« Eye of Odin »
« Eye of Odin » incense was created with for artists, musicians, songwriters, seekers and seers with shamanic plants traditionally used by Slavic and Norse pagan religions for spirit journeys. If you get close and breath deeply of its spicy bayberry-like, honeyed hash, intoxicating fragrance you will experience a hint of what it was to use these plants in abundant quantities as a « völva » (wand carrier). A Völva was a professional or semi-professional practioner of the Germanic magical traditions known as « Seidr » (old Norse: cord, string, snare) or « Spa » (old Norse: wise). From spirit journeys and healing to weather magic and predicting animal movements, a Seidr Völva performed a wide range of actions with the help of spirits summoned to assist them while a Spa Völva was a specialized seer who prophesied by directly perceiving fate.
Odin’s quest for wisdom is never-ending, and he is willing to pay any price, it seems, for the understanding of life’s mysteries that he craves more than anything else. His very name means master of ecstasy: his names root, « odr », translates as ecstasy, fury, inspiration, the ultimate and unconditional life affirming force while his names suffix « inn » means master of. Normally the arts of seidr and spa were women’s realms but some men also practiced the crafts. The foremost is Odin. Odin learned the practices of seidr and spa from a woman, his wife Frigg/Freya, and there after spent a great deal of time taking spiritual and physical journeys much to the frustration of his fun loving wife.
Odin speaks only in poems. He stole the mead of poetry, the primeval source of the ability to speak and write beautifully, from the giants. Ever since he has dispersed it to certain gods and humans who he deemed worthy of it. This intoxicating drink along with the power it grants, is yet another manifestation of his overflowing ecstasy. The Norse people recreated this drinking using Sweet gale, Labrador Tea and Yarrow often with the addition of other intoxicating herbs such as henbane and mandrake. In the recently discovered grave of the « Seeress from Fryrkat » in Denmark, a volva was buried with a purse of henbane seeds. Odin maintained particularly close affiliations with the berserkers and other warrior-shamans who used psycho-active beers and plants. Their fighting methods and associated spiritual techniques and practices center around achieving a state of ecstatic unification with certain ferocious animal totems, usually wolves or bears and, by extension, with Odin himself, the master of such beasts.
Odin’s shamanic spirit journeys are well documented. The Ynglinga Saga records that he travels to distant lands on his own errands or those of others while he appears to be asleep or dead. Adin’s horse is Sleipnir, an eight legged horse typical of northern shamanism. The ravens Higin (from the Old Norse « thought ») and Munin (« memory or mind »). Ravens are very intelligent as well as being carrion birds which fits into Odin’s role as a battle god but they are also Odin’s intellectual and spiritual capabilities journeying outward in the form of birds.
On one occasion, Odin journeyed to Mimir’s Well amongst the roots of the world-tree Yggdrasil. There dwelt Mimir, a shadowy being whose knowledge of all things was practically unparalleled among the inhabitants of the cosmos. Mimir achieved this status largely by taking his water from the well, whose waters impart cosmic knowledge. When Odin arrived, he asked Mimir for a drink from the water. Knowing the value of such a draught, Mirmir refused all seekers a drink unless they offered an eye in return. Odin gouged out one of his eyes and dropped it into the well. Having made the necessary sacrifice, Mimir dipped his horn into the well and offered the now-one-eyed god a drink. Odin’s eye was sacrificed in order to obtain an enhanced perception, it seems highly likely that his pledge of an eye symbolizes trading one mode of perception for another.