How Odin Lost His Eye

How Odin Lost His Eye

Take heed listener, for the price of wisdom is great.  Hear how Odin, in his search for wisdom, came to lose his right eye and suffer pains of the body and of the heart. His consolation and hope that he might learn what he needs to know to protect the gods and the men.

Odin All-Father was troubled deeply. The whisperings of Ygdrassil had told him the prophecies of the end, of Ragnarok. He had listened and knew of how Surtr the Black would join the giants in their war against the gods, how he would arise out of the flames of Muspell and drown the earth in fire. Odin’s wisdom told him that he could not prevent this end, but he hoped that perhaps, with wisdom, something could be saved of the gods and of men.

So, disguised as a greying old man, Odin travelled the Bifrost to Midgard and began to search for the well of Mimir. The well lay beneath the root of Ygdrassil that grew out of Jotunheim.  It was kept my Mimir, the man who drank it’s wisdom each morning and who kept watch over the Gjallar-horn that Heimdallr, the white watcher, will blow on the day of Ragnarok.

Many days and many nights did Odin travel, meeting man and giant alike. Challenging and being challenged, he learned the location of the well and also of the great price of it’s waters, for Mimir never asked less than the right eye of any who would drink.  After many more days of travel, he came to the edge of the well deep in Jotunheim.

“Hail, Mimir, drinker of the mead of wisdom,” Odin cried.

“Hail Odin, ruler of the Aesir. Welcome and come.”

“I would have a draught from the well.”

“And, great All-Father, will you pay the price?”

“I shall.”

And so Mimir took up the horn Gjallar and filled it with good water from the well and gave the horn to Odin to drink. Odin, seeing the pain and loss before him, steeled his mind and body, took the horn to his lips, and drank deeply. As the water entered him, his eyes opened and saw. He saw the great and terrible sufferings that must befall both men and gods. Yet also, he saw their reasons and causes and why they must be.  He drank again and saw the ways that gods and men might, in great noble courage, fight and defeat the evils that would surly arise, though at great cost for he saw also his death and the death of the Aesir that lived in Asgard by his side.  How mighty Thor would succumb to the venom of the great serpent, and how Loki would come against Heimdallr and each be the others slayer, he saw his own defeat at the jaws of Fenrir, and many more deaths and failings that would come of Ragnarok.

After he saw these things, Odin put his hand to his face and plucked out his right eye. The pain was great and searing, but he made no sound nor showed his great suffering. Mimir took the eye and threw it into the well where it sunk deep but glistened like glass, a sign to any who might pass of the price Odin All-Father paid for his wisdom.

And Odin returned to Asgard and sat upon his throne and considered the things he had seen.

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