Voluspá Discussion XXVII - IXXX
The next several stanzas seem to be another shift in the story. Stanza 27 seems, to me, to be a somewhat awkward transition from the seeress telling the story of the first war to a one on one conversation between her and Odin.
Where Heimdall's horn is hid, she knows,
under heaven-touching, holy world-tree;
on it are shed showery falls
from Fjolnir's pledge: know ye further, or how?
In stanza 27 the seeress is boasting a bit about her knowledge. She states, in the third person, that she knows the location of Odin's eye by stating that it lies under the root of Yggdrasil that points towards Niflheim, in Mirmir's well. This story from chapter 15 of the Prose Edda, Gilfiginning, tells how Fjolnir("The Concealor" one of Odin's kennings) desires a drink from Mimir's well because he realizes that drinking from the well will grant him wisdom and wit. Mimir, however, demands a sacrifice before allowing Odin to drink. Odin plucks out his own eye and casts it in to the well. Here we touch back on a previously discussed theme, that of the quest for, or evolution to, enlightenment. While I know nothing of what ritual may or may not be referenced here, we do seem to have a mention of some sort of ritual in which the seeker must give something of himself in order to achieve a higher state of learning. I doubt that there was an abundance of shaman running around plucking out their own eyes, but one can almost see this as being symbolic of the so-called third eye once the initiate has gained the ability to intentionally interact with higher levels of consciousness...the eye is immersed in the well of knowledge.
Alone she sat out when the lord of gods,
Othin the old, her eye did seek:
"What seekest to know, why summon me?
Well know I, Ygg, where they eye is hidden:
in the wondrous well of Mimir;
each morn Mimir his mead doth drink
out of Fjolnir's pledge: know ye further, or how?
In stanza 28 we begin with the seeress "sitting out," or performing a form of magic in which the magician is able to interact with the dead. Odin has gone out and is actively seeking her attention, in that he wants her to share her knowledge. When he finally catches her eye she again shows her visionary prowess by mentioning the previous story and telling him that she knows how Odin came to lose his eye. After sharing an example of the extent of her knowledge she asks if he would like to hear more. We also have another interesting bit to consider. In the above stanza she explicitly states that each morning Mimir drinks the mead of knowledge from the well out of Fjolnir's pledge. We'll remember that Fjolnir is Odin, and the pledge is his eye. As we'll see later, Mimir becomes the source of advice and knowledge for Odin. At the same time Mimir expands his knowledge each day by drinking from the well using Fjolnir's gift, Odin's eye. We can almost imagine a self feeding process in which the seeker of knowledge gives of himself in to the larger and growing sea of knowledge while those who have progressed further on the path of enlightenment gain from the knowledge added by those who seek while at the same time teaching and sharing newly gained knowledge with those seekers. In essence, explaining that knowledge, when shared, is far more than the sum of its individual components.
Gave Ygg to her arm rings and gems
for her seeress' sight and soothsaying:
(the fates I fathom, yet farther I see,)
see far and wide the worlds about.
In stanza 29 we see Odin giving payment to the seeress for the service he is requesting. We can see this as a continuation of the previous stanza in that she first offers a sample of the knowledge she has to share. Once Odin is satisfied he offers payment for the services. While there is nothing particularly profound in this act, we can take something of value from this. There is a fairly practical lesson here. For the first part, the seeress provides a sample of her skills before receiving payment. For the second part, Odin receives proof of the value of the goods before offering payment. We would do well to take this to heart.