|Dorothy's post-death journey began at the Garden of Eden. The balance of two good witches and two evil witches was broken by the arrival of this young girl. Her harrowing reputation as Savior was cemented by her overthrow of evil and reincarnation back to life.||
The Munchkins lived in a beautiful garden:
“There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruit. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies.” (17)
The garden of Eden as described in Paradise Lost also had patches of green, stately fruit trees, flowers, birds, and a stream:
“Every single object of the Garden of Eden is nice, full of freshness and natural. Every trees of Eden is full of fruits and flowers. There are very beautiful… lawns, glades, valleys, where cattle are grazing freely and happily…. There are various flowers of different colors and smells… Even the caves are decorated with fruit laden trees and grape vines. The water-falls provide a soft and murmuring sound. The water is clear like mirror. The birds are singing very sweetly from trees. The air of the Paradise is pure and full of sweet fragrance.” 1
According to ancient Egyptians, Eden occurred after a person's death, not at the beginning of the world. Dorothy’s defeat of the Wicked Witch is similar to the defeat of the evil serpent of the garden by Egypt’s version of Eve. The Munchkins thanked her for defeating the evil serpent:
“’You are welcome, most noble Sorceress, to the land of the Munchkins. We are grateful to you for having killed the wicked Witch of the East, and for setting our people free from bondage.’
Dorothy listened to this speech with wonder. What could the little woman possibly mean by calling her a sorceress, and saying she had killed the wicked Witch of the East?....
‘She has held all the Munchkins in bondage for many years, making them slave for her night and day. Now they are all set free, and are grateful to you for the favor.’” (21-23)
Dorothy as Eve
The name Dorothy is of Greek origin, meaning “gift from God.” Like the Egyptian Lady of the Tree, Dorothy destroyed the adversary of mankind. The three Munchkin leaders who meet Dorothy are all male, and they praise her for liberating the people. She arrives dressed in red, like the morning sun.
Dorothy's role as light-bringer is similar to the ancient Egyptian Osiris:
“I have arrived at your hole while traversing the mysteries of the Duat [underworld] in order to bring the light of my disk in to the mysterious place to enlighten those who sit in darkness.”2
The light-bringer was portrayed as the 'Lady of the Sycamore' who gave the fruit of life to the weary dead3, and by Bast the rabbit, the daughter of Ra who who slew the evil serpent in the garden Apep. Apep is much like the Christian devil. He sought to enslave deceased people and stop their ascension. He sought to enslave deceased people and stop their ascension. In the film, the Wicked Witch (Ms. Gulch) hated Toto because he often tresspassed into her garden and chased her cat. Dorothy defended Toto, saying, “…he can’t catch her old cat, anyway!”
The woman didn’t just crush the head of this serpent, she completely destroyed the serpent. Dorothy’s primitive temple completely crushed the witch. The witch’s feet crumbled into dust when the shoes were removed, they “dried up quickly in the sun.”
“Hey rebel, who engaged in evil, Apophis, who has been the cause of evil, your face is destroyed… Hey, you have been expelled, you, who are to be destroyed.”4
“…may I advance upon the earth; may I smite the Ass; may I crush the evil one; may I destroy Apep in his hour... may my soul come forth and walk hither and thither and whithersoever it pleaseth… I have driven back Apep for thee.”5
Dorothy inherited slippers from the witch’s death that let her travel wherever she pleased.
The Munchkin garden was East, like Eden. The Egyptian cardinal point East was protected by Neith, who was often portrayed as a serpent and called Nurse of the Crocodiles. Neith was the goddess of wisdom and war.
Apep’s destricton is illustrated in the Book of the Dead as a snake being cut into many pieces or being beheaded. This occurs later in the Wizard of Oz when the Tinman beheads a wildcat for attacking the “pretty, harmless” (100) mouse Queen.
“…as the wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow that cut the beast’s head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.” (100)
Tinman later beheads wolves and other attacking animals sent from the Wicked Witch of the West. Lion beheads the huge spider later after that, (241) which is yet another facet of Neith. “Your head is cut off, Apophis, after your coils have been cut… We consign you to your destruction!” 6 The attack of the flying monkeys takes on a snake-like tone, echoing the Egyptian fear of being wrapped in Apep’s coils:
“The remaining Monkeys threw pieces of stout rope around the Lion and wound many coils about his body and heads and legs, until he was unable to bite or scratch or struggle in any way.” (148)Dorothy inherited the shoes as a symbol of her treading upon the head of the serpent. The shoe is closely associated with the struggle to defeat tyranny, such as the well known Middle East custom of throwing shoes at tyrannts. Marie in The Nutcracker threw her shoe at the swarming adversaries to save man. She then awoke to a piercing light:
“Now Nutcracker, closely surrounded by enemies, was in great distress. He wished to spring over the ledge of the cupboard; but his legs were too short…
At that instant two sharpshooters seized him by his wooden cloak. “Oh, my poor Nutcracker!” cried Marie, and threw her shoe with great force into the thickest mass of the mice, right upon their king. In an instant all were scattered, and fled…
When Marie awoke from her deep sleep, she was lying in bed, and the sun was shining brightly through the frosty window.” 7
Dorothy crushed the enemy of land, the bringer of wisdom, and she then realized an inner knowledge, a certain loss of innocence:
“Dorothy was an innocent, harmless little girl, who had been carried by a cyclone many miles from home; and she had never killed anything in all her life.” (21)
Wizard Of Oz author L. Frank Baum Garden as a Theosophist believed in a post-death Garden of Reeds which bears striking resemblance to the Munchkin land, complete with the Munchkin festival in honor of Dorothy’s arrival:
“No doubt wheat and barley are symbolically cultivated in this Garden, but so are flowers; birds and beasts are kept there, yet also it is a place adapted for pleasure and festival; it is laid out and carefully divided after the manner of what we now would call a landscape garden. It would appear also to have been formed in four main compartments or islands surrounded by water and divided by rivers.” 8
Eden likewise was divided into four by rivers. The Theosophic garden was eastward like the Christian Eden, and the land of Munchkins.
“They are the people who live in this land of the East, where the wicked Witch ruled.” (23)Islamic literature also placed the garden of Eden post-death, as a place to prepare for and recuperate from great challenges:
“Protect him from every horror before (he enters) the Garden and help him against the horrors of the Day of Ressurection…
Other common euphemisms are “bed, resting place” and “garden” as designations of the grave.” 10
In the film, Dorothy’s uncle suggested to her, “When you come home, don’t go by Ms. Gulch’s place—then Toto won’t get into her garden and you won’t get in no trouble.” But Dorothy had to go to the garden to get home to Kansas. Dorothy crushed the enemy of land, the bringer of wisdom, and she then realized an inner knowledge, a certain loss of innocence. Eden was no longer a “place where there isn’t any trouble.”
Bringing Light on Easter and Springtime
Book of the Dead, as Theosophists like the author of Wizard of Oz saw it, explained the significance of the silver shoes that gave Dorothy mobility:
“The fullness of the forms of the Shining Ones is granted unto me; I comprehend the Light, for I know it; that I may fetch to Her towns; I may steer in Her pools; I may roam in the Garden of Rest.”Dorothy brought light at the Egyptian New Year as she reached that city: “’Great City”! I have come into Thee; I have comprehended my fullness; I have brought about the Spring Time.”
“I have followed the [four] winds of the Company of the Gods.”
The illustration of the Munchkin festival showed Dorothy on a celestial throne with Munchkins performing for her and the moon smiling subserviently at her.
This was the Egyptian Wag-festival, a sort of Independence Day for the Egyptians. The Wag-festival celebrated the Pharoah’s victory over darkness and Horus’ victory over the devil Seth.
We see another similar festival performed by the Winkies later in the book after Dorothy liberates them from their tyrannical witch. Like in Oz, Egypt also had two Wag- festivals, one set by the cycle of the moon and the other set on the same day of the year: “...there were actually two separate Wagy feasts, one set according to the cycle of the moon and a later one firmly placed.” 11
The Munchkin festival in the Field of Reeds is similar to the Candy Meadow dance performed for Marie in the Nutcracker:
“Nutcracker pulled the tassel which hung from the back of the coat; and instantly there appeared a delightful stairway of cedar… a dazzling light streamed around her, and she was at once standing on a beautiful meadow, from which gleamed innumberable rays, as if from precious stones.
We find ourselves upon the Candy Meadow,” said the Nutcracker… They brought a golden easy-chair for Marie, and then began to dance a very pretty ballet, for which the hunters very skillfully played their horns.” 7
Johannes Gehrts illustrated the goddess Ostara in 1884 (here shown). She bursts like the morning sun and brings blossoms to one tree and leaves the other tree bare. A sacred bird flies with her (Osiris) and a hare (Bast). It guards her flowering tree of life. Adoring crowds dance and sing below, next to the primitive hut. Note this goddess’s similarity to the good Witch of the North shown here.
Dorothy, like the sun, brought light and rebirth in the Spring. Her arrival tipped the balance between good and evil that stagnated with “no cry of joy” and “no sorrow.” Like Eve she introduced good and evil, joy and sorrow. “Prior to Dorothys arrival, the Land of Oz was held in a delicate balance between good and evil.”13
The Wag-festival led to the European Eosturmonath celebration, the month of the East goddess, which was associated with the East wind. Easter originally used the rising Spring sun as a symbol of mankind’s liberation. The priest leaped three times, much like Dorothy’s three twists as she flew to the land of the Munchkins and the three heel-clicks to get back home:
Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian's God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy....
Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing...; here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring…” 12
Dorothy was a new witch. Always before there were two good and two evil witches. Theosophists such as the author of Wizard of Oz believed the “garden of Theosophy” must be kept in balance, to achieve rebirth: “Reincarnation is illustrated in the apparent “death” of plants in winter and their “rebirth” in spring.” 14
“A miracle occurred.”
“She brings you good news.”
“We will glorify your name.”
The scene is blue except for Dorothy and the Moon. Her throne looks like a radiant celestial sphere, and she wears flowers in her hair like the European goddesses of Spring. The grateful Munchkins have a grand feast with dancing and music. Toto stands guard like the cat or rabbit of the tree. She breaks forth in the underworld like the sun to bring life and rebirth.
Dorothy lost innocence as she destroyed each witch. “Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?”
She departed from the garden to journey back home, to find the person “who might know” how to get home. In the film the Wicked Witch warned her not to “go against the law.” Aunt Em explained to Dorothy that the Wicked Witch, Ms. Gulch, had won the battle: “We can’t go against the law, Dorothy.” The Wicked Witch laughed at this “Now you’re seeing reason!” This is very much like the epic battle between Eve and the serpent.
But it was better for Dorothy to go through the sorrow and pain of trials in her journey that she may realize the inner knowledge that would make her relationships to family and friends eternal.
^see Sur un bas-relief en calcaire representant la de esse le sycamore et la deesse dans le dattier, Keimer, 83
^Book of Gates, 288
^Nutcracker and Mouseking: a legend, By Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, Carl Reinecke, 22, 36-37
^The Theosophical review, Volume 36, The Garden of Rest 313, 318
^The Theosophical review, Volume 36, The Garden of Rest 313
^The Living of the Dead in Islam: Epitaphs as Texts by Werner Diem, Marco Scholler, 155, 425
^see Teutonic Mythology: Translated from the Fourth Edition with Notes and Appendix, Vol. 1, Jacob Grimm, 290, 291