Twin Peaks: The Theosophical History of The Dweller on the Threshold
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. —Tommy “Hawk” Hill
We have known for 30 years now that Agent Dale Cooper did indeed meet his shadow self on that fateful night. But what does meeting the Dweller on the Threshold really mean? Where does the idea come from, and what—in a spiritual or religious sense—does it mean for Agent Cooper, Laura, and indeed all of us on our journeys through this life?
This article will focus on Theosophical teachings and, in particular, the element of Theosophy that draws from Buddhism. We know that Cooper had a great interest in Tibet and the plight of the Tibetan people. With that in mind, it would make sense for him to follow that path to enlightenment through his subconscious.
Reincarnation & Karma
It is essential to understand the concept of Reincarnation and Karma before we get to who or what the Dweller on the Threshold might be.
Reincarnation means the same as rebirth.
It is the human soul returning to Earth time and time again and taking up residence each time in a new physical body to continue the soul’s journey of inner evolution, advancement and development. Death is not the end, and birth is not the beginning.
The soul reincarnates for three main reasons: (1) It still has lessons to learn; (2) It still has “debts” which it needs to work off to balance its Karma; (3) It has not yet fully realised its own divine nature or its absolute oneness with the Divine and with all life so has not yet rebecome in consciousness that which it truly is. Reincarnation is a Law in Nature. It is an ongoing cyclic process and a necessity for every soul.
Reincarnation does not have to happen immediately after death. The soul does not leave one body and then instantly enter that of a baby about to be born. There is always an interval period, during which the soul experiences its personal state of “Heaven,” created out of its own consciousness and matching precisely the afterlife the person had believed in and expected, during the lifetime which just ended.
The teachings of Theosophy refer to this state under the Tibetan name of “Devachan.” The amount of time this lasts depends on the amount and force of good or positive Karma that the soul created during that lifetime.
The Origin of the Dweller
The term “The Dweller on the Threshold”, or “Guardian of the Threshold” as it is sometimes known, was originally penned by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his love story, Zanoni, in 1842. The story follows Zanoni, who has occult powers and knows the secret to eternal life. He gives up his immortality, however, for a beautiful girl named Viola, whom he marries. He is then executed during the French Revolution—so, not exactly a happy ending. To the point in hand, though, in the story, two characters discuss the Dweller.
Mejnour speaks to Glyndon of the Guardian: “… Know, at least, that all of us—the highest and the wisest—who have, in sober truth, passed beyond the Threshold, have had, as our first fearful task, to master and subdue its grisly and appalling Guardian.”
The writers of Theosophy were among those influenced by Bulwer-Lytton’s work. In their own books, Annie Besant and especially Helena Blavatsky incorporated his thoughts and ideas, particularly from The Last Days of Pompeii, Vril, the Power of the Coming Race and Zanoni.
Theosophy & Madame Helena P Blavatsky
Helena P Blavatsky was a Russian occultist, philosopher, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. Blavatsky described Theosophy as “the synthesis of science, religion, and philosophy”, declaring that it was reviving an “Ancient Wisdom” which underlay all the world’s religions. In 1880, she and co-founder Henry Steel Olcott moved to India, where the Society was allied to the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement. Later that year, she and Olcott became the first people from the United States to formally convert to Buddhism.
In 1885 she returned to Europe and established the Blavatsky Lodge in London. There she published The Secret Doctrine, a narrative of what she claimed were ancient Tibetan manuscripts, as well as two further books, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence. Her Theosophical teachings influenced the spread of Hindu and Buddhist ideas in the West, as well as the development of Western esoteric movements like Ariosophy, Anthroposophy, and the New Age.
Although the writings of prominent Theosophists lay out a set of doctrines, the Theosophical Society itself states that it has no official beliefs of which all members must agree. Members were animate about the fact that this was not a religion, as they did not worship a deity. The Society stated that the only rule all members should abide by was a commitment “to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.” Blavatsky claimed that these Theosophical doctrines were not her own creation but had been received from a brotherhood of secretive spiritual gurus whom she referred to as the “Masters” or “Mahatmas” whose chief residence was in the Himalayan kingdom of Tibet. The Masters are believed to preserve the world’s ancient spiritual knowledge and represent a White Lodge that watches over humanity and guides its evolution. Yes, I did say White Lodge.
Lucky Number 7
Blavatsky’s Theosophical teachings state that the universe is seven-fold. The Seven Planes are described at blavatskytheosophy.com, which says, “There are seven fundamental forces in nature and seven planes of being, so there are seven states of consciousness in which man can live, think, remember, and have his being.”
First, there is the Solar Plane:
7th—Auric envelope or Atmic: This is the Cosmic Auric Egg, also called Hiraṇyagarbha
2nd—Astral: The Astral model, reflecting on the lower planes.
1st—Prakriti: The physical plane of the solar system, which is again divided into seven sub-planes.
We exist in the first plane of Prakriti, the Objective (Terrestrial), which is also divided into seven planes:
7. Atmic consciousness, that of the Para-Ego.
6. Buddhic, Inner-Ego.
5. Manasic, Higher or Individual Ego
4. Kama-Manasic, Personal Ego or Higher Psychic
3. Pranic-Kamic or Psychic (instinct)
2. Astral (things are reversed)
1. Objective (the plane of the senses)
There are different kingdoms of life within that, and we all have reincarnated and evolved from mineral life to vegetable, then animal life and onto human consciousness. After that, we ascend to higher beings on the Astral plane. Once we have evolved to the next stage, there is no going back down a ‘tier,’ so when we die, we cannot be reincarnated as a cat or a tree; we can only be reincarnated as a human again or move on up to a higher state of consciousness.
This is where the Dweller on the Threshold in Twin Peaks comes into play, so let’s get studying…
Blavatsky wrote extensively about the Dweller on the Threshold. She defined them as “maleficent astral Doubles of defunct persons.”
The Theosophical Encyclopedia, Theosophy World states, “The Dweller is actually the astral shell of the same individual in a previous incarnation. The personality during that earlier incarnation may have been so strong, but selfish or materialistic, that its animal life had not worn itself out yet. It may incarnate itself a number of times with the parent Ego or Causal Body. There may come a point, however, when the parent Ego acquires a new personality and no longer uses the old astral shell, which still has animal life in it. The latter, however, is again drawn to the parent Ego and becomes a malevolent influence.” This is the Dweller on the Threshold.
So, in essence, when we die, all our bad traits, less-than-innocent thoughts, and fantasies, all the evil things we have done, and ways we have behaved remain and can latch onto your Ego. Over time, and dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands of reincarnations, this evil, animalistic astral shell can become a separate entity of its own. When you then meet it upon death, you have to face it with perfect courage, or it will destroy you, becoming more potent than the parent Ego, and taking its place in the “human” world, leaving the parent Ego in a sort of limbo.
The Types of Dweller
Annie Besant, a student of Madame Blavatsky (who passed away in 1891), became president of the Theosophical Society in 1907. In her book, An Introduction to Yoga, she says that there are many kinds of Dweller on the Threshold. The first are the Elementals. They try to bar individuals in the astral plane because of the destructive tendencies of human beings. The second is the evil thoughtforms, or Tulpa’s if you like, of our past. The third, the most terrible of all, is the one described by Blavatsky: the remnant astral and mental bodies of a previous incarnation that attaches itself to the new astral and mental bodies of the current life; The Double.
Elementalsare living entities or centres of force in the astral and mental planes, also known as nature spirits. They are called Elementals because they are supposed to be the life forces behind the four elements; Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. They have no form but appear to humans as we perceive them. They are without bias, opinion or moral character, but they can be controlled or directed by human thought. Collective impressions help create the definite shape of the nature spirits.
There is some misunderstanding that the Elementals are gnomes, fairies, salamanders, and undines, depending on which element they exist within, but these would just be how humans perceive them to look. In reality, they cannot be seen at all, like the wind cannot be seen, but their effect can be. They exist everywhere at once; they are nature in all its forms within the universe—not just on this planet.
It could be argued that the “people” we see in the Convenience Store are Elementals. They are neither good nor evil but are impressed upon by the thoughts and actions of humans they are around or latch onto. Imagine that you are a bitter and hateful person. Your fantasies are of inflicting pain on others, and your behaviour is aggressive and toxic. The Elementals around you would take on these traits, making your aura dark and repressive. Alternatively, if you are kind to others, selfless, and positive, your aura will radiate goodness, and the Elementals around you will reflect that. The Elementals do not always stay by your side; they exist anywhere and everywhere at all times in the past, present, and future, which means that every thought and action you make will affect the universe at some point or another. This is why you may sometimes feel immediately comfortable in the presence of a stranger or instinctively know when someone is bad news. The elementals that surround them radiate their energy so you can feel it strongly.
So while these “Dwellers” do not prevent humans from moving on to their life in battle, they affect and reflect humans’ actions in their current incarnation, which may or may not allow them to move on towards enlightenment. In a sense, they steer or guide us along a path.
If Elemental behaviour and essence are affected by human behaviour and actions, just imagine the negative effect something as powerful as the Trinity Bomb had on them. A nuclear bomb created with the intention and capability of destroying other life on Earth—plants, animals, children, everything—tipped the balance of good and evil. Could this be why and how the Woodsmen were created? They arrived like scurrying amoebas in the aftermath of the mushroom cloud. Their chemical makeup was changed by man’s hatred, greed, and power.
Thoughts are things. They exist. Like the Elementals, we can’t see them, but if we put our minds to it, maybe we could conjure up our “dream person.” I have personally considered that Diane was never a real person, but a daydream brought to life by Agent Cooper. I go into way more detail about those thoughts in “Dreaming of Diane.”
20th-century theosophists adapted the concepts of “emanation body”—nirmita, tulku, sprul-pa, and others—into the ideas of “tulpa” and “thoughtform.” The term “thoughtform” is used as early as 1927 in Evans-Wentz’s translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Spiritualist Alexandra David-Néel claimed to have seen these mystical practices first-hand in 20th-century Tibet. She described tulpas as “magic formations generated by a powerful concentration of thought.” David-Néel believed that tulpas could develop minds of their own: “Once the Tulpa is endowed with enough vitality to be capable of playing the part of a real being, it tends to free itself from its maker’s control. This, say Tibetan occultists, happens nearly mechanically, just as the child, when his body is completed and able to live apart, leaves its mother’s womb.”
The theosophist Annie Besant, in her book Thought-forms, divides them into three classes: forms in the shape of the person who creates them, forms that resemble objects or people and may become “ensouled” by “nature spirits” or by the dead, and forms that represent “inherent qualities” from the astral or mental planes, such as emotions.
Tulpas are controlled by their creators in most cases, although this does not mean that they do not have thoughts and feelings of their own. Take Diane’s Tulpa, for example. She was controlled by the Double of Agent Cooper, Mr C, but had the memories of her parent Ego, who may have been a Tulpa as well! Is this complicated enough for you?
Indeed, the Tulpa of Diane was sent by Mr C to prevent Agent Cooper’s return to our world. While we don’t really know what use the black box (in what looks like an Argentinian mine) was, it too was controlled by Mr C and was there to prevent the return of Agent Cooper.
Let’s not beat around the bush: this is the one we are all really interested in. This is the Dweller on the Threshold that can annihilate your soul if you do not face it with perfect courage.
BOB is the symbolic image of “the evil that men do.” He is not a Double or Doppelganger. He is the demon amalgamation of evil thoughts and deeds, laughing maniacally and behaving like a feral animal (I mean, double denim—can you get more evil?). He exists on the astral plane and within the souls of any human that thinks or acts the way BOB does. This is why both BOB and the Doppelganger of Agent Cooper exist together. BOB (evil) lived inside the parent Ego of Cooper, then survived in his Double when it escaped the Black Lodge. For Cooper and his doppelganger were one and the same; it is just that the Double had become strong enough to exist in and of itself.
Anthroposophy & Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. He became the head of the Theosophical Society’s newly constituted German section in 1902. After some disagreements with Annie Besant about his teachings, Steiner and most members of the German section broke off to form a new group, the Anthroposophical Society.
In his book How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation, Chapter 10 was dedicated entirely to The Guardian of the Threshold. In this excerpt, he writes from the point of view of the Dweller explaining to the man (Ego) of its existence:
Up to now, unseen by you, mighty powers have presided over you. Through all the previous courses of your lives, they brought it about that every good deed was followed by its reward, and every evil action was followed by its grievous consequences. Through their influence, your character was formed out of your life experiences and thoughts. They were the agents of your destiny. They determined, on the basis of your conduct in previous lives, the measure of joy and pain allotted to you in each of your incarnations. They ruled over you in the form of the all-embracing law of karma. These powers will now begin to loosen the reins by which they guide you. Now you yourself must do some of the work they did for you before.
Up to now, you have endured many heavy blows of fate. You did not know why. Each was the consequence of a damaging deed done in a previous life. You found joy and happiness and took these as you found them. These, too, were the result of earlier actions. You have many beautiful sides to your character and many ugly flaws.
You yourself produced these through your past experiences and thoughts. Up to now, you were unaware of this; only the effects were known to you. But the karmic powers witnessed all your former actions and even your most secret thoughts and feelings. And on that basis, they determined who you are now and how you live in your present incarnation.
Now, however, all the good and bad aspects of your past lives are to be revealed to you. You will see them for yourself. They have been interwoven with your being all along. They were in you, and you could not see them, just as you cannot see your brain with your eyes. Now, however, your past actions are separating themselves from you,stepping out of your personality. They are assuming an independent form, one that you can see, as you can see the stones and plants of the outside world. I am that selfsame being, who made a body for itself out of your good and your wicked deeds. My ghostly form is spun, so to speak, from the account book of your life.
Up to now, you have carried me invisibly within you. It was for your sake that this was so. It meant that the hidden wisdom of your destiny continued to work within you to eliminate the ugly spots in my appearance. Now that I have come forth from you, this hidden wisdom has also left you and will take care of you no longer. Instead, it puts the work into your own hands. If I am not to fall into corruption, I myself must become a perfect and glorious being. For, were I to fall, I would drag you down with me into a dark, corrupted world.
To prevent this, your own wisdom must be great enough to take over the task previously performed by the hidden wisdom now departed from you. I shall never leave your side once you have crossed my threshold. I shall always be there beside you in a form you can perceive. From then on, whenever you think or act wrongly, you will immediately see your fault as an ugly, demonic distortion in my appearance. My being will be changed and become radiantly beautiful only when you have made amends for all your wrongs and have so purified yourself that you become incapable of further evil. Then, too, I shall be able to unite with you again as a single being in order to bless and benefit your further activity.
My threshold is built of every feeling of fear still within you and every feeling of reluctance in the face of the strength you need to take on full responsibility for your thoughts and actions. As long as you still harbour any trace of fear at directing your own destiny, the threshold lacks an essential element. As long as a single stone is missing, you will remain on this threshold, as if spellbound—or stumble. Therefore, do not try to cross this threshold until you are completely free of fear and feel yourself ready for the highest responsibility.“
—Excerpt from How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation Chapter 10: The Guardian of the Threshold, by Rudolf Steiner (1904-5)
Did Cooper face the Dweller with perfect courage? I would say…no. When confronted by his Double in the Black Lodge, Cooper fled, running through the maze-like corridors, pursued by his doppelganger, who eventually caught up with him. They fought, Cooper lost, and the Double was released to live as Mr C and cause havoc in the earthly plane of existence.
But let’s take a bit of a rewind for a second. If you read that extensive excerpt above, you might have noticed that you can only face your Dweller upon your physical death. So is Cooper dead? Well, quite probably yes. But it’s not something we should get upset over. Only his physical body is gone; his Ego (personality) still exists. This is the great thing about reincarnation—you are dead, yet you live. Cooper’s Ego was, for 25 years, in the Black Lodge. Presumably, it took this long for him to learn to be strong enough to face his doppelganger and move onto the next stage towards enlightenment.
But of course, time is relative. It’s a human-made concept and means nothing. Future and past intertwine and, as The Arm would say, “From pure air, we have descended. From pure air.” “Going up and down. Intercourse between the two worlds.” “With chrome. And everything will proceed cyclically.”
Life and Death: The Great Guardian of the Threshold
So why didn’t Coop end up in the White Lodge after his return? Well, because perhaps the Double isn’t actually the final Dweller you have to face. Rudolf Steiner also spoke of The Great Dweller, who sounds very familiar. This form only appears to us once we have faced the lesser Dweller and understand our path ahead.
After we have recognized in the lesser guardian those things from which we need to free ourselves, a magnificent form of light comes to meet us on the path. The beauty of this form is difficult to describe in ordinary language. The meeting takes place when our physical organs of thinking, feeling, and willing have so separated from each other—and even from the physical body—that they themselves no longer regulate their mutual interaction. Instead, higher consciousness, now detached completely from physical conditions, regulates their relations. As a result, our organs of thinking, feeling, and willing have become instruments under the control of the soul, which exercises its rulership from the supersensible realms. The soul, freed in this way from all sensory bonds, now encounters the second guardian of the threshold. —Rudolf Steiner
After 25 years of being in the Black Lodge waiting room, Agent Cooper is transported to another place, where the Fireman tells him to listen to the sounds. The gramophone plays a strange scratching noise, the same noise that will be heard when he takes Laura Palmer’s hand on the night she would have died. What is the sound? I cannot say, but Laura is snatched away from him shortly afterwards.
The Fireman goes on to say, “It is in our house now. It cannot be said aloud now. Remember Four Three Zero, Richard and Linda. Two birds with one stone.” Cooper says that he understands, and the Fireman tells him he is far away. Now time is a bit all over the place, and in true Twin Peaks style, the end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end. So these first scenes of Twin Peaks S3 come full circle. Cooper has met his Double, and he has been defeated. Mr C now sits encapsulated in
fire back in the Black Lodge.
With the doppelganger back in his box (and back onboard Agent Cooper), Laura Palmer appears in the Red Room, just as she did 25 years earlier. But this time, she tells him, “you can go out now.” He asks her if she is Laura Palmer; she tells him she feels like she knows her, but sometimes her arms bend back. She then says, “I am dead, yet I live,” perhaps the most explicit suggestion of reincarnation. Laura’s body is dead, but her soul lives on, and now she might just have become the form of the Great Dweller for Agent Cooper. She removes her face to reveal a radiant white light, suggesting that she has ascended into a higher being.
In this passage, Rudolf Steiner writes as to how the Great Dweller would give the Ego who had crossed the threshold a choice as to which path they should now take. From How to Know Higher Worlds, Chapter 11: Life and Death: The Great Guardian of the Threshold:
You have freed yourself from the world of the senses. You have earned the right of citizenship in the supersensible world. From now on, you may work from there. For yourself, you no longer need your physical bodily nature in its present form. If all you wanted was to acquire the capacity to dwell in the supersensible world, you would never need to return to the world of the senses.
Look at me. See how immeasurably I am raised above all that you have already made of yourself up to now. You have reached your present stage of completion by means of faculties that you were able to develop in the sense world while you were still dependent upon it. Now you are entering a time when the powers you liberated must continue to work upon this sense world. Until now, you have worked only to free yourself, but now that you are free, you can help free all your fellow beings in the sense world.
Up to now, you have striven as an individual. Now you must join yourself to the whole, so that you may bring with you into the supersensible realm not only yourself, but also all else that exists in the sensible world. Some day, you will be able to unite with my form, but I myself cannot find perfect blessedness as long as there are others who are still unfortunate! As a single, liberated individual, you could enter the realm of the supersensible today. But then you would have to look down upon those sentient beings who are not yet freed. You would have separated your destiny from theirs. But you are linked together with all sentient beings.
What you have already achieved entitles you to dwell in the lower regions of the supersensible world. But I will stand at the doorway to the higher regions “like the cherubim with the flaming sword before the gates of Paradise.” I will deny you entry as long as you still have powers that you have not put to use in the sense world. If you do not use your own powers, others will come who will put them to use. Then a high supersensible world will incorporate all the fruit of the sensible realm, but the ground you stand on will be pulled out from under your feet. The purified world will develop over and beyond you. You will be excluded from it. If this is your choice, then yours is the black path. But those from whom you separate yourself tread the white path.
Cooper asks her when he can leave, and Laura gets up from her chair, walks over to him, kisses him with a smile, then whispers something unknown in his ear. Cooper gasps. Could it be that what Laura whispers to Cooper is that he has to make a choice? Will he take the black path and ascend now to the lower regions of the supersensible world? What he chooses depends on the allure of personal salvation and blessedness no longer being a temptation for him. He who gladly enters into Nirvana, leaving everything else behind forever, is described in Buddhism and Theosophy as a “Pratyeka-buddha,” a Buddha of Selfishness.
Choosing the white path would send him back to the Earthly realm. Taking the white path is not something he would do for himself but something that he would do for the love for the world and the fellow beings around him. He who joyously and unhesitatingly enters into the eternal bliss of Nirvana is he who, having reached its Threshold, turns his back on it and renounces Nirvana to be consciously reincarnated on this Earth again and again, as long as all life continues, to help and serve suffering humanity. He who makes the great renunciation and thus becomes one of the saviours of humankind is called a “Bodhisattva,” a Buddha of Compassion. — A Right Understanding of Reincarnation, Theosophy World
The cycle or circle or wheel of birth, death, and rebirth is called “Samsara” in Hinduism and Buddhism, meaning “the sea of suffering” and “the ocean of conditioned existence.” When the individual soul or Ego has finished traversing the ocean of conditioned existence and has attained Buddhahood (for want of a better phrase), it may then enter into the infinite sea of unconditioned non-existence—Nirvana.
Which path did he choose? As Laura was dragged screaming from the Red Room just seconds later, it appears he chose the white path. At that same time, he was speaking to The Fireman (listening to the sounds) and going back to save the life of Laura Palmer back in 1989. Simultaneously Laura was removed from both of those situations. So did Cooper do the right thing? The white path is undoubtedly the more honourable choice, but did he save Laura for Laura’s sake or for the sake of humanity?
Cooper tries to leave the Black Lodge then peers through the red curtains into the world but is indecisive. The doppelganger of the Evolution of The Arm takes action by literally pulling the floor from underneath his feet and tossing him into “non-existence.” With his feet on both paths, he is dropped into an unknown place across the purple sea between two worlds.
Whose Threshold is This?
Everyone will meet their Dweller at the time of their death. They might not know it; it would be like looking in a mirror. With that in mind, who else have we seen that have likely ascended? It seems likely that Agent Phillip Jeffries did. At this point, he is so far removed from the human Ego, that he exists in steam form, contained within a giant teapot when he needs to communicate with beings on the Earthly plane.
Similarly, this makes sense in the case of Phillip Gerard, once known as MIKE. He famously told Cooper that he had seen the face of God, and upon doing so, he cut off his arm (which had been touched by the devilish one and bore a tattoo that read “Fire Walk With Me”) and purified his dark side in the process. Both Phillips’ work now to rid the Earthly realm of the evil of BOB and Judy. They also exist in the Astral planes in their pure forms.
Then there is Diane—whether she is real or not, a thoughtform or more human than human, we know she saw her Double at a motel, literally dwelling on a threshold. It felt to me that this was something Diane was used to. She didn’t even need to speak to her doppelganger; she just understood what was expected of her at this point.
Then there’s the curious case of Audrey Horne and Charlie.
As we now know, Audrey had been raped and impregnated by the dark side of Agent Cooper while she was in a coma caused by the bank explosion. It’s long been pondered if she ever actually recovered. My thoughts are that she did not, and all the scenes with her and Charlie were Audrey’s version of the Black Lodge—for it will appear to everyone differently; it exists only in your subconscious, after all.
Audrey’s story in Season 3 focuses solely on her trying to leave the house and to find Billy, then giving excuses not to leave the house by arguing with Charlie until she finally attacks him right there on the Threshold. This could portray Audrey’s metaphorical fight for her life, but in the end, she puts her coat on and faces her death. She heads to the Roadhouse, where her song plays, and she dances her way into the next life. The music plays backwards, suggesting that she is no longer in this world but on the Astral plane, where things are reversed.
It appears that Audrey was confused as to what was happening to her. She had not understood that her Ego had left her original physical body. She felt like she didn’t know who she was, but she found the courage eventually and woke up. Whether she woke up in hospital in her original physical form, or if we saw her in what I believe could be the only time we have ever seen the White Lodge in Twin Peaks, is probably always going to be up for debate.
Who Killed Laura Palmer?
The soul of Laura Palmer has been reincarnated. She now lives as Carrie Page in Odessa, Texas. Cooper did manage to track her down and found her living in less than a pure environment. With a few little reminders, she began to remember some things from her previous life. It appears that it all came flooding back with horror when she stood outside her former home in Twin Peaks, back to the place where it all began. But if Cooper changed history by saving the life of Laura Palmer, then Carrie Page would cease to exist. As the realisation hits him, he asks what year this is, and she lets out a terrifying scream, the lights in the house go out, and the screen goes blank. The world spins.
Did Agent Cooper kill Laura Palmer?
Destroying the soul of Laura may also kill Judy—if Judy is what was living onboard Laura’s mother, Sarah. You could argue that Judy, the embodiment of pain and suffering, was created from Laura’s death. And BOB, the evil that men do, was created by Laura’s life. But if she never existed in the first place, does that also mean BOB and Judy as we knew them, didn’t either?
Maybe this is what Laura whispered to him and why he gasped when he heard. It would be the ultimate sacrifice for humanity to give up her very existence to protect them.
If this is a horrifying thought, then perhaps Madame Blavatsky’s writings on time will bring some solace. In her book The Secret Doctrine, she quotes “the words of a Sage, known only to a few Occultists”, saying:
The present is the child of the past; the future, the begotten of the present. And yet, o present moment! Knowest thou not that thou hast no parent, nor canst thou have a child; that thou art ever begetting but thyself? Before thou hast even begun to say “I am the progeny of the departed moment, the child of the past”, thou hast become that past itself. Before thou utterest the last syllable, behold! Thou art no more the present but verily that future. Thus, are the past, the present, and the future, the ever-living trinity in one—the Mahamaya of the absolute IS.
Laura always existed and never existed, and all of that is possible (if a little hard to get your head around). I will always see Laura as having reached her enlightenment and leaving this plane, becoming something much, much more. And Cooper is there with her, supporting her as she moved on, bathed in a radiant light. Who was the Great Dweller for Laura? We will probably never know. But we do know that Leland saw his daughter there in his final moments, as Cooper held him and spoke these words:
Leland, the time has come for you to seek the path. Your soul has set you face-to-face with the clear light, and you are now about to experience it in all its reality, wherein all things are like the void and cloudless sky, and the naked, spotless intellect is like a transparent vacuum, without circumference or center. Leland, in this moment, know yourself, and abide in that state… Look to the light, Leland. Find the light.
Compare them with this passage from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is to be recited to the dying as they pass on:
O, nobly-born [so-and-so by name], the time hath now come for thee to seek the Path [in reality]. Thy breathing is about to cease. Thy guru hath set thee face to face before with the Clear Light; and now thou art about to experience in its Reality in the Bardo state, wherein all things are like the void and cloudless sky, and the naked, spotless intellect is like unto a transparent vacuum without circumference or centre. At this moment, know thou thyself, and abide in that state.
I would like to believe that Laura and Leland are in the White Lodge now, far from the physical plane and physical pain of this world. Cooper may well have attained the state of “Bodhisattva,” a Buddha of Compassion, and continues eternally to help humanity in their suffering. Laura is The One who saved us all.