Great post, queenjane. It explains it about as well as anyone could, and those people who don't understand probably never will.
good examples gueenjane. and I agree w/shoeless.
I really dont know much of anything about Masons, per se. I used to think they were pretty harmless (albeit a bit wierd) until I found they were/are connected to The Illuminati. Its difficult to imagine that Bob wld be on the lower tiers of any kind of organization is this world, so to me, the idea that he is a willing participant in such an organization is a bit scary ... but hey, its his life (hopefully).
I try to keep Bob and his poetry separate as much as possible altho that is certainly a hard thing to do. The whole Mason connection is interesting, and puts another layer of depth into the "occult" Dylan ...
I do think that Bob's poetry does qualify, at times, as being prophetic (even with your narrow definition) ... "Hard Rain" ... "All Along the Watchtower" perhaps -- "When the Ship Comes", "Its Alright Ma" maybe even "Masters of War"... and the list goes on. It is my firm opinion that these songs were not written in a state of mental clarity -- and it is likely that Bob will not, would not, perhaps cannot, and likely should not, ever explain them. It is certainly understandable that he would deny that he ever intended to write prophesy or that considers himself to be a prophet.
and your point about poets and other artists as visionaries is well taken. Its a process that people who are not "artists" in this sense perhaps cannot understand. I think of artists as the "antennae" of the race. As such, their works are coveted, stolen, usurped, hidden, rewritten, manipulated, and more by those who seek to rule this world. The artists themselves are also often in jeopardy and if they cannot be bought and sold, or manipulated, they are often drummed into oblivion. To think that Bob might have placed himself in jeopardy (back to the the 'sign of distress') thru his ability to prophesy in his poetry is not unthinkable.