Under the Eyes of Odin

In studying Heathen lore, it was always something fun for me to read between the lines and come up with some of my own ideas about things. There are four major ideas of mine that I would like to share here, giving each idea its own post. They are:

Since I happen to enjoy order from time to time, I’ll keep myself to the order that the ideas were listed in; so for this post, Odin’s sacrificed eye, and the eye he still ‘has.’

The reason why I say Odin’s eyes are visible to all is because they are celestial bodies. We have precedent for something like this in the lore, as Odin casts Thiazi’s eyes into the heavens, turning them into stars to appease Skadi. In the lore, Odin seeks to gain wisdom by asking the giant, Mimir, for a drink from his well. The giant consents, on the condition that Odin deposits one of his eyes as payment for the privilege. Odin leaves his eye. I can remember for quite a while, there was a sort of debate going on about exactly which of Odin’s eyes he sacrificed. I never really understood why this was important; but what struck me was the contention that Odin could still make use of the eye he sacrificed, to ‘see’ the hidden wisdom contained within the well.

At the same time, I have read in a few different places that Odin is seen by some scholars as a solar deity … and solar deities were, in more than one culture, symbolized by one-eye imagery. I thought of the Sun as one of Odin’s eyes and wondered a bit; then like a bolt of lightning, it struck me that the Well of Mimir is the dark, night sky, and the Universe that it represents. The Moon, in its various phases, is the sacrificed eye of Odin, bobbing up and down in the murk. For many, the Moon as an illuminator of wisdom is no surprise – this is part of the reason why it has been so often associated with witches and other seekers along occult (or ‘hidden’) paths. Odin is a god who is not just keen to obtain knowledge – Odin seeks wisdom, as well, and seems quite familiar with the differences between the two concepts (and seems not to hesitate at all when it comes to witchcraft). Thus, with this theory of mine, the Sun is the ‘all-seeing’ eye that represents the vast knowledge of Odin; while the Moon enables him to experience what is otherwise hidden in darkness and mystery – the vastness of the Universe and all the wisdom and potential it contains.

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8 responses to “Under the Eyes of Odin

  1. Ohhhh very interesting!
    When I think of Odins eye I always have to think of something I have seen in pictures of the Lowas, especially Maman Brigitte. She wears sunglasses and one of the two glasses is broken. With the one she can see into our world, with the other into the unseen mystery and otherworld. I often imagine that in Odins case it could be similar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know very much about Voodoo / Vodou – certainly not enough to really discuss the intermediaries – but I like what you wrote about Maman Brigitte here, as the imagery you describe about the broken glasses is very appropriate to Odin’s sacrificing his eye. Would you be able to recommend a good source, where I might be able to learn more about this Loa?

      Liked by 1 person

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