In a sky with planets ranged about in only four of the twelve signs, the sense of place is paramount. Mercury is the one who defines space and place, and against it the nodes Rahu and Ketu set the boundaries of the places. Boundaries call out to be crossed. From the time he was ten, Bobby Zimmerman started running away from his home place. Mercury measures the front yard and counts all the flower bushes; Rahu tempts to see it from a better distance. In the birth chart, Mercury at 0 Gemini and Rahu in Virgo are in each other’s exaltation signs, so if he can pierce the barrier plus tell the tale of it both planets climb up to a state of wonder.
He was a singer and a performer from toddler years, and he demanded attention from the audience or he would just stop his act. From the Ascendant all the best planets are in the 7th house of the public and the 6th and 8th houses supporting it from either side. It’s called Lagna Adhi Yoga, a blessed yoga earned in previous lives that gives one a deep love for a pursuit of some branch of learning. He started writing poetry from about 8 when the count of houses from Lagna reached the Mercury, which at 0 degrees brightly activates the manas energy, the subtle seat of mind. Every five degrees of a sign activates a different chakra area of the spiritual and physical physiology, according to Jaimini, and those in the first five degrees direct the intellect and third eye.
Despite the brightness of this Mercury it is in Mrigashira nakshatra and so also carries karmic baggage. The lord of this lunar mansion is Chandra the seducer who eloped with Tara, wife of the Guru. Thus Chandra was cursed to wax and wane, and his mind is full of churning thoughts fed by ever-populating desires symbolized by the branching antlers of a deer. The deer is prone to delusions and lust. With Tara, Chandra sired Mercury, but lost custody to him in a legal battle with Jupiter, Tara’s rightful husband. Mercury then feels hatred for his own parent Moon and adopts Jupiter his stepfather as the better patron. Chandra himself is left with bitter feelings toward his in-laws and authority figures as they have not been able to allow him to be himself, the one ever needing to have something to bestow on his next queen. The poet’s Mercury here cannot shake the shadows of this original stain, and so he has to change his name, distance himself from his innocent parents, almost kill himself on a motorcycle, and go through what he calls transfiguration to come again into some light.
The power of a Lagna Adhi Yoga depends on the strength of the Ascendant in the chart. From the Lagna it shows first the accomplishing of fame for oneself rather than doing something for the human race (as in the case when such a yoga forms from Moon instead of from Lagna). There is a nectar of life coming through you as a thirst for conquering knowledge. No matter how bleak the background and starting point, as say the scarred iron ore fields of the cold north, the power of the 7th house from Lagna as an alluring trove of golden learning ever pulls one on and on to expanding ranges of creativity. The straitened Scorpio ascendant has its forward path, its abhimukha facing sign, in Aries, a pioneering breakthrough place of pure artistic freedom. There sits Moon as the soul director, the chara atmakaraka, assisted by Saturn, the planet of the folk, of the masses, of the old tribes, of unlettered tradition. The 6th house from Lagna gives the support of the elders and the forebears. Dylan’s Jewish upbringing was deep and his ability to concentrate was superb, undistracted by the secular humanistic noise of the sophisticated coastal populations.
The Moon rules Taurus as its working sign, Mulatrikona, and exaltation sign, and so all the powers of the three planets there in the musical realm of Venus come under the soul’s direction. Venus, Jupiter and Sun in the 7th house incline the public to take in all the implications of Dylan’s breakthroughs. The 7th house is the house of conception, where a soul composed itself before it flipped into incarnation. Such a powerful 7th house pulls everyone exposed to it into its aura, an aura of sound, although painting too became a necessary outlet for Dylan’s creativity. Huge support meets his efforts, as the 10th Lord Sun and 5th lord Jupiter join the 7th lord Venus in a rajayoga within a rajayoga within a Venus own sign Mahapurusha yoga, which will test him sorely in the rajasic realm of Venus. You can see in the navamsa how pivotal this Venus is: it is placed in the 5th house of innate inborn gifts, and then has a phenomenal exchange of signs with Mercury in Libra in the navamsa 9th house of dharma and truth.
The 11th from the Moon rules the ears and here we find Mars, the Lord of the Ascendant. Mars and Saturn have an exchange of signs, binding the Lagna Adhi Yoga that starts in the 6th house to the Lord of the Ascendant. Mars is a nomad who won’t be anywhere for long, but ranges tirelessly through the full panorama of lands and entire canon of soundscapes. Saturn pulls Mars over to Aries, while Mars gives Saturn a deep base in the fourth house of roots. They see-saw back and forth: bridges turn to walls and connections undercut looming stagnant bulk.
The voice is the instrument, as Moon rules the second from Mercury, where is the domain of speech, the quality and nature of voice. What a voice! Soul in grating flesh, Saturn and Mars coloring the shifting and para-humanly sensitive expression with the croaks and jagged edges that disgruntled detractors call unmusical. The harsh tug of war is the message. The voice is about meaning not melody. (1)
Mars in the 6th is naturally a celibate, and Saturn in the 4th is a denier of intimacy. Any way you be something’s not right. There are no planets in the divisions for the heart area: it takes an endless search to build a heart.
The atmakaraka Moon is a perfect reflector of the world. With its assistant the technical expert Saturn working assiduously with it, Moon occupies the nakshatra Krittika ruled by Agni, who is personified with seven tongues of fire. This is the spiritual area of the chart, and Agni deva has a mixed and confused genealogy in the Vedic scriptures. (2) Religion is not Jewish, not Christian but tries embracing both. Krittika is a cutting and harsh nakshatra making the person versed in war and battle, with a razor-sharp mind. The primary role of Agni is to be a communicator or messenger. This is raised to a special power in Dylan’s chart because the sign that Krittika nakshatra reverberates with is Gemini. As the third of the lunar mansions, Krittika has correspondence with the third of the signs, Gemini. This is where Bob Dylan has the Mercury at 0 degrees. Mercury is the Darakaraka, or significator of a person’s quest, and Mercury is working in the highest chakra area for Bob Dylan’s chart. Thus he is a mega-messenger for Agni, lord of Krittika. Agni has evolved from the mouth of the creator Brahma for the purpose of singing the prayers of the gods. He has mantric energy which is meant to transmit to the ears of the hearers awakening and purifying communications. A quote from a Dylan scholar, Greil Marcus, drives home the point. Marcus is being interviewed by Jon Wiener :
“I also want to talk about ‘Like a Rolling Stone’:
“Once upon a time/ you looked so fine/ threw the bums a dime/ in your prime,/ Didn’t you?”
A friend said, “Hell, I’d give him the Nobel Prize just for the ‘aaah’ before the fourth verse.” The song is magnificent, and so is the performance.”
“I can’t listen to that song without feeling as if I’m hearing it for the first time. Every note in that song, every word, every inflection is a breakthrough. There is an energy that has come to bear on all the people in that room, all the people playing that song in that moment, that is taking them past themselves, taking them somewhere they’ve never been, somewhere they’ve never played, they’ve never sung with that kind of synchronicity. Every person playing off every other, and every person stepping into a realm where he’s never been before in terms of passion, expressiveness, intensity. Taking a form and pushing it to its absolute limit and pushing yourself past your limits. That’s what you hear over those six minutes.
Let’s put it this way: a song like that, a work of art like that, comes to no artist more than once. But it doesn’t necessarily come in anyone’s lifetime. We are lucky we are alive when that song can be played.”(3)
(1) a sample clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOFT0aVqwIA
(2) see description of Krittika in Brhat Naksatra, by Pandit Sanjay Rath, Sagittarius Publications, p. 177-78.