Survival Archetypes: Wizard of Oz

"You always had it in you"-Glinda, the Goodwitch

The Four Survival Archetypes seen in the Wizard of Oz symbolizes a hero’s journey navigating Dorothy through her life’s challenges. The lessons also work in you.

4 Survivors

Caroline Myss identifies four survival archetypes in her book the Sacred Contract. They are embedded in you since birth and emerge when you face struggles that threaten your survival.
·  Child Archetype (Dorothy)
·  Saboteur Archetype (Scarecrow)
·  Prostitute Archetype (Tin Man)
·  Victim Archetype (Lion)

What are Archetypes?

Archetypes are patterns of behavior and emotions that are part of your biology and psychology. Each template carries light/empowering traits and shadow/disempowering traits that explains the Human Complexities: Identity & Purpose. Archetypes serve as a navigation system and every system has three major components: Input, Processor, and Output. Keep these in mind, for your soul journey:
  • Input – Your body receives information from the outside world which is filtered through your 5 senses
  • Processor – Complete internal system that analyzes the information you receive from the outside world. Thoughts, emotions, intuition
  • Output – Your choices.
Hero’s Journey: Dorothy is on a hero’s journey. Fate hands Dorothy a very bad hand: Orphaned, she finds herself in the middle of nowhere with her aunt and uncle, no friends her age and her only companions include her beloved Dog Toto and three farm workers. Toto is then taken away by a mean grouchy neighbor. Things only get worse for Dorothy. A tornado catapults her away from the only home she has left to a foreign land, where she quickly becomes enemy number #1. The challenge, can Dorothy find her way home?
  • Your hero’s journey: Have you ever found yourself in a situation where everything went wrong? Forced to face one crisis one after another? Fate is where we have no control over an event or situation such as loss of a parent, a job, illnesses, or whatever it is that constrains you. Your journey is to find a way through. Do you succumb to the struggles unable to choose? Do you negotiate your integrity where you feel numb? Or feel so victimized by circumstances you lash out and can’t even see your own capabilities to forge your way through? The challenge, how you respond to your situation will shape your destiny.

The Child Archetype

Child archetype
Someday, I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly And the dreams that you dare to Oh why, oh why can’t I?
Imagine yourself as Dorothy wearing a clean crisp blue-white suit, hair nicely combed, with no specific task living on a muddy farm with relatives. You have no friends in common and your beloved pet unlike you feels right at home running around happily. Wouldn’t you also long for the home you had? Would you be like Dorothy seeking help from others with problems?
Dorothy longs for a place she can call, “home.” Overwhelming circumstances shadows her ability to see the gifts in front of her. She runs to one person after another for help and wistfully sings her problems and insecurities, “Birds fly over the rainbow, why oh, why can’t I?”
 Your inner child is fueled by the present moment – singing, playing, having fun, and going on adventures beyond the clouds (light patterns). However, in times of trouble, the child may manifest feelings of being overwhelmed, dependent, angry, and anxious. These are natural feelings but the shadow child holds on to these feelings and is stuck in longing, daydreaming, and just wishing problems would melt like lemon drops. Worrying catapults you into the future. Stay present and you may just find the answers you are looking for.

The Saboteur

The Scarecrow sings and dances to the song, “If I only had a brain” because he can’t seem to decide which way to go, here or there. When given options, unable to make up his mind, he becomes frustrated, and sabotages himself by not deciding at all. The Scarecrow concludes he must not have a brain and desires one. Dorothy rightly asks, “Well you can talk, how do you do that?”

Scarecrow Oz: Saboteur Archetype
The Saboteur archetypal pattern is about decision-making and is motivated by certainty and the need to survive. Can you survive the changes if you were to choose a certain way? Fear of failure and humiliation or fear of success resulting in increased responsibility are both real. Which category do you fall under?
The shadow Saboteur stops you from choosing due to fear and self-doubt. In the shadows, you may overthink problems preventing you from making any decisions. Another shadow pattern is relying too much on the mind to find answers or make changes in your life. Society reinforces this notion with statements like, “change your thoughts and change your life”. One simply can’t think your way through. It takes an additional step which the Scarecrow/shadow Saboteur is not aware – emotional intelligence.
  • Emotions are internal signals that help you place value on things to guide your decision making. The heart of the matter, intentions. When making decisions, you base things on how you feel and your intentions. When you realize this, the choice becomes clearer. When you are given options, connect your mind and heart for clarity to make optimal choices.
The Scarecrow (Saboteur) spends most his time with Dorothy in Oz. Throughout their journey, the Scarecrow guides her in her choices and is devoted to Dorothy even though he gets dismembered and set on fire by the Wicked Witch. He manifests his fears in the light, choosing to take chances, being courageous, daring and creative.
  • Without realizing it, the Scarecrow listens to his heart’s wisdom. Despite the risk of uncertainty, do you choose to take the same risks? The Saboteur is the Guardian of Choice and is with you always. Like the Scarecrow to Dorothy, be kind to yourself and know your intentions when faced with choices.

The Prostitute

Tin Man: Don’t let the name fool you. The prostitute is an energy pattern that deals with negotiation and self-esteem. Tin Man offers these symbolisms: He enters the story frozen, rusted, and wishing for a heart.

The Prostitute archetype is motivated by fear and survival. Fear can sometimes stop you in your tracks. IT freezes you. Have you ever experienced moments of fear where you could not move? Fear is a natural response but the shadow pattern keeps you frozen, disempowering you to act at all. Your sense of self-worth “rusts” your view of your own capabilities. Like the Tin Man, you become plagued with self-doubt. “Suppose I got there, and he wouldn’t give me a heart?” the Tin man responds to Dorothy when she invites him to see the Wizard. This is a question of faith.
  • The heart symbolizes faith and integrity. The enlightened Prostitute empowers you with trust, faith, and maintains self-worth. When you maintain integrity, you do not betray yourself. The price of self-betrayal is your energy. Self-betrayal drains. You feel out of sorts and you loose a sense of who you are. Are you in a job or relationship you hate in exchange for security? The enlightened Prostitute is the Guardian of Integrity and faith and it empowers you not to sell out.

The Victim

The Lion: The Victim archetype is about boundary violation (actual or perceived) that evokes strong emotions that calls you to do something. In the Shadows, the victim feels helpless, hopeless, and even powerless. The Lion is so afraid; he even scares himself. 

The Lion manifests his fears by first bullying Dorothy but when she stands up to him by swiping his nose, the Victim emerges crying and demanding, “What did you do that for”?

Wizard of OZ Lion-Victim Archetype
The Lion cries with shame when Dorothy invites him to see the Wizard, “Wouldn’t you be ashamed to be seen by a cowardly lion? I know I would”. The Lion feels so much shame he fails to see what he has built inside him to protect his boundaries – Intuition and instincts.
  • The Victim is a useful archetypal pattern for protection. Think of a moment you wake up in the middle of the night, you hear something, and lean in to listen carefully if there’s an intruder. Your heart pounding! The Enlighten victim channels the emotions of fear, becomes present in the moment, leans in to listen to intuition and instinct, prepares, and acts. This technique can also be applied to non-threatening but fearful moments. Victorious is the name of the enlighten Victim! The lesson is to channel your emotions and stand up to your fears. Each time you do, you strengthen your self-esteem.

  • Self-esteem is about attitudes or judgement about your self-identity. Every time you make a genuine, heartfelt assertion about your own good nature and talents, you are acting from the light aspect of the victim archetype. Every time you affirm that “I am strong” and “I will make it through this” you are tapping into the infinite power of the omnipresent victim archetype. (Stacey Couch. Wild Gratitude).

The Lesson of the Hero's Journey

Dorothy and her three friends all feel something is missing and look to the Wizard to help each of them get what they want. In the end, they realize they had all the things they desire all along, but only after their successful battle with the witch and her flying Monkeys.
The lesson in the hero’s journey is to show up in life, keep walking your “Yellow Brick Road”, and you will find what you seek. Like Dorothy and her friends, my hope for you in your hero’s journey is a newfound self-awareness.
The Child, The Saboteur, The Prostitute, and the Victim are there for you as your guardians. They each offer a template for the best version you can be and a mind-heart connection to navigate your life’s journey. When you look within you will see, “You always had the power”. Also, keep in mind what Dorothy learns, when you look within, there your home will be and “there’s no place like home.”
"You always had it in you"
Thank you for the Read!
Caroline Myss: Sacred Contract
Karla McLaren: Language of Emotions
Remy Nirschl
—— About Remy Nirschl:
Remy is a writer, a mother to two wonderful souls, and a soul companion to her husband of nearly 25 years. Propelled into the autism journey in 2004 with the diagnosis of her son, this lead Remy to journey within as she experienced great losses and challenges. Trained in Caroline Myss “Sacred Contract”, this modality has given her the tools for clarity and empowerment. Remy is called into service as an Archetypal Consultant mentoring individuals in their soul journey.
Want to learn more about your other Archetypal Patterns?  Read more….

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