By Marlene Buffa
L. Frank Baum wrote many books. The most popular and endearing of which we all know as “The Wizard of Oz.” While the myths and legends regarding the origins of the book and its many interpretations continue in almost every culture spanning the globe, some poignant lessons provide strong spiritual insight. Ultimately, the Wizard of Oz taught Dorothy and her crew that everything she ever needed in life existed within her. The piercing and sometime menacing look into the crystal ball of our own psyche, offers us opportunities to examine aspects of our life which are within our reach and accessed by the willingness to make new choices.
Dorothy set out on a journey fraught with danger, fear and the unknown. Much like Dorothy, we encounter our own travails of adversity as we travel on a whirlwind through life. While we may never encounter flying monkeys or a forest of unhappy trees, life continues to hurl obstacles at us to both divert our attention away from our true spiritual path, or to force us to stop and observe the strength within we muster to carry forth into the unknown.
Someone to rescue you
Throughout her adventure, Dorothy’s only goal remained consistent – to find her way home. In the good witch Glinda, she found a useful ally, only to later add to her cadre of seekers other characters along the way. Each with his own misfit malady, the solution for each dilemma purported to belong to the Wizard of Oz. Increasing their belief in his powers as the journey intensified, we see the quartet toggle between victimhood and empowerment.
Dorothy’s figurative quest to return home to Kansas equates to her finding a home within herself. Sometimes resigned to her fate in Oz, forever pursued by a negative force personified as the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy struggles with injustice and a longing for vindication. Her primary battle is her inability to decipher her circumstances and find a way out, thus the dramatic search for a hero.
Resourcefulness appears when necessary
Just as “necessity is the mother of invention,” the stalwart Kansan wiggles out of situations which appear by chance or luck. She seems surprised when lauded for her conquests over one adversity after another. However, rarely do we see her confident in her ability to overcome; she battles her environment as well as the storms within.
As Dorothy, we are all at choice point no matter the circumstances which befall us. We can choose to defer to an exterior solution and give away our power, or rely on our own merits for answers. If we pay attention, we notice we are indeed most resourceful when the odds are against us. What would it look like if you knew you could handle anything that came your way? Your confidence to move forward in spite of debilitating effects of life’s poppies or divergent roads may not forestall the inevitable siege of thundering clouds, but will fortify you in your climb to your goals and the destruction of negativity in your life.
Only the expert knows
Like Dorothy and her misguided band of friends, we too often abdicate our wisdom and inner compass to others. As each the Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man and our heroine grew dependent on the belief that someone wiser and all powerful knew better than they, we see the figurehead of a mere mortal, bereft by his own frailties and insecurities.
In life, we sign over responsibility for our mental and physical health to the so-called “experts” and absorb their interpretations as our own truth. Whether physician, healer, mechanic or contractor, we gladly pay for advice from someone with accumulated knowledge culminating in a working practice. Instead of blindly accepting the answers put forth, few of us seek second opinions from differing experts. Dorothy jumped through all the hoops demands of the Wizard including capturing the elusive broomstick and forcing the ultimate demise of the Wicked Witch, yet the Wizard proved unable to honor his commitment of returning Dorothy to Kansas.
Conquering your internal witch
Oddly enough, the ease of the demise of Dorothy’s personified demon, the Wicked Witch, surprised not only the quartet of yellow-brick-road-wanderers, but the surrounding characters as well. Water, the bountiful substance on the planet, and ironically, in the human body, thrown onto the skin of the green monster, caused a melt-down – both literal and figurative. While the captive minions rejoiced with resounding “Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead,” Dorothy almost lost sight of her intention when amazed by the ease of destruction of the negative force.
The demons we carry within us throughout our lives continue their forceful domination over us because few of us even notice their impact. If by chance, our awareness increases and we recognize the negativity within ourselves, most often we believe the obstacle of our own green monster is more powerful than we, who created it in the first place. Just as water is the most plentiful physical substance, self-love rises up to destroy our doubts and dissolve our inner turbulence. Present within us all along, when we finally use our confidence and self-respect as method to eliminate our internal nemeses, like Dorothy, we discover how easily they are destroyed.
It’s already there, inside of you!
When their final audience with the “Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz” culminated in the deception of the man behind the curtain, the foursome realized they’d been deluded by him – and for what purpose? The belief they held in him allowed them to follow his directions and commands, all the while placing them in peril. Quite simply, they gave away their power to a perceived wiser and greater man than they. What they discovered proved not only did they not need to obey his commands, but his perpetration of expertise buoyed the illusion of worldliness for both the Wizard and the unlikely friends. Everybody felt gratification in the delusion, yet nobody really won!
Each received acknowledgment or validation from the Wizard in response to their respective quests. The Scarecrow magically gained brains only because someone outside of himself told him he was smart. The Lion gained courage due to the Wizard conferring a medal of bravery upon him. The Tin Man received a mechanical implement to emulate a real beating heart. Dorothy, recognizing that nothing external could assist her in her journey home (to herself), sees her final hopes float away in a hot air balloon.
There’s no place like home
It’s not until the return of Glinda, a representation of Dorothy’s higher consciousness, that she acknowledges her own power. Dorothy visualizes home, and sets her intention to reach her heart’s desire and uses the power she never lost to transport her back to herself.
The delightful “Wizard of Oz” touches people of every age. We never tire of watching the misadventures of Dorothy and friends and I dare say, we learn something new every time we see it. We learn that pompous and bullying people are really masking self-doubt and fear. As the trio receive external confirmation as to their merits, we learn that only we validate ourselves – others have little or nothing to do with how we feel about ourselves. We also see the courageous Dorothy muster her belief in reaching that beautiful place of self-realization and self-actualization and return home to her spirit.
May your journeys be one of adventure and discovery and may you always remember you have everything you’ll ever need, right there inside of you.
About the Author, Marlene Buffa
Taking a quiet sideways glance at life, Marlene offers insight through her words from experiences. . A student of new-thought teachings, Marlene finds practical spirituality around every corner and seeks wisdom through observation of life’s inter-relationships. Sometimes playful, sometimes poignant, always thought-provoking, her writing inspires readers in meaningful ways.