Bob Dylan And Adonis


by Larry Fyffe

As noted before, over time ancient Greek/Roman, and other mythologies, get all mixed together. For example, Adonis is considered to be a half-god/half-mortal, akin to Dionysus.

Zeus allows Adonis to return from the Underworld in springtime. Venus entrusts the handsome infant Adonis to Persephone to look after. She’s the Queen of the Underworld.

When Venus demands him back for her own love interest, Persephone decides to keep him for herself. Zeus makes his decision – they both can have him to share.

Adonis gets wounded by a bull in the Upperworld; his blood turns into anemone flowers which blow open with the winds of spring.

Mythology akin thereto finds its way into the Holy Bible.

As punishment by God for their disobedience, not only does Jehovah (referred to as ‘Adonai’ in Hebrew) send the Assyrians against the Northern Israelites but causes their planted crops to fail in the autumn:

Because thou hath forgotten me, God of thy salvation
And hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength
Therfore shalt thou plant pleasant plants
And shalt set it with strange slips
In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow
And in the morning shalt make thy seed to flourish
But the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief
And of desperate sorrow
(Isaiah 17: 10,11)

The mythology of Adonis springs up in the song lyrics below:

How many times must a man look up
Before he really sees the sky
How many ears must one person have
Before he can hear people cry
And how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind
(Bob Dylan: Blowing In The Wind)

Adonis falls in the poem below:

To-night can bring no healing now
The calm of yesterday is gone
Surely the wind is but the wind
And I a broken waif thereon
(Bliss Carman: The Wind Flower)

Flowers and leaves, objective correlatives of regeneration, rise and fall in the following poem:

Anemones sprang when she pressed
And cresses
Stood green in the slender source
And new books of poetry
Will be written, leather-coloured oakleaves
Many and many a time
(William Carlos Williams: A Coronal)

A circular view of human history is found in many songs by Bob Dylan, albeit double-edged is the last line in the song lyrics below. Christians can take the line as a reference to Jesus.

Theologians struggle because the birth of Jesus by a human being takes place at a particular time in history.

However, Christ can be considered a symbol of eternal regeneration. The singer/songwriter’s difficult to pin down:

Father of grain, Father of wheat
Father of cold, and Father of heat
Father of air, and Father of trees
Who dwells in our hearts and memories
Father of minutes, Father of days
Father of whom we most solemnly praise
(Bob Dylan: Father Of Night)

What else is on the site?

We have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 4200 active members.  (Try imagining a place where it is always safe and warm).  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.

The index to all the 602 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.

If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.

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  1. Adonis is thought of as a god because he’s so handsome, but he’s mortal and therefore not a god; Dionysus is a god, but he’s unique in that his mother be a mortal.

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