22 March 2008

Tracking the “Children of Oz”

A couple of years ago I started tracking one of the curious manifestations of Oz's cultural legacy in America, the term "Children of Oz" as a synonym for what others had called "Indigo Children". That label seemed to trace back to a man named James Twyman, who claimed to be bringing messages of peace from such children, as on this page from his website:

We are the children of light. Several names have been given to us such as: Indigo, Children of Oz, the Psychic Children, Rainbows and Mystics. . . .
That webpage has a 2003 copyright date at the bottom. The previous year, Twyman had published the book Emissary of Love: The Psychic Children Speak to the World. Here's a sample of its wisdom:
PRETEND that you are still that Original Self.
PRETEND that nothing ever changed.
Then know that what you are pretending is indeed fact.
It is true.
Build your life around it.
Give everything you have to realize it.
Nothing else matters but this,
And that is why it is the message of the Children of Oz.
Twyman's first book in this vein was Emissary of Light, first published in 1996. That prompted David Sunfellow of an organization called New Heaven, New Earth to publish an online "report" about Twyman. Among other things, it says:
As far as we have been able to determine, there are kernels of truth in everything Twyman claims. At the same time, virtually every aspect of his story has also been misrepresented, embellished, and spun in dubious ways. Similarly, while Twyman's main contention that he physically met 13 spiritual masters in Bosnia is almost certainly not true, he seems sincere, and genuinely committed to personal and planetary transformation. Indeed, a part [sic] from his megalomaniac claims, he seems like a regular guy -- warm, personable, friendly.
Emissary of Light starts with a "psychic child" in San Francisco giving Twyman the power to bend spoons. That seems minor as far as powers go (only slightly above the Robin level). Spoon-bending was so long ago exposed as a parlor trick that I thought the very term had become a synonym for humbuggery. Twyman must feel otherwise since he's selling an online course called Spoonbenders. The text of the lessons seems to be here, and is analyzed on this page. It includes such instruction as:
First, find a thin spoon that you can easily bend with your hands. You don't want to start off with one that is too thick. . . .

Take the spoon in your hands, holding the handle in one hand and the bowl in the other. Notice how much pressure it takes to bend it around 45 degrees. . . .

At a certain moment you will know that it is time to put some pressure on the bowl. As you imagine that the molecules are spreading apart, assist the movement by giving a slight push with the first two fingers of your other hand.
Somehow I don't think Glinda would be impressed.

As for the Oz connection, the label "Children of Oz" seems to be nothing more than grabbing a term with cultural resonance. There's no deeper understanding of how the Oz books depict children than is evident from this extract from "Regaining Your Indigo Power" on Twyman's website:
The ego doesn't want you to remember Love or Oneness, because then it will lose its power, just like the Wicked Witch in the story of the Wizard of Oz.
The “Children of Oz” meme seems to have died down recently. Almost no websites using the phrase have been added in the last six months, according to Google, and the phrase doesn't appear in Google's blog search (though of course that changes now). Even James Twyman has moved on: his latest message, available in book, movie, and lecture form, is “The Moses Code.”

(Picture above from Printfinders.com, which has a variety of John R. Neill illustrations for sale, not all correctly labeled.)

1 comment:

Steve Fuji said...

I just finished reading "Emissary of Love" and I wasn't sure how much of what he presented should be taken literally. However, the chapter on the appearance of Lama Tensin is pretty much the way I remember it, I was living in Joshua Tree at the time and very involved in the local spiritual activities. Also, Twyman mentions his friend Joanne and her sister Nancy. I know these women, they own and operate the Integratron in Landers.