Bob Dylan And The Eye Of Horus (Part I)
by Larry Fyffe
Bob Dylan messes around with mythologies – it could be interpreted that in the song lyrics below, that the narrator thereof takes on the persona of a modernized Ra, the Egyptian male Sun-God-in-Chief, who, with the help of Set (he cuts up Osiris, sending him to the Underworld), restores the cosmic and social order when Horus, sired by Osiris, is given birth by the Moon Goddess Isis.
Set, the brother of married twins Osiris and Isis, is associated with a snake; Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, with a falcon:
Show me your ribs, I'll stick in the knife Gonna jumpstart my creation to life I wanna bring someone to life, turn back the years Do it with laughter, do it with tears (Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)
In the rather double-edged lyrics that follow, the narrator portrays his own version of the undertaker from Egyptian mythology. Anubis is a deity who guides the dead to the Underworld; he has the head of a jackal, and oversees the embalming of the dead:
With a face any painter would paint As he walked through the crowd Worshipping a god with the body of a woman Well-endowed And the head of a hyena (Bob Dylan: Angelina)
Ra, reincarnated in Horus, it could be claimed in the lyrics beneath, brings order back to the stage with the aid of departed female characters in a couple of songs from the recent past (by Jimmy Wages, and Ricky Nelson):
Hello Mary Lou Hello Miss Pearl My fleet-footed guides from the Underworld No stars in the sky shine brighter than you You girls mean business, and I do too (Bob Dylan: False Prophet)
Below, the narrator, like a modernized Osiris, who’s separated from the ocean-pulling Moon Goddess, measures his life out in coffee spoons as the “eternal footman” Anubis awaits:
And her pleasure knows no limits Her voice is like a meadowlark But her heart is like an ocean Mysterious and dark One more cup of coffee for the road One more cup of coffee before I go To the valley below (Bob Dylan: One More Cup Of Coffee)
Bringing to mind a poem by an artist whose mother be a follower of the gnostic-like Emanuel Swedenborg:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep But I have promises to keep And miles to go before I sleep And miles to go before I sleep (Robert Frost: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening)
Then, it’s back home again:
The evening sun is sinking low The woods are dark, the town is too They'll drag you down, they'll run the show Ain't no telling what they'll do (Bob Dylan: Tell Old Bill)
Oft at performances put on by Bob Dylan and his band, a backdrop hangs upon which is emblazoned an image of the ‘Eye Of Horus”.