Question: What is that shadow that passes across the curtains in Agent Cooper's Red Room dream sequence in Twin Peaks Episode 2?
Answer: We identified the shadow that passes across the curtains as the planet Saturn, a fact we briefly mention in a former article: TWIN PEAKS - #2 RED ROOM (1990). When explaining our reasons for this deduction to someone privately, we realized our answer touches on many unexplained mysteries from the classic TV series. Many viewers could be illuminated if we share some ideas about the show's White and Black Lodge mythos and the nature of the extra-dimensional entities who inhabit those realms.
Harmony of the Spheres (Crystalline Noise)
Several clues point us in the direction of identifying that shadow as the planet Saturn. One, the sound of crystal glass being rubbed can be heard while the Little Man from Another Place rubs his hands together, echoing an old-time tradition began by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, for whom the famous Pythagorean Theorem was named. In his theory of the cosmos, if you looked down on planet Earth from outer space, you would see all the planets attached to spherical rings. He believed the motion of these rings rubbing against one another would create a musical sound of sorts, which in concert with the noise generated from all the other planets would create a celestial harmony in space. This theoretical harmony of the spheres (a.k.a. musica universalis) would be similar to the sound of rubbing crystal glasses.
Wikipedia entry on Musica Universalis: "Pythagoras first identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios. In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution, and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear. Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as "twinned" studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions."
|From the Series Finale|
|From the Extended "Closed" European Ending of the Pilot|
|From the Final Scene of the Prequel Film Fire Walk with Me (1992)|
Two, the planet Saturn was the most distant planet discovered by the Greeks, being the last planet clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth. Therefore, Saturn would have likely been viewed with a greater sense of mystical wonder than the other planets. And chances are Lynch wanted to reinforce this theme with the classical Greek statue in the background of the Red Room. Furthermore, the lamp on the desk next to Agent Cooper strongly resembles the planet Saturn, further supporting our conclusion.
|Deputy Andy's Reproduction of the Owl Cave Petroglyph|
Three, in the series finale, Agent Cooper figures out the doorway to the Black Lodge will only open when the planets Jupiter and Saturn are in alignment. Although the 4H Club-esque symbol is discerned to be the combined symbols of Jupiter and Saturn, we also clearly see drawings of the giant and the dwarf nearby. We can infer that Jupiter (the largest planet) corresponds to the Giant, and Saturn (the smaller planet of the two) corresponds to the Dwarf.
Since the Dwarf rubs his hands together to produce the harmony of the spheres to coincide with the transit of Saturn behind the curtains, this supports our idea that the Dwarf is connected to and represents the planet Saturn in the greater Lodgeian mythos.
Now let's jump back to the series finale, when Agent Cooper enters the Waiting Room to the Black Lodge. At one point the Giant and the Dwarf sit side by side and they say, "One and the same." Then the Giant disappears and only the Dwarf remains with Cooper. The Giant is Jupiter and the Dwarf is Saturn, but they are now one and the same planet from the perspective of Earth. This moment correlates to Twin Peaks' recurring theme of dual identities, one of which is visible to other people, the other hidden or at least obscured from sight.
Therefore, the Giant seems to be a shadow projection of the Dwarf when communicating with conscious mortals on Earth. Whenever the dwarf wants to speak directly to a waking Agent Cooper, he apparently uses the form of the Giant as an intermediary. Just as the planet Saturn is further removed from Earth than the planet Jupiter, so too is the Dwarf further removed from Cooper than is the Giant. And just as Cooper cannot travel to the White and Black Lodge except during an alignment between Saturn and Jupiter, so too must the Dwarf align with his private Jupiter as a megaphone to the conscious Cooper.
While other levels of meaning and interpretation surely exist and should be considered by all viewers, we believe this information may help clarify a lot of confusion about the nature of the Dwarf and the Giant and help you further refine your own ideas about the Twin Peaks mythos. Far from being random, David Lynch and Mark Frost's symbolism seems remarkably coherent, albeit abstract in nature. The Twin Peaks Gazette has a useful resource of essays on their Project Red Room page, which could further help you plumb the depths of Twin Peaks' greater meaning.
One and the Same