Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Symbolic Meanings of the Eye of Wotan

The sunwheel is represented by an equilateral solar cross inside a circle. Initiates know this as Wotans Eye. The uninitiated outside world call this the `Celtic Cross` and often mistake this for a xtian symbol: we know different. Rudolf Koch`s The Book of Signs refers to this symbol variously as `The Sun-Cross`, the `Sun wheel` and the `Cross of Wotan`. He does not elaborate further on this. Of course Wotan`s Eye is all of these things, a solar cross, a solar wheel and His eye or cross. We read in Gylfaginning in the Prose or Younger Edda:
"I know it all, Odin, where you deposited your eye, in that renowned well of Mimir. Mimir drinks mead every morning from Val-father`s pledege. Know you yet, or what?"
This is why images of our All-Father are often[but not always] depicted as Him having just one eye. The Eye of Wotan symbol represents this one-eyed God. The apparent immersion of the sun each evening into the waters of the west represents His eye, His divine consciousness being dipped into the well. The symbol is of course solar in nature as befitting one of the sky Gods, which the Aesir primarily are. He shares this realm with Thunor and Tiw, both of whom in their turn were earlier versions of the sky father, now relegated in the late Eddas to being His sons. Of course we know that this is not literally the case. In the early Germanic world Tiw and then Thunor were acknowledged as the most important of the Gods. The later Woden incorporates some of the elements of these two earlier Gods but yet has something new and different to offer us for He is a God of mysteries, of secrets, of the Runa. It is to Thunor that we go for protection but it is to Woden that we seek wisdom and awakening. The sacrifice of His eye in the well of the wise Mimir was one of three occasions when Woden gained supernatural wisdom and in-sight. The other two occasions were of course His sacrifice on Yggdrasill and the gaining of Kvasir`s blood. Kvasir was created from the spittle of both the Aesir and Vanir at the conclusion of the war of the Gods and thus Kvasir could be viewed as both an As and a Van which would make Him unique. All three events involved sacrifice of some kind. Only through sacrifice which is a form of exchange can wisdom be gained. It is the price that must be paid. Not only does the Sun Cross remind us of His eye but also of His sacrifice on the World Ash-Yggdrasil or Irminsul. As Havamal in the Elder or Poetic Edda tell us:
"I know that I hung on a windy tree nine long nights, wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run."
The cross in the circle represents this cosmic event of which xtianity has sought to copy and distort.
"No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there."
The astute observer will note that Woden did not invent the runes as some third rate books on the runes suggest but He discovered them: they were already there, cosmic secrets waiting for the questing soul to find and decipher. Rudolf Simek in his Dictionary of Northern Mythology refutes the suggestion that Woden`s sacrifice of "myself to myself" is a plagiarism of the crucifixion of christ:
"The manifold symbols which fall together in Yggdrasill as the world-tree, world-axis, support of the skies, Odin`s tree of sacrifice have led to attempts being made to show that this myth has Christian characteristics[cf the legend of the Rood]; it is more likely, however, that Indo-European concepts, if not indeed archetypal concepts, have mingled together in the concept of the world-tree in Yggdrasill."
He goes on to state that the Celts also worshiped such a tree. There are of course links between the sunwheel and swastika which also has a curved or a Thulean form. The swastika or fylfot is the symbol of the Thunder God Thunor and we should not be surprised that these two solar sky Gods should be linked in this way. I intend to elaborate further on this connection in an article which I will publish soon on this blog.

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