When Dorothy and company reach the Emerald City, they are granted an audience with the Wizard. Dorothy’s three companions want the Wizard to grant them what they think they’re lacking, and Dorothy wants him to send her back home. This illustrates poverty consciousness and the tendency to hand our power over to authority figures to make decisions for us and tell us and give us what we want, instead of trusting in our own intuition and connection with God to develop our own love, wisdom, and power.
One of the cardinal messages of Theosophy is that we can rely on no one to save us but ourselves. As The Voice of the Silence says, “Prepare thyself, for thou wilt have to travel on alone. The Teacher can but point the way.” Each student must walk the path alone. Reliance on a teacher, on a guru, must inevitably end in disappointment. All teachers are human, save one–the upaguru ‘Teacher Within’.
On the surface, the Wizard represents charlatans who have no self-mastery but pretend to be masters and are put on a pedestal by their followers. Dorothy and her companions believe he can just wave a magic wand and give them what they want. But on a deeper level, the Wizard represents the archetype of the trickster who entices Dorothy and her companions to continue the journey and undergo an initiation that will develop and strengthen each of them. Joseph Campbell calls this the “Wizard’s Test” found in many myths and folktales: Parcival finding the Holy Grail, Harry Potter finding the horcruxes to destroy Lord Voldemort, and Frodo journeying to Mount Doom to destroy the ring.
Thus, instead of giving them what they want, he gives them the task of killing the Wicked Witch of the West. None of them want to kill the witch, and they know they’ll probably die trying, but they go to the West anyway because it’s the only way to get what they desire. The West represents the setting sun, night, and death. This is the Freemasonry initiation of the third degree: death and resurrection.
The Wicked Witch of the West represents what Theosophists call the Guardian of the threshold or dweller-on-the-threshold, the unconscious part of the human ego or shadow self. Baum had his illustrator William Denslow draw the Wicked Witch of the West sitting on the threshold of the entrance to her castle. In the Encyclopedia of Occultism,the castle is “the interior man. It is the mystical name given to the seven stages of the soul’s ascent to Divinity.”12 Saint Theresa of Avila wrote about the initiations of these seven stages in her book The Interior Castle. So the dweller stands in the way of the soul passing her initiations, entering new levels of self-mastery, and eventually ascending or going home.
The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion work together and use their qualities, the very same qualities they thought they lacked, to defend themselves and Dorothy against attacks by Winkies, wolves, crows, hornets, and flying monkeys sent by the Wicked Witch of the West. They are negative people, negative emotions, negative thoughts, worry, and addictions allied with the dweller that must be overcome. Otherwise, they will destroy the soul. The Winkies represent negative people who impose themselves on you, wasting your time and energy. They are the complainers, accusers, and in-your-face motor-mouths who steal your light like vampires. The lion roars at them and scares them away. Picture in your mind someone who helps your dweller by wasting your time and preventing you from maintaining harmony and passing your tests. Then roar at that person like a lion and see him or her running away. Of course, you won’t do this the next time that person comes up to you, but you will now have the assertiveness to politely say no to him or her.
The flock of crows are more self-directed negative thoughts. By this time, the scarecrow has developed his mental powers enough so that he is able to grab the crows and wring their necks. Now, visualize a recent negative thought of fear, self-criticism, pessimism, and so on. See it perching on your shoulder, whispering in your ear, discouraging you from passing an initiation. Grab it and wring its neck.
The tin man uses his axe to kill the wolves and his metal body to kill the swarm of hornets. The wolves symbolize other-directed negative emotions of anger, aggression, lust, and so on, and the hornets represent worry. See yourself as the tin man, your aura invulnerable to the fangs of the wolves and the stingers of hornets. the dead bodies of the hornets of worry pile up at your feet as they attempt to penetrate your tin emotional body.See your sharp axe cut through the running momentum of negative emotions and stopping them cold. In Tibetan Buddhism, which Baum studied along with Theosophy, the axe symbolizes the severing of all negative notions and concepts; it cuts through malignant demons or enemies of the Buddhadharma. These malignant demons or entities are attracted to our negative emotions and feed off the light that we release by engaging in them. So they attach themselves to our emotional bodies like parasites. According to ascended master teachings, we can remove them with prayer and a stainless steel sword or knife, sweeping the blade around us. Just be careful when you use it; don’t get too close to the physical body.
Addictions are the most powerful allies of the dweller. You’ve heard the expression “you have a monkey on your back.” Well, guess what? It’s a flying monkey. Some of them carry the tin man to a great height and drop him on sharp rocks. That’s what drugs do; they get the emotional body high, then drop it. Other monkeys remove all the straw (intelligence) from the Scarecrow’s body, and others bind and cage the Lion’s body (the will). Then, Dorothy and Toto are imprisoned in the witch’s castle. So, this is the lowest point in the story, the dark night of the soul when all four lower bodies are stuck again and it appears that the dweller has won.
The witch forces Dorothy to do menial work and mistreats Toto, but Dorothy doesn’t complain, and instead, attempts to please the witch, thinking that if she is good enough, she and Toto will be treated fairly. People in abusive relationships do the same. The witch can’t kill Dorothy because she is protected by the circle of the Good Witch of the North. And she can’t steal the magic slippers when Dorothy takes a bath or goes to bed (the only times she takes them off) because the witch is afraid of water and the night. What do water and night have in common? Well, they’re both yin or feminine aspects of Nature. The witch is very masculine in appearance and dresses like a pirate. So, she has hatred for the Divine Mother. Oz is a matriarchy; the Wizard is just the ruler of the Enerald City and has no real power. In a later sequel, Princess Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz and a representative of the Divine Feminine, is restored to the throne. She is also a true alchemist, unlike the Wizard, and uses her magic to help Dorothy pass other initiations.
When Dorothy is mopping the floor, the witch tricks her into losing one of her magic slippers and grabs it, laughing at Dorothy. That’s the last straw. Dorothy, tapping into her suppressed righteous anger, then throws the bucket of water on the witch, not realizing that it would dissolve her. Sometimes when we’re stuck in in a rut of procrastination, abuse, or addiction, we have to hit bottom before we can muster the emotion (energy in motion) that will propel us out of it. In so doing, Dorothy is no longer “the small and meek” child but an assertive young woman who will later stand up to the Great and Powerful Oz and declare, “You must keep your promises to us.”
So, Dorothy uses the power of water to destroy the Wicked Witch of the West. But it’s not just any water; it’s soapy water. So, the way to dissolve and consume the dweller is through purification; we clean, clean, clean with prayer, meditation, fasting, ho’oponopono, and other techniques like sungazing. Sunlight or ultraviolet light is a powerful sanitizer and, with sungazing, can purify our ego. As sun yogi HRM likes to say, “With sungazing, a devil becomes divine.” In the book, Baum wrote that sunlight turned the dead body of the Wicked Witch of the East into dust. Apparently, she, unlike the Wicked Witch of the West, was a creature of the night, and, like a vampire, was consumed by the sun. Tomorrow morning, gaze at the rising sun and experience for yourself the cleansing power of the sun. It’s important to follow safe sungazing guidelines. Gaze at the sun when it is close to the horizon, and up to one hour before sunset or one hour after sunrise. Begin with 10 seconds the first day and increase by 10 seconds a day. Stand or sit with bare feet on bare ground. Blink naturally and don’t strain.
Next month, in the final installment of The Wonderful Wisdom of Oz, we will see how Dorothy is connected to the two wicked witches and what gifts she receives from them. Her companions also receive tokens or talismans from the Wizard. We will examine the symbolism of the Wizard’s balloon and the true meaning and location of home.