hope there are some bells and whistles going off here because Lookout Mountain is also the name of a location in Laurel Canyon...

...where the military kept a secret movie studio that filmed all those atomic war simulations that traumatized two generations of American schoolchildren. Obviously not a coincidence.

Club Silencio seems to represent the Kabbalist sorcery of Hollywood, personified in the "Magician" who wears another Masonic-looking signet ring and reels off a catalog of hand signals before vanishing in a puff of smoke. 

Note again the red and the black...

...which we see in the red carpet and black tie of the Ausurs, held every year in the shadow of the Babylon Gate, with its Apkallu.  

Of course, the Ausurs used to be held at the Shrine Auditorium, originally known as the Scottish Rite Shrine Auditorium. They are now held on the site of the old Hollywood Masonic Temple.

Yeah, I'd recommend a Mulholland Dr rewatch if it's been a while.  

Be advised that all of this is going to be connected to the next batch of symbols we're going to analyze- the semiotics of the Hidden God. 

Stay tuned.