On October 13, 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature, the latest of many awards and tributes in his life. As in any horoscope, especially in someone so prolific, there are many astrological points that we can trace in his biography; I will mention a few highlights in this brief sketch.
He was born Robert Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. (1)
May 24, 1941
9:05 p.m. CST
Placidus houses, True node
He was born with Sagittarius rising on the day before the New Moon — the Moon is in Taurus and the Sun in Gemini. Mercury and Venus are also in Gemini — trickster, wordsmith, nimble minded-one, and bringer of the news are within Gemini’s sphere.
Mercury is strongly dignified in the horoscope. It’s in Gemini, the sign it rules, it is also triplicity ruler and in an angular house where it has emphasized power to express itself.
If you were a young person in the 60s, The Times They Are A-Changin‘ (1964) was the call you had been waiting for.
“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing” (2)
(The Uranus-Pluto conjunction was exact for the first time in 1965. Bob Dylan has the natal the Uranus/Pluto midpoint at 29°30′ Gemini, and the North Node at 29°52′ Virgo, both on the Aries Point.)
Astrologers know that Gemini collects, differentiates and reassembles.
David Remmick encapsulates Dylan’s lyrical diversity in a tribute in The New Yorker: “The songs—an immense and still-evolving collected work—are the thing, and Dylan’s lexicon, his primary influence, is the history of song, from the Greeks to the psalmists, from the Elizabethans to the varied traditions of the United States and beyond: the blues; hillbilly music; the American Songbook of Berlin, Gershwin, and Porter; folk songs; early rock and roll.” (3)
A significant astrological marker in his early biography was in 1962 when natal Mercury was immensely highlighted — the solar arc directed Sun came to natal Mercury at 23° Gemini.
His first album, Bob Dylan, came out in March 1962 and in August 1962 he legally changed his name to Robert Dylan.
In Martin Scorsese’s 2005 documentary No Direction Home, Dylan describes his early life in language that captures his natal Balsamic Moon phase: “I had ambitions to set out and find, like an odyssey or going home somewhere… set out to find… this home that I’d left a while back and couldn’t remember exactly where it was, but I was on my way there. And encountering what I encountered on the way was how I envisioned it all. I didn’t really have any ambition at all. I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be, and so, I’m on my way home, you know?” (4)
The wanderer, the mystic, the traveler pulled towards some as yet unrealized future are some qualities of the Dark Moon phase birth. An unusual artistry and a deeply individuated life path are also common with a natal Balsamic Moon.
A brief note in testament to the exalted Moon in Taurus: In 2005 in an interview, Dylan’s son Jakob said: ” My father said it himself in an interview many years ago: ‘Husband and wife failed, but mother and father didn’t.’ My ethics are high because my parents did a great job.”(5) (His parents had divorced in 1977.)
When asked about his name change in a 2004 interview, Dylan said: “You’re born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.” (6)
Here’s a planetary signature that speaks to this quote: the Sun/Moon midpoint (27°30′ Taurus) is on the Uranus/Jupiter midpoint (28°08 Taurus’).
And a funny story (perhaps an echo of natal Mercury 23°02′ Gemini square Neptune 24°56′ Virgo): “Dylan famously turned the Beatles on to marijuana, at the Delmonico Hotel, in August 1964. Before they all smoked, the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein told Dylan that the band members hadn’t tried the drug before. Dylan was shocked: He’d been mishearing the line ‘I can’t hide’ in the chorus of ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ as ‘I get high.'” (7)
Take a change from the usual channels and listen to some songs:
(1) Bob Dylan, May 24, 1941; 9:05 p.m.CST; Duluth, MN. AA data. Astro-Databank
(2) The Times They Are a-Changin‘ lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.
(3) The New Yorker