At the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s Kansas farmhouse is uprooted by a tornado and is carried along by the twister over the rainbow, to the Land of Oz. Dorothy learns that her house has landed right on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, arrives in a beautiful pink bubble and thanks Dorothy for killing the evil witch, thereby saving the Munchkins from the evil witch’s tyranny. Then, magically, she transfers the dead witch’s ruby slippers onto Dorothy’s feet.
Actually, the slippers in the original story were silver, but the people who produced the film in 1939 changed them to ruby, because silver ones looked washed out amid the riot of color in the Oz set. There were several pairs made for the filming, each one a white silk shoe dyed red, then covered with burgundy sequins, since true red ones would have appeared orange on the screen, due to the limitations of early Technicolor. But I digress.
Dorothy meets up with the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man, who are looking for a brain, courage, and a heart, in that order, and the four new friends decide to pay a visit to the Wizard of Oz, who is touted as the only one who can take Dorothy back home to Kansas. Surely, the great and powerful Oz can also produce a brain, courage, and a heart, as well.
Along the way, Dorothy and her friends encounter an enchanted forest, where the trees fight back when they try to pick apples from them. The Wicked Witch threatens to set the Scarecrow on fire, and creates a field of poppies to lull Dorothy into a poisoned sleep. The Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys finally catch Dorothy and her friends, and bring Dorothy into the witch’s castle, where she is imprisoned. Her three friends ably demonstrate their brains, courage and heart as they formulate and execute a plan to get Dorothy out of the castle. The Wicked Witch is finally melted with plain old water (surprise!).
When the friends bring the witch’s broomstick to the Wizard of Oz, he admits that he is not really powerful enough to grant their wishes. However, he awards the Scarecrow with a diploma, gives the Lion a medal for courage, and presents the Tin Man with a ticking clock in the shape of a heart. He then agrees to take Dorothy back to Kansas, having come from there himself, and has the hot-air balloon that he arrived in made ready. A great throng of people gather round to see the wizard and Dorothy off, but Dorothy’s dog, Toto, escapes from her arms, and Dorothy climbs out of the balloon to catch him. Meanwhile, the tethers that hold the balloon in place are broken, and the wizard sails away in his balloon without Dorothy.
Once more, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, comes to the rescue in her shiny pink bubble. Dorothy explains to her that the wizard was going to take her home, but that he is gone, and she will never be able to get back to Kansas. That’s when Glinda points with her wand to the ruby slippers, which have been on Dorothy’s feet the whole time she’s been in Oz.
“You had the power all along, my dear,” she tells Dorothy.
After an emotional farewell to her three new friends, Dorothy closes her eyes, clicks her heels three times, and repeats, “There’s no place like home.” When she opens her eyes, she is surrounded by her beloved Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, and the three farm hands, who look suspiciously like the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man.
I always wondered why Glinda never told Dorothy about the slippers when she first put them on Dorothy’s feet. When the Wicked Witch of the West demands that Dorothy give her dead sister’s slippers to her, Glinda says, “Their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn’t want them so badly.” Still, she never tells Dorothy about their true power.
It’s been over fifty years since I first heard that story, and I now realize that if Dorothy had simply gone back home right away, she wouldn’t have appreciated her home as much as she did at the end. She wouldn’t have made friends with the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man, who showed her that she needed wisdom, courage and love to get through problems in life. She wouldn’t have had the experience of victory over wickedness. She wouldn’t have learned to demonstrate her own power to solve her problems. She wouldn’t have learned that sometimes the solution to a problem is something simple that you already have in your possession (water!).
L Frank Baum’s story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a classic for a very good reason. It is the story of life. Souls come into physical embodiment and have to learn the rules of each place they find themselves in. We make friends with others who demonstrate qualities that we have to learn to manifest for ourselves. Along the way, we are beset by problems, some of which we can solve by ourselves, and others for which we need the help of our friends. Sometimes our help comes from unseen forces, and we never realize it. Through it all, God is in the background, allowing us to work through our problems, because God knows that Souls learn best by experience. Dealing with our problems forces us to grow. Not until we come to understand our true nature as Soul do we realize our power to create the events and relationships of our lives. Unlike the film, we don’t have to wait until we get to our final destination to come to this realization. If we are lucky, we tumble to it while we are on the journey. 🙂