Unified Field Theory of Oz was originally created to be the culminating document to verify candidacy for a Masters of Liberal Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. And now, it exists as a 13-part podcast that may be listened to from beginning-to-end or end-to-beginning. I authored this experience from January 2016 to April 2016. I did not set out to write a book (or create a podcast-audio-recording!), but rather deliver a creative writing project that riffed off my graduate school studies in comparative spirituality, shamanism, mysticism and metaphysics with my favorite childhood books and a real-time observation of my own blossoming heart. The result is something much larger and more humbling. To try to wrap this project up in a package other that what it was is pretentious and egotistical. Sure, I have gone in and made some edits, but not too many. Mostly to clarify word choice or to layer in another “a-ha” as relevant. My background as a trained and degree'd chemist informed the title, and to be fair, it was my darling husband who came up with it. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the bizarre interconnectedness and pure magic of authoring of this work – how my life began to weave in and out of the plots of the Oz books as well as the Vedanta community. I kept imagining Indra’s Net, an Indian metaphor for understanding interconnectedness through an infinitely reflecting jeweled net of consciousness, and my husband said, “Oh, kind of like a Unified Field Theory of Oz…” Yes, dear. Exactly.
Unified Field Theory of Oz explores mystical and esoteric knowledge contained in the fourteen Oz books by L. Frank Baum while simultaneously exploring myself and my present-tense journey through a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and fractal lens of the monomyth, as defined by Joseph Campbell; and through the lens of Jung's Active Imagination. An implicit sense of documentable inter-dimensionality reveals the experience of a Past-Me met by a Present-Tense-Me while experiencing the summons of a Future-Me through my beloved Oz books, my family's ranch and other adventures in consciousness. Simultaneously, a formless and powerful summons by Swami Vivekananda through the Oz books and the teachings of the avatar Sri Ramakrishna take me to India and as close to the source of that message as I am able to conjure. Pull one thread in this inter-dimensional creative writing project and the Universe un-zippers itself slightly to reveal Indra's Net and an inexplicable interconnectedness and embroidery of reality, of which I have the overwhelming pleasure of trying to articulate. Baum's gift for channeling simple and profound stories gave me access early on to perennial wisdom and an unquenchable thirst for adventure.
This book is to be considered a creative nonfiction writing project with the qualities of a meandering stone path; as contrasted with formal academic research. The format of this book, which mirrors Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, is in three distinct parts as follows:
The Call: Reading the fantastical and adventuresome Oz books in order of publication at home in a real-time yogic observation of present experience and old memories that surface. The plot of each book is (mostly) summarized while interspersed with these memories and observations. If you've never read the Oz books, here is your chance to catch up.
Initiation: Reading the Oz canon initiated a ton of questions about not just the books and their content but also about myself. In turn, I have been guided to read specific supplemental materials and even to embody a deep sub-plot character (Aurah the Adept) from the last book, Glinda of Oz, in an effort to prepare for an epic journey of my own to Sikkim and Kolkata, India.
Return: Going to India as the embodiment of a character from the final Oz book and engaging in a fantastical adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim is an opportunity to refine my questions and prepare for observing the possible connection between the Oz books and Swami Vivekananda. Visiting Belur Math becomes the opportunity to ask some of these questions from a learned swami and to have an encounter with the source of an alleged inspiration for L. Frank Baum's Oz books in the first place. How magnetized towards the experience of this alleged inspiration am I after reading and re-reading the Oz books my whole life? I experiment with understanding as I read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna against the backdrop of an Oz-like adventure of my own.