‘‘Draumkvaede’’
The ‘‘Dream Song’’ of medieval Norway, which describes
the mystical visions of Olav Asteson in the 13 holy nights from
Christmas to Epiphany. In a trance, Asteson travels through
earth, water, air, and fire; crosses the perilous Gjaller Bridge,
guarded by a serpent, a hound, and a bull; and sees heaven and
hell and the judgment of souls. He returns to tell his visions to
the congregation at church.
This folk ballad with pagan and Christian symbols was first
known in the Telemark region about 1200 C.E. and remained
in oral tradition until modern times. It has always been a source
of inspiration in Norwegian poetry, painting, and music. Reportedly
a traditional rendering of Draumkvaede has a mystical
power in its tones and melody. In 1955 a limited edition recording
of the singing of Gudrun Grave Norland was issued by
the Norsk Folksmuseum. An English language version of
Draumkvaede was made in 1961 by anthroposophist Eleanor C.
Merry, with color illustrations from her own paintings.
Sources
Barnes, Michael. Draumkvaede. Oslo, 1974.
Merry, Eleanor. The Dream Song of Olaf Asteson. England
New Knowledge Books, 1961