“Odin, the chief Norse god, made a sacrifice to himself, plucking out one eye and hanging for nine days and nine nights from the world tree Yggdrasil, pierced through his side by his magical spear. Gunghir [sic]. This allowed his soul to wander and gain insight into the nine realms of existence as well as to learn two sets of nine magical songs and rune spells. This shamanic sacrifice is told in the Norse Havanal epic: ‘Downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.'”
Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.