I am now a regular contributor to the 25 Years Later website, where you can find the latest in Twin Peaks fun, with podcast reviews, theories and analysis, debates and other fun articles from fan contributors!
During one of our talks for the MLMT episode of Bickering Peaks podcast, the great people there and I discussed the fact that Dale Cooper is definitely a Tarot sort of man. And I offered to read his! The spread used is the Celtic Cross.
This is really possible, I assure you , because a television character, or a book character, is real in a certain sense, and their emotions and aura are something you can channel. For this special reading I used my general set up: My candle, and crystals etc. Two things changed in order to help me focus on Dale Cooper’s energies. I listened to the Twin Peaks theme instead of my usual atmospheric melodies (check out Adrien von Ziegler) and I chose a particular item through which to channel his energy – my Nazar from Turkey, which I thought fit quite well to his intuitive tendencies to serve as a talisman stand in for an actual person.
I started with an 8 minute meditation to really open up my intuitive senses, considering that any ‘distance’ reading is more difficult to channel.
The Deck used in the reading is the Universal Waite Tarot, a variant on the Rider Waite-Smith deck.
Below you will find a comprehensive ‘reading’ and above is a picture of the spread. It came out scarily precise, and I’m so excited to share it with you all.
A Celtic Cross reading, for those who don’t know, is a fairly traditional and comprehensive reading. It can be fairly difficult to interpret because of the amount of cards and the necessity to read them together as a whole, rather than as separate pieces, however, if your deck is working with you and your intuition is flowing, you can piece the puzzle together, even when not quite as experienced as others. I’m fairly amateur yet, but my decks are patient and helpful and very aware of my shortcomings.
Please bear in mind that each person reads and interprets cards differently. Such is the nature of the thing.
I will present each position, what it signifies and how the card fits into that concept. At the end, I will provide a cohesive summary/picture under “Outcome” of what this spread is saying to/for Dale Cooper. I have written addressing Dale in the third person instead of the first.
Card 1: The Present – Position, center.
Inverse Page of Swords:
The Page of Swords is focused on using the mind, being truthful, being just and having fortitude. All things which Dale Cooper generally is. He stands with his sword at the ready, fleet of foot, but yet looks back. He signifies here the urgency of the challenge at hand, that there is an opportunity present. It’s tenuous, but its there, waiting. In the inverse position, this signifies a weakened state of being in terms of these attributes. Dale is on the precipice. At the present, his journey has only just gotten more serious, and there is a darkness ahead which he must face, even in this uncertain state. A journey of the spirit, perhaps.
Card 2: The Challenge – Position, cross-ways over Card 1.
The Three of Swords:
The Three of Swords is characteristic of heartbreak, loneliness and betrayal. The image of the swords stabbing into the heart is universal for these feelings. This comes through in multiple ways for Dale. Where we have left him, he is separated from not only those closest to him, but from his own self. He is wholly isolated. This challenge manifests in the pain of his knowledge that he’s lost absolutely everything he holds dear, as well as his ability to affect any of it. This painful truth is at the crux of his challenge. In being cut off, Dale is effectively rendered incapable of doing the things he would normally in order to bypass a challenge.
Card 3: The Past – Position, to the left of center from Card 1.
Inverse Queen of Cups:
This card and in this position is particularly telling. She sits on her throne,not looking out to the sea around her but contemplating the cup at hand, which is intricate and beautiful. She is loving and tenderhearted, and highly characteristic of intuition – an attribute most commonly associated with Dale Cooper. She is spiritual in nature and filled with psychic openness and awareness, all things which Dale is known for having been. He, like she, isn’t moody, but understands and recognizes the moods, emotions and situations in others. However, she is in the inverse, which is also characteristic of a struggle.
The Queen of Cups can be paired with the Page of Swords here, as they are both court cards. Together, a Queen and a Page represent the dichotomy between the aspects we associate with childhood and adulthood: seriousness vs. lightheartedness, responsibility vs. carefree nature, jaded knowledge vs. innocent hearts.
Seeing as these are also Cups and Swords, we can compare the suits in tandem. Cups and Swords are at odds as well: Air vs. Water elements, thoughts vs. feelings, truth vs. love, logic vs. emotion and reason vs. intuition.
This fits Dale quite well, as we know that he often struggles to find harmony between these elements of his person and character, which harmonizes with the inverse position of both the Page and the Queen as well as their combined meanings. Dale’s past has led him to this point in the present: he is unable to harmonize himself, which has caused a rift in his journey, leaving him vulnerable to negative energies.
Card 4: The Future – Position, to the right of center from Card 1.
Knight of Cups:
This card also is highly characteristic of one aspect of Dale’s nature, though it works as a double edged sword. A knight in shining armor sits on his white horse, headed out into the world on a quest. This is Dale to a tee. He believes himself to be this knight. Analog to the idea of a knight is his position as a federal agent. It is not only his job but his calling to save people. He almost believes it to be an obligation. However, this future is not one that is far away, but one that is near. Dale’s belief that he must be the one to save others will spur him to attempt to do just that. Care should be taken in regards to this card, because it also focuses on a dichotomy; The knight taking up a quest is a very romantic notion that must be tempered with reality, and the Knight of Cups is significant in that it symbolizes that Dale is unaware of such reality. He cannot always be the knight, and nor is it realistic that he be expected to save everyone and right everything that is wrong with the world. This notion could be considered dangerously fanciful, and could spell inevitable trouble, both for Dale himself and for others in the pursuit of his quest. Indeed, one might say that this is a continuation of things which have already happened.
This card is in the upright, showing that it is working in full force.
Paired with the Queen, the Knight signifies an imbalance between caution and risk, between stability and instability and the Page and the Knight together focuses on the ideas of questioning and accepting. Dale is most certainly in this in between place.
Card 5: Above – Position, above center from Card 1. Signifies Goals and aspirations – the consciousness of the situation
Inverse 8 of Pentacles:
This card depicts a young man, alone, invested in his work. In the upright, it implies hard work, diligence, knowledge and attention to detail. These are all things which consciously, Dale is working towards. He is the lone agent on the case, but his focus slips as he loses sight of a strong goal after the capture of Leland, and with the introduction of Windom Earle back into his life, as well as the heightening of his romantic notions with the introduction of another love interest into his circle of influence. While these things are still in his field of vision, he’s been distracted and begun to loose focus. He desires to gain an understanding of the world, of the things which are happening to him, to the town, hoping to discover what Windom is after, but looks not within but rather without in this attempt. By denying his intuition – the Queen of Cups from his past – he put the acquisition of his goals in danger.
Card 6: Below – Position, below center from Card 1. Signifies what is happening in the subconscious, those things which are not yet fully realized, but are acting on the querent.
The Hierophant is decked in the iconography of his institution and works as analogue to Cooper’s position in the Government, fully rooted in establishment ideals of law and order based on set rules by the institution in question. The Hierophant is the champion of establishment ways. This often includes the idea of teamwork, as an institution is made up of parts. The subconscious thoughts here are focused on such things as practical knowledge/education, conforming to a pre-set role and subscribing to rules.
This is later reinforced by the 3 of Cups and the 3 of pentacles.
Dale clings to his ties with the FBI subconsciously, bound by law and order despite his intuitive nature, representing a dichotomy of self and a disharmony within his own core values. Especially with the temporary loss of his position with the FBI, the physical ties to law enforcement are tenuous, which both weakens and strengthens these ideas. While he is perhaps more focused on the idea subconsciously, he has also had the opportunity to fling himself consciously to the opposite extreme. Dale is also partnerless – indeed pitted against his former partner, which subverts the idea of an upright hierophant, wherein teamwork would normally be a characteristic.
Card 7: Advice – Position, bottom of the column.
Inverse 3 of Cups:
The 3 of Cups reinforces the subconscious ideas of the Hierophant, and, in the inverse position, continues to highlight the ongoing internal struggle that Dale is engaged in. The 3 of Cups shows a group of people who stand joyously together, and evokes the image of persons who have fully embraced the idea of community, partnership, friendship and love. The are taking joy in life.
For Dale, this advice is sound. With the 8 of pentacles, we’ve seen that he is walking a lonely road as it were; despite his connections with the people in Twin Peaks, like his friendship with Truman, or his connection with Audrey and Annie, and despite the occasional visit from Gordon or Albert of Denise, Dale is still essentially a loner. He sits apart from the others, despite his obvious interest in joining them, going so far as to look at property, but falling back into the role previously set for him institutionally. He would have greater happiness, and success, were he fully able and willing to engage with other people. Dale is troubled by his desire to achieve oneness and community, primarily because of his inability to retain it – the position in the FBI leaves him transient and unable to settle.
Card 8: External Influences – Position, second from bottom of column.
Inverse 9 of Pentacles:
The 9 of Pentacles works in direct opposition to the 3 of pentacles, which follows with Dale’s trajectory very well. It depicts a woman, alone, who is reveling in substance around her. The events of Dale’s life as we know them have forced Dale to rely on himself and focus on self achievement and individualism. Teamwork in the past has backfired on him (Windom), and despite his willingness to engage with others and his awareness that others have valuable insight, like Truman or Audrey, he is first and foremost self reliant. Audrey assists him but, in the process, ends up in trouble at One-Eyed Jack’s. An event such as this only serves to push Dale further away from accepting community help because, with his romantic “knight in shining armor” notions, he is left understanding that because it was he she desired to help, then it is his fault she ends up in trouble in the first place, thus making it his obligation to save her. This stems most likely from his experience with Caroline and is seen again in his relationship with Annie, whom he seeks out because he recognizes that same nature in her, of something that he is obligated to save. The dichotomy of self is again present here as Cooper struggles between individuality and community.
Card 9: Hopes and Fears – Position, second from top of column.
Inverse 3 of Pentacles:
The 3 of Pentacles is again reminiscent of teamwork and community, showing a group of possibly academics discussing something or solving a problem. This works as both hopes and fears because of Dale’s struggle. It is obvious that he desires to enter the community, but fears his reliance on others will harm them in the long run, and thus cannot fully commit to the idea, which hampers his progress on his journey.
Card 10: Outcome – Position, top of column.
Temperance is a card that is focused on harmony and balance. This outcome is the most desirable for Dale. It features an angel, which is also significant in that angels represent absolution for those he believes harmed in his name or because of their care for him. Temperance is reinforced by the 3 of pentacles. Harmony is achievable for Dale, if he is able to balance his polar extreme nature. It will most likely be a difficult time to find and keep balance between his intuition and his rationale, his childlike wonder and his formal government job, his desire to enter into a community with his fear of being close to others. He must bring together the opposing sides of himself in order to overcome his challenge, and his current position, tenuous as we know it to be, would certainly require total reliance on others in order to help him make his journey.
In 2004 when the Sam Raimi Spiderman was just coming out, my newspaper, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, sent out reissues of old Spiderman comics. I collected them for a while, and eventually threw them out. That was my first experience with actual comics. Before this point, I had already been watching Adam West Batman reruns on TV, Justice League (and eventually JL Unlimited), Batman the Animated series, Teen Titans and Batman Beyond. I’d seen the Batman films, from Keaton to Clooney, Raimi’s Spiderman films, when they all came out) and and Brian Singer’s X-Men, of which at the time there were only two.
Of these things, I hardly understood that any besides Batman and Spiderman had their origin in comics, especially in the case of X-Men, the origins of which I didn’t find out until after the third film The Last Stand was released. I ate all of it up, despite my ignorance. At an early age, I was hooked on heroes.
Then, in 2005, Batman Begins was released. Suddenly, my brother seemed to know details about Batman, through where he learned them, even he doesn’t recall. I remember him talking about how awesome the movie was, how different, groundbreaking. A whole new calibre of film. I remember him being especially excited about the presence of R’as al Ghul, mentioning that he was Batman’s teacher, something of which both my father and I were unaware. So of course, we had to own it. My brother is rarely wrong when it comes to film recommendations…or at least back then. Times change. I watched it, loved it, and kept up with the Batman and related animated series more diligently than before.
But it was with the 2008 released of The Dark Knight that things really changed. It came out on July 18th, and it was all anyone talked about for the next four months. I can still recall the hype with vivid detail. It was going to be in IMAX. The Joker was going to be realistic and terrifying. The Dark Knight ride popped up at Six Flag Great America. (It was and remains a boring waste of space, if I’m being honest.)
Batman, Batman, Batman. Batman collectibles from the Noble Collection. Batman shirts, shorts, basketballs, hoodies, etc. Nolan Batman Halloween costumes. (Incidentally, I went as Batman. I even sprung for the $30 mask)
The release of TDK coincides, incidentally enough, with my first year of high school. We had a very nice library/IMC, and, as a result, I suddenly had more access to comics than ever before. My interest piqued by TDK, I sat down and read my very first graphic novel, Batman: The Long Halloween. It was a match made in heaven. Nolan’s Batman focused heavily on the mob and crime portion of the Batman world. Long Halloween, also highlighted those factors. I could not have picked up a more perfect graphic novel, considering the circumstances of my situation. Everything fell into place. The timing was just right. Every positive factor was in play.
I read every DC comic the library owned.After Long Halloween, I read JSA: The Liberty Files, followed by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Returns. While I enjoyed the elseworlds JSA, contrary to popular opinion, I detested Miller’s lauded contributions. To this day, what most consider his seminal work is my least favourite comic of all time. To be fair, between DK/DKR and Batman Forever, I have a very strange powerful mental image of Gotham’s architecture and criminal underbelly. Very cybergoth.
Somehow, this dissatisfaction didn’t stop me. Batman: Hush, another classic, was next on the shelf. Hush definitely made up for any prior ill feelings. Hush was my first real introduction to the many distinctive members of the Bat Family, as well as many rogues not covered in LH or in any animated series. Ultimately, Hush defined how I looked at various character in the DC universe. It left a lasting impression and permanent association/expectations of what Comics (especially Batman) should be. Eventually, I ran out of DC at the library, completely bypassed Marvel and began to seek out comics elsewhere.
The Public Library, the WWW, and a Wider Look at DC and Independent Publishing
A little background is required here. I had a Slovakian exchange student I’ll refer to here as Ell. Ell was very knowledgeable about the internet and he taught me everything he knew. He also gave me secret access to the internet on my personal desktop computer, which was technically prohibited by my parents. Oops. (We weren’t too far removed from Dial Up in those days, and now I’m really starting to sound far older than I am).
Anyhow, through his gift of knowledge, I came to learn about the many ways of getting things one wouldn’t otherwise have access too. I turned my knew knowledge to comics and began reading them online. I found a website, codename: fortress, which made this process easy. I’m still a member there, and very glad of it.
Through the people at Fortress, I entered into my first comics community. It was a highly positive environment, judgement free and long preceded the “gatekeeping”scandals of today. As a teen girl, I found a warm welcome into the world of comics that has enabled me to continue positively in my pursuit of comics, without being treated differently, as befalls, so it seems, so many others. it was also there where I was granted a wider view of comics in general. The scope went from minimal to unlimited. Somehow I still ended up bypassing Marvel entirely, in favour of more DC exploration, as well as looking in Independent publishers as a sought out some favourite fandoms: Transformers and Star Wars.
I also went after classice horror. IDW had a great variety of genres and titles to pic from and I enjoyed it as much as I did DC. Dreamwave had the monopoly on Transformers at the time, though IDW had published several Transformers titles as well.
But Hush had more of an effect that I would have ever imagined, because it cemented my love of my all time favourite comic book hero: Dick Grayson. At the time, Morrison’s run on Batman was still ongoing. I got all of the trades I could from the library, filled in with comics online and eventually came to buy the first Graphic Novel I would ever own: Batman and Robin Reborn, featuring Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne as the Dynamic Duo.
In between that, Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, and G.I. Joe and the Transformers, I also found time for Heart of Hush, Dark Victory, Gotham by Gaslight(Elseworlds), The Killing Joke, and the unforgettable A Death in the Family (I eventually wrote a paper involved ADITF circa 2010).
By 2010, I was a firmly entrenched fan. This segment of my life came to an end when I was messing around with my computer. I permanently deleted my comics folder – it was so large, I didn’t go to recycle. Unhappy at the loss of my massive collection, which had taken hour and hours to compile, I gave up utterly, unwilling to go through the trouble and download them again.
A hiatus ensued for the next year and a half. I barely bothered with comics at all. The most interaction I maintained was in the film and TV arena only. I missed the entire transition to the New52, which may have actually been a blessing in disguise.
In 2012, things changed again. I had seen Iron Man when it had first come out as well as Iron Man 2, but I had never watched any other MCU films, such as Captain America, the First Avenger, or Thor. I was only peripherally aware of Iron Man being a comic. Avengers was slated to come out that May. I had a good friend, A., who liked Thor (read Loki) and made me watch it so I could go see Avengers with her.
I promptly feel into the craze, however, in that time I only read all of three Marvel comics, two of which were from Thor (one I owned, the other was the library’s copy – I have since given away the Thor trade) and the other being Wolverine: Origins, which I picked up in a Barnes and Noble, sat down, read cover to cover, and then bought. I didn’t watch Captain America in that time at all. However, I found that my interest in comics was renewed.
A Dive into Independent Titles and the Beginning of the End
Upon entering college, I basically acquired a Marvel focused friend group, which a side of Doctor Who. These friends had more knowledge and definitely more interest in Marvel than I. They not only watched the movies, they read the comics. I found myself attempting to fit in. Unfortunately, I only have remained friends with two of those original 6 people, which, in the long run is probably beneficial to my health and sanity.
Because my interest in Marvel was essentially limited to film, I retaliated by using what I knew. DC. I pushed it on them, as they pushed Marvel on me. They had less knowledge of the rival publisher than I did of Marvel, and often disregarded my interest harshly. It wasn’t a good feeling. Next year, I found new friends (all ironically still Marvel people) who were far more relaxed, with varied interests, many of whom were into actually collecting the comics in physical form. We sought out a supplier at a store not far from campus.
I had been introduced to the X-Files that year (2013) and began collecting the newly begun X-Files Season 10. I added a Doctor Who trade to my collection, bringing my total count to 4 trades. IDW was the big winner that year. I eventually collected all the issues of Season 10, plus the Year Zero mini series. But once more, the dynamic was going to be altered.
A Return to DC
In 2014, CW’s The Flash hit network television. Arrow, of course, had been around but, recognizing Batman when I saw it, I never watched. They try to pass Ollie off as Batman. They must not know Ollie, if they thought they could. But I digress.
My interest, by virtue of the very onset of the show, was jump started towards the end of 2013. Two friends of mine joined me, religiously, to watch Young Justice (Season 3 is coming soon!). We’ll call them Kay and E. It was a hit with all of us. This only helped with Flash was announced. My interest was firmly reinvested in DC. I was genuinely excited about something of their for the first time a long time, and, because I’d left them so long, I had a lot of catching up to do.
I began buying comics again, en force, Independent and DC alike. My brief foray into Marvel was well and truly over, and though not altogether unenjoyable, they were soured by the people who had first pushed it on me. Flash turned out to be great, and the next year, NBC turned out the now cancelled, Constantine. Though. short lived, I was completely enthralled, especially considering the mess that was the film, starring Keanu Reeves. Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl followed in the wake of Constantine’s cancellation. Those were added to our watchlist as well. As a result, I began to collect Hellblazer, and, eventually Constantine: The Hellblazer. The five volume collection of New52 Nightwing, and various others, such as Flashpoint, which I was already familiar with from the DCAU film.
I began subscribing from a local comic store, now closed, in 2014. There, I finished collecting my X-Files run, finished Constantine: The Hellblazer, and began collecting Nightwing Rebirth and Hellblazer Rebirth. My collection of trades, both Independent and DC has grown extensive. I now own all three hardcover deluxe editions of Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin. Completing that particular set was a monumental feeling.
At the end of October, Neptune Comics, where I was a regular, known by name customer, closed. Aware of how difficult it can be to get back issues, I immediately set myself up at another comic book store, Kowabunga Comics and have been subscribing through them ever since.
I now have action figures, Funko Pop toys, costumes (including a complete Zatanna Zatara cosplay) and a DC clothing item for every day of the week and then some. I own movies, seasons of television shows. I play video games. I drew and sold pictures, I’ve written fanworks. I attempted to go to Wizard Con Chicago. My phone rings to alarm me when Flash, Legends, and Supergirl are on. Posters litter my walls. I had to completely rearrange a bookcase to accommodate my trades and single issues.
Comics have had an impact on my life. They have influenced how I spend my time, who I hang out with, and where I spend my money. Hundreds of dollars that could have gone to my college debt fund were invested in buying comics.
Currently, I’m binge watching Smallville for the first time.
Comics and Culture
So where does this leave me now? The landscape of the comics industry is changing, almost reverting, while the film industry continues to send more and more superhero flicks into theatres.
Myself and others, have had to change with the comics industry, as much as they change because of us. They say that, statistically speaking, superheroes and comics are most popular during times of war, and turmoil in society. That certainly fits with the current obsession.
Recently The Killing Joke was released into the DCAU, and even premiered in theatres. Regardless of whether you’ve seen it, liked it, hated it, I am going to explain why it’s theatrical premiere so significant for the comics industry.
It is nothing new to speak of elitism among comics fans; everyone’s been guilty of it at one point or another. But, in part as a result of the MCU, comics are more and more accessible to viewers who would not normally engage in them. I’m not saying that any particular film is better than the other here, but what I am trying to express is the role that they play now. The DCEU is something else entirely. While not general audience accessible, I don’t think that the DCEU speaks to elitism, rather, as most superhero flicks are catered to a general audience, like the MCU did, the DCEU is trying to work exclusively to the interests of serious comic book fans. My opinion on either publishers films is inconsequential. What this means, why films like The Killing Joke can make it to theatres and be successful, is that our culture has finally accepted superheroes and comics as part of the mainstream.
More people are now interested in more knowledge than ever. When I was young, comics were undergoing a transitory period, and now it’s changing again. Its sometimes hard and more than a little expensive – it adds up fast – to collect comics. Ease of access on the internet, both legally and otherwise, is an important factor in this. When I was mainly an online reader, I didn’t have the capability to get to a comic book store. Now, as an adult, I’m there too much. As the era of psychical copies dwindles, we are accidentally putting out favourite places out of business. Instant gratification is actually making it more difficult to get certain comic titles. Unfortunately, we only miss our local comic book stores once they’re gone.
So whatever it is that you’re reading, whatever generation of comics you identify with, or belong to, please make an effort to express your interest. As the saying goes, you get what you give. We are in an age of Superheroes. Enjoy it while it lasts, before it burns out and we wait for another seminal work, a la Nolan’s Dark Knight to revive us.