Joseph Campbell was a preeminent mythologist whose lifelong scholarship focused on the powerful messages inherent in stories from various societies, stories both fiction and true, from all the areas of the globe and all the ages of time. The representative power of “story” to convey belief systems and psychical messages can be found in many places, even in some far removed from the scholarship of the work of Campbell and others
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has been tossed by a tornado into a strange, fantastical land from which she only wants to find her way back home. She is told that to do so, she must “follow the yellow brick road,” capture the Broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West, and take it to the Great Wizard of Oz who will provide the answer she seeks. She enlists the help of others, those similarly seeking something to which they aspire, and pursues this Journey. While it is beset with all kinds of terrors, she is successful in capturing the Broomstick, only to find that the Wizard is but a sham. In the aftermath of missteps with the Wizard, however, Glinda, the Good Witch, who originally told Dorothy to “follow the yellow brick road,” now tells her that getting home can be as easy as closing her eyes, clicking her ruby red heels, and imagining the journey home. But it was the Journey of the movie that Dorothy had to pursue first, with all its horrors, in order to develop the strength and the consciousness that ultimately allowed her to imagine her way home.
What another wonderful analogy for our own perilous journeys. While this story might seem a bit superficial to those of us suffering with the horrors of the diseases of addiction, it is imbedded in our minds and hearts from its constant re-screenings since first produced in 1939. Dorothy trying to get home is a good analogy for all of us looking for and finding a life of sobriety and serenity, a place of peace just in our own hearts. The process to follow the yellow brick road, to face and conquer the demons however horrific, to be careful of the false shamans, and to realize in the end that, as a result of the journey and the conquests, home is just a place of serenity in our own hearts, is a spectacular revelation. For some, like me, the Broomstick of the Wicked Witch can be a symbol of our own Souls, a core element of ourselves which we must retrieve from the demons who stole it from us in another lifetime, in order to find our own “home.”
The idea of “home” being that place in our own hearts where, as a result of our journey of progress, we achieve a soulful life and a psychical joy, is very powerful. Over time, it becomes something we can only accept as being miraculous, the gift of a “power greater than ourselves,” which we have learned to embrace. We are now arriving at a place we might call a “Promised Land.”