I've had The Wizard of Oz on my mind a lot lately, for some reason. When my daughter was little, she watched my video of the movie until I really got sick of it -- something I'd never thought possible. But lately I've been yearning to watch it. I'll need to get it on DVD... Anyway. I've been contemplating some of the metaphysical imagery that hadn't occurred to me previously. I should caveat that I've long been taken with some of the mythical themes.
That Dorothy is taking a shamanic journey into non-ordinary reality where she interacts with strange creatures and is assisted by guides seems obvious on its face. But there are some elements to that journey that deserve some analysis. This won't be a deep study. I may do that at some point. It's just some things that have been popping into my head of late.
Years ago, when I first read Clarissa Pinkola Estes's Women Who Run With the Wolves, it occurred to me that, in the movie, Dorothy also wore red shoes. In Estes's analysis of "The Red Shoes," our heroine who dances to her death under the spell of her magic shoes, is an orphan, like our Dorothy Gale. And the girl is raised by a somewhat overbearing and opinionated matriarch, who makes all the decisions for her orphan charge. While she acts out of love and compassion, she crushes the girl's soul, symbolized by the burning of the girl's own handmade, red shoes. The red, magical shoes she obtains later are a poor substitute for her now languishing, authentic wildness. Auntie Em is also loving, but overbearing. She is not terribly patient with Dorothy's emotional needs and drives. And she turns her beloved pet over to the local harridan. Dorothy's authentic self is being crushed, so like Estes's red shod heroine, she becomes reckless and impetuous, risking her own safety. These are interesting parallels that I've pondered when it comes to the underlying mythos of the film version of the story.
There are other mythical themes that have really just occurred to me over the past few days as this movie started ping-ponging around my head, despite the fact that I haven't watched or thought about it in some time.
Earlier today, a Facebook friend posted the above image. My first thought was that I can't seem to get away from this movie. My second thought was, is that a butterfly? I'd simply never noticed before that Glinda is wearing that classic symbol of transformation as a pendent.
I also hadn't noticed that the film contains some greater transformational themes. As discussed with regards to this year's Olympics, the rainbow is a symbol of alchemical transformation. And like the leprechaun whose mysterious gold waits at the end of rainbow, Dorothy finds a yellow brick road.
But the realization that has really captured my imagination of late, is that the Wizard of Oz is full of stargate imagery. Dorothy wishes upon a star and is transported by a vortex (wormhole) to a magical land over the rainbow.
There she traverses another great, spiraling vortex.
And having recovered her sense of personal power, she opens the stargate herself.