by Jeanne M. House
UPR/ Sol Communication
The “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” made its debut in American literature in 1900. This fairy tale of a strong and adventurous heroine appeared at a time when women were finding their voices after being repressed by the domination of patriarchy. It marked a new era for the feminine principle to be retrieved from our psyche and integrated back into the culture. The late 1800’s and early 1900’s was also a time when the subject of the occult was flourishing in New York City, through the Theosophy Society. This was also a new era for revelations and wisdom that originated in ancient mystery schools, to now be revealed to the masses, (albeit the language was still somewhat cryptic).
Having said that, L. Frank Baum had a story to tell. And oh, what a story it was! It is a story that pertains to each and every one of us. Though it may appear to be a simple fairy tale, it is laden with symbols from the most ancient occult societies and mystery schools. And unlike the fairy tales of its day, his child heroine was not a meek and mild victim but one who transforms from a dependent people-pleaser to one who gains an indomitable spirit and courageous attitude, while pioneering new trails in order to find Home.
In my last paper I covered some psychological principles while discussing the journey through Oz, especially the transformational events that helped Dorothy become more integrated. I demonstrated that the road to Oz was actually a road to psychological integration. Now I would like to take this a step further and attempt to demonstrate that the road to Oz is also a path to enlightenment.
Few people trace the moral and symbolic meaning in a story. This story-teller, Frank Baum, may not have had a deep understanding of the ancient symbolism embedded in his own work. It is possible that he meant just to tell a charming tale, but because he was associated with a major esoteric school of his time, the Theosophical Society, I would gather that he was either over-shadowed by angelic-like beings or that he had passed several initiations himself, in order to write such a tale as this.
Like all enduring myths, (a story with meaning attached to it, other than what it seems at first), we shall find not only the literal story of a person, but parallel imagery of moral principles. For example, the myth of Hercules can be read from a mere historical perspective or it could be interpreted as a “living myth” of a true spiritual power, a mirror of heroism, and a present and living aid against our foes both inner and outer. I believe that Hercules is still alive today in the magnanimous spirit of the Lion that Baum writes about.
I also mentioned in my last paper that what was needed was a new way of seeing or “seeing symbolically.” So, continuing on that theme, I would like to take this journey a bit deeper and actually use the symbols to reveal the more hidden and latent esoteric principles of the story. Symbols are tools for our imagination, they act as doorways to our unconscious. According to Robert A. Johnson in his book, Inner Work, Inner work is the art of learning the symbolic language of the unconscious. The unconscious is a much larger realm than most of us realize. It is one that has a complete life of its own. It is an enormous ‘field of energy,’ and this constant stream of energy flows through our imaginations. So, our imagination is an organ of communication. It is an image-forming faculty. It does not make anything up. It converts the pre-existing symbols into meaning.
The images in fairy tales are symbols and when we experience these images, we are also directly experiencing the inner parts of ourselves that are clothed in the images. Jung called these symbols, primordial archetypes. Jung also describes archetypes as blueprints or predispositions that we are all born with and also the fact that they have a dynamic aspect. His theory is that in order to be healthy, we must keep the conscious and the unconscious in dynamic balance.
Joseph Campbell further supported this notion by describing the task at hand as ‘our adequacy as individuals to relate to the wealth of images and meanings in a creative and life-enhancing way.’ Our goal then is to bring the many parts of us into the one main story that we are living today. Our myths are alive and dynamic! So the road to Oz is the road to Self-knowledge.
When Dorothy first lands in Oz she is told to begin at the beginning of the Yellow Brick Road. Here we will see that we all must build our consciousness moment-to-moment, because in our psyche it is our work or direct experiencing, not just our ideas that builds consciousness. So let us begin to see how Dorothy builds her consciousness brick by brick. One of the first major symbols to appear in desolate black and white Kansas was a Rainbow. Judy Garland’s song, “Somewhere over the rainbow,” suggests that dreams may come true in a land beyond the rainbow, where birds fly freely and ‘clouds are far behind me.’ This denotes that the sun is behind the storm clouds of doubt and confusion. The rainbow emanates an uplifting desire of hope and renewal.
This rainbow also is a bridge from Kansas to Oz, a bountiful land of brilliant colors. It creates a climate of playful receptivity, which is the domain of the feminine. Each color of the rainbow carries with it specific vibrations and trigger different emotions and reactions. For the Theosophists, the seven rays of the rainbow would correlate with the seven paths of service that each one must master before he is to ascend the earth plane. The number eight represents a secret ray. And when you add the four elements of which we will discuss further in the paper, we get the number twelve, which represents our twelve planets that govern many of our moods and behaviors.
In the book, Art and Symbols, by James Wasserman, he writes that the number seven represents the microcosm and the macrocosm, and expresses the relationship between God and humanity. There are seven steps of initiation in which we have to journey in order to return to God. The Theosophists also had a system where each one of the rays correlated with each of the seven chakras or energy centers in the human body. Each chakra has a special function and frequency marked by the number of petals it has. These petals determine the flow of energies of God to man. And they govern the God-Virtues that may be amplified within the seven chakras: God-Love, in the Heart, God-Power in the Throat, (in the authority of the Word), God Vision in the 3rd Eye, God-Wisdom in the Crown, God-Peace in the solar Plexus, God-Freedom in the Seat-of-the-Soul and God-Purity in the Base of the Spine.
In his book, Healing Fiction, James Hillman describes that these symbols and images are not fictitious but actual guides to our deepest core of being and that by allowing these images to guide us we are healed. He implies that it is in the fiction itself, that we are healed. This means then, when Dorothy is imagining a rainbow, it is actually living through her. Our story is living us. Up until this time, Dorothy cannot find meaning in a seemingly barren world and just as she needs more meaning, a rainbow appears. If she follows its cue, she may find out why she is here and what is the meaning of her life.
The rainbow is the herald of Dorothy’s mission. A Greek archetype that underlies Dorothy’s predispositions is the goddess IRIS. She is made of black and white and everything in between and she knows the necessity of all. She is a guide and a herald conversant in matters practical as well as spiritual. She journeys between dimensions shedding color and understanding in her wake. Traveling by the arc of her rainbow, she bridges the two worlds of b & w and color, knowing the necessity for both. Seven iridescent rays provide her bridge and she is fluent in the vibration of each. The rainbow is the great mediator between the conscious, earth plane and the unconscious plane of heaven.
In the book, Queen of Heaven, John Ruskin discusses how in ancient myths, Harpies were “sisters of the rainbow.” They are the spirit of vain desires and the spirit of wasted energy. So this rainbow could also represent her path of the right use of energy. We all need to give up vain desires and empty hopes that are merely self-serving. And if you notice that when Dorothy does meet the three characters in the story, they were pretty self-absorbed and not very happy. It was only when they united for a larger purpose that energy was galvanized for the ultimate Victory!
Since she spoke of the bluebird of happiness, she will not only act as the messenger of the gods, but she will show others how to go through their own initiations with joy. Birds denote height and loftiness of spirit. Morya from the Agni Yoga Society says, “It is better to enter a task with joy than with depression. When joy keeps its glow even under the most difficult circumstances, we are filled with impregnable strength. Joy generates power! Joy is a special wisdom. Truly, joy must be recognized and realized. In sadness people become blind and lose their faith.” The Inner Life Book I, #231.
The next big symbol is the tornado. In Mythic Imagination, on page 14, Jung said, “Man must not dissolve in a whirl of warring possibilities and tendencies imposed upon him by the unconscious, but must become the unity that embraces all.” Morya continues to say, “Churning is a symbol of cosmogony. It is the symbol of a great action. It is the correlation between the microcosm and the Macrocosm. On the physical plane, spiral rotation is the basis of accumulation of substance and thought. From the summits down to chaos, space, is intensified by the spirals of consciousness. Thought spirally transforms itself into substance, permeating all cosmos. One must understand and accept the transformation of thought into substance, for thought is inexhaustible.”
What is really happening is that the ages pile up habits that lead to petrification of thinking. Just like when wood or shells petrify, some for millions of years. Our old myths or notions about our selves and the world, petrify if we don’t continue to transform them. It appears that the barren experience of Kansas, signifying the barren experience of Dorothy, is about to fall away as a new archetype is coming into her view. Dorothy’s cosmic mission is to bring back a larger myth for her society. This myth is full of color and hope of a new world-view, or a return to the paradise that she lost when she became an orphan.
What is required then, is a shift in consciousness. Emotions such as feelings of lack or depression need a purification of consciousness. It has been said that ‘thoughts are things,” meaning that what you pay attention to you become. So what is needed is a dissolution of a lower consciousness, so that a new, higher thought can emerge.
In Swamplands of the Soul, by James Hollis, says on page 74, that desuetude as the dispirited kingdom. What is the difference between spirit and soul? If soul loses the purposiveness of life, then spirit is the energy, the eros of the journey. When we are depressed, we may say we are dispirited; we have lost the energy for the traversing the swamplands. Listless, joyless, adrift in anomie; who has not dwelt in such an arid place from time to time and sometimes for years? Etymologically, the word desuetude means to grow out of the habit of using. We track our dreams in order to find where this missing energy is and where it wants to go. The soul, according to medieval physiology, is moist and when it is dry we suffer airidity of the spirit, a wasteland of the psyche. To give up one’s uniqueness or to sacrifice the personal journey, is to wound the soul.
In the book Illuminations II, on page 361, Morya says, “A man depressed by circumstances, becomes immobile and dull. Dullness LIKE RUST corrodes a portion of the fundamental substance. Sympathy draws men’s energy downwards. When we sympathize with someone, we prevent others from learning their lessons in life that intend to teach them and we get pulled down into their misery. Sympathy is delusion but compassion means understanding.”
When Dorothy encounters the Scarecrow, Lion and Tin man, she assisted each one of them but did not take on each of their responsibilities. She invited them to come along with her on her journey so that they too can find what they were searching for- a heart, a brain and the nerve. What she did do was renew their sense of play. In the book, Mere Creatures, by Elliot Gosse, on page 10, he says, play is in fact, widespread among animals. He claims that ‘living myth knows no distinction between play and seriousness.’ Johan Huizinga in Homo Ludens, traced all man’s important cultural manifestations to a ‘sense of play.’ He believed that the ‘play attitude’ must have been present before human culture or human speech existed, and is hence the ground on which personification or imagination work. D.W. Winnicott, a child therapist said that playing is a bridge between inner and outer reality and that, ‘ It is in playing and only in playing that the individual is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is in only being creative that the individual discovers the self.’
Dorothy did just that when she first arrived in Oz. After she said, “Toto, I have a feeling that we aren’t in Kansas anymore,” she just went right along with the reverie of the munchkins. Dorothy’s house, (representing her self), lands in Oz. As she walks out of her house she is now exploring areas outside of her everyday thinking, where previously she had remained a stranger to these thoughts. Here she encounters the munchkins. Jung referred to these “little people” as our inner complexes that scurry into the bush the moment one’s attention is turned towards them. The complexes have their own bodies and their own will.
Then comes the good witch of the North, (later we will discuss the wicked witches). Glinda represents Dorothy’s Higher Self. She acts as a guide but does not intervene until Dorothy has done all she can first to overcome. When catapulted into turmoil, unexpected assistance comes her way. Dorothy is blessed with divine protection and guidance.
Then she is given a pair of shoes that she must use to walk the steps of her initiations. She is told to begin at the beginning. The Eastern sages would see this as a way of balancing karma from past lives. Karma means action or deed and the law of karma is cause and effect or ‘what comes around, goes around.’ The Hindu’s believe that you can actually change your karma through the principles of effective karma management. The principle is that how you live in this life will create the karma you will face in future lives and the way you lived in past lives determines your life in the present.
The goal then, is to refine the way we act and react in this life. In working through the trying times of our lives, our primary powers are willpower,(represented by the Lion), devotion, (represented by the Tin man), and understanding, (represented by the Scarecrow). According to Satguru Bodhinatha Velanswami, in his article on Karma Management, Oct-2002, in Hinduism Today, says that karma can be mitigated through specific actions performed by the individual. He also said that,“It is easy to study the law of karma and appreciate it philosophically, but to realize it, to apply it to everything that happens to you, to understand the workings of it as the day goes by, requires the ability to which you must AWAKEN.” So, the journey for Dorothy is a journey of AWAKENING.
Now starts the journey. The road starts with a spiral and is the color yellow for wisdom. It is a wisdom journey and it is round, which reminds me of the largest portion of the tornado, not the eye of it but the end of it. Jung believed that the round shape of the mandala represents wholeness. The image that comes to mind for me is the round table with the Holy Grail in the middle of it at King Arthur’s court. The circular table represents the universe and the Holy Grail is the key to salvation. Just like Dorothy, while she stands in the middle of the spiral she is representing the Grail. She is the key to her own salvation.
According to Erickson, the spiral is a symbol of the evolving self, portraying the way people move beyond and then return to certain core issues as they develop. As you go up the spiral you return to the same issues again and again. (This reminds me of the tornado image.) As you go up, they are at more refined levels of experiences. Familiar difficulties occur, but at higher level on the spiral. So, at times we are embedded in psychological issues during a developmental stage and when we progress on the spiral we get new tasks and challenges. So it is accumulative. The myths we create evolve through a succession of changes from infancy to old age. He saw our development as a succession of predictable psycho-social crises. The hard-earned mythic lessons accumulated during one stage of development are important to the next level of development.
The ancients believed that energy, physical and spiritual, flowed in spiral form. According to A Dictionary of Symbols by J.E. Cirlot, a spiral can be found in three main forms: expanding as in (nebula), contracting like the (whirlwind), and ossified like the (snails shell). In the first case it is an active sun-symbol, in the second and third cases, it is a negative moon symbol. Going back to ancient traditions, the creative spiral rising clockwise is attributed to Pallas Athena, and the destructive spiral like the whirlwind, which twirls around to the left, is an attribute of Poseidon. Lastly, the spiral is associated with the idea of dance, intended to induce the state of ecstacy and to enable man to escape from the material world and enter the beyond through the hole symbolized by the mystic Centre.
This mystic center is HOME. There is ‘no place like home,” because we have all of the answers we need inside of each one of us. The journey to Oz is about finding our own Center and then living authentically from that Center. We embark upon the Victory Spiral of our lives by letting Pallas Athena be our guide for finding our own Truth deep within our being. The Greeks used the term “know thyself.” Carl Jung devised a way to find thy Self by teaching us a way of exploring our inner dimensions and uncovering the many layers of our being that would ultimately lead us to the fusion with our higher Self. He called this path individuation.
According to Hillman in Healing Fiction, there seems to be no single way of knowing thyself. So for him it was time to begin to synthesize. In the book, Personal Mythology, The Psychology of Your Evolving Self, David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner pointed out that our goal is to work with the maze of inevitable conflicts between the myths that are merging and the myths of the past and your effectiveness and sense of integration will increase. The periods of crisis of faith courage and identity may be treated as calls for renewal in our current mythology.
Since we are not the author of the play of our psyche, we need psychic objectivity or what Jung called the objective psyche. This requires us to witness psychic objects such as obstacles, tensions, obsessions, intrusions, as a way and means to our road to integration or our journey HOME. The Greek philosopher Empedocles, talked about the two qualities of love and strife as the way of providing the necessary “heat” in order to propel us to our victory. This is all part of our “inner work.”
If you remember, when Dorothy encountered all three of the major characters of Oz, she found limp intelligence, (Scarecrow), immobilized feelings, (Tin man), and unsure wildness ‘that precedes confidence’, (Lion). All of these characters were not able to tap into the ‘fire of their own Spirit’ until Dorothy came along with a one-pointed goal to get to the Emerald City of Truth on the yellow road of wisdom. This not only galvanized them but her friendliness gave them trust and her ability to express justified anger gave them courage. These were the key qualities that liberated the forces within her of which her helpers represented. So you see, it is not a one-way relationship.
We are all connected with Nature and It is connected to us. Feinstein and Krippner says that all myths are primarily spiritual because they all stem from one Primal Myth-the I AM (THAT I AM). This is the original Myth from which all myths stem from. All myths are like branches from this One trunk. Since Dorothy was an orphan, she was a prime candidate for starting her search for the elusive treasure of union with a “lost paradise” or this One myth, that eluded her in real life. The myth of the orphan was just a sub-myth if you will of a greater myth now emerging in her life. Joseph Campbell describes one of the components of our personal myths as a longing to know one's part in the vast wonder and mystery of the cosmos.
One way to embark upon this search is to cultivate our “Inner Shaman.” Shamans provide a model for guiding the western minds back to their primal roots. Just like the shamans of old, Dorothy is participating in an inner rite of transformation. Like the shamans, she is guided by an animal figure, her dog, Toto. In Chinese astrology, the sign of the “dog” is loyal and represents harmony and balance. The earth dog is especially loyal and serves as one who holds everything together. It is interesting that Toto means “everything and always.”
The impetus and guidance for her success, is sparked by her devotion to Totoor her strong instinctive responses to life’s circumstances. She protects Toto on two occasions and then he protects her. He plays a crucial part in each stage of Dorothy’s quest. Like Dorothy, he is small and fearful, but he insists on asserting himself. As a non-verbal animal he stands for her uncivilized part of herself who exposes the illusions and vulnerabilities of the coercive authority and propels the conforming child into adventures and actions that her social conscious would not consider or approve.
On page 91, in the book, Mere Creatures, A Study of Modern Fantasy Tales for Children, Elliott Gose gives a comment from Max Luthi, “Man is in contact with nature, which accepts his assistance and in turn comes to his aid. But like Toto, the helping animal can also embody unconscious forces within.” He continues to say, “Helpful animals are ‘symbolic figures’ that embody and represent the instinctive forces of our nature, as distinguished from the higher human qualities of intellect, reason and power.”
On page 113 of The Mythic Imagination, Your Quest for Meaning Through Personal Mythology, Stephen Larsen says that animals are inner sources of instinctive power within the psyche. He recommends that we work like a Shaman by dialoguing with the animals and finding out what they need. Dorothy did this quite naturally. Then he gives us a tool of an animal totem pole. There are seven animals on the ‘chakra’ totem pole. If you encounter an animal that is limited in some way or injured, this meant that this chakra was not functioning properly. Here we discover a personal ecology within our self.
So, for Dorothy, it looks like she is having trouble with her, 4th, 5th and 6th chakras, which are represented by the, the Tin man, the Scarecrow and the Lion. Her 4th chakra is her ability to demonstrate Divine Love, or Love without attachment. Her 5th chakra represents her ability to communicate her inner Truth. Her 6th chakra has to do with her ability to visualize her divine destiny and then have the courage to take actions towards that end. While in Kansas, Dorothy transformed her three lower chakras, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd chakras. In the first chakra, she had wed the material to the spiritual by creating the rainbow in order to journey back and forth between her conscious mind and her unconscious mind. She mastered her 2nd chakra by being true to her Self and taking a journey away from the Kansas consciousness. Now she is finding the balance between meekness and righteous indignation in her 3rd chakra. As Dorothy was able to free up the stagnate energy from these chakras, she became a more integrated person. She also became more empowered and was able to express her real inclinations. The more she does this, the more assistance she receives from the universe. This is how we create our lives. We acknowledge our inner-Truth, but we also have the courage to challenge error when we see it. This is true Self-empowerment.
Larsen continues to say on page 185 of The Mythic Imagination, “If the inner rite of transformation is satisfactorily completed, there is a renewal of the unitive principle, and a higher version of internal harmony comes to reign.” Now this internal harmony is important, in that it allows Dorothy to have access to more energy to utilize on this path to the One, primal myth, that we will now call HOME. You see this One myth is where all the energy comes from anyway.
Dorothy is embarking a “new” hero or heroine’s journey, which is unique in that it requires both individual ingenuity and collaborative effort of all the characters. A new paradigm is emerging in our society where we are not just individual heroes and heroine’s like the last century. We are now experiencing both a personal path and having a collective experience by tapping into the One primal myth. It is just not a solitary myth of a solitary hero anymore.
On page 41 of the book Art and Symbols, Wasserman describes the initiation process, “A common thread in the initiatic experience is the descent into a dark and fearful underworld. Here, the only protection is the strength of faith and commitment to duty and higher purpose, whose agency will protect the candidate through deadly trials that lie ahead. These trials often take the shape of battles with overwhelming enemies and to prevail the initiate will have to battle to near exhaustion. In the land of the trial, the candidate is likely to meet helpers or guides who bring wisdom to his assistance. These may be in the form of animals who speak and direct him to the next stages or spirits who provide missing keys to various riddles.
The final rewardin fact, the real secretis the knowledge of the inner strength that the candidate was challenged to call forth within himself, including the now-tested awareness that intuitive certainty of the mission, was a true inspiration. His survival was proof that the journey was necessary. The strength of the conviction lasts a lifetime.” What one can do, all can do. This is the principle of the Great White Brotherhood mentioned in the Theosophical Society. They are way-showers, who have gone before us.
These are the ‘spirits’ who are providing answers to the riddles we face today. The Lion, the Tin man and the Scarecrow represent the principles of faith, hope and charity. By using these principles we are getting the assistance from the ‘spirits’ while on our journey HOME. For instance, Archangel Michael represents faith and so does the mythological hero Hercules. Archangel Jophial represents Hope and Archangel Chamuel represents Love. These are all qualities of God.
These three principles also go back to the Ancient of Days. What marked the beginning of a spiritual initiation process were groups of three, which were also used as a narrative device in medieval literature in Ireland and Wales, they appear moments before critical or dramatic events took place.
The triune principle also represent the powers of the Trinity the Father, (the Divine Mind of God), the Love of the Son, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Chaldean Oracles, by G.R.S. Mead says on page 95, “Enter into the true worships paradise where virtue, wisdom and good rule are met together.” It also says, on page 66, “The oracle speaks of the sun possessing a three-powered rule.” On page 89 and 90, it says that later, according to Platonic commentators, that they were the chief ruling principles of the sensible world.
The three-powered rule also showed up in the three parts of the transformation of a prevailing myth. Eric Erickson says that our evolving myth circles out of our prevailing myth and at some point it becomes a counter myth until the new myth is assimilated. He describes the new mythic image as being full of richer fiber and greater subtlety as we continue each stage of our life.
And lastly, Georg Hegel developed the theory of the interplay of three elements when he describes thought processes and all historical change. Every thesis generates its opposite, or antithesis, and the interplay of the two produce synthesis, which transcends them both. The emerging synthesis becomes a new thesis and the whole cycle starts over.
“So, Power (the will to Be) is the thesis, or the Lion and Wisdom, is the antithesis, or the scarecrow and Love is the synthesis, or the Tin Man. This synthesis of divine attributes reveals that Love, Wisdom and Power are in reality One indivisible/undivided Whole, which can never be divided. This is not all, the Cosmic White Fire of the Universal Mother, (symbolized by Dorothy), now enters. Born out of the unity of the Divine Triad, the Luminous One steps out of the union to become the opposite or antithesis or the divine polarity of the thesis of the Trinity. Out of this union there is produced the synthesis of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Mother. She manifests the feminine nature of the world of form. Each part is a Self-expression of the Whole, by the union of the Law of the One, then the Three, girded by the Fourth, the Blessed Mother,” says, Saint Germain, on page 313, in the book Saint Germain on Alchemy.
In Oz, the number three represents the qualities of love, hope and light, but the number four represented the elements and the way in which we process these qualities. The elements of each of the characters are as follows: Dorothy represents earth; the Tin man represents water; the Scarecrow represents air and the Lion represents fire. In the book, The Masters and the Path, Purucker illustrates that the four elements are the basis of our lower bodies. He continues to say that we must get our emotional, mental, physical and etheric bodies under control. So the goal of initiation is to purify our lower vehicles so that the Holy Spirit can function perfectly through these vehicles when He wishes to do so. For the Theosophists, our four lower bodies are our etheric or memory body, (Lion) our mental body, (Scarecrow) our astral or emotional body (Tin man) and our physical body (Dorothy). We use these bodies as a way of qualifying the pure energy of the universe. If any one of these bodies are clogged up with negativity, than the Light of the Holy Spirit cannot flow in that area. That area would become stagnate. So, the goal is to clean and purify these bodies.
In the Wizard of Oz, we find that our heroine Dorothy is experiencing a spiritual alchemy. Only instead of using metal, she is transforming her own lead thoughts and feelings into the gold of a more Self-empowered, individual who is demonstrating her mastery of her emotional, physical, spiritual and mental worlds.
In the Greek religion we find, four subordinate elemental forces, (earth, waters, fire, and air), under One governing Lord of all things. Dorothy is learning to govern the elemental forces within her. Now the Greeks also said that four elemental forces have four spiritual powers living in them and commanding them. And the living powers of them are Demeter, Poseidon, Apollo and Athena. Each of these is a descendent from or changed from more ancient and therefore more mystic deity. Elements then, are qualities embodied by spirits. Our goal then is to transmute the base or lead qualities of today into more the noble or gold qualities of these spirits of by-gone days.
In the Theosophical Society the three Mahatma’s that represented Love, Wisdom and Power were Djwal Kul, Kuthumi and El Morya. These three masters can also be seen as the “more mystical deities” operating behind the Lion, (love) the Tin man, (wisdom) and the Scarecrow, (power) and (Helena Blavatsky would be the embodied representative of the Mother or Dorothy). These Masters along with a pantheon of other Holy Spirits, are here with us even today, guiding us “behind the scenes.” For instance, Pallas Athena, is the spirit of Truth, Justice, Prudence and Tolerance. When we demonstrate the four cardinal virtues of truth , justice, prudence or tolerance we are ‘drawing nigh’ to Pallas Athena and by spiritual law, she will ‘draw nigh’ to thee.
In the Encyclopedia of Occultism, on page 138, Adam was composed of the purest of the four elements. Adam was in complete accord with the four living powers of Demeter, Apollo, Poseidon and Athena. By being composed of each of that which was the purest of the four elements, he contained in himself the perfections of these four subordinate elemental forces and therefore was their natural king. But since by the reason of his sin, he had been caste into the excrements of the elements. There no longer existed the harmony between him and them, the fine and ethereal substances became gross and impure. But this can be remedied and the ancient correspondence restored. To attain this we must purify and exalt the spiritual element within us.
The choice is whether to partake of our spiritual refiners fire or to partake of our more mortal nature. Each element has a particular virtue and vice:
Air (sylphs) capricious and inconsistent, but agile and active.
Water (nymphs or undines) jealous and cold, but observant.
Fire (salamanders) hot and hasty or energetic and strong
Earth (gnomes) greedy or hard-working, good-tempered and patient
One who would seek dominion of any of these must practice their virtues; but carefully avoid their faults, thus conquering them as it were on their own ground. The goal is right use of power or energy. The Buddhists believe that if we conquer greed, anger and ignorance, we will attain Nirvana.
United we stand, divided we fall. Thus we cannot have one of these qualities in balance without balancing the others. All life is one and if we abuse power (and the four bodies of man are the receptacles of that power), it affects everybody. Our goal then is personal integrity and personal integration with the whole. This is achieved each step of the way, this is a part of holy wisdom. Acquiring power without understanding or mercy is not lawful. Power without the wisdom to properly apply it or the love to restrain it from selfish abuse, is out of balance.
Even Paraclesus believed that bringing the various elements in the human body into harmony with the elements of nature fire, air, water, earth and Light, old age and death might be indefinitely postponed. He also believed that every body is composed of four elements and that the essence compounded of these elements forms a fifth, which is the soul of the mixed bodies or in other word its “mercury.” On Page 16, in Encyclopedia of Occult Symbols, Paracelsus says,
“I have shown in my book of Elements, that the quintessence is the same thing as mercury. There is in mercury whatever wise men seek. He specialized in separating the pure from the grosser matter, which clogs and confines by the use of its “essence or mercury.” Finding the predestined element, the seminal essence of being, the first being or quintessence, is the key. Take some mercury and separate the pure from the impure and afterwards pound it to perfect whiteness.”
The four archetypal energies of fire, air, water and earth can be viewed as qualities in each of us. Our task then, is to spiritualize these qualities by tapping into the fifth element, Akasha or Spirit, of which all of these are mixed with. Aristotle talks about the elements arising from four essences. And these essences can be combined with an unworldly fifth essence that that he called the quintessence or aether. This was later introduced to India who called it Akasha or Spirit. Here Spirit became the fifth element. This implies that we are not separate from Sacred Spirit but it is part of our essence.
Greek philosophers were adamant about the fact that Spirit was finer then matter, even though Aristotle saw it as rising from the same stuff as the elements. The refiner’s fire of spirit is the stuff that helps us transmute base qualities into more noble qualities. We must actualize each elements finer or more refined portion. We do this through harmony, prayer, living morally and obedience to laws of God. Worry, fear and negative thinking, put lead into our consciousness and weighs us down.
Now in Dorothy’s case, she needed this mercury, an agent such as quicksilver, to dissolve and purify her old beliefs and fears. The quicksilver is keeping our harmony and shunning all discord. Purucker continues to say in The Masters on the Path, that the more we make a habit of identifying ourselves with the Higher Self (or Glinda), and reach up towards Them, we can be an agency for them. But we must fill our minds with high thoughts and we can’t be occupied with lower matters. So, if we spend most of our time in Kansas consciousness, and do not lift up our minds to higher thoughts of Oz or the Emerald city of Truth, we will not be visited by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Grail represented a man full of Spirit. But, only one knight, Sir Galahad became an adequate chalice for the Holy Spirit.
He goes on to say that, “The goal is to raise our emotional bodies into a more rapid pulsation. As the electrons, (Eve), move about more rapidly around the central core of the atom, (Adam), we magnetize only that which is good. But as soon as we allow our feelings to tie into disapproval, fear, anger or discord of any kind, you slow down the vibrations of those feelings and lower them into the strata where mass feelings (astral plane) and imperfections abide. The master alchemists used prayer and invocations to seal themselves from this Astral plane.” (This is the realm of the witches and monkies)
After meeting the Lion, the Tin man and the cowardly Lion, Dorothy takes them with her down the yellow road to the Emerald City. Earlier we talked about Divine Guidance. Hermes comes to assist her, as she gets closer to the Emerald City. After all, he is the author of the Emerald Tablets which describe the principle “As above; So Below.” (This means from here on end, she is now working with her higher chakras, the 6th and 7th of Vision and Transcendence.)
Hermes is also known as the “silver cloud, lighted by the sun.” And like IRIS, he is a master of both worlds, the conscious and the unconscious or Kansas and Oz. He is the creator of both Alchemy and Astrology. Therefore he is fluent in both worlds, just like IRIS. But being somewhat of a Trickster, Hermes guides Dorothy and her friends into a field of poppies. Now everyone knows that poppies are hallucinogenic, and Dorothy and the lion fall into a deep sleep.
The lion represents Dorothy’s intuitive function and her visionary capabilities. Up until now, she has not fully purified this etheric body, or memory body, which is the element of fire. The memory body is full of a storehouse of memories that lie in our unconscious from this life and all other lives. If it is not purified, all of our decision -making will be clouded by these old beliefs and memories. It also holds the memory of our “primal pattern” or blueprint. Up until this point only a portion of this original blueprint has been actualized and recognized by Dorothy at the conscious level. She is still hoping and wishing for a magnificent vision to be revealed to her by Oz.
Once they arrive at the Emerald city they have now entered a “Hallowed Place” full of more vibrant colors than they had experienced thus far. When she was finally face-to-face with Oz, he was full of “puff and smoke” and looked like a oversized head without a body. This shows that he has great brilliance but it can go nowhere if he is disembodied. He also is full of the element air, but he is missing the earth, which Dorothy represents. Whenever we use one element in its’ extreme, it turns an asset into a fault. It is a question of balance and harmonizing our thinking with our feeling world and intuition with our practicality. You can also tell that Dorothy’s ‘Will to Be,’ was weak, because the lion went jumping out the window.
If the Thinking function is overused, this can also show up as intellectual pride. (But, once Oz was able to integrate his Feeling world of professor Marvel, he had a more holistic approach. He eventually gave everyone what was needed.) According to Dr. Johnson, our ego is a limited and highly inaccurate version of who “I” am. We are all much more than the “I” which whom we are aware. So, Dorothy was hoping and wishing that somehow Oz would rescue her from her plight. But, “wise as he was,” he gave her the task of getting the broomstick of the wicked witch of the East. Now the broomstick represents the power that is repressed by a shadow fragment in Dorothy’s unconscious mind. At this stage her wishing and hoping has turned into a doing and being task-getting the broomstick.
While leaving Oz, Dorothy and Toto, (her instincts) were captured and taken to the witches castle. Cirlot, wrote in his Dictionary of Symbols that the castle or any walled city in medieval art was a symbol of the transcendent soul. If the castle is on a hill, and this one was, it represented in the broadest sense an, embattled spiritual power, ever on the watch. The black castle is the alchemist’s lair or rain cloud poised above a mountain-top. It signifies an entrance into the Other World. 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.
The hour-glass is a symbol denoting the inversion of the Upper and Lower Worlds. Dorothy is now taking her last initiation by merging her two-eyed vision into the “One All Seeing Eye” of the crystal ball. When she peers into it she see Auntie Em and the Witch. While she is present peering into the ball and seeing both Auntie Em and the Wicked Witch, this forms a trinity. The purity of the crystal is magnetized by the purity of her consciousness and Dorothy is transformed. All three of these images represent her entire journey from child to adult to old woman. All three are aspects of the divine feminine-Demeter-Earth Mother; Dorothy-Bride of Hades and Hecate- The Great Mother or Primal Mother.
The One-Eyed vision is like a Cyclops. The god Cyclopea, is the god of Vision on the 6th ray. He teaches us that when the Law of the One comes full circle in an individuals experience, only Truth reigns and error is exposed. In the “Immaculate all-Seeing Eye of God,” there are not two sides to every equation. The plus and minus of the Godhead are complimentary and not opposing, always fulfilling the Law of the One, or the Divine Whole. “Not so in the human situation. In the human two-eyed perception of the world after the departure from the Edenic, Self-knowledge, there became a negative and positive pole that is rivalrous and mutually destructive. As a result the synthesis is a watered down version of both. It is lukewarm and mediocre. This is the antithesis of self-transcendence,” says, Saint Germain on page 310 in Saint Germain on Alchemy.
The Wicked Witch is known all over the world in many different guises and names. Baba Yaga, as she is called in Russia, (baba meaning “old women” and yaga meaning ‘hag”), is a witch with gifts of shape-changing and prophecy. She personifies death and initiation. But she also has the gift of prophecy and imparts great wisdom. However, you must survive her demanding tasks and tests.
Baba Yaga hails from a place where fear and wisdom meet. She straddles the gap between life and death and knows the secret of both. Some later legends even confuse her with Mary, mother of Jesus. When the witch threatened the Scarecrow with fire, Dorothy poured water on her, which was the baptism that signaled her initiation into the Ascension Spiral.
The last symbol I am going to discuss is the balloon. Like the spiral the balloon is round but in its circles are the many colors of the rainbow. Dorothy traversed the spirals until she spiraled from it’s periphery, where all things are separate and manifest, to the dot in the center of the spiral or the eye, where all things are unified and made One.
Before this region was the upper region of her consciousness, but now she is standing in the center of it, having purified the lower strata of her consciousness. She is now tethered to her inner blueprint. She is the balanced manifestation of light within, expanding the seven rays of her aura without. In the Theosophical Society, Djwal Kul says,
“The aura of man is like a giant balloon and the balloon is filled with the flow of energy that is released from the seven chakras. The greater the energy that is released the greater the size of the balloon. The greater the size of the balloon, the more God can release His consciousness into the planes of matter. For the balloon is the coordinate of the causal body of God.”
When Dorothy returns home, she has now accepted the perfection of life as the goal and the law of life. She has become an alchemist of the Spirit in the planes of matter. And the motto of the alchemist is, to know, to dare, to do, and to be silent! Her shining example will light up the world, as she is now a “way-shower” to show people how to go up, up and away from the “Kansas” consciousness into the rainbow rays of Oz.
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2. James Wasserman, Art and Symbols of the Occult, (Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1993), pg. 41
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8. Morya, INFINITY, book 11, (New York, New York: Agni Yoga Society). Pg. 361
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18. Carol S. Pearson, Conscious Management in SAGA, Jonathon young (Ed), (Ashland, Oregon: White Cloud Press, 2001), pgs. 164-167