Odin’s Eye

I just saw a lovely animated film called Kubo, in which the young protagonist goes on a quest for knowledge. He also wears an eye patch.

Kubo’s quest reminded me of the story of Odin, a Norse God whose hunger for wisdom knew no bounds. When Odin visited the Norwegian Sphinx (Mimir) and was told that, in order to drink from the “well of cosmic knowledge,” he would have to “drop one of his eyes into the well,” he promptly did so, no questions asked.

So Odin had one eye left in his head – to see the world with – and one eye was left in the well. Let’s imagine the well, a long tube connecting water to mankind, as a metaphor for the spine, from which come the holy waters of knowledge. So Odin, from that moment forth, began to see the world from two different points of view at the same time: one looked outside, at the world of form, while the other looked inside, at his intuition, his “inner knowing”. This second eye was no longer focused in the outer world. It looks upward, from the gut, towards the heavens. It “looked” within. And this is the very definition of “introspection”: Inner viewing.

So, as Odin’s interest in the outside world wanes, his attention to inner, innate knowledge grows. He exchanges profane, second-hand knowing for sacred, first-hand feeling. He sacrifices his old way of seeing for True Knowledge, in order to uplift mankind. He sits for longer periods in silence and “downloads” knowledge.

In fact, after this particular trip, Odin returned to the world with the great secret of the Runes.

And Mimir, the Sphinx in the story? His name is best translated as “The Rememberer.”

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