Most people are familiar with the effigy of Odin missing one eye, you might have seen in on jewelry, t-shirts or other kinds of Viking apparel. ¿But do you know how he lost it, or more importantly, what this means and how it applies to your everyday life?
Let´s delve a little bit deeper into one of Odin´s most iconic looks and sacrifices to learn more about what the Viking myth can teach us about ourselves. But first, let’s start with how he lost his eye in the first place. One defining attribute of Odin is his never-ending quest for knowledge and how he was willing to stop at nothing to obtain it. He also knew that the greater the knowledge the greater the sacrifice that was needed to obtain it. For example, his hanging from the world tree Yggdrasil while stabbing himself with a spear revealed the secret of the runes.
But the sacrifice that became a staple of his modern visage stems from his quest for the knowledge of all things. For this, he traveled to the Well of Urd that was located amongst the roots of the world tree and whose waters had the power to give whoever drank them a complete understanding of the cosmos and its inhabitants. But when he got to the well he found that is was guarded by Mimir, who was the most knowledgeable being in the universe.
Mimir achieved this status by drinking the water from the well, and Odin wanted some of it. When he asked Mimir, who was also the guardian of the well, for some water, he was tasked with a sacrifice. Odin had to offer one of his eyes in return for a drink from the well, knowing Odin’s passion for knowledge he must not have hesitated and complied. He gouged out his own eye and dropped it into the well. Mimir acknowledged the sacrificed and took some water from the well from his horn handing it over so that Odin could partake. And so, the “One-eyed God “was born.
¿What can we learn from this myth? This is an amazing metaphor for how true knowledge is acquired. We are accustomed to searching for meaning on the outside, with our senses. We look at the world and try to make sense of it, and granted knowledge can be gained in this way, but that can only show us the surface of things. To truly understand the world, we must first understand ourselves, and it is by looking inwards that this is achieved. We must “sacrifice” one mode of perception to obtain another. In other words, we should keep one eye on the mundane, material world, and the other always looking towards ourselves. To know thyself is to know the universe, by taking the time to analyze how we are growing or not, in relation and as a reaction to what is happening outside ourselves will help us grow as a person, this is true wisdom.
Find the time to trade the ordinary everyday way of looking at things and balance them with the divine and the esoteric sense that comes from inside all of us.