Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Hidden Meaning of the Wizard of Oz

May 15 was the 154 anniversary of the birth of the American children’s fiction writer, L. Frank Baum (1856-1919). The website Illuminati Watch for May 14 reprints a long post titled “The Hidden Meaning of the Wizard of Oz” from the Vigilant Citizen website of Oct. 8, 2009. This is a subject that has been worn threadbare in recent years, starting with Theosophists and taken up by books like The zen of Oz: ten spiritual lessons from over the rainbow, 1998, and others. Baum, of course, was a Theosophist, joining the Theosophical Society in America in 1892. His best-known book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz published in 1900, was adapted as the famous film of 1939 and has become a rite of passage for almost every child in America. The film’s imagery has also been a source of inspiration for artists, from Andy Warhol to Harry Smith, who tried his hand at animating it (we’ve seen all 15 minutes of it!).

Illuminati Watch, which sees the hand of Illuminati conspiracy in all things modern, especially in contemporary music from rap to Lady Gaga, turns its attention to The Wizard of Oz:

The Wizard of Oz’s great success confirms America’s (and the Western world’s) real spiritual dogma. Written during the 1890’s, when most Americans were conservative Christians, Baum’s story anticipated the population’s progressive abandonment of traditional religions and the embrace of a new form of spirituality. Today’s New Age movements are gaining many adepts and, even if most of them are total shams, they all claim to be inspired by Theosophy. Could such tales have contributed to the spectacular decline of Christianity in the past decades while other movements continue to gain momentum?

Ironically, in proceeding to outline their argument they have provided a succinct overview of the themes—allegorical, spiritual, and metaphysical—of the book, liberally quoting from Blavatsky. It can be read here.

“The Witch,” from Andy Warhol’s Myth Series, 1981
Margaret Hamilton, photographed by Warhol,
reprising her role from the film The Wizard of Oz

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