Friday, August 29, 2014



Appeal: Wisdom, Advice, Peace, Knowledge, Past

Mimir2.jpgMimir is a primal oracular God who is renowned for his knowledge and wisdom.  The name Mimer means "the wise one or the rememberer".  He is the giant brother of Odin's Jotun mother Bestla and he is the guardian of the Well of Mimir, under of the roots of Yggdrasil.  He stands half-immersed in the water and on his powerful shoulders he is supporting the Kjolen Mountains.  It is said that he has been standing there since the beginning of time and that with the passing of millennia he became part of the mountain itself.

He became one of the hostages exchanged between the Aesir and the Vanir in order to preserve the peace between the two after their war had ended.  Mimir was killed and beheaded by the Vanir when his fellow hostage, Hoenir, proved disappointing to the Vana-Gods due to his lack of intellectual prowess.  They sent Hoenir back to the Aesir, carrying the severed head with him as a message of their annoyance.  Mimir's head was preserved through herbal magick by Odin to maintain the God's great wisdom.  His head now speaks at the Well of Mimir, where all of the God's enormous store of knowledge, wisdom and advice can be acquired by those who visit it.

When Odin went on his epic journey to find knowledge, eventually his footsteps led him back to Mimir's Well.  Mimir offered him control over Thought and Memory - and gave him the two ravens of those names into the bargain - but in exchange, he demanded that Odin rip out one of his own eyes and throw it into the well.  Odin acquiesced, now known as the One-eyed God.  To this day, one of his eyes glows like an underwater star in the well, providing what light there is to see in the depths of the waters there.

More than any other being in Norse mythology, Mimir seems to be regarded as the divine animating force behind the wisdom of past tradition and its indispensable value as a guide for present actions.

Chapter 51 of the Prose Edda relates that, with the onset of Ragnarok, "Heimdall stands up and blows the Gjallarhorn with all his strength.  He wakens all the Gods who then hold an assembly.  Odin rides to Mimir's Well, seeking council for both himself and his followers.  The ash Yggdrasil shakes, and nothing, whether in heaven or on Earth, is without fear."

Hail, Grandfather of the Well of Wisdom!

Eyes that see through the darkness

Of the stone and water,

We honor your sacrifice,

We honor your pain,

We honor that which was hard-won

Only by losing.

Hail, Grandfather of the Sacred Spring,

You who have given much in service,

When the time comes,

May you bless us with your wisdom

And may we not be afraid to pay the price.


Saturday, August 23, 2014



Appeal: Old Age, Wisdom, Elder, Strength

ellia560ca24cbe75e00.jpgIn Norse mythology, Elli is a personification of old age who, in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, defeats God Thor in a wrestling match.  She is the embodiment of the crone and the wisdom and strength of the elderly. 

There are a lot of strong Goddesses to be found in Norse mythology, but Elli, nicknamed 'the Giant Crone,' takes the cake.  She challenged the God Thor to a wrestling match — and won.  We have to be fair to Thor though, as the whole thing turned out to be a bit of a trick.  Elli, although the weakest of the giantesses of Utgardr, was actually the personification of old age.  After the giantesses told Thor about their stunt, he obviously wasn’t too happy, even though the fact that Elli only managed to get Thor down to one knee was a mark of his strength.

This serves as a valuable lesson not to underestimate old people.  We often think of the elderly as unfit, forgetful and out of touch with modern times, but they have a wealth of knowledge and can often give good advice.  They are also not necessarily as helpless as we imagine.  There is a good story online of this point.  It was about a shoplifter who had been apprehended.  The manager shouted "Stop! Thief!", as the criminal ran to the door with something he had stolen.  The shoplifter tried to barge past an old lady without thinking.  But it turned out the pensioner had a belt in Judo.  She grabbed the thief's arm, twisted it and in an instant he was on the floor.

Elli is not mentioned in any other extant source but the notion that not even the Gods are immune to the effects of aging is supported by the fact that they must consume the apples of Idunn on a regular basis in order to remain young.

Thou wilt support us, both when little and even to gray hairs.  When our strength is of Thee, it is strength; but, when our own, it is feebleness.  We return unto Thee that from their weariness our soul may rise towards Thee, leaning on the thing which Thou has created, and passing on to Thyself, who hast wonderfully made them; for with Thee is refreshment and true strength.