My Blog

Zen of Oz

   Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:24 AM


by Joey Green. . .

Zen of Oz, Ruby Slippers: Spiritual Lessons From Oz
people.tribe.net/chaz/blog...f2faf72919

Never Let Those Ruby Slippers Off Your Feet

Your are born with an inner spark. This inner spark gives you a potentially radiant character and the capability of knowing, loving, and spiritually communicating with the creative intelligence of the universe. You are endowed with infinite potential for goodness and greatness. You have the free will to discover your inner spark and your cosmic purpose or the free will to extinguish your inner spark.

The ruby slippers actually represent the inner spark within us all. In Dorothy's dream, Glinda the Good Witch of the North, is Dorothy's mother. She travels in a pink bubble, reminiscent of the womb. She gives Dorothy the ruby slippers -- made, incidentally, from the rarest and costliest of gemstones -- a physical reminder of the value of Dorothy's inner spark, the breath of life. Then she watches over Dorothy from afar, like a spirit.

When Glinda tells Dorothy, "Never let those ruby slippers off your feet," she is actually telling Dorothy to never give up her passion, her individuality, her uniqueness, her spirit, her soul -- in short, her inner spark.

Think about it. After Dorothy crash-lands in Munchkinland, Glinda explains that Dorothy's house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing the tyrant who ruled Munchkin land. The Munchkins, relieved to discover that Dorothy isn't a witch at all, sing Dorothy's praises.

Unfortunately, the Wicked Witch of the West, who shows up in an ominous cloud of red smoke, doesn't share the Munchkin's joy. "Who killed my sister?" she demands. "Who killed the Witch of the East?" Was it you?"

"No-no -- it was an accident," pleads Dorothy. "I didn't mean to kill anyone."

When the Wicked Witch of the West threatens to cause an accident too, Glinda diverts her attention. "Aren't you forgetting the ruby slippers?" she asks. The Wicked Witch races over to the fallen house to snatch the slippers from her dead sister's feet, but the ruby slippers suddenly vanish. Her sister's feet, clad in only black-and-white striped socks, quickly shrivel up under the house. Without her inner spark, she completely withers away.

Glinda points her wand at the ruby slippers, now on Dorothy's feet. "There they are," she tells the Wicked Witch of the West, "and there they'll stay."

"Give me back my slippers!" demands the Wicked Witch of the West. "I'm the only one who knows how to use them. They're of no use to you!"

"Keep tight inside of them," Glinda instructs Dorothy. "Their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn't want them so badly."

Glinda pretends to know very little about the ruby slippers, but she obviously knows a lot more about their magical powers than she reveals. Otherwise, she would never bring them to the Wicked Witch's attention in the first place or magically whisk them onto Dorothy's feet. How much more does Glinda know about the ruby slippers' true nature? And why won't she share this information with Dorothy, a girl she obviously wishes to protect?

When Glinda disappears in her pink bubble, Dorothy is left to figure out the power of the ruby slippers for herself. All she knows is that the Wicked Witch is obsessed with obtaining them. We never learn why the Wicked Witch doesn't have a pair of sparkling red shoes like those worn by her sister.

Maybe the Wicked Witch of the West was jealous of her sister. Maybe she needs the ruby slippers to overcome that unresolved sibling rivalry. Maybe that's their "magical" power. The fact that she cannot kill Dorothy as long as the Kansas girl is wearing the ruby slippers proves that the shoes are more than just an ordinary pair of sequined red high heels.

One things is certain. The Wicked Witch of the West extinguished her inner spark long before Dorothy arrives in Oz, explaining why, as Glinda insists, she is much worse than her late sister. The Wicked Witch of the East may have been evil, but at least she still wore a physical reminder of her inner spark on her feet. Maybe that's why the Wicked Witch of the East did not subjugate the Munchkins as cruelly as her sister from the West suppresses the blue-faced Winged Monkeys and the green-faced, uniformed Winkies who guard her castle.

The Wicked Witch of the West wants the ruby slippers not so she can rekindle her own inner spark. She wants the ruby slippers so "my power will be the greatest in Oz!" Her hunger for power, however, is a sign of insecurity. What the Wicked Witch is rally chasing after is security. But security does not come from power.

Security comes from self-love -- knowing your true essence, your cosmic purpose, the pure potential of your spiritual being, not by controlling the lives of others. By choosing a life of righteousness, you come closer to the creative force of the universe, fanning the flames of your inner spark. By choosing wickedness, you distance yourself from the creative force of the universe, extinguishing your inner spark.

Bitterly jealous of Dorothy's youthful, impassioned, loving spirit, the Wicked Witch tries to extinguish Dorothy's inner spark to make the Kansas girl as lonely and miserable as she is. When the Winged Monkeys bring Dorothy to the Witch's castle, the Witch puts Toto in a basket, just like the one used by Miss Gulch. She threatens to have the Winged Monkeys drop the basket in the river and drown Toto -- unless Dorothy gives her the ruby slippers. Just like vindictive Miss Gulch, the Wicked Witch of the West plans to destroy Toto to kill Dorothy's spirit.

Embittered people who have extinguished their own inner spark justify their miserable existence by trying to extinguish the inner spark in others. But when the Wicked Witch of the West reaches for the ruby slippers, "sparks" fly from the shoes, giving the green-skinned witch a well-deserved electric shock. "Fool that I am!" she yells, "I should have remembered! Those slippers will never come off . . . as long as you're alive!"

Life is filled with people trying to get you down in the same hole that they're in. Teachers, politicians, bosses, even parents and friends, may try to rob you or your integrity, your passion, your reputation, your spirit, your cosmic purpose. They're no better than the Wicked Witch of the West trying to steal Dorothy's ruby slippers off your feet -- unless you let them. All you need to do is heed Glinda's words of warning. Never let those ruby slippers off your feet.

After Dorothy throws a bucket of water at the Wicked Witch, accidentally liquidating her, everyone forgets about the ruby slippers -- until the Wizard takes off in his hot-air balloon with out Dorothy. Glinda floats down in her pink bubble and tells Dorothy, "You've always had the power to go back to Kansas."

"Then why didn't you tell her before?" demands the Scarecrow, failing to use his brain.

"Because she wouldn't have believed me," explains Glinda. "She had to learn it for herself."

In other words, Dorothy had to discover her cosmic purpose, her intrinsic nature, her spiritual essence, on her own.

Dorothy agrees. "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard," she cryptically tells her friends, "because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with."

The answers are within, not handed to you on a silver platter by a wizard or a witch. As Dorothy learns, discovering your cosmic purpose brings you home to your true nature, empowering you and your ruby slippers. And the way to discover your cosmic purpose, to achieve Oneness with your spiritual essence, is to follow the Yellow Brick Road.



9 Comments

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Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:28 AM

This is what Dorothy learned:

1. We have the power. We have Ruby Red slippers to transport us to Kansas, to bring about the Edenic state, or to create our heart's desire.

2. Witches and cyclones, while bad, can be a means for spiritual growth.

3. We must learn for ourselves. Truth is not given so much as it is realized. Look within. You do not have to go off in search of a mystic or seek truth from a variety of exotic religions. Truth is found in your own back yard.

4. Reality is very simple. We create our own reality. We tend to make it more complicated than it need be. The simple universal fact is that, if we believe it to be so, it is.

5. There's no place like home. The kingdom of heaven is not a place; but a condition.

The Wizard of Oz is very real. If you look deep enough, you see that there is no difference between reality and fantasy, between this and that, here and there, the idea and the thing. All are variants of the same reality. All are waves; temporary forms of the same water.

Universal or Collective Unconscious

The Wizard of Oz is true on a noumenal level. It is filled with symbols and metaphors, all pointing to other things. Carl Jung and later Joseph Campbell described how certain symbols and motifs appear in mythology, fairy tales, stories, and religions throughout the world. According to Jung, these symbols are an expression of the collective unconscious, a concept similar to the akashic records mentioned by ancient mystics.

It is a psychic cyberspace, a place where every thought, feeling, and action of humanity is recorded. Whether or not we are aware of it, we are all connected, we are all online.

It was from the collective unconscious, a bubbling cauldron of archetypal images, that the Wizard of Oz was birthed into existence.

Of Archetypes and Journeys

Dorothy's journey away from Kansas and back again represents a spiritual quest, an expedition to inner dimensions to face all aspects of the Self . It is a move towards self-actualization, atonement or at-one-ment, whole-ness or holiness. It is a re-membering or becoming again one member with what we once were.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:28 AM


The First Lesson

As the story begins, we see Dorothy, a girl of twelve, running down a road. Her age is pertinent, as it is the end of childhood and the beginning of the transition to adulthood. In it two realms or ways of seeing meet: the dependent, intuitive childlike and the independent, logical adult.

Miss Gulch arrives at the farm. It appears that Toto, Dorothy's dog, has bitten her on the leg. She wants to take him to the sheriff to be destroyed. According to the law, Miss Gulch was right. One person's animal does not have the right to invade the space of another, much less bite that person on the leg. In accordance with the law, Miss Gulch had every right to seek restitution and demand that Toto be destroyed. But are right and wrong defined by the law?

Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1984) has described six levels of moral reasoning: punishment, reward, social approval, law, social contract, and universal principle. Miss Gulch was operating at the level of right and wrong as determined by law. This is the level of the fundamentalist, the literalist, the insurance document.

However, what is legal is sometimes not ethical or moral. Those who let laws, holy books, religious edicts, or religious figures determine right and wrong without questioning are abdicating their responsibility as human beings. For example, at one time, segregation and overt racial discrimination were legal. Thus it takes principled beings to challenge and shape the law.

Not being bad is not the same as being good.

Dorothy is the only person in this movie to take a stand based on moral principle regardless of the consequences. When Lion jumps out of the bushes and begins growling at Toto, in the face of what might have been great risk to herself, she slaps Lion on the nose and admonishes him for picking on poor little dogs. Here, Dorothy acts courageously from a moral stance: It is wrong for more powerful things to pick on weaker things.

Again, at the final scene in the throne room of Oz, the group is met with flame, smoke, and a thundering voice in an attempt to scare them. Lion faints. Dorothy stands up to the great and powerful Oz and says: "Oh . . . oh! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Frightening him like that, when he came to you for help!" Again the moral decree: More powerful things should not frighten weaker things that are in need of help.

Cyclones

Cyclones represent those unpleasant events in our lives that move us to higher places. This reflects Dabrowski's (1964) theory of positive disintegration, which states that advanced development requires a breakdown of existing psychological structures in order to form higher, more evolved structures. Inner conflict, neurosis, guilt, depression, anxiety, adverse conditions, or unpleasant life events can, through assimilation, lead us to higher levels of moral or ethical behavior.

Growth requires that old psychological or spiritual structures give way to new ones. New wine cannot be put in old wineskin. The disintegration process can result in inner tension as a sign of growth in a healthy individual.

Had Dorothy not been transported to Oz, she would never have attained the insight, growth, understanding, and realization of her power that she did. Miss Gulch would still be a presence in her life. Thus the cyclone, while unpleasant, is neither good nor bad; it is merely a byproduct of life outside the Edenic realm. Cyclones may be the loss of a job, life transitions, death of a loved one, or the dissolution of a relationship. They are the internal tension that brings us to a higher place.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:29 AM


Toto the Dog

Toto represents the inner, intuitive, instinctual, most animal-like part of us. Throughout the movie, Dorothy has conversations with Toto, or her inner intuitive self. The lesson here is to listen to the Toto within. In this movie, Toto was never wrong. When he barks at the scarecrow, Dorothy tries to ignore him: "Don't be silly, Toto. Scarecrows don't talk." But scarecrows do talk in Oz. Toto also barks at the little man behind the curtain.

It is he who realizes the Wizard is a fraud. At the Gale Farm and again at the castle, the Witch tries to put Toto into a basket. What is shadow will try to block or contain the intuitive. In both cases, Toto jumps out of the basket and escapes. Our intuitive voice can be ignored, but not contained.

In the last scene, Toto chases after a cat, causing Dorothy to chase after him and hence miss her balloon ride. This is what leads to Dorothy's ultimate transformation, to the discovery of her inner powers. The balloon ride is representative of traditional religion, with a skinny-legged wizard promising a trip to the Divine.

Toto was right to force Dorothy out of the balloon. Otherwise she might never have found her magic. This is a call for us to listen to our intuitions, our gut feelings, those momentary bits of imagination that appear seemingly out of nowhere.

The Window

The window is an opening between one dimension and the next, the air hole through which eternity breathes through to the temporal world. We too have a window, the place where the collective unconscious and the personal unconscious meet. It takes a journey to find this place.

In a startling bit of movie magic, Dorothy is actually hit on the head with a window as she begins the journey from Kansas to Oz. She pulls herself up from the bed and peers fearfully out of the window at the wreckage floating past: a chicken roost, a fence, a house, a buggy, a tree, a henhouse, a crowing rooster. This window represents the inner world, a dream state, personal unconscious, prophecy, and archetypal images.

Munchkins and Glinda

Munchkins, by their childlike appearance and mannerisms, represent the spiritual ideal, which is the child state. Children forgive easily, are quick to love, and are content to live in the moment. The Munchkins also live in communion with Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Glinda is a figure not represented in the other dimension —Kansas —thus she can be said to be truly other-dimensional.

She is a being of light, a spirit or celestial power who appears both in physical form in Munchkinland and in nonphysical form in the poppy field. Poppies represent spiritual sleep. Glinda was a force to help wake Dorothy from that sleep.

Shadow Witch

The Wicked Witch represents our Shadow side, the dark or unconscious part of the personality that the conscious ego tries to ignore. The Shadow is Mr. Hyde to our Dr. Jekyll.

At the castle, Dorothy throws water on the witch. The water represents consciousness. When Jesus walked on water, he was above consciousness. Self-actualization or at-one-ment is not a matter of destroying the shadow. All humans have shadows. Individuation is a matter of facing the shadow and coming to grips with it. Thus Dorothy confronts the Witch, who melts. Dorothy assimilates the power of the Witch in the form of the guards, the flying monkeys, and the broomstick.

The Path and the Wizard

The Yellow Brick Road represents our Spiritual Path. The whole problem in the movie is that Dorothy followed it looking for the Wizard of Oz, instead of for Oz. Oz is the transcendent power, Love and Light. The Wizard represents those humans who sip the nectar of their own illusion and become drunk with greed, power, and control. These are the religious charlatans who claim to speak for God, while they are building theme parks. They are all little men and women standing behind curtains.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:31 AM


Over the Rainbow (our hearts desire)

After giving everyone some freshly baked crullers [fat-fried sweet cakes], Dorothy's harried Aunt rebuffs her and sternly chides her for causing trouble - suggesting that she find a place where she won't get into anyone's way:

Now Dorothy, will you stop imagining things. You always get yourself into a fret over nothing. Now you just help us out today and find yourself a place where you won't get into any trouble.

This cues up a forlorn and crestfallen Dorothy for the singing of her beloved, haunting and plaintive, but immortal song "Over the Rainbow."

Dreaming, yearning and wistfully longing for a trouble-free, fascinating, far-away world beyond her home-land where happiness can be found - where bluebirds fly and there are colorful rainbows. (on which she and Toto sit), while singing about leaving her home:

(Speaking) Some place where there isn't any trouble
(To Toto) Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be.
It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train,
It's far, far away, behind the moon, beyond the rain.

(Singing) Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I've heard of, once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
Some day I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why, can't I?
Songbirds sing as shafts of sunlight pierce through the clouds.
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why, can't I?
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:32 AM


Q: I guess dreaming is fine...... but in the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wants nothing more than to return to the "reality" of home in the end

A: I think thet're one and the same...

Glinda steps out of the ball of light and kindly tells Dorothy that she has always had the power to go home with the magical power of her ruby slippers, but she had to discover it for herself.

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.

Dorothy: I have?

Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?

Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

Dorothy insightfully explains what she has learned from her experience - during her dream of being in Oz. In a self-revelation, she realizes that everything she could ever have wanted was right in her own backyard - IF she had wanted it hard enough. [She relinquishes the miracle-working power of the Wizard - he has floated away - and relies upon her own power and personality to find her independent identity and way home.

By returning to the Gale home after fantasizing about the enchanting world beyond and experiencing it along the Yellow Brick Road, she has confronted her childhood fears and grown up emotionally with strength enough to meet her adult future. In some ways, the journey was as rewarding as the accomplishment of her goal.] Glinda reveals the meaning of the ruby slippers - they will carry her (and Toto) back:

Dorothy: Well, I-I think that it, that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, and it's that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard because, if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?

Glinda: That's all it is!

Scarecrow: But that's so easy! I should've thought of it for you -

Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart -

Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!

Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?

Glinda: Toto too.

Dorothy: Now?

Glinda: Whenever you wish.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:33 AM


One of the shortcomings of humankind in this past millennium is that we have attended to the sign, but not to what it is pointing to. We declare the stop sign to be holy and good while proceeding right through the intersection without stopping. And then we wonder how a good and loving universe can allow car accidents to happen.

Spirituality, Truth, and Reality

Spirituality can be viewed two ways. First, in a secular sense, it can be seen as an accumulation of one's higher values, virtues, and ideals. It is the higher part of self, superego or superconsciousness. Second, spirituality can also be seen in a sacred sense as the part of one's self that is connected to the universe, one's divine essence, or the perfume within the clay jar.

When Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion let go of their conscious yearning and free their minds to function spontaneously and inharmony with the cosmos, brains, heart, and courage flow easily and effortlessly. Ultimately, Dorothy attains satori, the Zen experience of "awakening." She finds her true Self, her higher consciousness, her ultimate Oneness with the cosmos--and her home.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:34 AM


THE WIZARD OF OZ EQUALS THE WIZARDRY OF JUNG

I think the Wizard of Oz is a wonderful myth with so many insights and how we can relate it to life, I wanted to share the many different view points of the meanings.

www2.aacc.cc.md.us/psyjpshi...ardry.htm

(whole article)

by Jack P. Shilkret

There are many ways that this universal story can be interpreted through Jungian theory.

Carl Jung refers to four functions in the consciousness as ways of perceiving the world; sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition. Sensation is our sense of function; it tells us that something is, that something exists, but nothing else. Thinking tells us what something is; it adds perception and judgment. Feeling tells us the value of things; what it is worth to us. Intuition enables us to look around corners and be concerned with the future; it allows us to see the future in the now.

Let us now view Dorothy and the world of Oz from a Jungian viewpoint. Dorothy is an orphan living with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on a farm in Kansas, U.S.A. She lives in a dull, conservative world where her role is that of a child who has not really begun to discover herself. Suddenly, a cyclone takes her in her farmhouse to a new and strange world where she lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, perhaps a shadow figure symbolizing elements of her unconscious that Dorothy does not accept, and kills her.

She has arrived in Oz, the world of the unconscious. A group of dwarf-like creatures greet her with much joy and reverie, but Dorothy does not join in. She is bewildered by the strange occurrences and says she wants to go back to Kansas, her former state of consciousness. She has begun her search for individuation and is already ambivalent. The Good Witch of the North appears and encourages her to begin her search for self-discovery through the guise of seeking Emerald City and the Wizard who resides there.

She takes the ruby shoes of the dead witch, and, with the encouragement of the Good Witch but the curses of a new shadow figure - the Wicked Witch of the West, she begins to follow the yellow brick road that will lead to the Wizard and individuation. The reappearance of a shadow in the second witch seems to symbolize the continual presence of the personal unconscious. Thus she leaves the immature childish dwarfs behind as she begins her search for self-understanding.

As Dorothy follows the yellow brick road, she encounters three figures that lack important functions, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. These characters can be viewed as animus figures, as the functions of Dorothy herself, or as other immature individuals seeking individuation. The Scarecrow is encountered by Dorothy hung on a stick in a cornfield.

His lack of a brain symbolizes absence of the thinking function, thus he behaves foolishly. The Tin Woodman first appears rusted so badly that he can not move. Dorothy oils him only to discover that this creature is also incomplete -- he lacks a heart or the feeling function.

The Cowardly Lion first menaces the threesome, but cannot face the reality of a counterattack. He lacks courage or the sensation function -- he cannot face the present. Perhaps Dorothy’s lack is the fourth function, intuition, because she does not have the foresight to see how to achieve her goal of getting back to Kansas or leaving the unconscious world of Oz for the conscious world of Kansas. Dorothy convinces all three to join her in her journey to seek the help of the Wizard.

As this foursome progresses toward the Wizard each seeking that which he lacks, through one another they slowly begin to discover that their weak functions are present but need further development. For as many adventures occur, the Cowardly Lion shows courage, the Tin Woodman feeling, the Scarecrow thinking. Dorothy even begins to show intuition by her dogged determination to see the Wizard as a helper for all.

When they arrive at the Palace in the Emerald City, they must put on spectacles before they enter so that the brightness will not blind them. If going into the Emerald City symbolizes descending deeper into the unconscious, we see the rationale for the spectacles, the shock of one’s unconscious forces can truly blind.

Their first experiences in the Emerald City reminds one of the visions in dreams; many people dressed in green clothes with green skins who do not speak. Finally, the Wizard agrees to interview them. They each see him differently through their own projections; thus, Dorothy sees a large head; the Scarecrow, a lovely lady; the Woodman, a large and terrible beast; and the Lion, a ball of fire.

They see the Wizard as different aspects of their own unconscious minds. Each are told that to achieve their wish from the Wizard, they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Thus, the Wizard seems to be telling them that they must have courage to face the continual shadow within themselves. At this point the Wizard seems almost an anima or animus figure, certainly a guide to the unconscious.

So they must seek further into themselves to complete their assigned tasks. As they fight their adversary, the witch, they show further that their missing function is present all along. The Scarecrow shows cunning by saving the others from wild bees; the Woodsman shows feeling for his new friends. The Lion shows bravery to face the witch in the present. And Dorothy, without consciously realizing the intuitiveness of her act, throws water over the witch and destroys her.

When the foursome arrive back at the Emerald City with their task completed, they discover that the Wizard is not a Wizard at all, but merely a man from Omaha who has pretended to be the Wizard. Thus they are forced to face again the fact that their missing function is within them. However, it is still so difficult a revelation that the Wizard must give them artificial facsimiles for their missing functions.

This would seem to emphasize man’s difficulty in facing his weak function and the realities of life. The Wizard is not able to help Dorothy return to Kansas and it takes more adventures for her to finally realize that she had the power all along to return. Her ruby slippers can take her anywhere and she needs but to click them together to return to consciousness.

With this intuition she returns to Kansas apparently well on the way toward self-actualization.

Thus Jungian theory does fit into the Wizard of Oz, transforming Baum’s story into a visit into the unconscious. Perhaps its wealth of unconscious material explains its eternal interest to children. Perhaps throughout his story, enough of Baum’s own unconscious appeared that he was able to momentarily capture it in the parable. And then again perhaps the story is so rich in characters and occurrences that it could be seen from still other points of view.

In any event, it does seem that the tale is yet another way of approaching and explaining some of the theories of Carl Jung.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:36 AM


THE WIZARD OF OZ EQUALS THE WIZARDRY OF JUNG

I think the Wizard of Oz is a wonderful myth with so many insights and how we can relate it to life, I wanted to share the many different view points of the meanings.

www2.aacc.cc.md.us/psyjpshi...ardry.htm

(whole article)

by Jack P. Shilkret

There are many ways that this universal story can be interpreted through Jungian theory.

Carl Jung refers to four functions in the consciousness as ways of perceiving the world; sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition. Sensation is our sense of function; it tells us that something is, that something exists, but nothing else. Thinking tells us what something is; it adds perception and judgment. Feeling tells us the value of things; what it is worth to us. Intuition enables us to look around corners and be concerned with the future; it allows us to see the future in the now.

Let us now view Dorothy and the world of Oz from a Jungian viewpoint. Dorothy is an orphan living with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on a farm in Kansas, U.S.A. She lives in a dull, conservative world where her role is that of a child who has not really begun to discover herself. Suddenly, a cyclone takes her in her farmhouse to a new and strange world where she lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, perhaps a shadow figure symbolizing elements of her unconscious that Dorothy does not accept, and kills her.

She has arrived in Oz, the world of the unconscious. A group of dwarf-like creatures greet her with much joy and reverie, but Dorothy does not join in. She is bewildered by the strange occurrences and says she wants to go back to Kansas, her former state of consciousness. She has begun her search for individuation and is already ambivalent. The Good Witch of the North appears and encourages her to begin her search for self-discovery through the guise of seeking Emerald City and the Wizard who resides there.

She takes the ruby shoes of the dead witch, and, with the encouragement of the Good Witch but the curses of a new shadow figure - the Wicked Witch of the West, she begins to follow the yellow brick road that will lead to the Wizard and individuation. The reappearance of a shadow in the second witch seems to symbolize the continual presence of the personal unconscious. Thus she leaves the immature childish dwarfs behind as she begins her search for self-understanding.

As Dorothy follows the yellow brick road, she encounters three figures that lack important functions, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. These characters can be viewed as animus figures, as the functions of Dorothy herself, or as other immature individuals seeking individuation. The Scarecrow is encountered by Dorothy hung on a stick in a cornfield.

His lack of a brain symbolizes absence of the thinking function, thus he behaves foolishly. The Tin Woodman first appears rusted so badly that he can not move. Dorothy oils him only to discover that this creature is also incomplete -- he lacks a heart or the feeling function.
Sun, January 8, 2012 - 4:36 AM



The Cowardly Lion first menaces the threesome, but cannot face the reality of a counterattack. He lacks courage or the sensation function -- he cannot face the present. Perhaps Dorothy’s lack is the fourth function, intuition, because she does not have the foresight to see how to achieve her goal of getting back to Kansas or leaving the unconscious world of Oz for the conscious world of Kansas. Dorothy convinces all three to join her in her journey to seek the help of the Wizard.

As this foursome progresses toward the Wizard each seeking that which he lacks, through one another they slowly begin to discover that their weak functions are present but need further development. For as many adventures occur, the Cowardly Lion shows courage, the Tin Woodman feeling, the Scarecrow thinking. Dorothy even begins to show intuition by her dogged determination to see the Wizard as a helper for all.

When they arrive at the Palace in the Emerald City, they must put on spectacles before they enter so that the brightness will not blind them. If going into the Emerald City symbolizes descending deeper into the unconscious, we see the rationale for the spectacles, the shock of one’s unconscious forces can truly blind.

Their first experiences in the Emerald City reminds one of the visions in dreams; many people dressed in green clothes with green skins who do not speak. Finally, the Wizard agrees to interview them. They each see him differently through their own projections; thus, Dorothy sees a large head; the Scarecrow, a lovely lady; the Woodman, a large and terrible beast; and the Lion, a ball of fire.

They see the Wizard as different aspects of their own unconscious minds. Each are told that to achieve their wish from the Wizard, they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West. Thus, the Wizard seems to be telling them that they must have courage to face the continual shadow within themselves. At this point the Wizard seems almost an anima or animus figure, certainly a guide to the unconscious.

So they must seek further into themselves to complete their assigned tasks. As they fight their adversary, the witch, they show further that their missing function is present all along. The Scarecrow shows cunning by saving the others from wild bees; the Woodsman shows feeling for his new friends. The Lion shows bravery to face the witch in the present. And Dorothy, without consciously realizing the intuitiveness of her act, throws water over the witch and destroys her.

When the foursome arrive back at the Emerald City with their task completed, they discover that the Wizard is not a Wizard at all, but merely a man from Omaha who has pretended to be the Wizard. Thus they are forced to face again the fact that their missing function is within them. However, it is still so difficult a revelation that the Wizard must give them artificial facsimiles for their missing functions.

This would seem to emphasize man’s difficulty in facing his weak function and the realities of life. The Wizard is not able to help Dorothy return to Kansas and it takes more adventures for her to finally realize that she had the power all along to return. Her ruby slippers can take her anywhere and she needs but to click them together to return to consciousness.

With this intuition she returns to Kansas apparently well on the way toward self-actualization.

Thus Jungian theory does fit into the Wizard of Oz, transforming Baum’s story into a visit into the unconscious. Perhaps its wealth of unconscious material explains its eternal interest to children. Perhaps throughout his story, enough of Baum’s own unconscious appeared that he was able to momentarily capture it in the parable. And then again perhaps the story is so rich in characters and occurrences that it could be seen from still other points of view.

In any event, it does seem that the tale is yet another way of approaching and explaining some of the theories of Carl Jung.