Bob Dylan: Aaron Doesn’t Live There Anymore

by Larry Fyffe

According to the Jewish/Christian Bible, with Moses gone up on the mountain, most of those fleeing Egypt demand that his brother Aaron construct a Golden Calf, a representation of a Baalist fertility god, for them to follow on their homeward journey to the Promised Land:

And all the people brake off the golden earrings 
    which were in their ears
And brought them unto Aaron, and he received them at their hand
And fashioned it with a graving tool, 
    after he had made it a molten calf

(Exodus 32; 3,4)

In the persona of a genie, the narrator in the following song lyrics takes into account the so-called pagan ideas of transitional alchemy along with the orthodox biblical story of Moses.

There's conflict between the two points of view:
With a time-rusted compass blade, Aladdin and his lamp
Sits with Utopian hermit monks sidesaddle on the Golden Calf
And on their promises of paradise you will not hear a laugh
All except inside the Gates of Eden
(Bob Dylan: Gates Of Eden)

As the biblical story goes, the Hebrew God gets angry, frightens his leading prophet Moses into crushing the sacred bull of the Baalists into tiny bits and pieces of gold:

And he took the calf which they had made
And burnt in the fire, and ground it to powder
And strawed it upon the water
And made the children of Israel drink of it
(Exodus 32: 20)

The narrator, apparently as Moses, in the song lyrics beneath burlesques the  orthodox depiction of the prophet:

Put out your hand, there's nothing to hold
Open your mouth, I'll stuff it with gold
Ah, you poor devil, look up if you will
The City of God is up there on the hill
(Bob Dylan: False Prophet)

The Holy Grail gets lost, the Ark of the Covenant too, but apparently Moses is wrong in thinking he’s gotten rid of the memory of the symbolic Golden Calf.

Egyptian mythology, rooted in gnostic ideas but then not so-called, depicts Isis, adorned with the headdress of a  motherly cow. Over time, she becomes as important as the bull in the ancient view of the renewal process; the moon, the white goddess, becomes as important as the sun. A later medieval theory of the fluid humours governed by earth, air, fire, and water, develops therefrom.

According to the Holy Bible, it’s an Egyptian princess who takes care of young Moses.

He’s reluctant to leave the caring offshoot of mother Isis at the command of the Hebrew God, portrayed as male:

And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter
And he became her son
And she called his name Moses
And she said, "Because I drew him out of the water"
(Exodus 2:10)

Moses does leave. But sorrowful memories of that day he has; so said in the following song lyrics:

Isis, oh Isis, you're a mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I can still remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain
(Bob Dylan: Isis)

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  1. No, Part II is about you..,,that’s where I depict Arron as a humble person.

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