The magic of the PNW and a visit to Twin Peaks
I recently returned from a memorable trip to ridiculously rainy and verdant Washington state, for the first time in over a decade. And my oh my was it magical.
Especially when you look up.
Although I have a special affinity for the older, worn, and rounded mountains of Appalachia, where I’ve spent so much time, I am awed by the sheer bigness of everything in the west — the craggy and snow-covered mountains, yes, but also the trees. Those TREES!
Which always makes me recall the joyful exclamations about the PNW’s Douglas firs by Special Agent Dale Cooper from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, director David Lynch’s groundbreaking cult-classic, Twin Peaks.
If you were lucky enough to watch the show when it premiered in 1990, as I was, you’ll understand how it completely subverted — and forever changed — mainstream television with its mix of surrealism, mystery, comedy, and just plain Lynchian weirdness.
As a huge fan of the show (its first two seasons and the 2017 Showtime series, Twin Peaks: The Return) — I had always wanted to visit the iconic locations where it was filmed.
So after we did a bunch of hiking in Olympic National Park, and my kids got their fandom fix visiting the town of Forks — the rainiest place in the contiguous U.S. and where the Twilight series of movies was filmed — we set off to the mist-shrouded town of North Bend.
And in a rather mind-bending bit of synchronicity, the day my family and I arrived there, I discovered, was the EXACT DATE, to the day, that the Twin Peaks pilot episode aired 33 years ago!
Yeah, I got the full-body shivers when I realized that.
Some places just have a palpable personality and presence, and I can see why David Lynch picked the town — it’s simultaneously gorgeous and awe-inspiring and gloomy and foreboding.
Watching the gray mists coil through the towering trees, you can’t help but feel like there’s someone — or some thing — watching you from the shadows.
This part of the country, after all, is home to legendary cryptids like Sasquatch (you can find them on merchandise everywhere) and the very first flying saucer sighting (at Mt. Ranier by pilot Kenneth Arnold in 1947) that began the UFO era.
And like any true Twin Peaks fanatic, I had to stop at the RR Diner (now Twede’s Cafe) for a slice of cherry pie and a “damn fine” cup of coffee (in truth, both were delicious).
Among all the filming locations I visited, the absolute highlight was the jaw-dropping Snoqualmie Falls. I cannot begin to describe its beauty, but I have a video here so you can see for yourself.
It was strange and weird and, well, profoundly magical experiencing a world so connected in my mind to a fictional universe — the mystical, dark, and dreamy realm of Twin Peaks — and finding it difficult to separate the Lynchian realm from the “real” world. The disorientation felt very much like straddling two universes.
Which, when I thought of it, brought to mind a haunting quote from the series:
Through the dark of future’s past,
The magician longs to see;
One chants out between two worlds …
Fire … walk with me
Okay, now for those of you whose eyes glazed over at my fanboy nerdiness above 😁, here’s an update on my upcoming course, Tarot Magic.
I am so excited to share this material. It’s the culmination of years of work with tarot and magic, and grew from my realization that tarot itself can be a path of practical magic.
I can now share the course outline, which will give you a taste of what’s in store when it launches.
As with my Tarot Foundations course, though, it will likely grow and expand considerably beyond this outline. But this is where I am at the moment:
- Biography: My Journey into Tarot and Magic
- Course Goals: Know Thyself
- What is Magic? What is Tarot Magic?
- The Fool: Your Guide
- History of Tarot Magic
- The Aces and the Elements
- Elemental Aces Meditation (the Fourfold Rite)
- Altar of Aces: Tarot Crossroads
- Journey into the Arcana
- Bringing the Tarot to Life
- Dream Incubation
- Embodying the Arcana
- Consecration Ritual
- Tarot Talismans
- (Tarot) Cards as Weapons
- Spells: Attraction, Banishing, and Binding
- Psi Testing with Tarot Cards
- Bringing Magic to Your Readings
Exciting, right? The course will be available free to all Founding Members, and there will be special pre-sale discount for everyone else. There’s nothing like this course available anywhere, and I will have a video preview for you very soon.
That’s it for now. I hope you’re enjoying the new life and warmth of spring. Stay in touch, and talk soon!
P.S. Mother’s Day is coming soon! Looking for a thoughtful gift for the mother in your life? The Art and Magic of the Tarot: Foundations course provides a lifetime of enjoyment and study. Make mom happy with the lifelong gift of tarot! ❤️
Michael M. Hughes is a writer, speaker, and magical thinker. He is the author of Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change as well as numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction, and he speaks and teaches classes on magic, tarot, psychedelics, and more.
His comprehensive tarot course, The Art and Magic of the Tarot: Foundations, is available here (and makes a great gift!). Upcoming classes include Tarot Magic, Going Pro with Tarot, Introduction to the I Ching, and other magical topics.
His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, The L.A. Times, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, Wired, Elle, Vox, Cosmopolitan,and even the ultraconservative The American Spectator, which wrote: “He may play footsie with the devil, but at least the man has a sense of humor.”