Athena's Web Weekly Column

  Week of May 19th - May 25th,  2000

The Mercurial World of Bob Dylan

Columns Archive


   May 24th, 2000 will be Bob Dylan's 59th birthday. While this may not mark a particularly significant milestone in years, celestially the skies now bear a strong resemblance to 1941, when he was born.
Bob Dylan

Ballad of a thin man

Although America had not yet entered the war, the conflict was in full swing in Europe in the Spring of 1941. As the Royal Entourage (Sun, Mercury, and Venus) made its way through Aries that year, the German Wehrmacht crushed Yugoslavian resistance. As these same three inner planets joined their contemporaries (Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus) in Taurus, Greece wavered and fell. On May 20th, four days before Dylan was born, Crete was attacked by the first fully airborne assault in history. Three days after his birth, the Bismarck went down.

   Throughout 1941, Neptune in Virgo (another Earth sign) was trined by the Taurus stellium. Heavy industrial production fueled a war machine which would shape the science, technology, and living standards of the Twentieth Century. The crown prince of folk, who would later pen 'Masters of War,' was born right in the middle of this horrific European racial conflagration.

   On May 3rd this year, all of the visible planets joined each other in Taurus, nearly repeating the planetary alignment of 1941. Dylan was born after three planets- the Sun, Mercury, and Venus- had left Taurus, and entered Gemini. This year on his birthday, the pattern is almost exactly the same.

   Dylan is a Gemini, which is a dualistic sign of changing mental perspectives, 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright.' He would play two instruments at once; the guitar and the harmonica. He rhymed in couplets, fingerpicked, and lyriced his way into the hearts and soul of a nation.

   Gemini is a mutable air sign. In the body, it rules the brain and mental functions, the nervous system, lungs, arms, and hands, all neatly arranged in pairs. The air quality lends itself to thoughts and communication, transportation and fluctuation. In Dylan's music, this witty, lyrical and gifted musician made us think, and consider the alternatives to the changing times of the 60s.

   Our Sun Sign represents how we create the world, the image we see reflected back to us in life's mirror. For a Gemini, the world can revolve around the road and what is said there. Dylan's Mercurial qualities helped to see all life as a 'highway of diamonds, with one hand waving free.' For him, and in his couplets, it was often time to hit the road.

   The mutable qualities are reflected in both his adaptability, and his need to leave. Lookin' for someone to be there, forever? Well, 'It Ain't Me, Babe.' 'Like a Rolling Stone's wisdom is learning to live out on the street. 'Highway 51' runs right by his baby's door, while 'Highway 61' was where Abraham agreed to sacrifice his only begotten son (according to Scripture by Dylan). He knows that highway, like he knows the back of his hand. In Bob Dylan's Dream, he never thought that the one road they travelled would ever shatter or split (into two). In Bob Dylan's Blues, the wind keeps blowin' him up and down the street, and the beat goes on.

   Each of the twelve signs of the zodiac 'creates' life in their own image. For our curious air sign, Gemini Bob Dylan, the answer that mattered could only be found, 'Blowin' in the Wind'.


Bob Dylan in the streets he loved

Bob Dylan in the streets he loved

   Changing his name, Robert Zimmerman styled himself after Dylan Thomas, a legend in his own lifetime among intellectuals. Bob Dylan became the pied piper for an entire generation. His voice was heard not only on the radio, in the bars and coffeehouses, but as part of the vanguard of the civil rights movement and anti-war rallies.

   The mutable characteristics of Dylan's songs carried over into his personal and stage life as well. His desire to want to change with the times, to keep on the move, could be seen not only in his repeated wish to hit the road, but also in the way he kept redefining himself. Hailed early on as the new prince of the folk music scene, he changed musical direction and merged folk with rock. Then, with the new found rock culture solidly behind him, he again recast his image by embracing country. With each move he would win new fans, and incur the wrath of disillusioned followers.

   Gemini's are communicators, and can become songwriters and novelists, storytellers and travelling salesmen. Their world is one of change, but their capacity to dance with the flow is, for them, far preferable to the alternative- boredom.


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