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Völuspá by Duivelspack — a Song about the Sacred World Tree

yggdrasil sacred world tree symbology

A depiction of Yggdrasil, the sacred World Tree of Norse mythology. Public domain image found here.

Völuspá by Duivelspack is a song about Yggdrasil, the sacred World Tree referenced in the Poetic Edda — a collection of old Norse poems that were traditionally passed down orally with no agreed upon actual date of origin, and believed to have been later written down sometime between 1000 and 1300 AD.1

This song is sung in Icelandic (the original language in which the Poetic Edda was recorded), and is based on the first poem, titled Völuspá.2

The lyrics are as follows:

Voluspa I, 19 (The Poetic Edda) Norse:
Ask veit ek standa, heitir Yggdrasill hár baðmr, ausinn hvíta auri; þaðan koma döggvar þærs í dala falla; stendr æ yfir grœnn Urðar brunni.3

English (Literal):
Ash I know standing, named Yggdrasill, a lofty tree, laved with limpid water: thence comes dew that in dales fell; standing evergreen over Urd’s well.4

More simplified English:
There stands an ash called Yggdrasil,
A mighty tree showered in white hail.
From there come the dews that fall in the valleys.
It stands evergreen above Urd’s Well.5

In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is an ash tree called the World Tree (otherwise also known as the Tree of Life and Axis Mundi) uniting the nine worlds. In the The Path of the Spiritual Sun, Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard explain that:

In the Norse Edda it describes how the sacred world tree unites the nine worlds, which are also the nine regions of the psyche—the nine heavens, and city of nine gates. This tree of life is symbolic of the structure of divinity within us (consisting of the imperishable bodies and the different parts of our higher Being), which when it is created, connects what is above with what is below.

~ The Path of the Spiritual Sun 6

Odin's self-sacrifice world tree

Odin’s self-sacrifice on the World Tree. Public domain image found here.

In The Path of the Spiritual Sun it is also explained that, according to the Edda, the Norse god Odin is hung upon the World Tree as a self-sacrifice, followed by a descent into the underworld in order to bring back knowledge for humanity upon his resurrection7 and the same World Tree or Tree of Life is said to symbolize the marriage between heaven and earth, as well as the divinity within each person.8 Urd’s well is what the tree grows out of, and is also sometimes called “the well of destiny.”9

The song Völuspá by Duivelspack has a beautiful melody and rhythm that relies on traditional instruments and that seems to ambiantly capture the mood of the subject. Interestingly, the band commented that the album this song is a part of was a project whereby they worked for two years with scientists to reconstruct the traditional music of the Germanic peoples from 0 to 500 AD.10

This song has just been added to our Traditional and Folk Music Related to the Sun library, and can be listened to below:

More Traditional and Folk Music Related to the Sun


Jordan Resnick contributed research for this article.


  1. “The Poetic Edda.” The Poetic Edda Index. Accessed September 07, 2017. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/poe/

  2. Meaning “The Insight of the Seeress” 

  3. “Völuspá.” Völuspá – Wikiheimild. Accessed September 07, 2017. “Völuspá.” Völuspá – Wikiheimild. Accessed September 07, 2017. https://is.wikisource.org/wiki/V%C3%B6lusp%C3%A1, line 19. 

  4. “Poetic Edda/Völuspá.” Poetic Edda/Völuspá – Wikisource, the free online library. Accessed September 07, 2017. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Poetic_Edda/V%C3%B6lusp%C3%A1, line 19. 

  5. A simplified translation offered by user “Tony S” on the Youtube video of this song

  6. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: A Guide to the Solstices and Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, revised second edition, July 2017), The Marriage of Heaven and Earth, and the Tree of Life, 210. 

  7. More information about Odin’s self-sacrifice can be found in the following article:
    Pritchard, Angela. “The Song Odin by the Band Faun.” Sakro Sawel. August 03, 2017. Accessed September 07, 2017. https://sakrosawel.com/the-song-odin-by-the-band-faun/

  8. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun, 209-210. 

  9. Daniel McCoy. “Yggdrasil and the Well of Urd.” Norse Mythology for Smart People. Accessed September 07, 2017. https://norse-mythology.org/cosmology/yggdrasil-and-the-well-of-urd/

  10. As explained in German in the comments to the preview video to their album, found here

20 Comments

  • Thank you for this fascinating writeup and sharing this song. It’s so beautiful; it sounds like it comes from another time/era (which I guess it does). When I concentrate upon it, it kind of feels meditative.

  • I really enjoyed listening to this song, its very raw and uplifting. Its interesting how this song was a result of combined scientific research to understand the origin of germanic music, trying to be as authentic to traditional form as possible.

    Very lovely, thanks for sharing Jenny and Jordan.

  • I agree with everyone, it is a very nice piece. Its simple melody reminds me of carols, and its lyrics seems very deep with meaning. What struck me is how this “tree of life” is tied to the water in this piece. Water is mentioned 3 times in the lyrics, at first as a “limpid water” (meaning crystal clear), then dew and then a well. It reminds me of how sexual energies are also called “waters” and how only by purifying them we can reach the heavenly states.

  • I really like this song. Sounds so simple and yet inspiring. The drum beats makes me feel alive inside.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Such a simple yet beautiful song. I love hearing Icelandic and wish it was still possible to speak Old Norse in daily life 🙂 There is something about the image of the tree as well as the world Yggdrasil that speaks to something deep within me. Thank you for including its meaning.

  • I really like this particular song – it invokes something within that is hard to pinpoint but that is inspiring and motivating somehow.

  • I have to say it does sound like something you would imagine to hear in an old Germanic forest around a fire at night. Perhaps after a day of pilgrims travelling by foot, after a meal around the bonfire, taking out their instruments… For these musical moments of reverence to the fire, the sky above, the trees around.

    Very nice song.

    The lyrics seem so ‘simple’. But like so many sacred texts of the past, sometimes when phenomena in nature are discussed they could, as above so below, actually be taken very deeply spiritually. And perhaps by anyone listening and reading such words they can still get a sense of that mystery. “From there comes the dew that falls in the valleys.” It certainly evokes a scenic image in the mind, and perhaps a bit more…

    Does anyone know more about why the Ash in particular is thought/chosen to be the tree that represents the world tree? Perhaps most trees could symbolise it, yet the Ash was geographically prominent? Or perhaps there is a specific reason for it.
    One thing I’ve always loved about the Ash is the characteristically strong looking bark of the Ash. We had a few great Ash trees in the village where I grew up, they rose almost as high (or even higher) than the church, and the trunks were massive, I used to find them very impressive as a kid.

    • I’d always heard the Ash was a ‘feminine tree’ (as the oak and pine are male) and from a bit of research on good old Google it seems it was viewed as the female counterpart to the Oak by the Celts. The Oak was the Father tree, and the Ash the Mother. It was called the Venus of the Woods and in Greek myth the first man was said to be born under an Ash.

      There’s a large one in my Grandma’s garden, and I remember one time staying in a room which had an view straight onto it. I remember thinking how beautifully it moved in the wind, like the whole tree is dancing. Last year, walking around in Spring, I realised all the Ash trees still looked bare, it’s the last tree to blossom.

      • Thank you for sharing that beautiful imagery, Ella. I feel each tree has its own personality and spirit. I feel different next to different kinds of trees.

      • Very intriguing Ella… So there’s Oak which is the masculine, Ash which is the feminine, what about Thorn?

        I had stumbled upon ‘The Oak , Ash and Thorn’ song a while ago, and now I wonder if Thorn could be a reference to the Son, and therefore the three trees a form of an old druid trinity? Father, Mother, and Son. As the Son is also crucified, it is interesting that the Thorn tree (if that is its actual name, or what it was traditionally referred to) is a reference to the crown of thorns.

        The song is originally based on an R. Kippling poem, but I wonder if it was a common motif back in the day.

        Here’s a nice version for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bRajLHZwD0

  • Really lovely piece, sounds like it wouldn’t be too hard to recreate (this is coming fro m a non-musician) as it’s got that simple rhythm, melody and repetitive lyrics that allows for ’rounds’ among a few singers. If anyone decodes the music, let us know here!

    • Yes, this would be a very interesting challenge to try to sing in a little group!

      Has anyone the ear to hear what instruments are used? I think voice(s) is the main one. I hear drums. Some type of snare instrument throughout most of it. There’s also the flute solo, maybe whistling would do if there’s no one able to play the flute?

      • There’s some kind of string instrument, flute and drum. I’m sure someone with a good ear could find the notes …

        Does anyone know much about finding traditional Celtic instruments? Or even what’s used in this piece?

        • Really like this piece. I worked it out on the quena the other day; it’s quite simple. Now obviously they’re not playing a quena in the recording, although it sounds to me like a wooden recorder or flute of some sort, and seeing as the quena is a type of wooden flute, it sounds close enough 🙂 Similarly, I’m sure a modern guitar would be able to handle the string parts (main and bass/deep) just fine.

          The main melody on flute (in concert/standard western notes) is as follows:
          D D E F.. D.. C.. E.. D (trill)
          F F G A… A#.. A G A
          F F G A.. D.. C.. E.. D (trill)
          D D E F.. D.. C.. E.. D (trill)

          It’s pretty much the same for the string or voice melody with slight variations here and there.

          There are lots of shops selling early/period European instruments online, but I haven’t ordered from any so I couldn’t recommend one in particular.

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