Updated: Apr 7
Based on the characters from the Wizard of Oz!
I have always loved the Wizard of Oz. It’s been one of my favourite movies for many years, even before I realised all of the hidden meanings behind the story and the characters.
The movie, made in 1939 is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in cinematic history and was one of the first movies made in, the then revolutionary, Technicolor format. Based on a book written by L. Frank Baum in 1890, called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the movie did not stray far from the books origins.
One point to note, though mostly unrelated to this article, is that Dorothy’s shoes were silver in the book and were changed to red in the movie to highlight the magic of Technicolor.
It tells the story of a young girl who gets caught up in a tornado and carried in her Kansas farm home to a land that is unlike anything she has seen before. After Dorothy’s house lands in Oz, literally on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, Dorothy is welcomed to this weird and wonderful place as a great sorceress by the Munchkins.
Dorothy immediately wants to find a way home to Kansas and the good witch Glinda explains to her that to find her way back home she needs to follow the yellow brick road to find The Great Wizard of Oz. Along the way Dorothy meets some new friends who all have something they want to ask the Great Wizard.
There have been many conspiracy theories behind the hidden meanings of both the story and the characters of The Wizard of Oz. Most of them relating back to the corrupt politics and social injustices of the era that the book was written. It has been suggested that the Scarecrow and Tin Man characters represent factory and/or agricultural workers and that the yellow brick road and the original silver slippers represents the political debate between gold and silver standards as backing for the US dollar. It has also been stated that the Emerald City is actually Washington, D.C.
My personal interpretation of the story and the characters is much simpler and less political but never the less, in my opinion, no less captivating.
1.Dorothy is YOU!
As the movie opens Dorothy is living her life, literally, in black and white. Her life is a dull, grey place that has lost its vibrancy and has no meaning.
Errrm, sound familiar anyone? Have you ever felt like your life is a little lacklustre and wished for some excitement or drastic change to shake things up and get you out of your funk?!
In Dorothy’s case a tornado whips up a storm and literally plucks her and her house out of Kansas and plants it firmly on the ground in the land of Oz!
“I’m not in Kansas anymore’ states Dorothy!”
Careful what you wish for might be the motto here, as this fanciful land of Oz that Dorothy lands in does not feel like home to her, she is nervous and frightened of all of the unfamiliar sights and sounds, strange creatures and evil witches.
Another synonym of your life maybe? Bored with your current existence instead of feeling grateful. Sending out messages and vibrations for changes, like a new job, partner, home etc. And then it happens – remember the Universe always conspires to give you what you want! So you lose your job, your partner or move cities etc. and suddenly things aren’t quite what you had expected. You feel unsure, scared even, about the future thinking back to before all this change, with rose colored spectacles no less, but you look back wishing you were back in the safe zone. In that familiar place that you knew before.
“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” you whisper under your breath.
Well you can’t turn back time I’m afraid and I’m not sure I would suggest you go back to Kansas like Dorothy ultimately does. But what I will say is that the unfamiliar becomes the familiar, sometimes boring is good and change can be scary of course, but instead of focusing on what you have lost, remember that you didn’t want it anyway and think about what you will gain!
And should you find yourself back where you started, as long as you have learnt something along the way – it was worth it.
2.The Yellow Brick Road is YOUR Life!
A very literal representation of the Path of Life, and we all know that life isn’t always going to be easy. There are ups and downs twists and turns, fear and hope, sorrow and pain. On the journey, just like in the movie, you make friends along the way, some good, some not so much. Some for a reason, some a season and some for a lifetime. You make just as many enemies too. It’s amazing in the story, just like in life, that some of the so called friends aren’t really friends. And some of our enemies, just like Dorothy and the Winged Monkeys, turn out to be far more reliable, dependable, helpful and caring in the end. The moral here is to be careful who you choose and don’t always judge a book by its cover!
As you travel the Path of Life, just like on Dorothy’s yellow brick road, you encounter weird and wonderful things that excite you, scare you and ultimately change you.
Dorothy and her new friends have some amazing experiences together and at times in the movie are in awe of the spectacular sights they such as fields of flowers, amazing sunsets and incredible cities. The lesson here is to open your eyes, to appreciate the beauty that is everywhere, it is reminding us to live our lives in wonder!
Sometimes Dorothy and her friends feel scared and lonely, and at other times happy and optimistic. Sometimes they lose their way, either running from or towards something, but eventually they always find their way back to their Yellow Brick Road, to their Life Path.
With each encounter and experience they have on the journey they learn something new, just like you do. About yourself, your strengths, your panic buttons and about life in general. All of these experiences – the good, the bad & the ugly ultimately teach you something that you need to learn, something that will help you at some point in your life. With every step you take you begin to understand yourself more and though the path doesn’t essentially get any easier, you are at least armed with the tools that can help you overcome any obstacles.
Ultimately, what seems clear is that if you stay true to yourself and your life path, always looking ahead with a clear goal in your mind you will always get to your destination. You only need keep on going!
3.The Lion, the Scarecrow & the Tin Man are insecurities
Have you ever lacked Courage? The courage to make the change, to take the leap, to do something different? To fight back, to stand tall, to Just Fucking Own It?
I know I have. And that is what the Cowardly lion represents, our lack of courage, faith and belief in ourselves.
The Scarecrow thinks he is lacking a brain, yet in the story he is often coming up with smart ideas and alternative routes to help the group get to the Emerald City. The poor scarecrow is suffering from a very common disorder - Imposter Syndrome. He has a sense of inadequacy that persists despite his evident successes.
Do you ever question your own competence? Even when you know deep down you have the skills to do whatever it is you want or need to do? Do you often feel fraudulent and just waiting to be found out? Do you often feel like the scarecrow and wish
“if I only had a brain?”
Know your power dear friend. Know that you are what you believe. Remember what you have already accomplished. No one can take that away from you. And when you see how far you’ve come already, how much you have already achieved you will realise that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Do you have a heart? In the story of the Tin Man this is what he is lacking. A lack of empathy and emotion. In this case I believe that this represents Self Love. The most important kind of love, because if you don’t love yourself you cannot possibly love anyone else.
Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, give yourself a break. Imagine you are your own best friend – what advice would you give them? What pep talk? Know say that to yourself. Over and over again.
Another interesting observation of the movie is the bickering that goes on between the Tin Man and the Scarecrow – each proudly stating that their quest for what they each are missing is of far more importance than the other.
Which speaks loudly to the ongoing battle we have as humans deciding whether to follow our heart or our mind when making life choices. Just as both characters are of equal importance in the movie - I believe that both the Heart and the Mind need to be involved in all of life’s grand decisions.
4. The Wicked Witch of the West represents your fears
In the movie Dorothy and her companions are terrified of the Witch, she is full of nasty tricks, evil deeds and deception. Dorothy freaks as the witch curls her decrepit green finger.
“Come here my pretty”
Initially the travel buddies run away from the witch and they let her trick them into doing silly things - like walking in the imaginary field of poppies that puts them all to sleep and allows the scarecrow and Dorothy to be captured. They all succumb to the bravado of the Witch and fall prey to their own fears.
It is only when Dorothy’s dog Toto is threatened to be thrown in the river that Dorothy becomes so angered that she has no choice but to overcome her fear if she is going to save her beloved Toto. Have you ever experienced that? That when it literally comes to a life of death situation, or at least what feels like one, that you suddenly overcome your fear to allow you to survive and overcome?
We need to carry this knowledge into our every day. That fear is in our mind. That everything always feels bigger and scarier than it actually is, and that when we face our fears, when we stand up to them and realise our own strengths those fears diminish and can be easily overcome.
Throw water at your fears and watch them disappear, just like the Wicked Witch of the West with my personal favourite quote
“I’m melting, I’m melting!”
5.The Good Witch - Fair Glinda is your Intuition, your higher self.
Glinda is the most powerful sorceress in the Land of Oz. She is the wisest of all of the witches and is never distracted or swayed from her purpose. She gives great advice, but sometimes speaks in riddles that you have to listen hard to hear and really think about to be able to translate. She is always there, even when you can’t see her. You need only call on her and she will come to your rescue.
Yep! That’s your intuition alright. Always on your side, always sending messages. Not always the easiest to read or hear unless you practice quieting your mind. Hence the importance of daily meditation. Your intuition always has your back and is always there for you, you just have to believe and listen.
When the group finally reach the Emerald City and meet with the Great Oz they realise what a trickster and liar he is and that they had been putting their faith in someone else instead of themselves.
Dorothy realises that she could have gone home to Kansas all along and The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Lion find out that they already had what they were searching for.
The final lesson here is that all of the answers lie within you.
Only you can help yourself. You have all of the qualities and skills you need to live the life of your dreams, you only need to believe in yourself. You need to listen to your intuition, follow your heart but be smart, and above all enjoy the journey. As with all its trials and tribulations life tuly is a beautiful thing!