Odin: Son of Burr and Bestla, grandson of Buri, nephew of Mimir, husband of Frigga, father of Thor, Hodur, and Baldur with her, and of Bragi with Gunnlod; of Vidar with Grid, and Vali with Rind. As he is our highest God, so too does Odin serve as the highest spiritual example within our panthen. After all, it is he who gave us the önd or Spirit, which connects us to him through dreams, visions, and the eternal quest for enlightenment. Odin travels all the worlds seeking new knowledge and thus exemplifies the pilgrim or holy wayfarer, who journeys far and wide gaining wisdom. In our faith we are to follow his example by exploring our world and experiencing different cultures and peoples.
The search for wisdom is not a destination, but a journey in and of itself, as Odin shows us. Never stop learning, never stop appreciating the quest to unlock the many mysteries of the universe, for this is truly the sacred voyage or pilgrimage within our faith.Beyond seeking wisdom,Odin also gave up a part of himself for it, and on three occasions he made three different sacrifices so that he could obtain the power of Mimir's inspiring well. On the first occasion, when Odin was a youth in the earliest age, he hung upon Yggdrasill and thus gave his life, sacrificing himself to himself, so that he could drink from Mimir's mead. We know that he gave his life because in one instance he was hanging from the branches of the tree (where Asgard is located), then in the next he was in the Underworld with Mimir, where the tree's roots are. This Underworld is the land of the dead, and thus Odin died in order to achieve the power of the runes. From the runes, as we have seen, came spiritual potency as well as language, which is sacred in itself. Odin thus died upon the World-Tree so that we could utilize the most complex form of communication—language—which is the ultimate power that makes humans unique among all animal life.
The second sacrifice Odin made was of his eye, which he pulled out and threw into Mimir's well so that he could receive the drink and thus heighten his powers of reasoning beyond any other being. This let him realize that only Urd herself could alleviate his worries and show him what he needed to know concerning the fate of the worlds and especially of his son, Baldur, who was destined to die. The vision also showed him what he must bring her as gifts for her to relinquish such a glimpse of the future. When he brought them she told him of Ragnarok, the end of the current world-cycle, and let him know what he must do to prepare for it. Because of this, when the Gods go to face the forces of Chaos at Vigrid, the last battlefield, they do so with absolute calm and serenity, knowing that they are setting the stage for the next peaceful age to come. Thus, Odin's second sacrifice gave him the foresight to rule the worlds and lead the Gods towards their twilight and the renewal that follows.
The last sacrifice Odin faces is of his divinity. In order to uphold the law of blood-revenge against Hodur for killing Baldur, both sons of Odin, he must have another son, named Vali, with the giantess Rind. But Rind was enchanted to spurn Odin's advances no matter what, so he ended up using Seidr to force her to sleep with him, which violates the law as well. Such was the brilliancy of Loki's conniving scheme to kill Baldur, that he put Odin in such a terrible position. Because of this, Odin was banished from Asgard, lost his divine status, and was made to live among mortal men. Even though this happened, he carried no grudge against the Vanir who carried out his sentence, and still cared much for the world order.
When the Etins sought to ally with the All-Father, proclaiming the Vanir to be their common enemy and offering to regain his name if only he'd help them, he rejected them and warned the Vanir of their plans. His selflessness helped to defeat the Etins, regaining his position among the Gods and gaining the greatest gift of all—Mimir's enchanted head made into a golden relic that tells Odin all the wisdom of his late uncle, who drank daily of the holy mead of his fountain before he was slain by the Vanir during the Folkwar.
Odin thus teaches us that nothing worth having comes to us easily. We must be willing to seek out, to sacrifice, and even give up everything we are in order to grow into something greater. Nietzche called this the untergehen—the undergoing, which is a total transformation of the Self to achieve a higher state of being.
Odin lost everything in his final ordeal; even though his actions were for the greater good, he still had violated the law and had to pay for that. Imbalance always demands balance. So he had to become mortal for a spell, leaving the splendor of Asgard behind, to live the life of a human in Midgard. Because of his transformation, when he transcended back into a God, he became even greater in his divinity; stronger and wiser, and with Mimir's head at his disposal he has been able to keep Asgard free of the corruptive forces ever since. This makes him and the other Gods more just and more worthy of worship than they ever were in the earlier ages.