how did odin lose his eye norse mythology

Odin was the lord god and the king of Asgardian gods in Norse mythology. He was associated with prediction, kingship, wisdom, healing, magic, poetry, war and death. In Norse mythology, he was the husband of Frigg, father of Thor and sworn brother of Loki. Odin had hundreds of aliases; in Germanic mythology he was called Woden, after which Wednesday was named.

Odin was not blind in one eye at first. There was a reason he lost one eye.

One of the roots of World Tree Yggdrasil stretched to Jotunheim, and under this root there was the spring of wisdom (Mimisbrunnr), which was guarded by giant Mimir.  Odin wanted to take a sip of the water from this spring, so as to obtain wisdom and bring it to Asgard.

One day he rode his horse Sleipnir, went across the Bifrost, and arrived at the Mimisbrunnr in Jotunheim.  When he was about to be there, he saw a faint shadow of someone in the thick tree shade. He took a careful look and found that it was Mimir sitting beside the Mimisbrunnr solemnly. Odin got down from Sleipnir and asked Mimir for a sip of the spring water. Despite knowing who that was, Mimir shook his head and declined.  Many people had been there and asked for spring water before, but no one insisted once learning the cost. Odin told Mimir:”I’ve already known this. But I’d like to give you all the gold in Asgard or my right hand for the spring water!” Mimir smiled and replied: “That’s not what I want, Odin. The price for the water from Mimisbrunnr is your right eye!” At last, Odin obtained the wisdom of runes with the cost of losing one eye.

The Runes was a kind of magical characters which provided great power when being carved on the surface of wood, stone, metal or any material. Odin lost his right eye and suffered a lot to obtain the wisdom. Odin had said that he “was speared and hung on a swaying tree for nine nights; served as the sacrificial offering of myself, on a tree that nobody else knew, without food or water.  I discovered the runes when looking down, and fell from the tree when I read them out.” As Odin had suffered from being hung upside down, hanging became a heavy penalty in Nordic countries. The tarot card “the Hanged Man” was named after this story.  In the West, the hanging penalty is also referred to as horse-riding, alluding to the hanging story of Odin. Therefore, the name of World Tree Yggdrasil also means “Odin’s horse”.  

Once got the secret of runes, Odin ordered the Norns to carve the fate recorded in runes on the golden shield. He also risked his life to obtain the mead of wisdom from Suttungr; any one who drank this mead would become a poet. He gave the two holy treasures to the human; in every way he was the benefactor of human. Odin liked to incarnate into human and wandered in human world. He disguised himself in many ways: in eagle helmet when he wanted to bring war; wearing a black cloak and a wide hat (to cover his blind eye) if he wanted peace.  

Belligerent Norse warriors believed that they could acquire “Berserker rage”, the power of bear’s spirit and wolf’s valor, so that they would become the Berserkers that were invincible in the battlefield. Nordic people took the rainstorm as Odin riding Sleipnir and collecting souls, and therefore travelers lost their lives in rainstorm because of Odin’s calling.  Despite being doomed to vanish with the universe during the Ragnarök, Odin chose to fight his fate! He decided the results of wars in Midgard where human lived, and ordered his maid Valkyries to bring the dead, who later fought together with gods during the Ragnarök, back to the Valhalla.

Ve and Vili were ancient gods of Scandinavian people. They and Odin were all children of ancient god Borr and jötunn Bestla. In the Norse creation myth, the three brothers defeated the jötnar, slew the primitive giant Ymir, and created the world and human.


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