Bob Dylan: Cooking Up More Mythologies (Part VIII)

by Larry Fyffe

The mythologies of Lambia and of Lilith have roots that go way back in time.

The female followers of Dionysus, the God of the Vine and of Wine from Roman/Greek mythology, can be thought of as screech-owl Liliths.

Seeking union with the spirit of the corn-and-apple-growing demigod Dionysus (fathered by Zeus, who impregnates princess Semele), these forest ‘Bacchanals’ drink and dance and sing themselves into a frenzy in an effort to escape their earthly bodies that are clothed in animal skins:

"They sing,
O Bacchanals come
Oh, come
Sing Dionysus
Sing to the timbrel
The deep-voiced timbrel
Joyfully praise him
Him who brings joy
Holy, all holy
Music is calling
To the hills, to the hills
Fly, O Bacchanal
Swift of foot
On, O joyful, be fleet"
(Edith Hamilton: Mythology, Timeless Tales Of Gods And Heroes)

Like the Dionysus regenerative myth is akin to the Osirus/Horus myth, the imagery above is retained in the following song lyrics though the mythology be humorously somewhat re-arranged; it’s a bit corny:

Fly away, little bird
Fly away, flap your wings
Fly by night
Like the early Roman kings
All the early Roman kings
In the early, early morn
Coming down the mountain
Distributing the corn
Speeding through the forest
(Bob Dylan: Early Roman Kings)

Oh, but what fun it is to go riding in an open sleigh – through the satirical snow – with a domesticated Bacchanal:

Winterlude, Winterlude, my little apple
Winterlude by the corn in the field
Winterlude, let's go down to the chapel
Then come home, and cook up a meal
(Bob Dylan: Winterlude)

According to mythology, Dionysus is disrespected by Pantheus who does not believe that the grainman has godly powers. Not a good idea on the part of the King of Thebes (who is the son of Semele’s sister).

Dionysus shows him who is really the king; he drunks up the Bacchanals; see the earthly king they do as a mountain lion, and they tear him into bloody pieces, limb from limb.

There’s no fooling with the Dionysus of today, according to the double-edged song lyrics quoted beneath – best not be one of those who  puts him or herself on the wrong side of the real god of music:

Ding dong daddy
You're coming up short
Going to put you on trial
In a Sicilian court
I've had my fun
I've had my flings
Gonna shake'em all down
Like the early Roman kings
(Bob Dylan: Early Roman Kings)

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