New Lessons from Oz, Fellow Ozians

11/21/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

At the top of the second act of the wondrous Broadway musical Wicked, Glinda addresses her assembled public, "Fellow Ozians." Surely it is not only the casts and audiences of Wicked who may be addressed as such?

Since 1900, there have always been Ozians. That's when Lyman Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published. Then, in 1939, armed with the latest in color technology, MGM brought us over the rainbow with Dorothy and her pals. More Ozians. More recently Gregory Maguire, that marvelous, intrepid explorer of unexplored stories, brought us the story of the youthful Elphaba in his novel Wicked. Ozians galore. Fortunately for the planet, Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman were inspired by the novel, and now we have Wicked the Musical, resulting in an especially large crop of little girl Ozians.

Several folk have written about Oz from a spiritual perspective, including Frank Baum's great granddaughter, and now there is another, magical iteration by a serious Ozmaniac named Julienne La Fleur called Lessons from Oz.

I saw her book in an e-newsletter from Smith, our shared alma mater. Oz? I said I'm in.

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to cop to the fact that I've just finished my own take on Oz, in the form of my seventh Mex Stone spiritual healing mystery called Wicked Joy. Ms. La Fleur's book arrived at my door just minutes after I finished my book.

Because it's always hard to let go of whatever world I've been in, it felt like a treat to be able to read about Oz from an entirely new perspective. I knew when I opened the front cover to the red glitter insert that creates Dorothy's shoes that I was going to be thrilled, and I was -- totally.

Lessons from Oz is one woman's lifetime odyssey through the wisdom to be found in the movie of The Wizard of Oz. She's studied it, too, believe me. She finds 35 interesting, thoughtful, wise lessons from scenes in the movie -- and she quotes the movie script. She has wonderful color images from the movie throughout as well.

Says Ms. La Fleur, "If I had to distill it into one sentence: Along the yellow brick road of your life, if you remember to travel with love, wisdom and courage, you have the power within you to make your dreams come true." If that's not a Universal message, Ozians all, I don't know what could be!

This year is the 70th anniversary of the movie The Wizard of Oz. On September 23rd (in two days) Warner Bros is planning to screen it in high def for one night only all over the world.

I have no interest in giving away any of the lessons in this special book. Get the book please to read and digest them for yourself, but I do want to say that I admire and appreciate Ms. La Fleur's positive and necessary approach to the vicissitudes and exigencies of life, and I definitely think you will, too.

Caveat emptor: you may find yourself wanting to skip. (Just do it.)

So, fellow Ozians, missing Oz? Put on your magic shoes, and fall over the rainbow of love into Lessons from Oz by Julienne La Fleur as soon as you can.

For spiritual nourishment, go to