Rainbows and Wizards and Yellow Brick Roads

The chorus to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”➀ has been taking up space in my mind. The background to Dorothy’s adventures, its lyrics, both haunting and hopeful, also spoke to the world as it was in 1939. Then, as I was going through old, hand-written pages of notes, I found this analogy, between The Wizard of Oz (the movie) and real-life, that I had written years ago.

This isn’t a typical peace full home story (and it’s longer than most posts), but let’s look at the movie that many of us saw as children, through another lens—a mash-up of the movie’s dream world and real life.

Dorothy
The Movie
This one seems pretty straightforward. Dorothy’s struggling and searching for a place where she “won’t get in any trouble.” A tornado hits, creating chaos, she falls, going into a dream state, and her imagination takes over as she travels to a far-off land.
Life
Desiring to escape a deep-seated fear of maintaining the status quo, being stuck where bigger, better “over the rainbow” dreams can’t be realized. (As a side note, the name Dorothy means: gift from God, a vision, determined, strong.)

The Rainbow
The Movie
The rainbow symbolizes Dorothy’s desire to “shake things up” and escape a life that doesn’t feed her. Magic and awe, non-existent in her mundane, “real” world, come to full-color life.
Life
In dreams, rainbows are indicators of beauty amidst challenges and innate knowledge of better things to come. They represent hope, change, and beautiful skies moving forward.

The Yellow Brick Road
The Movie
Dorothy is directed over and over to “follow the yellow brick road.” Is that coercion, or belief and faith? Is she bending to the whims of people pushing her to go the way they want her to? Or, is she really finding her destiny?
Real Life
When you hear the same thing repeatedly: “you’re going to be a surgeon,” “you can’t accomplish that,” you must “follow the yellow brick road!” it, too often, becomes the only path you see. What bricks are directing you down a road that you don’t want to follow?➁

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Movie
She’s miserable, unhappy, and doesn’t like how her life is playing out, so she uses her power to destroy. (When I was a child and saw the movie—on a little black and white television, I was terrified.)
Real Life
People who minimize, scare, or hurt us (or those we love) because they have that power remind me of the wicked witch. She’s also the part of us that fights back when we know we’re right or have been maligned. (I wonder what her “back-story,” was; how she got there…..)

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North
The Movie
She’s beauty and possibility, but even with that, she has the other side; she throws Dorothy under the proverbial bus (or house) by telling the wicked witch that the girl was the one who killed the evil witch.
Real Life
Glinda’s magical powers represent believing we can fight evil. She’s physically beautiful (in a very narrow-minded channel of beauty), and we believe in her. There’s a bit of Glinda in each of us, although there’s more than one side—even if we are wearing ball gowns and tiaras.

The Wizard
The Movie
In Dorothy’s pre-Oz life, the Wizard is a traveling medicine man, claiming he could cure anything. When “found out,” he simply moves on to the next town and desperate group of people. There’s a lot of “smoke and mirrors” (manipulating the curtain). Not believing he has any power, he hides behind the curtain.
Real Life
How often do we play the Wizard—acting like we have the cure for everything, manipulating reality, spending energy on not being “found out”? How often do we hide behind a curtain, never admitting who we really are?

The Cowardly Lion
The Movie
He represents fear—the kind that has him quaking in his boots. He’s always looking back, never looking forward. His big desire is to become what his physical presence would seem—fierce, intimidation, courageous.
Real Life
How often are we afraid (cowardly), trying to figure out how we fit it? When does every change or new challenge terrify us? How often have we run away instead of confronting?

The Scarecrow
The Movie
Sadly, he doesn’t believe in his ability, his integrity, his brain, in himself. When The Wizard gives him an honorary degree, he suddenly has a wealth of knowledge. His worth needed to be validated by someone “powerful.”
Real Life
What do we know, but not give ourselves credit for? How often do we believe only what’s obvious? In what ways have we allowed ourselves to be told we’re “less than”?

The Tin Man
The Movie
Afraid of feeling any emotions, fearing that if he cries, he’ll rust, The Tin Man becomes frozen in place unable to move forward until he’s given the life-saving oil that helps him get “unstuck.”
Real Life
Sometimes we shove under—or push back—what we can’t bear to deal with. We know that the price to pay for working through—risking the rust—might be much more than we’re willing to pay. Until we recognize the value of everything, however, we’re cemented to the place we put ourselves in.

The Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow (side note)
The Movie
All three are farmhands in “Dorothy’s real life.” They ultimately become the rulers of Oz, showing that they’re capable of being amazing farmers and have other gifts beyond that.
Real Life
We often believe that our “station in life” is determined by where we started or who birthed us into the world. We don’t realize that deep inside, we have courage, heart, and brains. They represent what lies beneath the surface if we choose to believe in the possibilities.

Toto
The Movie
Dorothy’s beloved dog, and the reason she ran away in the first place, is the one who reveals the Wizard behind the curtain. Despite his size, he “sees” the truth.
Real Life
How often do we assume that those who are younger, less knowledgeable or less well-employed do not have just as many gifts or abilities than we have?

Flying Monkeys
The Movie
They follow the orders of someone “superior,” doing the witch’s bidding.
Real Life
Sometimes, despite knowing what’s “right,” we simply follow orders (or the crowd), unaware, or not caring, how those actions impact the world. Remember, Adolf Hitler, whose original aspiration was to be an artist, could not have directed the annihilation of millions of Jews➂ if he was unable to convince others to follow his commands.

The Wicked Witch Melting
The Movie
Good triumphs over evil.
Real Life
When we face our fears, know our truth, or stand up to immorality, we take steps to eradicate evil and fight for justice. (But, I wonder if we ever got to really know who “the wicked witch” was at her core.)

Oz
The Movie
A place of fairy tales, unimagined beauty, mesmerizing but not real.
Real Life
How often are we attracted to things that are bright and shiny even though they’re not “real”?

The Munchkins
The Movie
They are the first people to welcome Dorothy to Oz. They seem to be pretty simple folks who love the color blue and are unfailingly happy.
Real Life
Do the people who are perpetually smiling genuinely happy? (That would be great!) Do we mindlessly “follow the yellow brick road'” even if we don’t really have our heart in that journey?

Ruby Slippers
The Movie
They could easily be dismissed as a “girl thing,” but in Dorothy’s case, the ruby slippers give her power, allowing her to take charge and grow up. Ultimately, she realizes that she had that power all along, and was always able to get “home” to her core self, but she had to learn to believe it.
Real Life
Sometimes we all need a talisman to have the faith necessary to move mountains or a hot air balloon. Then, one day, we get to the point where we really can make dreams come true by tapping into our souls’ essence and the gifts we’ve been given.

The Wizard of Oz
An incredibly well-crafted, book and movie and a meaningful metaphor for life.

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me”


➀ Written by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen in 1939.
➁ In retail stores, for example, there’s intentional directing of humans, pulling us through a maze to entice us to buy something we didn’t know we needed until they convinced us.
https://www.livescience.com/54441-how-hitler-rose-to-power.html

Blog: peacefullhome.com
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6 thoughts on “Rainbows and Wizards and Yellow Brick Roads

  1. Wow, a lot of metaphors to look at. I still find the witch terrifying, the repeated threat of ‘I’ll get you my pretty’ is super scary. Add in those flying monkeys and the witch on her bike – I still get creeped out! Thanks for the insight on what it’s REALLY about instead of what a ten year old remembers!

    Like

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