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Reprint from Vincent's column
"Tarot Insights" in the "Illumination" tabloid.
March/April 1998 Vol.1 Issue 4

 
 

 
Oz and the Tarot

Recently I had the urge to watch and old classic movie. After considering my options, Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, etc,etc, I decided on The Wizard Of Oz. As I watched this film again I started to realize that the author of this classic fantasy, Frank L. Baum, must have had some knowledge of the Tarot. The parallels were too much to be mere coincidence and now I use this example in my classes on the cards.

The FOOL card represents our life journey. A faithful dog follows to warn him of dangers on his travels. Is that why Toto is in this story? If you study the symbolizism of this very important first card of the Tarot's Major Arcana, The FOOL you learn that the bag slung over the Fools shoulder contains the four suits of the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.

The four suits of the Tarot's Minor Arcana represent the four basic functions of consciousness. The Suit of Swords represent our (thinking process), Suit of Cups represent our (emotions), Suit of Staves, (our spirit) and the Suit of Pentacles (the physical). Now if we look at the four characters in the story, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man , The Cowardly Lion and Dorothy, we can see the correlation. The Scarecrow wanted a brain, (thinking process), The Tin Man wanted a heart, (Emotion), The Cowardly Lion wanted courage, (Spirit) and Dorothy wanted to get back home to Kansas, (the physical).

Maybe that's why this movie has been loved by so many for so long and has become a real classic. Because innately we can identify with what it really is telling us, what this story, deep down is really all about. With these four basic functions of consciousness we come into this "life experience", following our path, sometimes with very scary things happening but also sometimes very beautiful things happening too. And it all seems so real and exciting and then when it's all over we wake up to what we really are, and we see it was all just an illusion, not real, just a dream, just a wonderful "life experience".

The late Alan Watts* said about death, "You never really die because you were never born to begin with, you just remember who and what you really are". So when we come "here", like a whirling tornado out of Kansas, and we don't know what is happening or what to expect ahead, it's like the Fool just walking off the precipice with Toto at his side and these four functions of consciousness in his bag, just trusting in it all knowing it's going to be a wonderful experience no matter how wacky and intense it seems to be. And when it's all over, we wake up in our universal home and realize it wasn't real, but yet it was a very rich and wonderful experience. Then we sigh and say..." I'm going to do that again sometime... But for right now... There's no place like home."

*Dr. Alan Watts was a leading figure on interpretation of Zen Buddhism and the philosophy and psychology of religion during the 1960's and 70's.