A Prophetess and a Mountain

The Spákonufell museum under a snowy Mount Spákonufell, the Prophetess Mountain.

The Spákonufell museum under a snowy Mount Spákonufell, the Prophetess Mountain.

This morning I woke up to snow on Mount Spákonufell, the Prophetess Mountain. It made the town of Skagaströnd seem a bit surreal like something from a travel brochure or fairytale. The wind had dropped, it was a perfect morning with low clouds swirling. I made paper…as you do.

Coffee grounds in paper drying on a perspex sheet

Coffee grounds in paper drying on a perspex sheet

The Spákonufell museum is dedicated to Þórdís (Thordis) the prophetess who lived in the town in the 10th century. Iceland is a country rich in folktales, sagas, trolls and the hidden people. So it was no surprise to visit the prophetess museum and discover the story of a woman of such strength and prophetic gifts that she is named in the Icelandic sagas.

The museum also has small prophecy rooms, including one devoted to the ancient ‘kitchen’ art of coffee ground readings. I am keen so see what sort of prophecies will develop from paper made from the coffee filters and coffee grounds we drink at the artist residency. Maybe it will foretell of a peaceful world that celebrates art (and coffee).

Imagining peace was foremost on my mind this week as I travelled back to Reyjkavic on the bus so that I could go to the annual lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower. This was installed over ten years ago by Yoko Ono to commemorate peace and every year it is lit on the anniversary of John Lennon’s birthday. I never thought I would see this event, but here I am in Iceland at this exact time of the year so of course I had to go.

It was a cold night, but not too much wind and I wore my Icelandic knit jumper I knitted 40 years ago for Alex. There was a hush and suddenly the laser lights started to beam upwards from the ‘wishing well’ base as John Lennon’s song Imagine played through the loud speakers. I cried as I knew I would, and I could hear others crying around me, just as moved by the event.

Every year there is a free Women for Peace forum held the next day at the University of Iceland. As it was a Thursday, the winter bus schedule meant that there was only an evening bus back to Skagastrond so I could go. Imagine my delight when I got to shake hands with the President of Iceland and chat to the keynote speaker Madeleine Rees who just happened to sit next to me. Perhaps the prophetess has blessed me, I know that I feel incredibly grateful to be here at the NES artist residency and be allowed to dream and imagine.

Standing in front of the Imagine Peace Tower with the light streaming wishes of peace into the stratosphere.

Standing in front of the Imagine Peace Tower with the light streaming wishes of peace into the stratosphere.