Isa, ice.  This is a very beautiful rune, exceedingly strong but undoubtedly with an element of danger.  Ice has an important role to play in purifying the earth, eradicating disease and pests that have spread during the warm summer and wet autumn.  Isa is a pitiless rune and that which is weak will perish at its touch – making way for that which is strong and enduring.  Perhaps ‘enduring’ is the wrong expression; Isa strives for stability, for stasis and an end to change.  Herein lies the danger of Isa, for its influence can bring rigidity, intolerance, confirmity and restriction – if it is not tempered by other runes.

A bridge covered in ice representing the Isa rune

For all its coldness, Isa is an incredibly seductive rune.  Its song can lull us to sleep which is, of course, the ultimate danger of the cold.  Like many of the ‘winter runes’ found in the second Aett of the Elder Futhark it wears its more dangerous aspect on its sleeve.  The rune poems speak of the untrustworthiness of ice and the danger it presents to the vulnerable and unaware.  Beneath a treacherous surface lie many treasures: strength, beauty, self-awareness and self-acceptance.  In passing through Isa we emerge stronger and are blessed with the thaw and promise of Spring.    

Painted Isa rune stone

Isa is used to promote strength, stability and endurance.  It is an excellent rune to work with to strengthen the soul complex, working on the ‘ego’ to mesh the different aspects of the soul and strengthen the individual personality. The Isa meditation given below works on this aspect and is incredibly powerful if used regularly.  The mantra ‘I am’ is all that is required to connect with this aspect of the Isa rune – a place where you stand centred, secure, strong self-aware and self-assured.

Correspondences for the Isa rune

Ice and fire are the two primordial elements in the northern tradition.  Everything else is formed from them.  For those of you interested in numerology note that the order of the Elder Futhark means that primal fire (Fehu – 1) joins with primal ice ( Isa – 11) to form water (Laguz – 21).  The Isa rune is, of course, a single line meaning all the other runes are made from it.  Fire energises Ice – but ice is the formative essence of all things.  I believe it is for this reason that Isa is placed at the base chakra by some rune practitioners.  I have personally found that even in this context, its unmediated energy does not sit well with chakra work which ultimately always requires movement.  It is, however, an excellent conduit for energy – which is why the Isa meditation works so well.        

Literal meanings:  Ice

Rich meanings: Stability, strength, illusion, delusion, ego, beauty, risks

Deepening your connection with Isa

Articles about Isa

lantern in snow

Dance of ice and fire

…flow of story words coiling out of the flames… Soft glowing coals licked by golden tongues of flame.  My hands wrapped around the warm, smooth…

Love a bit of rune music?  Try Katie Wetherup’s song for Isa (external link). 

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2 Replies to “Isa”

  1. Isa rune appears in my right hand in morning and it was more than one. It color was black..
    Tell me what is that meaning??

    1. Hi Areeba
      It is difficult to answer your question without further context. Could you tell me how you identified it as the Isa rune and has it appeared before. Blask is a colour associated with Isa but it would also be helpful to know what meaning it sparks for you. Blessings.

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