Although I am a longtime fan of John Lennon and the Imagine Peace Tower, like many, I have never been able to travel to Iceland to witness the lighting. This year, I was privileged to share in the collective experience of the lighting of the Tower and meet Yoko Ono all from the comfort of my home through the magic of Second Life.
Shortly after the annual lighting in Iceland, Yoko joined us in Second Life to unveil a new Imagine Peace Tower and begin a new tradition in the online virtual world.
Yoko began the event by thanking us all for witnessing the unveiling of the Tower. She continued,
“They say, if all the people in China were to jump up and down at the same time,
the axis of the globe would shift.
Well, we are here together. Billions of us.
Standing at the dawn of a new age, determined to shift the axis of the world to health, peace, and joy by loving and caring for all lives on Earth.
Some of us are here physically, some are joining us in spirit.
Some of us are imprisoned, tortured, maimed, and silenced, but they are also here today with us.
Some of us have passed away before being able to enjoy a new age of love and peace.
But we are all here today standing together with hope.
The light is the light of wisdom, healing and empowerment.
Even in the moments of confusion, fear, and the darkness of your souls,
Hold the light in your hearts,
And you will know that you are not alone,
That we are all together in seeing the light of peace.”
She then thanked the residents of Second Life again and explained,
“IMAGINE PEACE TOWER was visualized with love, and realized by love.
It is a gift from John and Yoko and the people of Second Life to the world.
I know that John is with us, too, in this land of Nutopia,
happy that the light tower is finally a reality after 40 years.
Let’s make a wish as the light goes on.
Let’s send light to each other and say I love you!
i ii iii
John, we love you!”
After her speech Yoko stuck around to dance and converse with us until the virtual dawn came (about an hour after the lighting) in what was surely one of the most incredible events in SL history. Despite of all us being so far apart, in different countries all around the globe, there was an undeniable feeling of connectedness.
I can’t imagine ever having the opportunity to (virtually) dance with Yoko Ono or hear about the origins of things like the “i ii iii” from her speech. If you attended the event, you would have learned that one of Yoko’s artist creations (she was a famous artist long before she ever met Lennon) was the Onochord. The Onochord is a magical little torch on a keychain that is used to send a message of love. It is send by repeatly blinking the light, with the frequencies and durations spelling out the message I Love You.
I i one flash
LOVE ii two flashes
YOU iii three flashes
You can see Yoko demonstrate the use of the Onochord here.
In addition to receiving your own virtual version of the Onochord, if you visit Yoko’s Imagine Peace Tower island in Second Life you will also find:
- Visitors Center – where you can watch documentaries about the projects featured on the island, read books about Imagine Peace and the Imagine Peace Tower, get postcards, buttons, and T-shirts for your avatar (this is also where the Onochords are located).
- Wish Trees – outside the visitors center and all around the island you can find wish trees. Yoko said that as a child in Japan she would go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree there. From afar all the wishes tied to the tree would look like white flowers blossoming. Her wish trees started in 1981 after Lennon’s death and she says she has collected over 700,000 peace wishes from people all over the world since then. At these special Second Life wish trees you can make your wish and it will also be sent to the real life Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.
- Imagine Peace Tower Wishing Well – Like the original Imagine Peace Tower the virtual Peace Tower also features a virtual Wishing Well inscribed with “Imagine Peace” in 24 different languages.
- Hot Spring Spa – The real Imagine Peace Tower runs completely on Geothermal Energy (from naturally occurring hot water) in Iceland where volcanic springs are quite common. Visit this virtual spring to relax, mediate, and enjoy the view.
- Hot Air Balloons, Clouds, and Boats – These items are found around the SIM for you to use to further explore the island. The hot air balloons were inspired by John and Yoko’s film ‘Apotheosis” which was all filmed from a hot air balloon. The clouds were inspired by the writings from Yoko’s Grapefruit and her album artwork for Imagine and Live Peace in Toronto. The clouds are located at 125m, 225m, 300m, and 500m in the sky above the Wishing Well. Take them all the way to the top platform, then parachute back down.
Bernard Herzog, the creator of the virtual Peace Tower expressed that he feels it is a great honor for Second Life to host the only other Imagine Peace Tower outside Iceland, but that it also seems appropriate considering the global reach of Second Life. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you Bernard and Yoko for the experience which was truly indescribable and something I will treasure for a long time to come as we all carry out our wishes for peace.
If you can imagine a world of peace
If you can imagine the possibility
Then it can be true. – John Lennon
You can visit the Virtual Imagine Peace Tower in Second Life – SLURL Teleport Link
More pictures from the event here.