What is the story of our four survival archetypes?

Over the past four months we have looked at the four survival archetypes of the Unconscious mind – the Child, the Victim, the Saboteur and the Prostitute – in order to understand our behaviour and that of others. We each go on a Hero’s Journey to discover our true selves and nowhere is this more evident that in the story of The Wizard of Oz.

The first character we meet is Dorothy who represents the Child. At the beginning of the story she is continually looking for attention, struggling to be heard and recognised by adults. Her plea to find a place “somewhere over the rainbow” is her longing to find a home of her own where she can be herself. Without warning she is whisked out of Kansas by a tornado – chaos – into the Land of Oz. After being recognized as a Hero by the Munchkins for unwittingly killing the Wicked Witch of the East, she asks how she can return home only to be told that she must find the Wizard in the Emerald City and ask him for help. So, with the gift of ruby slippers on her feet, she starts out on her Hero’s Journey to independence and self responsibility, along the path of the yellow brick road.

The second person we meet is the Scarecrow who represents the Saboteur. He points in one direction and then another, unable to make up his mind. Stuck on a pole, he announces that he is a failure because he hasn’t got a brain. As he sings about all the things he would do ‘if only’ he had a brain, we see the Saboteur in the shadow aspect, representing confusion, lack and ‘if only’ attitudes. His Hero’s Journey is all about his gaining sufficient self-esteem to use his intelligence. Only once he has done so will he be able to make choices and decisions for himself.

Next we meet the Tin Man who represents the Prostitute, standing alone, frozen and unable to speak in the forest. With the aid of Dorothy and the Scarecrow his joints are oiled. In other words, he is given attention and love. Once he can move again, he complains that he hasn’t got a heart, singing about how loving he would be if he had one. His Hero’s Journey is finding his heart and being able to love freely without becoming frozen in fear.

Finally, we meet the Lion who claims that he has no courage, quickly showing himself to be the Victim. He asks for pity by complaining about how unbearable life has been. His Hero’s Journey is to find his courage so that he can at last be victorious and claim himself for himself.

Each of them is looking for something outside themselves – the Wizard of Oz – to make them whole. It is only when they realise that the Wizard is a fraud that they begin to see through the illusion. It seems that they already had what they were missing.  Dorothy has the ruby slippers which she needs to get her home, the Scarecrow has the intelligence which shows them what to do, the Tin Man has the heart to be kind and loving, and the Lion has the courage to fight for what he wants.

It is well worth watching the film of The Wizard of Oz see how the characters react both individually and together. Understanding how the four survival archetypes work within us frees us to see that, like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, our perceived lack is only an illusion. The truth is that each of us already has exactly what we need if only we will dare to see it. We just have to look inside and discover the treasure that was there all along.

Happy August!

Love Laurelle