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.

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.    

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.

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

My Elder Futhark journeys are based on the traditional meanings of the runes.  To get the most from the journey follow these steps:
  • Make sure the room in which you are working will be free from disturbance.  Do a simple warding if you want to.
  • Have a look at the basic correspondences for Isa.  Make a note of any that stand out for you.
  • Make sure you know the shape of Isa; if you have a rune set select the Isa rune and hold it for a short while.
  • Listen to the recording.
  • If you feel a bit light headed or not fully back from your journey, have something to eat.

A meditation with the rune of ice, strength, resistance and the ego. This meditation focuses on overcoming resistance to personal transformation, acknowledging that the self we are now may not be quite as willing to undergo rebirth as we would like.  For those of you who have listened to the explanation before, the meditation itself starts at minute 6:20.  I know some of you like to listen just to the rune song – it starts at minute 8:33.

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

Discover all 24 runes of the Elder Futhark

Latest posts


Do you have a destiny waiting for you?

The northern tradition is famous for its proclamations of doom.  If you’re a fan of Vikings  you’ll be familiar with the shield-maiden Lagertha who, with…
- Contact and connect -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *