Mimir has to be one of my favorite Jotun, if not simply because of his story. He had quite an interesting life. Two myths are told about him, and they overlap, so I will simply tell them both together. His lineage goes back to the first chieftan of the frost-giants, of whom Mimir is his grandson. He was charged with guarding the well that was growing near the root of Yggrasil, touching Jotunheim, and he took that job very seriously. (Yes, this is the Well of Wisdom- Mimisbrunnr). He stood half-immersed in the water, supporting the roots of Yggdrasil and mountains on his back. It was thought that he frequently drank directly from this well to quench his thirst, and in this manner came to know all that he did. However, after a very long time he decided to leave (whether out of boredom or a desire to travel again) and he went to Asgard. Here he was taken in by Odin, who immediately recognized the sheer intelligence and knowledge he possessed. Mimir became known as the wisest of the Aesir, and he fancied that title. Meanwhile, the war with Aesir and Vanir was taking place. When a truce between the two races of Gods was made, hostages were sent and taken from either side. Njord and his children (Frey and Freyja) were sent to the Aesir as Vanir hostages. But in return, Odin shipped off his brother and Mimir (who disliked being treated as property and was not fond of the entire situation that had occurred).
Because of his resentment towards this whole affair, Mimir became rhetorical and bitter. The Vanir recognized his intelligence, just as Odin had, and wished him to give advice and answers. However, he was not open with them, and he did not like them. Whenever they would ask him a question, he would make sure to make his answer as long and as confusing as he could. This led several times to them misinterpreting it, and ending up in bad positions. They got fed up with him. So they cut his head off, and sent Odins brother back to deliver the message to him. Odin was saddened to see this, knowing the great wisdom of Mimir, and so with magick he brought the head back to life. As you can imagine, when Mimir opened his eyes- curses and cussing of all sorts flew out of his mouth. (Mimir, you pottymouth!) His resentment had doubled. Not only had he been traded like property, he had been killed, and now cursed to live as only a head. Odin immediately flung the head back into the well which Mimir had guarded- and this is where is today, and where he will be eternally.
As Im sure you can guess, all of these events have made Mimir into a very cranky, often dark and resentful figure. This can be seen in the tale where Odin ventures to the Well to seek knowledge, and in return Mimir demands his eye in exchange. To this day, one of his eyes glows like an underwater star in the Well, providing little light to see into its depths (Raven K.) Pathwalkers always wish to travel to the Well, for a variety of reasons. One form of divination through seidhr calls for staring into the waters of the well, and finding answers in the images it shows you. However, to do that is problematic and I would say 90% of the people who venture to the Well turn around and flee. This is not a happy place, according to PCPG. Heads line the walkway to reach the Well, and when looking into the water there are several heads floating in there as well. It is said by some that the heads turn, watching you and following you as you come to the well, and that is Mimir likes you enough they may even speak to you and share knowledge. If he likes you. This is rare, as seen by the heads, which tend to be heads of people who annoy him or who make the mistake of trying to out-smart him. He does not always come up to the surface of the Well. When he does, he likes to challenge passerbys to a game of questions. Never take him up on his offer. The price for losing is your head.
Offerings for Mimir:
Offerings to Mimir typically include things like strong liquors and alcohol, poured into a bowl of water, and then into the Earth. If you have a pond, lake, or other larger body of water that you can safely pour these offerings into (without harming the environment in any way) that is seen as a more acceptable offering. Blood offerings to Mimir are quite common. He is a deity that, as Jotun, appreciates hard work- and likes to see bigger personal offerings to him. Sometimes these offerings may be given in the form of devotional work, where you may spend time specifically doing some specific task for him- and sometimes he may trick you a few times, gauge your reaction, and base whether or not he will help you off of that. There are a few people of whom Mimir has demanded channeling work be done, so that they may give them their eyes, so to speak. However, I should think this is rare- as not everyone is fit for this type of work and connecting to Mimir- and I dont think someone should strive to go to this length without cause. Keep in mind that Mimir is not the type of deity who will give you something you want simply because you want it. He may make you jump through a lot of hoops just to turn you down at the end of the day. This isnt something to get mad about- this is simply Mimirs nature.
Mimir Well Ritual:
*taken from northernpaganism.org and Raven Ks workings*
This ritual requires at least three people to do a seidkona/seidmadhr (medium), a godhi/gythia, and a singer. (The addition of a drummer with a simple frame drum who can hold a steady, slow beat is useful as well.) The medium should not be asked to take on the jobof running the ritual. They should be allowed to concentrate fully on their own job, which requires going into trance and allowing the power of the Well of Wisdom to come through them. When I have participated in this rite, I have always been the medium, so I will be speaking about my experience from that perspective.
Everyone who dealsin trance has different ways of achieving it. I am not going to tell you how to get into a trance, because you might not use the same methods I do. However, it should hopefully be a method that you can do while sitting on the floor in a room, covered with a large piece of cloth. Sometimes my trancework at the beginning of this rite reminds me of Thorgeirr the Lawgivers adventure in going under the cloak, as there is a certain amount of sensory deprivation.Mimir likes good liquor, poured into a hole in the ground. In worst cases like the one time I was caught doing this rite in a city and had no way to get to an appropriate place afterward to pour out his offering I used a storm drain while focusing on taking the alcohol to his well, and that seemed to work. The gythia for this rite should carry a few bottles along.
The most important items for this ritual are a mask and a large piece of shiny fabric the size of a large blanket with a hole in it. I made a mask for Mimir that is pale and skull-like, with long flowing white hair. I got a large piece of fabric a king-size sheet, actually that was made of a very dark green satin, almost black. That reminded me of the greeny-black water in his well. I cut the edges so that it was circular, hemmed them, cut a face-sized hole where my face would be, and attached the mask to it. The fabric becomes the water of the well, hiding the body of the oracle, and the mask becomes Mimirs floating face. I fastened one sparkling blue artificial gem, shaped like an eye, over where my heart is when I wear the mask.
The sides of the well can be created from chairs in a circle facing out around the cloth, and a row of candles are placed around its edge, just out of range of the chair legs. I also place four large bowls of actual water around the edge, at my head and feet and to each side. Then I lay still under the cloth, my eyes closed but looking out through the mask, and put myself into trance. There are two areas marked out for this ritual the well area which I have just described, and the opening area, which should be only a short distance away. The singer will have to go toward the well and sing, and the medium should be able to hear the singer even in trance, so they shouldnt be that far away. The gythia gathers the people at the opening area and recanes them and the space around them with mugwort, saying: Be blessed and purified in the search for wisdom!
Then the gythia says: We go to visit the Well of Wisdom, guarded by Mimir the Wise. To do this, we will follow the path of the Tree to the mountains of Jotunheim, where the second great root burrows into the earth. There we will speak to Mimir the God of Memory who is a magical severed head floating in the Well. Be respectful Mimir is dangerous, in spite of his condition. You may ask one question and one question only, and it must not be frivolous, so if there is nothing you want to know that badly, do not even ask! If you understand, raise your hand we will walk there in silence.
The people raise their hands, and the gythia begins to lead them on a circle around the edge of the room. Meanwhile the singer walks toward the Well and begins to sing Mimirs song, calling him into the medium. If there is a drummer, they go with the singer. The gythia leads the people in a spiral, circling tighter and tighter, until they are standing in a ring around the well. They are told to sit backwards on the chairs, facing in and looking in over the edge. The singer continues to sing until everyone is seated, and then finishes the song and stops. The gythia calls out We hail you, Old Guardian, Root of the Kjalar Mountains, Wise One of Jotunheim! We come to ask for your wisdom, should you choose to bestow it on us! and pours liquor into one of the bowls of water (which should not be so full that the addition of liquor will make them overflow).
Ideally, if all goes well, Mimir then opens his eyes and speaks. Each person present may ask one question, and he will either answer it or he will not. If he answers, the questioner must pour more liquor into one of the bowls as an offering. If anyone is disrespectful, the gythia must have them removed immediately and offer more liquor in apology Mimir holds grudges and does not appreciate being toyed with . When he has answered everything that he intends to, the gythia gives him the last of the liquor and thanks him for his gifts. Then the party stands, each takes a candle, and they spiral out of the room. The medium is left to come back in silence, and then the bowls of water and alcohol are carried out and poured into some body of water (or down a storm drain, if need be, but very ceremoniously).
(In my personal rendition of this, I find the wording does not need to be this strict and cold- my kindred has done this once or twice, and each time we have spoken the words in a more comfortable hailing and it worked fine for us. To each their own!)
Jotunbok by Raven K