A frankly delivered Gnostic message. Dylan’s Every grain of sand revisited.

by Larry Fyffe

Though Kees de Graaf presents ‘Every Grain Of Sand’ by Bob Dylan as without doubt a song of dogma-bound Christian certitude, it’s lyrics are more influenced by the Swedenborgian Gnosticist and allegorical poetry of William Blake than, frankly, Kees admits.

PreRomantic poet William Blake advocates the figurative techings ofJesus Christ, and envisions the Jewish prophet as a rebel against the seated demiurgical God Who is too quick to anger and too slow to forgive. Blake be against authoritarian religious leaders that invent doctrines like babies being born with ‘original sin’ in order to make everyone feel guilty and ashamed as they grow into adulthood.The singer/songwriter jots down notes:

I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand
(Bob Dylan: Every Grain Of Sand)

The biblical reference is:

But the very hairs of your head are numbered
(Matthew 10:30)

Institutional Christian dogma has it that this quote means that God knows everything, and that the Judeo-Christian Bible is the source of all knowledge, and that Church leaders have the training to inform you properly as to what God wants to get across.

In general, Gnosticism holds that the Universe is bursting forth in fragmented pieces both dark and light; on Earth it’s frozen in material darkness where the Spirit of Light is as far away as the land of Pooh Bear and the honey jar.

Blake and Dylan take on a modernistic view rather akin to the Gnosticism of yesteryear – there are artists, who don’t look back, since they have been given just enough time to shred a little light into the gloom through their works . In short, search they do for priority of purpose in life before all their hair falls out, everyone of them being numbered:

Don’t have the inclination to look back on my mistake
Like Cain, l now behold the chain of events that I must break
In the fury of the moment I can see my master’s hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand

The literary reference is:

To see the world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
(William Blake: Auguries Of innocence)

“Ol’ Bill” Blake solidifies in relief engravings his imaginative mythological thoughts for those who have eyes to see; singer/songwriter Bobby ‘Dee’ is able to hear the whole world in a ‘grain of sand’, and be heard by it, due to the invention of a time machine that is capable of reproducing the sounds of musicians singing. For anyone who believes that God is dead, he who has ears to hear, let him listen. A Gnostic secret is revealed, released, and delivered, the fury of the moment broken:

They’re making a voyage to the sun
‘His Master’s Voice’ is calling me
Says Tweedle-dee Dum to Tweedle-dee Dee.
(Bob Dylan: Tweedle-Dee And Tweedle-Dum)

Albert Grossman, aka ‘Judas, the Priest’, is an example of an angelic/demonic messenger from the Master Demiurge to whom kneel howling bloodhounds, frankly ‘Dee’ for one, who smell fame and fortune coming from the windows of the Eternity Music Company:

“Just tell me where you’ll be”
Judas pointed down the road
And said, “Eternity”
“Eternity?”, said Frankie Lee
With a voice as cold as ice
“That’s right”, said Judas Priest, ” ‘Eternity’
Though you might call it ‘Paradise.’ ”
(Bob Dylan: Frankie Lee And Judas Priest)


  1. every one of the editors at the Untold offices were on vacation – –

    * Gnostic/ teachings/shed/
    artists who don’t look back since…(no commas)

  2. Of course — its lyrics – not – it’s lyrics – which the automatic correcting thingy insists on changing when I’m not looking

  3. Regardless of the grammatical errors, any discussion related to this wonderful song is a welcome read….thank you

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