“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (Arthur C. Clarke)
It is a well documented fact that before the creation of Twin Peaks, Mark Frost and David Lynch were working on a series linked to the mythical continent of Lemuria (see for instance Twin Peaks FAQ by David Bushman and Arthur Smith). One can only guess what this project would have looked like, but it does appear that their ideas for the show might have somehow been transposed to the universe of Twin Peaks, as we will see a bit further down.
But first things first: what is Lemuria?
The main proponent of the existence of a Pacific Motherland called Mu (Lemuria) was the Bristish occult writer James Churchward who published The Lost Continent of Mu in 1926. Lemuria was a counterpart to the Atlantic Ocean Atlantis mentioned by Plato in his works Timaeus and Critias. Supposedly based on the information provided by the high priest of a Hindu monastery, the works of Churchward tell us that the continent was inhabited by the light skinned people of the Naacals. The continent spread somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Easter island. Highly developed spiritually, living in harmony with the planet, the Naacals had also mastered extremely advanced technology. Mu was, according to Churchward, the real Garden of Eden: “The Garden of Eden was not in Asia but on a now sunken continent in the Pacific Ocean. The Biblical story of creation – the epic of the seven days and the seven nights – came first not from the peoples of the Nile or of the Euphrates Valley but from this now submerged continent, Mu – the Motherland of Man“.
Following his teachings, various authors (such as Frank Joseph in his The Lost Civilization of Lemuria) suggest that the end of the last ice age, with its increase of sea levels, caused the inundation of most of Mu. Then, a comet that passed near the Earth 3000 years B.C. provoked a global catastrophe with most of the continent slipping beneath the sea. The Lemurians fled to various parts of the world, notably to the Himalayas and Tibet where their teachings became the roots of Tibetan Buddhism (in Japan, they served as a basis of Shinto). This is what Joseph wrote about the subject: “The combination of volcanism, meteor falls, mega-tsunamis, and seismic upheaval rippling in earthquake swarms across the Pacific tore the Motherland limb from limb. What remained of her territories was smashed beyond repair or rebuilding, and groups of shell-shocked, struggling Lemurians melted into the foreign populations of Oceania, Asia, and the Americas“. This in turn explains the presence of a variety of mythical statements related to a white race of people in place long before the arrival of Europeans: “The anomalous presence of an otherwise unaccountable Caucasion race in the eastern Pacific can likewise be explained only by the former existence of the lost Motherland, said to have been ruled by a light-skinned elite” (according to The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Jefferson sent Lewis to investigate, among other things, an unknown tribe of “white Indians” – i.e. the Lodges entities).
The syncretism at work in Twin Peaks, which mixes influences from Native American mythology, Theosophy, Transcendental Meditation, Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, etc. can be explained by the fact that Lemuria (or Mu, since both terms are basically interchangeable) is believed to have been the first global civilization, spread from coastal America (the Kennewick Man) to Oceania and Japan (the Jomon culture), from India to Egypt, and even to Atlantis and Tibet (“Lemurians made their most indelible impact in Asia on Tibet“, according to Joseph). In Ancient Rome, the annual Lemuria festival (in May) is supposed to have been created to propitiate the restless spirits of their ancestors (at the end of the ceremony, small effigies called the lemures representing the deceased were tossed in the Tiber River). To quote Joseph once more: “The Northwest Pacific Coast inhabitants… memorialized the lost Motherland. As Churchward wrote in 1926, ‘These legends and carvings on the totem poles strongly confirm the fact that the forefathers of those Indians came from Mu“.
But concretely, what signs point towards this antediluvian civilization in Twin Peaks? What visual or narrative elements can one find in the series or the film that might be read as hints of a lemurian influence?
First of all, there is the importance of birds.
In my book Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic, I explain that the Lodge entities are clearly associated with birds. First, there is the shadow of a bird in the Red Room summoned by The Man From Another Place. Then there are the masks worn by the entities in the convenience store segment from TP:FWWM, with their long noses reminiscent of beaks. The little jumps executed by Pierre Tremond in that same film, in the scene where Leland Palmer leaves the motel where he has uncovered Laura in a room with Ronette Pulaski (note the phoenixes on the wall behind the bed – connection to Xi Wang Mu, see below), are also highly reminiscent of bird hops. Finally, every episode begins with the image of a bird atop a tree, echoing a statement made by The Man From Another Place in the missing pieces of TP:FWWM: “From pure air we have descended”, before BOB exists the Red Room crouched as a bird.
Birds are interesting in relationship to Lemuria because they represent the survivors of the deluge that struck the continent: “After the waters retreated, they followed him back into the world and were guided by the song of a bird. This bird motif recurs in several deluge traditions around the world, not only in Genesis” (Joseph). Their ability to fly links them to the world of the spirits, of the souls. They are not bound by gravity and exist in a vertical dimension of their own, which we cannot share, horizontal beings that we are. Our only way to interact with their celestial realm in the sky is by climbing trees, as our ape ancestors did.
Could this be why Pierre Tremond briefly reveals a monkey face under his mask in TP:FWWM? “Going up and down between the two worlds”? Or perhaps this scene is designed to make us understand that his human appearance is a “masking memory” hiding his real face, with its big eyes reminiscent of the face of ancient astronauts?
Concerning the big eyes, it might also be interesting to consider this in relationship to the Nazca lines in Chile, which are connected to the Lemurians, according to Joseph: “That was the real meaning, he said, of the desert’s ninety-eight-foot Owl Woman, her one hand raised toward heaven, the other pointed at the Earth. She personalized the perennially magical axiom ‘As above, so below”‘. ‘The owl is a symbol of wisdom for our ancestors, as it still is in the West, and for the same reason… its great eyes allow it to see things in darkness which are hidden to others. The Ancient Ones who drew Owl Woman’s shape and all the other designs not only meditated as they walked them, but danced and sang along the Nazca lines to achieve altered states of consciousness, the only means by which the energies of the universe may be summoned and controlled‘”.
Also, birds tends to like corn… even creamed corn.
Whichever it is, birds appear to be closely connected to the notion of the Tree of Life (or Cosmic Tree). This is what Churchward had to say about the Tree of Life: “Mu was symbolized as a tree, the Tree of Life. One of the names given to Mu was Tree of Life. The sacred writings tell us that Mu was the Tree of Life and that Man was its fruit“. This tree, -this ladder of sorts – connects the underground (with its roots), the surface of the Earth (with its trunk) and the sky (with its branches).
It is on top of such a tree that every episode of Twin Peaks starts, before it gets chopped into logs by the sawmill in the opening credits. Churchward and Joseph insist on the fact that Mu was the original Garden of Eden, the place where the Tree of Life was to be found. This tree became one of the symbols for the lost continent. Joseph: “Both Hawaiian and Maori accounts describe the land in which this tree was venerated as the paradisaical birthplace of mankind, from which humans spread throughout the world… The Tahitian word for island is ‘mu-tu’, apparently derived from the sunken Motherland and memorialized in Moorea, near the northwest coast. Interestingly, its reverse, ‘tu-mu’, means tree, which may again refer to Mu, which was synonymous with the Tree of Life”. A little below, we find this concerning the Maori of New Zealand: “Some of them guessed it belonged to their exterminated predecessors, the fair-complected Moriori, Wai-ta-hanui, or Urukehu, who were known for the possession of special stones like the Pounamu, or ‘green stone’, from the old Motherland”.
Joseph goes on to describe a similar myth from China: “Xi Wang Mu’s (ancient China’s most important deity) chief duty was to tend a peach tree that grew in her garden. Its fruits bestowed eternal life on anyone who ate them. The tree was known as the Jian mu and was regarded as an ‘axis mundi’, the center of the world around which all earthly life revolved“. This legend is of course highly reminiscent of what happens in the Red Room, which is a garden of sorts in which Garmonbozia is “grown”, a food for the Lodge entities which might very well grant eternal life as well. After all, the Lodges’ links to alchemy are strong, and the ultimate aim of alchemy was to gain immortality… Mu Kung, king of the gods, “formed a special group of eight humans, who were given fruits from the Tree of Life. They were know as ‘the immortals’. According to Churchward, the Tree of Life, the embodiment of immortality, was Lemuria’s chief emblem.”
Here is another segment from Joseph’s book which might be of interest when considered within the Twin Peaks universe: “Another Mayan glyph connects with the deer image in Churward’s symbol for the Pacific Motherland… He writes that the hieroglyph was known as U-luumilceh, or the ‘land of deer’… Deer imagery figures prominently and similarly in the spiritual symbolism of the Navajo Indians in the American Southwest”… Several lines from the Boen ‘Rites of the Deer’, an epic poem celebrating the origins of the Tibetan people read, ‘On the Earth the deer walks, the brown deer of the Mu walks. The souls of the king, his minister and vassal took on the guises of the precious cuckoo, deer, and tree‘” He then writes: “Although deer imagery may be found in the religious symbolism or many peoples throughout the world, its appearance among the Maya, Navajo, Japanese, and Tibetans is particularly Lemurian. It combines the concept of rebirth after the disappearance of a former age, usually through the action of a great flood, thereby most closely resembling the significance of the deer in Churchard’s symbol for Mu“.
Now, beyond the bird imagery, there are other elements that connect Twin Peaks to Lemuria. The elements can be found in several locations of the Pacific Ocean, notably Nan Madol, Easter Island, Japan, and Hawaii.
For example, the ruined city of Nan Madol, 1000 miles north of New Guinea, in the Federated States of Micronesia. It consists of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals. It was one of the sites Churchward identified as being part of the lost continent of Mu.
Local legend claims that the city was built by twin sorcerers who levitated the huge megalithic stones into place. As author Frank Joseph explains in his book about Lemuria, these reports of levitation “may be the folk memory of a lost technology“. Further on, he quotes a physicist from Michigan’s Marquette University: “gravity is really a frequency, part of Einstein’s Unified Field. Crystallized blocks of basalt need only be resonating at the frequency of gravity, 1012 hertz, or the frequency between short radio waves and infrared radiation, and they will lose their weight“. Beyond the fact that David Lynch regularly discusses the Unified Field in his interviews, recall various moments of the series and film when people appear to levitate, as Leland and the angels do in TP:FWWM for instance, freed from the constraints of gravity.
He then quotes Childress: “The island itself is not usually hit by cyclones, since it is the place where cyclones begin“. Could Pohnpei (the island where Nan Madol is situated) have been deliberately chose by the builders of the city because they somehow appreciated the island’s singular location?, he wonders. The major effect with respect to hurricanes is electromagnetic and it appears that the millions of tons of basalt used to built Nan Madol are strangely magnetized: “It begins with a leading theme repeating itself through Pohnpei’s stark ruins: electricity. At Nan Madol and Insaru, tons of magnetized basalt by the millions were constructed into great enclosures, towers, walls, rooms, and canals. Their artificial lakes were stocked with what appear to have been electric eels… They would have constituted a potent, if irregular, power source that may have somehow interfaced with Pohnpei’s geo-piezoelectricity” “transforming the basalt’s naturally vertical magnetic field into a spiral would amplify the power of any piezoelectric discharge by swinging it around in a narrowing, tightening circuit, then focusing the beam of its concentrated corona discharge skyward“.
Manipulating the electrical properties in clouds may lead to modification of the weather by man. Nan Madol’s massive towers with their spiral-magnetized basalt connected to artificial pools of electric eels and were energized by tectonic pressure beneath Pohnpei. Joseph stated: “Nan Madol was never a city, certainly not in any ordinary sense of the world, but a power station undoubtedly constructed by the Pohnpeians’ ancestors” “Nan Madol, in tandem with Insaru, was a weather-modification project purposely built to prevent tropical storms from becoming typhoons“. It goes without saying that these references to electricity are highly reminiscent of the Lodge entities. Could it be that Twin Peaks itself is a power station of sorts? This is what I suggested in my book when I wrote about the symbol on the Owl Cave petroglyph representation of the town, especially in relationship to the peaks and the spiral motif drawn on them (a motif that can actually be found throughout David Lynch’s filmography).
This is what one can find in Churchward’s The Sacred Symbols of Mu (1933): “A careful study of the symbol and where and under what circumstances it is found leads me to the belief that:–These hitherto unreadable spiral symbols give the hidden meaning of the hieratic letter N–Mu’s alphabet; that they are intended to depict the continuance of the soul from one cycle to another, from one incarnation to another, eventually ending whence it came. In the New Grange picture which I have shown there are three spirals all running into each other without an end. I take it that the third spiral is meant to indicate the passing of the soul into the world beyond or maybe to some other body in the Universe specially prepared to receive it…
A spiral with an end pointing to the right is an ancient Uighur symbol meaning, “going to somewhere.” It is also found in Mexico and among the North American Indians.”
Moving on to Easter Island (Rapa Nui): “There was a profusion of rock art in petroglyphs depicting fish, spirals, a variety of geometric designs, and an ubiquitous birdman, a cult figure without parallel in the vast Pacific… the mysteries of Makemake, the bird-man cult from old Hiva” (the Polynesian version of Mu).
Described as “the navel of the world”, Easter Island is reported to be situated at the meeting point of two geological fault lines, according to Joseph: “They recognized Easter Island’s strategic position at the epicenter of a capital T, or flat-topped cross, formed by two connecting fault lines on the bottom of the sea, a configuration they used as the tau emblem of their civilization“. Famous for its collection of giant megalithic “Moai”, Joseph then claims that there are similar reports as in Nan Madol of magically levitated rocks by sorcerers from a sunken civilization who came to the island: “The merest hint of this lost construction art occurs in local legend, which tells how the gigantic statues were made to walk to their assigned positions through the power of ‘mana’, a supernatural or psychic force conjured by priest of the Hanau-eepe“.
In a process reminiscent of the one occurring at Nan Madol, where the electromagnetic power of the basalt is supposed to prevent typhoons, “Easter Island’s standing colossi transformed the mechanical energy of earthquakes, discharging it into electrical energy, thereby ameliorating the worst effects of seismic upheaval… Together, they formed an anti-earthquake device“.
Also interesting in the context of Twin Peaks is the following quote: “Its energies generate electromagnetic fields that can powerfully influence the electromagnetic circuitry of the brain to induce altered states of consciousness. The harnessed power of our planet was something not only directed to disperse and relieve tectonic stress, but also used in spiritual ways we are only just discovering. For example, it is now understood that granite in large volume produces relatively high levels of radiation, which alter human consciousness by inducing drowsiness and psycho-spiritual experiences, such as a sense of traveling through time and astral projection“.
In my book, I insist on the importance of the states of modified consciousness in Twin Peaks, whether from drugs, coffee, sugar, or dreams. Garland Jennings’ “trip” through time and space, after his abduction, might have been the result of such an electromagnetic influence – his brain and body resonating with the frequencies generated by the geological properties of Twin Peaks. Perhaps then was the scene when he sits on a throne lost amidst vegetation a visualization of the lost kingdom of Lemuria?
The last stop on the Pacific Ocean is Japan, which Jomon culture is thought by Joseph to have been greatly influenced by Lemuria. Indeed, besides the ‘citadel’ found eighty feet beneath the surface of the Pacific off Japan’s Yonaguni island, which some describe as proof of the existence of a highly developed race in Earth’s distant past, Swiss author Erich von Däniken, one of the main proponents of the ancient astronauts theory – which claims extraterrestrial influences on early human beings – believes that the Jomon statues depict alien visitors. Very much influenced by H.P. Lovecraft’s Chtulhu Mythos, his ideas have repeatedly been debunked by what he and his followers call the “mainstream scholars” (i.e. basically anyone who disagrees with their tale). Joseph: “The former leaders of Chinese culture migrated once more, this time to Japan. There they intermarried with the resident Caucasians, known as the Jomon, creators of the world’s first pottery, to form the modern Japanese people“. One cannot help but notice a strong resemblance between these figurines and the symbol that appears on the Owl Cave petroglyph…
The link between Lemurians and extraterrestrial (actually “intraterrestrials”, coming from the Hollow Earth) is made by Richard Sharpe Shaver in the mid 20th century in his series of tales published by Amazing Stories. I will visit his work in a new post soon.
Before closing this post, I’d like to remind readers that several characters from Twin Peaks are directly associated with the Pacific realm, such as Doctor Jacoby (Hawaii) and Carl Rodd (Alaska and war in the Pacific). This is no accident and will probably lead to fascinating developments in the upcoming 3rd season of the series.
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