Land of Nod

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For other uses, see Land of Nod (disambiguation).

In English idiom, to go to the Land of Nod is to go to sleep, based on "to nod" or "to nod off" meaning to fall asleep.

Fernand-Anne Piestre Cormon's painting titled Cain flying before Jehovah's Curse, c. 1880, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

In the Hebrew Bible, the Land of Nod (Hebrew: eretz-Nod‎‎, ארץ נוד) is a place mentioned in the Book of Genesis, located "on the east of Eden" (qidmat-‘Eden), where Cain was exiled by God after Cain had murdered his brother Abel. According to Genesis 4:16:

And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.[1]

"Nod" (נוד) is the Hebrew root of the verb "to wander" (לנדוד). Therefore, to dwell in the land of Nod is usually taken to mean that one takes up a wandering life.[2]

Genesis 4:17 relates that after arriving in the Land of Nod, Cain's wife bore him a son, Enoch, in whose name he built the first city.

Places named "Land of Nod"[edit]

Land of Nod is the name of a small hamlet in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is located at the far end of a two-mile-long road which joins the A614 road at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor (53.818268, -0.724011).

Land of Nod Road is the name of a residential road in Windham, Maine, USA,[3] and another in Headley Down, Hampshire, UK[4]

Popular culture references[edit]

Bruce Springsteen's 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town includes the song "Adam Raised a Cain" which references Cain, Abel, and East of Eden. The lyrics connect the imagery to an associated social issue where others may pay for a relative's crime. "In the Bible Cain slew Abel, And East of Eden he was cast, You're born into this life paying, for the sins of somebody else's past..."

On Tom Waits 1985 album Rain Dogs, the song Singapore has the lyrics; "I've fallen for a tawny moor, took off to the Land of Nod".

One of American writer John Steinbeck's most famous novels is East of Eden. The betrayal of a brother is one of its central themes.

The Land of Nod also refers to the mythical land of sleep, a pun on Land of Nod (Gen. 4:16).[5] To "go off to the land of Nod" plays with the phrase to "nod off", meaning to go to sleep. The first recorded use of the phrase to mean "sleep" comes from Jonathan Swift in his Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation (1737)[6] and Gulliver's Travels. A later instance of this usage appears in the poem "The Land of Nod"[7] by Robert Louis Stevenson from the A Child's Garden of Verses and Underwoods (1885) collection.[8]

In The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes book, The Land of Nod is a pun on the mythical land of sleep, or The Dreaming, Cain's destination after murdering his brother.

In Bad Monkeys, a psychological thriller by Matt Ruff, the main character frequently refers to apparent contradictions in her back story as "Nod problems."

In the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells, Cain lived in The Land of Nod with Lillith. There is a secret society called the Caste of Nod.

In games[edit]

In the World of Darkness role-playing setting by White Wolf Game Studio, the land of Nod is the home in exile of Caine, the first vampire. God's curse upon Caine is interpreted as transforming him and his line into vampires.

The biblical quote is mentioned in the Command & Conquer video game, and is thought to be the origin of the name for the Brotherhood of Nod, as the group's charismatic leader is also known only as Kane. Kane's command center, known as the Temple of Nod, also houses a coffin bearing the name Abel upon its surface, and the preserved body of his most trusted officer, Seth (in reference to the biblical Seth), whom Kane shot in the head after Seth's attempted coup d'état. Their relationship is never explained; however, upon introducing himself to the player, Seth states that he is "Seth. Just Seth. From God, to Kane, to Seth."

In music[edit]

Twelfth Night, a symphonic progressive rockband with Geoff Mann, made an album in 1981 called Smiling at Grief, including the song called "East of Eden". A second version was recorded in 1982 on the album Fact and Fiction.

Billy Thorpe closed his album Children of the Sun ... Revisited with the song "East of Eden's Gate."

The Sunliners, a 1960s garage band, released a song called "Land of Nod".

Contemporary Christian Music and country music artist Susan Ashton, in her debut album Wakened by the Wind, released a song called "The Land of Nod." It warned against being too comfortable slumbering in exile.

Canadian indie band Stars mentions the Land of Nod in the title track to their album The Comeback EP: "Just got back from the land of Nod..."

Classic rock band Journey mentions the east of Eden in their song "Frontiers" from their 1983 Frontiers: "And all the heroes have gone east of Eden, we all need new frontiers."

Trey Anastasio has a track named Land of Nod on the album Traveler.

Dead Can Dance named the sixth song of their 1984 self entitled debut Dead Can Dance "East of Eden".

Tom Waits mentions the land of Nod in his song "Singapore" from the 1985 album Rain Dogs: "We sail tonight for Singapore, we're all as mad as hatters here I've fallen for a tawny Moor, took off to the land of Nod..."

Bob Dylan's song "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" from the 2001 album Love and Theft refers to those "Livin' in the Land of Nod, Trustin' their fate to the hands of God".

The gothic rock band To/Die/For sings about the Land of Nod in the song "Vale of Tears", in the verse "Sleep well my darling, and leave this vale of tears behind. Land of Nod is a better place".

English rocker Pete Doherty uses "East of Eden" as the title for a song he wrote for his band Babyshambles. The opening lyric to the song states "I've been wandering East of Eden"

Musician/cartoonist Sean Hartter refers to "Nod" as a place with his "The Man From Nod" [9] electronic/live music project. Here "Nod" is meant to be a wilderness of jumbled ideas and disjointed notions, the opposite of Eden...much more like the state of a dreaming mind.

The heavy stoner metal band High on Fire included a song called "Return To Nod" on their album Death Is This Communion.

The darkwave band The Crüxshadows refer to Nod in their song called "East" from the 2003 album Ethernaut with the repetitive phrase "East of Eden".

The German rock group Unloved uses the phrase "heading nod" in the corresponding song from the 2006 album Killersongs as a metaphor for dealing with unpardonable guilt. Nod becomes not a certain land but a state of self-forgiveness ("It only remains for me to leave, a ridiculous 'sorry' on my lips. it only remains for me to live, telling, I didn't mean it").

Serbian rock group Riblja Čorba (Fish Stew) mentions east of Eden in the song "Ostani đubre do kraja" (Remain Scum to the End): "You're not crazy to be ashamed for having exiled me east of Eden, just remain scum to the end".

Dave Matthews made popular a song written by Daniel Lanois called "The Maker". In it is a reference to the Land of Nod otherwise called East of Eden: "Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters standing here with broken wings. I have seen the flaming swords there over east of Eden".

East of Eden was a British rock band from the 1960s/1970s.

Classic rock group The Eagles titled their latest album Long Road Out of Eden.

Natalie Merchant sings "The Land of Nod", based on the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, on her album Leave Your Sleep.[10]

Gil Scott-Heron makes mention of an unknown subject's "World of Nod", playing on both meanings of 'nod' with the line "... eyes half closed revealed his world of Nod, a world of ... no God" in 'The Crutch' on his 2010 album I'm New Here.

American hardcore punk act Trash Talk released a single titled "East of Eden" in 2009.

Scottish rock band Big Country included a song "East of Eden" on their album titled Steeltown.

Rapper Vinnie Paz refers to the land of nod in the song "Books Of Blood: The coming of the Tan": "You have entered the Land Of Nod now, face the deafening thunders And the spiritual wonders".[11]

Australian Black Metal band Lustration included the song "3061 BC Land of Nod Somewhere East of Eden" on their 2012 album Psymbolik.

On their album The Whole World is Watching, Morning Glory includes a reference to the Land of Nod in their song Gimme Heroin, as a metaphor for the "nodding" state achieved through heroin use.

In 2015 the bands Ramallah and Sinners & Saints released a split 12" entitled "Back from the Land of Nod". [12]

Other uses[edit]

In the United Kingdom and some parts of the United States, the phrase "to go off to the land of Nod" refers colloquially to falling asleep, punning on the established expression "to nod" or "nod off", referring to the process of falling asleep.[13]


  1. ^ Genesis 4:16, King James Version
  2. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1981). Asimov's guide to the Bible : the Old and New Testaments (Reprint [der Ausg.] in 2 vol. 1968 - 1969. ed.). New York: Wings Books. ISBN 0-517-34582-X. 
  3. ^ Trepanier, Elisa. "Windham, ME Road Map" (PDF). Elisa Trepanier. 
  4. ^ "Land of Nod, Headley Down, GU35 8 map". Bing maps. 
  5. ^ "Land of Nod | Define Land of Nod at". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  6. ^ "The Land of Nod". 2001-03-04. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  7. ^ "18. The Land of Nod. Stevenson, Robert Louis. 1913. A Child's Garden of Verses and Underwoods". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Songs by the MAN FROM NOD, Citizen of". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  10. ^ "Leave Your Sleep | Read | The Land of Nod". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  11. ^ "Books Of Blood: The Coming Of Tan Feat. El Lyrics - Jedi Mind Tricks". Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  12. ^
  13. ^

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