VII The Chariot
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The literature I chose was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum published in 1900. I thought it
was a great piece of classic American literature as well as touching on the sensibilities that many
lovers of tarot would appreciate.
"When Dorothy stood in the doorway and looked around, she could see nothing but the great gray prairie
on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge
of the sky in all directions. The sun had baked the plowed land into a gray mass, with little cracks
running through it. Even the grass was not green, for the sun had burned the tops of the long blades
until they were the same gray color to be seen everywhere. Once the house had been painted, but the
sun blistered the paint and the rains washed it away, and now the house was as dull and gray as
The tornado was the first major source of movement that took Dorothy out of her bleak, gray existence,
broke it into a rainbow of color, moved her past what was insurmountable and placed her in a fertile
land where she could explore, know and integrate all aspects of her self. Her companions were the horses
that she would commandeer along the course of the Sun in her Chariot; beastly, courageous, filled with
knowledge, and heart. Dorothy would also meet and usurp her shadow, the Wicked Witch of the West, and
free all she had enslaved. This whole journey takes place along the yellow brick road, so similar in
color and shape to a ray of sunlight. Illumination of her self is what allowed her to return home
At the end of the yellow brick road is the Emerald City, a perfect color as green is the middle color
in a rainbow, or the visible spectrum of light, and Gods in myth and legend are often portrayed as
riding an emerald chariot or sitting on an emerald throne. Of course this is where she meets Oz who,
singly bespectacled like a modern Odin and Magician, gives Dorothy the tools she needs to complete her
journey; faith and understanding that she possesses all the knowledge and attributes she needs to get
back home by her own skill.
The painting shows Dorothy and Toto aloft in the tornado and beneath them the path they are taking
from the cracked dry earth of the Kansas farms up to the insurmountable mountains, on to Munchkinland,
then the yellow brick road through forests and fields of poppies, and finally to Emerald City
surrounded by mountains, clouds and a glorious rainbow.
Standing at the start of the yellow brick road is the Wicked Witch of the East, hands on hips, looking
indignant, knowing something was not right but not guessing she would shortly meet her doom when
Dorothy’s house lands on her. She is wearing the ruby slippers (silver in the book, but ruby in
accepted iconography) and perhaps she is ignorance.
The Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys are in the upper left corner of the painting and
my favorite part of the painting is the Fool weathervane on the house!
Meanings for this card: Knowing and remembering what you are innately capable of, gaining control
and mastery of all aspects of your self and then moving along the yellow brick road of your life in
balance and good character. Freedom from slavery. Autonomy.