Wizard of Oz as Enlightenment Story

Dec 24 2005

Watching the Wizard of Oz the other night it occurred to me it was a perfect allegory of the search for enlightenment.
A person, unhappy in their current story, looking desperately for a way out, undergoes a severe event (the twister) and lands in a wonderful, magical place.
However, they know this place is not real and seeks desperately to return home (to how she used to be, no matter how unpleasant that seemed
They are given the means to do so (the ruby slippers) but (apparently) wouldn’t believe that they will work, so must go on a quest. Before she can leave she is threatened if she does not give up the quest and her power – the wicked witch representing the Ego. The Guru – Glinda, sets her on the path.

She goes to see the Wizard, representing accumulated knowledge and wisdom.
She first meets someone who thinks they have no brain, yet can clearly speak and think. And gives conflicting advise. They continue. They meet one without a heart. One who clearly demonstrates compassion, but believes they have no heart. Lesson here is that one can be compassionate yet strong. Tears rust him.

They meet the lion, who is cowardly, but still shows true courage. All the pieces are there, why do they think it is missing.
Going across the fields of poppies show the distractions that can arise from the Ego – with help from the Guru, she awakes from self.
Once at Oz, The Ego – tells Dorothy she must surrender – to the ego – or to what? Her inner self – Dorothy is of course afraid of this.
they are told by the wizard – “Conventional and Spiritual Wisdom through the ages” they must kill the ego – the witch, but not given any means.
They go and Dorothy is imprisoned by the witch and Toto runs away. Toto represents others, family, friends.
Ultimately she kills the ego while saving her friend the scarecrow.
They return to Oz and the wizard tells them to go away. The dog unmasks the true wizard – just an ordinary guy (“a very nice person but a very bad wizard”). So, accumulated wisdom and saints are shown to be what they are. – empty and ultimately of no use.
While they acknowledge that the scarecrow, lion and tin man already have shown they possess the qualities they seek, it is only through acknowledgment by others- external validation do they admit they have these qualities. But they have been there all the time.

The wizard offers to take Dorothy home, but leaves without her.
Dorothy doesn’t want to stay behind and Glinda, the guru, appears to tell her she always had the power to go home, just didn’t believe it.
She clicks her heels and returns home – and awakens in her “old role” with a new perspective and reality.