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Magical Work in Oz

Magical Work in Oz

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Table of Contents



Magical Work in Oz

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

Book One

"The Marvelous Land of Oz"

Book Two

"Ozma of Oz"

Book Three

"Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz"

Book Four

"The Road to Oz"

Book Five

"The Emerald City of Oz"

Book Six


Full Citations and Bibliography


Links and Connections


Magical Work in Book Two

Magical Work in
"The Marvelous Land of Oz"

⁂ Summary

I found this book to be both more challenging, but better than the first book. Perhaps, for me, this book was better specifically because it was more difficult. If, as I was reading this, I didn't know that Tip was not what he seems, I would have had a very hard time making it through the book. For much of the book there seems to be a snide and mean way that women are portrayed, especially General Jinjur and the Army of the Revolt.

However, at every turn, I kept asking myself to be patient because something was going to happen later that reflected back on all the action. There is in this story a contrast between ways of gaining and keeping power. There are reflections on what it means to gain power, the appropriate use of that power and the responsibility that comes with that power.

The journey of the main character Tip is from the North, place of Earth and winter, through the Center with an aerial side trip to the distant spring East to the Fiery and summer South, and back to the Center where Tip assumes the throne of Oz as the Princess Ozma. The journey of the second book is, in fact, the story of the Goddess returning from the Underworld in winter, to return in the Spring, bringing new life, and arriving in her full power at summer.

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Topics on this page



More Pentacle of Oz


Oz-pect of Goddess


Oz-spect of God


Queer Mysteries in Oz


Magical Formula in Oz


Citations for this page

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⁂ The elements of Oz

"Where are we going?" asked Jack [Pumpkinhead], when they had resumed their journey.
"I'm not exactly sure," said the boy [Tip]; "but I believe we are headed South, and that will bring us, sooner or later, to the Emerald City."
"What city is that?" enquired the Pumpkinhead.
"Why, it's the center of the Land of Oz, and the biggest town in all the country. I've never been there , myself, but I've heard all about its history. It was built by a mighty and wonderful Wizard named Oz, and everything there is of a green color — just as everything in this Country of Gillikins is of a purple color."
"Is everything here purple?" asked Jack.
"Of course it is. Can't you see?" returned the boy.
"I believe I must be color-blind," said the Pumpkinhead, after staring about him.
"Well, the grass is purple, and the trees are purple, and the houses and fences are purple," explained Tip. "Even the mud in the roads is purple. But in the Emerald City everything is green that is purple here. And in the Country of the Munchkins, over at the East, everything is blue; and in the South country of the Quadlings everything is red; and in the West country of the Winkies, where the Tin Woodman rules, everything is yellow."
(The Marvelous Land of Oz, 1904)

Pentacle of Elements - Oz Countries (open in new window)

The five primary countries of the Land of Oz are the central Emerald City surrounded by the Munchkins to the east, Quadlings to the south, Winkies to the west, and Gillikins to the north.

Pentacle of Elements - Oz Countries (open in new window)

Just like the information covered in the Elements of Magic, the directions have many associations. There is a country named for the people that live in each place, like the elemental spirits. There are rulers of each direction, like the guardians of the watchtowers. Each direction, including Ozma in the center, has a powerful witch, like the Feri guardians.

Pentacle of Elements - Pentacle Points (open in new window)

I'm still figureing this out, but my current, and subject to major revision, view is: The four wicked witches overthrew King Pastoria, Ozma's father. The witches divided the unified Oz into four sections, oppressed the inhabitants and animals. The wicked witches of the north and south are defeated by good witches. The arrival of the Wizard and the building of the central Emerald City was the beginning of the end for the last two witches. But, rule over the parts of Oz would continue to be contested, the Wizard left Scarecrow as King in the Emerald City, but Scarecrow is overthrown by General Jinjur. Eventually, Jinjur's revolt is overthrown and Ozma, the inheritor to the deposed King Pastoria's rule, is placed on the throne.

  • Queen Glinda the Good in the South Quadling country Emperor Tin Woodman in the Winkie country
  • King Scarecrow in the Emerald City, then Jinjur, then Ozma
  • Munchkins rule themselves
  • Lion is King of the Beasts
  • And, the unnamed good witch of the north, remains in power there, I think

Pentacle of Elements - Pentacle (open in new window)

Just as there's some divergence over how to associate the pentacles in the Feri and Reclaiming traditions, the map of Oz has some strange confusions because some maps have switched East and West, and / or modified compass roses with the directions switched. There's a theory (see the Oz FAQ) that this confusion was caused by looking at a slide used in the road show reversed from how it should have been viewed. This divergence includes not just Iron and Pearl, but also the association of points with the elements and directions. Also, just the add to the confusion, the pentacles can be oriented as if being drawn on one's own body or as if being drawn by oneself, which changes which point is which for the viewer.

Here's a description of the uniform of General Jinjur and the army of revolt which uses the five colours of the directions, and the pentacle of elements in Oz:

"They [Gen. Jinjur's Army of the Revolt] were divided into four companies, and Tip noticed that all were dressed in costumes similar to that worn by General Jinjur. The only real difference was that while those girls from the Munchkin country had the blue strip in front of their skirts, those from the country of the Quadlings had the red strip in front; and those from the country of the Winkies had the yellow strip in front; and the Gillikin girls wore the purple strip in front. All had green waists, representing the Emerald City the intended to conquer, and the top button on each waist indicated by its color which country the wearer came from."
(The Marvelous Land of Oz, 1904)

Then compare this to the description of Glinda's army, which is far more disciplined and effective but has dynamic use of the colours instead of regimented, static colours. It is the dynamic balance of the elements, not the static and unchanging division of the elements that creates change. Remember that in Oz, it was the four Wicked Witches that first divided the land into parts which they would then rule over.

The distinction between Jinjur's and Glinda's armies is explicitly made:

But these soldiers of the great Soceress were entirely different from those of Jinjur's Army of Revolt, although they were likewise girls.

The description of Glinda's army suggests an entirely different picture than that of Jinjur:

The Army of Glinda the Good looked very grand and imposing when it assembled at daybreak before the palace gates. The uniforms of the girl soldiers where pretty and of gay colors, and their silver tipped spears were bright and glistening, the long shafs being inlaid with mother-of-pearl. All the officers wore sharp, gleaming swords, and shields edged with peacock feathers.

The swirl of bright colors, pearl and peacock feathers all suggest to me connections to Reclaiming and Feri work.

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Oz-pects of Goddess

⁑ The occulted Goddess

Ozma is a faerie (or, maybe, feri?!), and is the legitimate ruler of the land of Oz. She, like the moon or Idunna, is an aspect of goddess that is occulted for a period of time. Ozma is transformed into the shape of a boy ("Tip"), and does not remember her identity. As a boy Ozma travels with Dorothy on a quest to find Ozma. This story is from later Oz books, and there's supposed to be some element of allegory about the womens' movement contained within the story which could be very interesting to explore.

While Ozma is hidden, and revealed; Dorothy is absent entirely through this story. There is an interesting wrinkle in that when one appears the other is gone. Folkloric study would suggest that the disappearance of one character and the appearance of another means they are the same, the two characters do appear together in subsequent stories. However, both Dorothy and Ozma enact the same actiantial roles in their respective tales.

⁑ Glinda and Jinjur

Glinda in this story is in many ways the opposite of Jinjur, while also being similar in nature. While both are powerful women at the head of an army of other women, Glinda seeks dynamic balance where Jinjur seeks static center. This distinction is made through their behaiour, but is also especially signed by the army uniforms and appearances.

⁑ Mombi and Baba Yaga

Mombi is ambivalent in this story. She is both wicked and helpful. She did keep Tip safely, afterall, for many years. And, especially at the top of the story, she appears to be dangerous but good natured.

Johns (2004) points out that Baba Yaga's relationship to the women in folklore depends on the age of the woman. Generally, Baba Yaga is a protective force for young women, but becomes dangerous to those older than childhood.

Interestingly, Mombi disguises herself at one point as rose - red like menstruation.


⁑ Everything past comes around again

The correlation here between the journey with "Tip"/Ozma to the grail story of the Fisher King having the grail but unable to recognize it, and the echo of Dorothy's journey toward the realization of the power in her silver shoes she had with her all along, is significant. this is the same lesson, on some levels, but also is an amplification of the original. dorothy is experiencing another trip around the wheel, but in a more powerful way. this is like the way that the iron pentacle is the same cycle as the elements, and the pearl is the same cycle as iron, or the various paths in twelve wild swans.

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Oz-pects of God

⁂ Oz-pects of God in Oz


⁑ Jack Pumpkinhead as slain god

Jack Pumpkinhead is formed with a carved pumpkin head, an iconic symbol of Halloween. Halloween is the time when the old year takes up abode in the underworld. The underworld is one correspondence with the direction North and the element of Earth.

Earth and North are also associated with the season of Winter, the time when Goddess is in the Underworld with the slain god, and gives birth to the new year, the young god. Jack Pumpkinhead is constructed by Tip while in the north of Oz, and brought to life by Mombi's use of the Powder of Life. Although we don't know this yet, Tip is the young fairy princess Ozma transformed into a boy. So Jack is formed and brought to life by the maiden, Tip, and the crone, Mombi. This echos the relationship between Persephone and Demeter.

Jack journeys with Tip from the north of Oz through the Emerald City. Tip, Jack and friends are then detoured to the far East, place of Spring, while travelling to the South, place of summer. This directly mirrors the return of the Goddess from the Underworld in winter, beginning her return at Brigid, returning to the surface at Ostara and into the fullness of Summer.

When Ozma takes her rightful place on the throne of Oz, in the center, place of change, Jack is with her, and there he remains "until the end of his days" (Baum, 1904).

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⁂ Queer Mysteries in Oz

Okay, the tough little boy Tip turns out to be the fairy princess Ozma. Need I say more? This is not just simple cross-dressing, but actual gender change:

"I might try it for awhile,—just to see how it seems, you know. But if I don't like being a girl you must promise to change me into a boy again."

"Really," said the Sorceress, "that is beyond my magic."
(Baum, 1904)

Expressing concern that sie will be treated differently, now that sie's out:

Speaking the words with sweet diffidence, she said:

"I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I'm just the same Tip, you know; only — only —"

"Only you're different!" said the Pumpkinhead; and everyone thought it was the wisest speech he had ever made.
(Baum, 1904)

There's clearly something going on here, and one of the illustrations gives an interesting reflection of this theme. One of the illustrations clearly shows Ozma being kissed and amorously embraced by Glinda.

Ozma and Glinda - Small (open in new window)

I think it is worthwhile to also reflect that Nick Chopper (the Tin Woodman) and Scarecrow go off to live together, never to be parted:

"I shall return with my friend the Tin Woodman," said the stuffed one [Scarecrow], seriously. "We have decided never to be parted in the future."
(Baum, 1904)

Further, gender exploration isn't the only thing going on in this story, as here's an image of Jinjur which in a modern context and within the framework the previous points suggest, seems to have an element of BSDM:

Ozma and Glinda - Small (open in new window)

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Magical Formula in Oz

⁂ Magical formula in Oz

In the first book, there is a magical formula for the golden cap, the device which controls, temporarily, the flying monkeys. In order to use this golden cap, the wearer must perform a particular somatic ritual:

So the Wicked Witch took the Golden Cap from her cupboard and placed it upon her head. Then she stood upon her left foot and said, slowly,
"Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!"
Next she stood upon her right foot and said,
"Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!"
After this she stood upon both feet and cried in a loud voice,
"Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"
(The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900)

In the second book, there is a somatic formula used with the Powder of Life that brings Jack Pumpkinhead to life:

After some search the woman [Mombi] drew from her basket an old pepper-box, upon the faded label of which the wizard [not that Wizard, another one] had written a lead-pencil: "Powder of Life."
"Ah — here it is!" she cried, joyfully. "And now let us see if it is potent. The stingy wizard didn't give me much of it, but I guess there's enough for two or three doses."
Tip was much surprised when he overheard this speech. Then he saw old Mombi raise her arm and sprinkle powder from the box over the pumpkin head of his man Jack. She did this in the same way one would pepper a baked potato, and the powder sifted down from Jack's head and scattered over the red shirt and pink waistcoat and purple trousers Tip had dressed him in, and a portion even fell upon the patched and worn shoes.
Then, putting the pepper-box back into the basket, Mombi lifted her left hand, with its little finger pointed upward, and said:
Then she lifted her right hand, with the thumb pointed upward, and said:
Then she lifted both hands, with all fingers and tumbs spread out, and cried"
Jack Pumpkinhead stepped back a pace, at this, and said in a reproachful voice:
"Don't yell like that! Do you think I'm deaf?"
Old Mombi danced around him, frantic with delight.
"He lives!" she screamed: "he lives! he lives!"
(The Marvelous Land of Oz, 1904)

These two examples offer a clue for how one might create a new magical formula that is consistent with the logic of magic in Oz. There are regular patterns whereby a consonant changes with the same vowels or a vowel changes with same consonant. Physically, these two example alternate left, right then both sides - first with hand gesture, the second with legs. Both formula have three parts.

So, "BA BE BO, CA CE CO, DA DE DO" and "BA, CA, DA" are both valid simple verbal formulas for magic in Oz. More advanced combinations can build on this observation about basic pattern.

There is a children's camp song which fits in very well as Oz magic that I need to get recorded, but it involves a progession of consonants and vowels. Additionally, the left-right-center sequence in both examples reminds me of the move-sway-move of the Elm Dance.

There's another kind of magical formula. The formula for the silver wishing pills in The Marvelous Land of Oz was a kind of riddle, to take a pill and then count to 17 by twos before making a wish. In order to make the magic work, one needed to figure out the riddle.

Finally, it's interesting to note that the cap could only be used 3 times by any one person, the Powder of Life only had "two or three doses," and there were only three silver wish pills ... There appear to be sensible limits to magic in Oz, like the Law of Threefold Return. However, magic is renewed by sharing, as in the case of the golden cap. The corollary is that power over is self-defeating, but power with is self-renewing. (See also Starhawk & Mary Parker Follett for more on 'power with' and 'power over')

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citations for this page

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John Griogair Bell - Arlecchino Malbenvolio

“Clown with a Bad Attitude”

Original material is Copyright © 1995 – 2019 J G Bell
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