Mimir: Consultant of Odin Who Was Beheaded by Vanir Gods
Mimir was an obscure figure in Norse mythology. But the name of Mimir was much associated with important events with Odin and the myth generally. But who was actually Mimir the Consultant of Odin and what made him beheaded?
MIMIR THE WISE
Mimir "MEE-mir" was an extraordinarily benevolent figure in Norse mythology. He also played an important role as a consultant to the gods, especially Odin. But the sources about the Mimir didn't mention Mimir's origins. Accordingly, whether Mimir was an Aesir god or a giant or any kind of being in the cosmos forever remains a mystery.
Some sources claimed Mimir to be the brother of Bestla mother of Odin which made Mimir Odin's uncle.
Mimir home was named as Mímisbrunnr which possibly was the Well of Mimir. Legend had it that Odin and Mimir once made a deal for Odin to drink the water from the Well of Mimir. Odin was a non-stop knowledge seeker and he always desired for more and more knowledge. He learnt that anyone who drank the water of Mimir's well would become wiser. Off he went to the Well of Mimir.
There he met Mimir the guardian of the Well. But to gain knowledge was never an easy journey. Odin had to make a sacrifice to get a drink. Being asked for a drink from Mimir's well, Mimir told Odin that if he wanted to get a drink, he had to sacrifice one eye into the well.
Odin Aesir chief god sacrificed one eye to gain more knowledge.
An eye for a drink was not a fair deal. But the knowledge seeker did sacrifice one of his eye to the well. Sacrifice made, promise kept, and Odin could finally drink the water from Mimir's well which allowed him to have an infinite source of knowledge.
THE DEATH OF MIMIR
From the beginning of Norse mythology was the war of the gods (Aesir and Vanir). The Vanir gods waged war against the Aesir for the Aesir deliberately burnt Freya Vanir goddess of war (three times they tried to burn Freya, three times she stepped out from ashes).
Each tribe showed their power and showed no mercy to the foes. They, in turn, took the upper hands and the war lasted for a long time. Until both tribes were too tired of fighting, they decided to make a peace treaty. They decided to exchange hostage to make peace. The Vanir gods sent their most important gods, Njord (King of Vanaheim), Freyr and Freya (Prince and Princess) to Asgard land of Aesir gods. Meanwhile, the Aesir sent Hoenir and Mimir to Vanaheim.
When with Mimir, Hoenir appeared to be a wise man who deserved the Vanir gods' admiration. But when Mimir was not with him, he turned out to be an indecisive man who was unable to answer any question. The Vanir quickly realized that Hoenir was not as excellent as the Vanir hostages they sent to Asgard.
In their rage, they beheaded Mimir as a way to counter the unfair exchange of hostage. The Vanir even sent the head of Mimir back to Odin the Allfather.
Odin realized that the head of Mimir could talk and he was still useful to Odin. So the ruler of Asgard kept the head of Mimir as his consultant.
Odin the Allfather kept the head of Mimir as his consultant
Many scholars believed that Mimir whose name means "Rememberer" was the bridge between Norse gods with their ancestral traditions. He helped the gods, especially Odin, to have access to the ancestral knowledge.