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Dorothy, OZ and the Lessons Learned

By Katie Ammon

While Dorothy is in her house, being blown around in the storm. It seems she is between waking and sleeping. She watches from her window as an odd assortment of things fly by, a tree, a chicken coop, her aunt in a rocking chair knitting, a horse and men in a boat and Miss Gulch on her bike. This is a mini life review and these are memories she is leaving behind, as she enters the dream state. Since the dream state is called the “little death” by philosophers, the dream state can reflect the unprocessed emotions of a life. Emotions are what makes life colorful so when Dorothy’s house lands with a thud, she peeks out at a bright landscape with a blue sky, and a small village in a green valley surrounded by trees, a pond and tall flowers. 

In this brilliantly colored place, she watches as a rainbow orb floats down through the air. The orb changes to pink and turns into a beautiful woman. She announces that the Munchkins called her because a house dropped on the Wicked Witch of the East. Before Dorothy can respond, the lady asks her if she is a good witch or a bad witch. Dorothy says she isn’t a witch at all as witches are old and ugly. The lady laughs and says she is Glinda, the Witch of the North. Then she asks what kind of witch Toto is. Dorothy says he is her dog. It seems that Glinda is Dorothy’s higher consciousness and Toto is her animal spirit that likes to run free. What Dorothy says about not being a witch is a sign she is not aware of her own power and ability to create magic.

Suddenly, the area is full of small people, the Munchkins, who are celebrating because the wicked witch is dead. They have been enslaved by her in an unpleasant activity. In the ancient wisdom teaching, the munchkins would be regarded as builder devas or angels of Dorothy’s body. Their disagreeable task relates to Dorothy’s anger. The anger is symbolized by the Wicked Witch of the East. Earlier Dorothy had forgotten her anger and replaced it with compassion and fear for her Aunt Em. The anger finally dissipated and died when her house landed on the witch. Overcoming her anger freed the munchkins and she became the center of their celebration.

Soon a green faced witch appears in a puff of red smoke, scattering the Munchkins. She asks who killed her sister. She accuses Dorothy. There is a pause as Dorothy becomes fearful and in a shaky voice tries to defend herself. The witch continues her threats until Glinda interferes and remind her of her sister’s ruby slippers. When the witch attempts to take her sister’s shoes, Glinda magically transfers them to Dorothy’s feet. The witch continues with her threats until Glinda says, “You have no power here.  Begone!” The witch vanishes. The red smoke is the way Dorothy sees her negative emotions and the witch shows up to embody her fears. However, her higher self takes charge claiming possession of the shoes, a sign that Dorothy passed an initiation by overcoming her anger.

Dorothy tells Glinda she only wants to get back to Kansas. Glinda explains that she doesn’t know how to do that but advises her to go to the Emerald city and ask the Wizard of OZ. When Dorothy asks how to get there Glinda says follow the Yellow Brick Road, as she is wearing the magical slippers, she is ready to follow the Yellow Brick Road or path of enlightenment to her unknown destination.

In the dream she begins her journey and stops when there is a fork in the road. Wondering which way to go, she hears a scarecrow, Huck, tell her to go either way. Since he represents her mind, she seems to have an inner knowing that whatever detours she takes in life, she will be where she needs to be. As he claims to have no brain, it is really Dorothy’s belief about her own brain, and his belief that he is not able to scare the crows is Dorothy’s own lack of self-confidence.  In spite of his claims, Scarecrow shows his wisdom when they try to get apples from a tree, and he tricks the tree into throwing apples at them by insulting the tree.

At this point, they meet the tinman, Hickory, who is rusted in place. They loosen his joints with an oil can. He tells them he was built with no heart. This is Dorothy who is so full of fear that she has trouble listening to her own heart. So, the tinman being rusted means the heart is frozen and unable to be used. The mention of the heart brings up the emotion of fear for Dorothy and the wicked witch of the west appears. She threatens harm to the tinman and scarecrow if they keep helping Dorothy. She vanishes in her red cloud of smoke. Despite the threat of fire for the scarecrow and becoming a beehive for the tinman they resolve to stay and help Dorothy get to Oz. This is Dorothy using her heart and mind to support her on her journey.

The journey on the path leads into the woods. They begin to talk about what might be hiding there, like lions, and tigers and bears. A lion, Zeke, comes out snarling at them. He threatens them and frightens Toto, until Dorothy scolds him. He stars crying and admits how frightened he is. The lion’s lack of courage is actually Dorothy’s timidity in facing challenges in the physical world. In the dream, Scarecrow, Tinman and Dorothy talk the lion into going with them to Oz. This is Dorothy using her heart and mind to overcome her fear and to act with courage.

Together they all follow the Yellow Brick Road until the Emerald city is in sight. The Wicked Witch of the West is watching them in her crystal. To stop them she puts a field of poppies in front of the city and casts a sleeping spell on it. With their goal so close the lion, Toto and Dorothy fall asleep. This could be Dorothy’s fear of reaching her goal, which may end in success or failure that it causes, but the dream blames it on a spell. The three physical expressions, the lion, the girl and the dog are sleeping, while the mind, Scarecrow, and the heart, Tinman, call out until higher consciousness, Glinda comes and uses a snow fall to break the spell and awaken the sleepers.

The witch watches as they arrive at the Emerald city. She sees her failure, which is Dorothy not letting fear stop her from her goal. At Oz there is one paradox after another. They ring the doorbell only to be told it is out of order. They knock and are told no one ever sees the Great Oz. Finally, they are allowed in because Dorothy is wearing the ruby slippers. Oz is the world of the personality where the one who played Professor Marvel is the doorman, the carriage driver, the foot man and guard of the wizard. This world is colorful, huge and lush with strange things like a horse that changes color, a carriage and a grooming center. They are denied admittance to see the wizard, again, and then the guard lets them think they are going to get in, and denies them again. Here Dorothy’s fear is vacillating and she is unsure how to move ahead. This is when the Wicked Witch of the West flies over Oz and writes, “SURRENDER DOROTHY” in black letters in the sky and they finally get to see the wizard.

In the wizard’s chamber are smoke and mirrors which confuse the senses. Although they don’t see him just hear a voice from the smoke the wizard tells them he already knows what they want. He speaks down to them, telling them they are unworthy and frightens the Cowardly Lion. Dorothy, with new found courage tells the wizard how cruel he is to frighten those who come to him for help. He silences her, but surprisingly, says he will grant their wishes but they must bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Again, the Witch watches in her crystal ball, as they leave the Emerald city. She orders her flying monkeys to grab the girl and her dog, and bring them to her. The monkeys obey her, leaving Scarecrow in pieces on the ground. These monkeys are disturbing thought forms that tear up the mind, Scarecrow, so out of fear the wicked witch can possess Dorothy and her spirit, Toto. The witch tries to take the ruby slippers but finds she is unable to. She thinks she can take the shoes, Dorothy’s power, the ruby slippers by taking her life. While she is brewing up a plan to kill Dorothy, Toto escapes and runs back to the lion, the tinman and the scarecrow. The witch casts her spell, turning the hour glass over to show Dorothy how much time she has left. Dorothy calls out to her Aunt Em admitting how frightened she is.

Meanwhile, Toto guides her companions to the castle. The three are attacked by the guards. They overcome the guard and dress in their uniforms to sneak in the castle. Toto leads them to the room Dorothy is in and they break in to free her. As they are escaping, the witch locks the doors and makes her guard stop them from leaving. When she gets them surrounded, she tries to burn Scarecrow. This is fear trying to take over the mind, again. But this time Dorothy bravely throws water on the fear and in the dream the witch melts. For the second time in the dream Dorothy is hailed as a “star” for getting rid of a dark entity, fear, and is given her broomstick.

The next scene is back in the wizard’s chamber, where they tell him they got the broomstick. He tries to put them off and intimidate them. Dorothy refuses to back down and Toto pulls the curtain down exposing the “Great and Powerful” Oz as a small man behind the curtain, again Professor Marvel. The Ego is uncovered as the facade it really is. Although the ego is needed to help survive in the world, Oz is an unbalanced personality who is denying Dorothy what she needs to move beyond her fears. So, Oz grants their wishes in a very superficial way.

In the movie, Oz awards Scarecrow, the mind a degree, which is what is earned when one goes on in school in this third dimension to prove intelligence. He awards a medal to lion which is what soldiers are given here for courage. And finally, he gives the tinman a testimonial for opening his heart and doing good works. He promises Dorothy to take her home in his balloon. This is a task which fails despite the big ceremony the wizard holds. Because the ego is not always in charge, when the spirit, like Toto, is stronger. At the last minute, toto jumps from the balloon basket chasing a cat and Dorothy follows as the balloon leaves without her.

Suddenly, the orb comes and Glinda appears to tell Dorothy she always had the power to get back home but there were lessons to learn in Oz to help her. When asked what she learned, Dorothy says she now knows the people who care for her and give her a home are the most important things in her life. She says her good-byes to her friends in the dream world and then taps her feet together and says her words of power, “There is no place like home.” three times.

When she opens her eyes, she is in Kansas and all the people who care about her are happy that she is awake and recovering. She tries to explain where she was but it was her spiritual journey and they do not understand.

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