Say It With Tarot

Everything you want to know about Tarot--especially for contemplation, self-empowerment, personal growth and creativity--from Tarot expert, author and deck co-creator Janet Boyer.

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Yellow Brick Road to Awakening Spread - Symbols from the Wizard of Oz

As I mentioned in my post A Halloween Divination Spread:

When it comes to spreads--positions for Tarot/Oracle cards, Runes, charms or other divinatory objects--it's easier than you may think to create custom layouts based on holidays, stories, songs, sacred texts, deities or themes using symbols for positions. 

I created a special spread for Illogical Associates, the Team that brought us The Shadow of Oz Tarot deck, and I thought I'd share it with you:

1. Toto – What is my Guardian power right now?

2. Scarecrow – How do I best awaken my innate intelligence?

3. Tin Woodsman – How do I awaken my sense of love and compassion?

4. Cowardly Lion – How do I awaken my sense of Self/self-esteem?

5. Field of Poppies – In what area am I “asleep”?

6. Wizard – How do I find my way back “Home” (door to integration/healing)?

7. No Place Like Home – What blessing, gift or resource has always been there for me (wholeness)?

When pondering these symbols and meanings, we can see some connection to Tarot cards. Toto reminds us of the dog in THE FOOL (and who has been associated with a guardian or instinctual warning). The Scarecrow could connect to the ACE OF SWORDS, while the Tin Man may be associated with the ACE OF CUPS. The Cowardly Lion is a perfect fit for STRENGTH (indeed, some decks use this actual scene for Trump 8 or 11--depending on which deck it is). Field of Poppies may be the clueless/apathetic 4 OF CUPS, the Wizard correlates with THE MAGICIAN and No Place Like Home would be THE WORLD. (What Tarot cards would YOU associate with these Oz symbols? What about Runes?)

You could even use these symbols when journaling. Just ask the symbol's question and begin writing what comes to mind (no censoring!). Ritual, too, could benefit from these symbols, as could altar space or charm bags (depending on what you want to attract or focus upon).

Here are some ways you may interpret Tarot cards that come up in some of the Yellow Brick Road of Awakening Spread:

1. Toto – What is my Guardian power right now?

Fool – Your guilelessness, openness and sense of adventure guards your way. The Cosmic Fool grants you serendipity.

Empress – Your creative production and desire to nurture guards your way .The Cosmic Empress grants you abundance.

Justice – Your ability to weigh matters objectively guards your way. The Cosmic Scale Holder grants you discernment.

4. Cowardly Lion – How do I awaken my sense of Self/self-esteem?

Magician – Consider your abilities and talents, then use them. Focused intention will boost your self-esteem.

Death – Realize that the only constant is change. Your sense of self will be boosted when you realize that all things eventually pass away—but nothing is truly lost (it just changes form).

3 of Pentacles – Collaboration and teamwork will boost your sense of Self by showing that you can retain your individuality while still working well with others.

7. No Place Like Home – What blessing, gift or resource has always been there for me (wholeness)?

Emperor – Your sense of organization and leadership has always been within, showing you the way as you have shown others the way by example.

Tower – Like the mythological Phoenix, your gift for resilience and rebirth has always carried you through shattering circumstances, eventually making you stronger and wiser in life’s crucible.

6 of Cups – Your ability to remember what is good, kind and enduring has blessed you greatly, especially in difficult times.

In her audio series Fundamentals of Spiritual Alchemy, Caroline Myss delves into the symbolism of The Wizard of Oz. She notes that the house represents the Self, the tornado represents an out-of-body experience, the yellow brick road is the 3rd chakra journey to empowerment, the wicked witch is the shadow of fear, and so on. She even correlates the Tinman, Lion and Scarecrow to chakras 4, 5 and 6. Interestingly, Myss correlates the poppy field (where they all fall asleep) to the Garden of Gethsemane--where the disciples of Jesus doze off, leaving Jesus to lament "Could you not tarry with me one hour?"

And Dorothy? The Classic Orphan Archetype that joins the ranks of Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella--even Harry Potter.

The Wizard of Oz is replete with symbolism, archetypes and psychological motifs. What ones can you pick out in this beloved story? (And if you try out my Yellow Brick Road to Awakening Spread, do let me know!)

-- Janet


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Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot (Hampton Roads), Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer Publishing) and Naked Tarot: Sassy, Stripped-Down Advice (Dodona Books). She's the co-creator (with her husband, artist Ron Boyer) of the Snowland Deck and Coffee Tarot, and authored both companion books to those decks. A Renaissance Soul, she is also an award-winning cook, mixed media artist, jewelry artisan and journal maker. Next to creating, her favorite thing to do is spend time with her beloved husband, son and 5 cats at her rural home in Pennsylvania. Visit her at


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Thursday, 04 June 2015

    I've read that L. Frank Baum was a theosophist so it's not too surprising that there should be a lot of layered meaning in "The Wizard of OZ".

  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer Wednesday, 10 June 2015

    Interesting! I didn't know that, Anthony. :)

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