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Updated: Feb 14, 2023

More Wisdom from Connie Castro Jackson

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was first published in 1900. The wildly popular fairy tale was one of my favorite childhood books. Tapping ruby slippers three times to solve a problem was a magical solution that made sense to me and captured my little girl imagination. A loveable scarecrow, a scaredy-cat lion, and a man who looked like a stovepipe befriending a lost girl and her little dog? In the end it all turns out well? That was my kind of story. Then I grew up and learned that perspective is everything. Now I know the book was written as an allegory for the political, economic, and social events of the time. Scholars, historians, politicos, economists, and journalists have since mulled it over and turned it inside out, analyzing its many metaphors and pertinent messages. The 1902 version of the story, written by Baum as a musical, was geared toward an adult audience with humorous references to the politics of the time. Scarecrow was a nod to the American farmer’s plight. The yellow brick road mocked the gold standard. Tin Man underscored sad truths about the steel industry. The Cowardly Lion represented failed populist presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, who at the time of the book's publication had failed to win elections in 1896 and 1900, and would go on to lose again in 1904. Genocide, massacre, political upheaval—my little girl self lacked the ability to see much less understand such things. All too negative a slant on a story I loved. Connie Castro Jackson once described The Wizard of Oz in a way that made perfect sense to my adult self. To quote Connie, “People start as pure energy. We come to this earth so we can learn to find our way. The Universe throws us roadblocks and curveballs until we do—although some people never find their way. At some point we must go back and get in touch with that original energy. We must remember ourselves before the programming that comes from living in the world. I always tell people if they want to read a truly spiritual book, read The Wizard of Oz. She runs away from her own existence. She arrives at a place she doesn’t recognize, has no identity, and realizes her only real desire is for home. The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Lion are her guides. She climbs a mountain, kills a witch, and fights off those little devil-monkey things. Of course, she is in reality fighting an inner battle to remember who she truly is. She thinks she is fighting external forces trying to prevent her from reaching the Emerald City, only to learn she herself is the one who is wise, she is the one with strength. The knowing lay within herself where it always had been, just like she always had been home and was from the start.” As Glinda the good witch said, “You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

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