Bob Dylan And Fearful Symmetry (Part IX)

by Larry Fyffe

According to William Blake, Eve represents the life force within Nature; she rebels against the lone male God of the Old Testament who creates Adam and then Eve to exist forever in a sexless ‘Eden’; not a word does Eve say to her mate Adam when she willingly entwines herself with a snake-shaped interloper hidden in a tree of Eden (Lilith in disguise, maybe). As things turn out, Adam and Eve both get locked out of the supposed Paradise.

In a rather different version of the Old Testament story, screeching Lilith, Adam’s first wife, refuses to be subservient to her mate, and flies away from Eden though it’s by no means a sexless place. She apparently gets a mention in the King James Bible where therein she’s metaphorically compared to a ‘screech owl’:

The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet
With the wild beasts of the island
And the satyr shall cry to his fellow
The screech owl shall also rest there
And find for herself a place to rest
(Isaiah 34:14)

Going back to ancient Greek mythology, tyrannical God Zeus has sex with the beautiful Queen of Libya, and his wife Hera seeks vengeance against her; Lamia ends up as a nasty snake-woman who eats children. And in a reversal of the New Testament story, God’s son Jesus escapes crucifixion – outsmarts both the Devil Serpent and Mary-seducing God –  by having a Libyan take His place.

Goodness, for all we know, maybe Jesus goes off to Libya to visit Lamia and/or Lilith – matters get very mixed up and rather confusing.

So confirms the song lyrics beneath:

Well, I'm going off to Libya
There's a guy I gotta see
He's been living there three years now
In an oil refinery
(Bob Dylan: Got My Mind Made Up ~ Dylan/Petty)

The archetype of the long-lived, poisonous female (mercury lips), albeit softened, makes an appearance in the song lyrics below:

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times
And your eyes like smoke, and your prayers like rhymes
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes
Oh, who do they think could bury you
(Bob Dylan: Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands)

Harsher she be depicted in the following lines:

A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me, and nothing behind
There's a woman on my lap, and she's drinking champagne
Got white skin, got asssssin's eyes
I'm looking up into the sapphire-tinted skies
(Bob Dylan: Things Have Changed)

Much of the time, but not all the time, the female is considered by the singer/songwriter to be a Muse rather than a Lilith or Lamia:

I'm falling in love with Calliope
She don't belong to anybody, why not give her to me
She's speaking to me, speaking with her eyes
I've grown so tired of chasing lies
(Bob Dylan: Mother Of Muses)

Poet William Blake metonymically associates the human female with moon that’s close to earth, and shines in the night –  her life energy cannot be destroyed because she gives birth to children:

If not for you
Babe, I'd lay awake all night
Wait for the morning light
To shine in through
But it would not be new
If not for you
(Bob Dylan: If Not For You)

Untold Dylan

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