Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-Iceland

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-Iceland

Þórdís the prophetess at Skagaströnd

You will find a lovely village on the Skagi peninsula called Skagaströnd. 

I have already written travel-blogs about the pearls of the peninsula Skagi in North-West Iceland, Ketubjörg Cliffs, and Kálfshamarsvík, but want to tell you a little bit about an interesting museum in this village. 

Top photo: Inside the museum

Þórdís the Prophetess at Skagaströnd

Þórdís the Prophetess

The museum is connected to folklore, which tells the story of Þórdís the Prophetess and Mt. Spákonufell.

In the 10th century, there lived a Prophetess named Þórdís by the roots of the mountain Spákonufell.

Folklore in Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar - the Collection of Folklore of Jón Árnason tells us the story of Þórdís. Jón Árnason (1819-1888) was born at Hof on Skagaströnd.

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandA bas-relief of Jón Árnason by Spákonufellshöfði cape

Þórdís regarded the mountain as her own and on that mountain, she wanted to die later on in life. She hiked up the mountain every day and there she combed her hair with a golden comb.

From there is a good view of the surrounding areas.

A stubborn sheep, called Grákolla, owned by the minister at Hof, roamed around free

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandHiking trails on Mt. Spákonufell

Every day the sheep went up to the mountain to a special place called Leyningsdalir valley and ate the grass there.

And then it returned back home to Hof at night. This irritated Þórdís and she repeatedly chased the sheep out of the mountain.

She warned the minister to not let his sheep roam free on the mountain. This dispute ended in Þórdís killing the sheep by breaking its back when she threw a big rock at the sheep.

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandMt. Spákonufell

Þórdís threw the rock from Spákonufellsborg above the valley in the mountain.

The minister was devastated when he found out that his sheep was dead and told his shepherd to hike up the mountain to a place above Spákonufellsborg, where Þórdís used to comb her hair and throw a glove on her back while she was combing her hair and let her know that this was payback from the minister for the killing of his sheep, Grákolla.

Ruins at Spákonuhof museum Skagaströnd

Ruins at Spákonuhof museum

When the shepherd wanted to throw the glove at Þórdís, a rock fell from the edge where the shepherd stood. 

Þórdís, who was combing her hair, looked up and into the eyes of the shepherd.

He lost consciousness on the cliff top and was unconscious for most of the day. When he woke up he saw that Þórdís was dead on the ground below him.

The glove had turned into a big boulder that broke Þórdís's back.

Geese at Spákonuhof museum at Skagaströnd

Geese at Spákonuhof museum 

The minister, who had been bedridden since his sheep were killed, was so happy that Þórdís was dead that he immediately recovered and got out of bed.

The people of Skagaströnd were happy as well as Þórdís had been a big bully.

It is as if Þórdís had suspected that she was close to death after killing the sheep Grákolla.

As she had taken a treasure chest, containing her whole fortune, and hid it on top of Spákonufellsborg, with the key in the lock.

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-Iceland

Þórdís the Prophetess at Spákonuhof museum

She said that this chest would belong to a woman, who was neither baptized nor knew of the word of God. If such a woman were to find the treasure chest then she would be able to open it easily and the whole fortune would belong to her.

But to everybody else, this chest would seem like a rock. Still, no woman has claimed this treasure.

(Recapitulated from Þjóðsögur Jóns Árnasonar - the Collection of Folklore of Jón Árnason).

Pretty tough, eh? And as fortune has it then Þórdís fostered Þorvaldur víðförli who became the first missionary in Iceland.

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandSpákonuhof museum

Þórdís the Prophetess is also mentioned in the 44th chapter of Vatnsdæla Saga where Vatnsdælir (the people of Vatnsdalur valley) asked Þórdís for advice as she was well respected.

She even rode with them to Alþingi - the annual parliament at Þingvellir to help them with the case against the noted Guðmundur ríki - Guðmundur the rich. She used a bit of sorcery to help resolve the case.

Fortune-telling at Spákonuhof Skagaströnd

Fortune-telling at Spákonuhof Skagaströnd

At Spákonuhof - the Skagaströnd Museum of Prophecies, you can get to know more about Þórdís as the museum is dedicated to her.

It is an interesting exhibition and one can get to see the treasure chest of Þórdís!

And you can get your fortune told. Most of the photos in this travel-blog are from my visit to Spákonuhof.

The exhibition at the museum of Spákonuhof depicts all kinds of prophecy methods and fortune-telling, runes, reading of guts, Tarot cards, cards, palm reading, the reading in coffee mugs, etc. 

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandSkagaströnd village - Spákonuhof is to the far right in this photo

Fortune-telling is a popular pastime in Iceland and there are many psychics in my country.

At Spákonuhof you can get various readings in small rooms with a different theme; be it Tarot card reading, rune reading, or palmistry - or a combination of all the above.

My mother got a combination of all the above and I got a Tarot card reading. It was uncanny how accurate the reading was. 

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandMt. Spákonufell - the fog crept up on us

This was back in 2013 and ten years later I wanted to get another reading, but arrived too late to Skagaströnd and had to leave too early for a visit to the museum, which is open from 13:00-18:00.

Þórdís the Prophetess seems to be still active as the rock you see in my photo below had to be returned to Skagaströnd as it was enchanted or cursed by Þórdís. 

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandLaupurinn and the enchanted rock

Þórdís had forbidden rock to be removed from Spákonufellshöfði cape or misfortune would happen.

This was done anyway when the harbour was being built in Skagaströnd and all the herring disappeared from the north of Iceland.

Then this rock was given to Erlendur Magnússon, who lived in the old part of Blönduós village, and was moved to the oldest house by Blanda river.

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandHólaneskirkja church in Skagafjörður - the Christian faith tells us how to lift curses

Soon after things started changing in this old part of Blöndós and hotels and guesthouses and bars etc started opening in this peaceful part by the river.

I am referring to an article by Erlendur himself which was published on the Skagaströnd website.

In the article, Erlendur says that even the old church was "unchurched" and the pews were used as bar stools. 

And Erlendur lost both his car and women, so he demanded that the rock be immediately returned to Skagaströnd. And so it was and we now hope that the curse has been lifted.
Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandOur room at Salthúsið guesthouse

In 2023 we visited Skagaströnd and stayed at Salthúsið guesthouse by the sea. I can recommend it, it was very clean and had a fantastic ocean view and a view of the harbour.

The view-dial at Spákonufellshöfði

Mt. Spákonufell at SkagaströndThe view-dial at Spákonufellshöfði points towards Mt. Spákonufell

Mt. Spákonufell or "Prophetess Mountain" is by Skagaströnd.

It is 639 meters high. There is a path leading up to the mountain by the road west of the mountain and the 2-3 km hike up the mountain takes some 1.5 - 2 hours.

I haven't done this hike myself, but it is always on my agenda.

The view-dial at Spákonuhöfði Skagaströnd

The view-dial at Spákonufellshöfði and the village Skagaströnd

I have only walked on Spákonufellshöfði cape above the village a couple of times.

It is well worth walking up on the cape to have a look at the view-dial.

From there is a good view of Skagaströnd village and the surrounding area. Just be aware that you might get attacked by the Arctic terns which think that they own the cape during their nesting season.

The view-dial at Spákonuhöfði Skagaströnd

The view-dial at Spákonufellshöfði 

I was attacked by a flock of them when I hiked on the cape from the sea. They were so aggressive that I had to hide under the view-dial and then run back down the cape for cover with them chasing me ;)

My father-in-law, Jakob Hálfdanarson, designs view-dials in Iceland, and on my travels, I am always on the lookout for view-dials.

He designed the view dial at Skagaströnd and his assistants were his children Jón Víðis (my husband) and Þórný (my sister-in-law).

Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-IcelandSpákonufellshöfði cape

The view-dial on Spákonufellshöfði cape shows the names and height of the surrounding mountains and a time of 3 hours. It is a basalt column with a chrome-plated view-dial.

The view-dial was erected on Iceland's national holiday, the 17th of June in 2007 by the Lions Club of Skagaströnd.Skagaströnd Village and Þórdís the Prophetess in Skagi in North-Iceland

To reach Skagaströnd and Skagi peninsula from Reykjavík you can rent a car and drive up there in a day.

To reach Skagaströnd from Blönduós town, which is by ring-road 1, turn unto road 74 and drive for 23 km to Skagaströnd. Here is the location of Skagaströnd on Google maps. A new road is being built now (2023).


Have a lovely time at Skagaströnd :)

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