"The Wizard of OZ" by Rev. Christine Emmerling 7/31/22 (text)
“The Wizard of Oz” by Rev. Christine Emmerling 7/31/22
This week I’m presenting the last in the series of fairytales “The Wizard of Oz.” L. Frank Baum wrote this book in May 1900, it was originally titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In all there were 14 novels to this series. In 1892,
Baum joined the Theosophical Society, and turned to writing about fiction with occult and mystical themes which is found in the Wizard of Oz series. Please note that the original story had Dorothy wearing silver shoes.
I will first give an abbreviated account of the story, and then give the spiritual meaning. Dorothy Gale is a young girl of 12 who lives with her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and dog, Toto, on a farm on the Kansas prairie. One day, Toto bites the rich and powerful neighbor who demands that Toto be destroyed or will sue. Dorothy’s Aunt and Uncle give in to the demand. But then Toto runs away and Dorothy goes after him. A cyclone comes, and the Aunt and Uncle go into the shelter, but can’t wait any longer for Dorothy and Toto and close the doors. When Dorothy returns with Toto she finds the shelter door closed, and goes into the house for protection.
Dorothy is knocked out when the cyclone picks up the farmhouse. The cyclone drops the farmhouse into Munchkin Country in the magical Land of Oz. Upon landing the farmhouse kills the Wicked Witch of the East, the evil ruler of the Munchkin. Now dead the wicked witch vanishes except for her silver shoes. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North arrives with three grateful Munchkin and gives Dorothy the magical silver shoes that adjust to fit.
All that Dorothy wants is to go back home. The Good Witch tells Dorothy that the only way she can return home to Kansas is to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, and ask the great and powerful Wizard of Oz to help her. As Dorothy embarks on her journey, the Good Witch of the North gives her a kiss on the forehead as magical protection from harm.
On her way down the yellow brick road, Dorothy attends a banquet held by a Munchkin named Boq. As Dorothy continues on her journey on the yellow brick road, she frees a Scarecrow from the pole on which he is hanging, applies oil from a can to the rusted joints of a Tin Woodman, and meets a Cowardly Lion. Animal and things talk in this magical land of Oz. The Scarecrow explains he wants a brain, the Tin Woodman wants a heart, and the Lion wants courage. Dorothy encourages them to journey with her and Toto to Emerald City to ask for help from the Wizard.
On their way they overcome several obstacles by helping each other. As they arrive at the gates of the Emerald City they are met by the Guardian of the Gates. He gives them green tinted eyeglasses to wear to not be blinded by the city's brilliance. Each one is called to see the Wizard. He appears to Dorothy as a giant head, to the Scarecrow as a lovely lady, to the Tin Woodman as a terrible beast, and to the Lion as a ball of fire. The wizard agrees to help them all if they kill the Wicked Witch of the West, who rules over Winkie Country. The Guardian warns them that no one has ever managed to defeat the witch.
They have more obstacles to overcome on their way to the home of the wicked witch of the west. The wicked witch uses the power of the golden cap to send the Winged Monkeys to capture Dorothy, Toto, and friends. Now Dorothy is forced to become the witch’s personal slave. The witch schemes to steal her silver shoes, and successfully tricks Dorothy out of one of her silver shoes.
Dorothy picks up a bucket of water, and throws it at the wicked witch. She melts and disappears leaving behind her magical golden cap and broomstick. The Winkie slaves rejoice at being freed. They help stuff the Scarecrow and mend the Tin Woodman. Dorothy takes the magical golden cap and broomstick. She uses the golden cap to summon the winged monkeys to take them all back to Emerald City to the with wizard of Oz.
Dorothy and her friends return to see the Wizard and show him the broom stick as proof of destroying the wicked witch of the west. Toto tips over a screen in a corner of the throne room that reveals the Wizard. He sadly explains being a humbug, an ordinary old man who arrived to Oz by a hot air balloon from Omaha.
He proceeds to fulfill his promise the best he can by providing the Scarecrow with a head full of bran, pins, and needles so that he will have brand-new brains that are sharp as a pin. He puts inside the Tin Woodman a heart made of stuffed silk guaranteed not to break. The Wizard provides a potion for the Lion to drink to give him courage. They now have faith in their new brain, heart, and potion. The wizard offers to take Dorothy and Toto home on his way back to Omaha in his balloon. Just as they are to leave Toto chases a kitten in the crowd and Dorothy goes after him. The ropes holding the balloon break and the Wizard floats away leaving Dorothy and Toto behind.
Dorothy using the golden cap summons the Winged Monkeys and tells them to carry her and Toto home, but they explain they can't cross the desert surrounding Oz. A Soldier informs Dorothy that Glinda, the Good Witch of the South may be able to help her return home. The travelers have more adventures as they journey to Glinda's castle in Quadling Country.
Glinda asks Dorothy for the golden cap in exchange of how to get home. Glinda reveals that Dorothy's silver shoes can take her anywhere she wishes to go. Dorothy has her goodbyes to her friends. They each are given a kingdom in Oz to rule. Glinda uses her Golden Cap to send them. Dorothy with Toto in her arms, closes her eyes, and knocks her heels together three times and then commands, “Take me home to Aunt Em!” She was instantly lifted in the air. En route the silver shoes fall off and are lost forever. When Dorothy opened her eyes she and Toto were surprisingly sitting on the Kansas prairie with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.
Now for the spiritual meaning to this story. The story begins in Kansas which represents the material world, the physical plane where each one of us begins our spiritual journey. Dorothy represents our soul that is on a spiritual quest. She’s questioning life and looking for answers. Her dog Toto represents her instincts and intuition that are never wrong.
The angry neighbor’s demand to destroy Toto represents how projected anger can disrupt one’s ability to listen for the voice of intuition. The mental aspect represented by the Uncle overpowers using fear to dis-empower the loving aspect represented by the Aunt. Our house is symbolic of our physical body; we are believing that our body is our life. We are ignoring our intuition; that inner guiding voice of truth for a false belief. Toto running away is our instinctive intuitive voice breaking through the noise of our fear based thoughts. The intuitive voice can be ignored, but not contained. We are now free to listen and follow our inner guiding voice, and follow our heart.
The giant cyclone spiraling upward represents the cycles of karma, the cycle of errors and lessons learned. It also represents a doorway, a portal to another dimension of consciousness. Dorothy being knocked out is symbolic of a spiritual experience in an altered state of consciousness. This is the hero’s story, or the initiate mastering.
The cyclone dropping the farmhouse and killing the wicked witch of the East is a blessing. The house represents our physical body that we have been freed from to experience this new magical land. All that Dorothy wants throughout the story is to return home. Another way to see this, as we at birth are born into this strange world, and our deepest desire is to return home from which we came - our being with God. Its all about returning to our true spiritual home where we find God within us.
The 3 Munchkin are grateful, and so is Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. They give Dorothy the magical silver shoes. Silver symbolizes the silver cord that is considered to be the link between our physical body and astral or spiritual body. When asleep our silver cord allows us to travel the astral realms of consciousness. Silver also means purity, clarity and vision. Feet symbolize our foundation of spiritual understanding.
Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, represents the love, light, and guiding spirit within us. North is the sacredness and wholeness of the divine guide within us. We are being guided along our journey going through our lessons to evolve and awaken.
The yellow brick road is our spiritual path filled with lots of adventures to put to practice and strengthen our spiritual muscles. Yellow represents confidence, happy, and optimistic; these are attitudes to have on our journey.
The yellow brick road begins as an outwardly expanding spiral. In symbolism, this spiral represents the evolving self, the soul ascending from the lower depths of consciousness of matter into the higher plane of spiritual consciousness.
Glinda’s kiss of protection is divine love; the true power to conquer all is love. The forehead represents an awakening to our true sight; to see beyond the illusions of this world. It is discernment between that which is true or false.
The Munchkin represent being childlike, innocent, and open minded. The 3 grateful Munchkin: The number 3 is symbolic of the creative action of spirit to set free the mind. A banquet is a feast; this symbolizes the feeding of our soul in matters of the spirit.
On our journey we acquire a scarecrow who wants a brain, tin woodman who wants a heart, and a cowardly lion that wants courage. These represent our unrealized qualities of our intelligence, compassion, and courage. They are aspects of our self that we already have, but need to exercise them to be realized and become strong within us. We develop these along our quest for enlightenment.
Their last obstacle before entering the beautiful Emerald City is to get through the poppy field. Poppies represent spiritual sleep. Our senses when distracted by the worldly things is like a hypnotic drug that lulls us to sleep. We are derailed from our spiritual path. Dorothy as our soul, Toto as our intuition, and the lion as our courage have fallen asleep.
The power of love and intelligence help us to awaken from this hypnotic sleep. While the lion takes thousands of tiny field mice to carry him out of the poppy field. The many mice represent our thoughts when they become focused are powerful, and can accomplish the unthinkable.
They finally make it to the Emerald City for the great Oz to grant their wishes. Here they are given a pair of green tinted glasses to wear. How easily we can be fooled by appearances. We put on our blinders to what truly is. This represents the collective unconscious that has agreed to the illusions of this world.
The Wizard, the fake facade of our ego, the internal dialog puts on a grand display to show its power through intimidation while all the time is afraid of being found out. We are convinced that we need to prove our self to be worthy of what is already ours by divine right.
They must kill the Wicked Witch of the West, who rules over Winkie Country. The wicked Witch represents our shadow side of negative thoughts. This is what we fear most, and these fears must be faced to be dissolved into the nothingness that they actually are in truth.
As they travel to face the wicked witch, the witch creates more obstacles to overcome. Being unsuccessful in stopping them, she uses her magical golden cap to summon the winged monkeys to bring Dorothy, Toto and friends to her. The golden cap represents the power of the mind to control. It is where you put your full attention that your intentions manifest. Ask and you shall receive.
Melting the witch away with just water represents a cleansing of the mind of all that is negative. Water is also used in baptisms to wash away our mistakes. In this case our shadow side is destroyed to nothingness; we are free. Dorothy gets the golden cap and uses to transport back to the Emerald City. Her intentions are now empowered to be swiftly fulfilled.
Our intuition discovers the truth about the wizard, our facade, and it no longer has any power to frighten. We have overcome every obstacle on our journey. We have elevated and integrated all aspects of our self. We listen to our intuition and spiritual guide to get home by clicking our silver shoes 3 times and speaking our intention with deep feeling “I want to see Aunt Em!”
The meaning of 3 here is idea and thought empowered with faith to bring into action. We now understand the power that we have; through our love and gratitude are immediately returned home. We are now an enlightened person that has found God within us. We have found our heaven on earth.
In the Bible Luke 2:41-52, we have the story of Jesus as a boy of 12 being in the temple speaking and listening to the teachers. For 3 days his parents searched for him, while he was about his Father’s business. This is an age of transition from a child to an adult. It is a period of questioning and discovery. It was after this that we have what is called the missing years. There are other records of Jesus traveling to other countries of Egypt, Persia, India, Nepal, and Tibet. He learned much in his travels of having been initiated in there spiritual traditions, and also sharing his wisdom. Truly a spiritual journey in mastering.
Then we have the story in Luke 4:1-13, of Jesus after being baptized going on a spiritual trek to the wilderness to be alone and fast. This is a spiritual journey to overcome his fears and doubts, and clarify his purpose. Spiritual fasting is to eliminate our negative thoughts and false beliefs. Then Jesus is tested by his adversary with temptations in misuse of power. The adversary represents our ego that is always tempting us. Jesus succeeds in declaring truth in the place of these temptations. When completed Jesus returns now as the Christ ready to begin his ministry.
Each and everyone of us is on a hero’s mystical journey. We gain insights along the way. We cultivate and strengthen our attributes and talents. We discover how powerful we really are. We discover love as the true power. And most of all we discover who we truly are as a living expression of God.