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The rune of Properties of Ice Isa

isabIsa…say it out loud. It sounds like you are saying “ice-a” or “i-sa,” either way you hear the world ice. Think of the properties of ice. First, it is water in it’s frozen state. Ice can cover mountains or cool the drinks in our glass. It is cold. When we touch it we want to pull back and withdraw because it is shockingly cold. Although ice moves as it changes and grows, it is normally at a relatively slow rate. But ice can move quickly, seemingly to zip across a table-top as it hydroplanes upon a sheen of water it creates for itself.

When Isa shows her cool face to you in your casting, be prepared to spend some time waiting. Isa talks about freezing the energies around her. Look to the other runes in your casting to clarification of where Isa is going to use her freezing gaze to put blocks in the way of your progress.

Don’t depend on others now is part of Isa’s message. She is warning you that although you have received promises, those promises may not be kept. You find yourself at the mercy ofother’s whims when you rely on them, and it is best to focus on yourself at this time than fight against the tide. The standstill that Isa represents is just that, a stand still. It isn’t a quagmire of your own making. It is the baited breath, waiting for the flow of energy to move again so you can best ride the currents.

Isa – Standstill

Isa belongs to the Aett of Hagal

Key Word(s)

Standstill, ice, freezing, and withdrawal are all keywords to remember when Isa enters into your casting.


Isa is aligned with both the elements of earth and water.

Planetary Line

The New Moon (with its hidden potential) and Neptune are the celestial bodies associated with Isa.

Tarot Link

Isa with her withdrawn energy, folding in upon herself until only a single line is seen, is aligned with the Tarot card of The Hermit. Hermit’s are a special breed. In the modern vernacular the use has become somewhat of a misnomer, allowing “hermit” to represent anyone who does not want to live within modern society’s social constraints and interactions. At one time the Hermit was the representation of the ultimate spiritual seeker. (There’s a difference between a seeker and one who achieves.)


Black, unknown, unfathomable, empty yet full is the color aligned with Isa.


Isa doesn’t ask you to wait, she gives you no choice. Her alignment with feminine receptive energy should be kept in mind when she appears.

Healing Property

Isa is related to the effects of ice. Isa’s healing properties are most focused on the loss of feeling or sensation. (How many women/girls/men/boys out there have pierced their ears with a needle, some ice cubes and potatoes? Not a method I recommend — you use the ice to freeze the ear, ceasing the sensation in that area – but it is a good basic example of how ice is related to loss of feeling.)

Modern Letter Counterpart

Isa’s importance (and the importance of standing still every once in a while) is indicated by her alignment with the modern vowels of I and/or Y.

Special Runic Associations

Isa is said to strongly reinforce the meanings of the runes that fall near it in your casting. It is said that to meditate on Isa is to achieve the deep inner meditation allowing you to melt the ice that separates you from your inner, warmer self.

Isa allows clarity. Some say the purity of water can be tested in the clarity of the ice it creates. Some ice can be as clear as glass. Clear ice can even be shaped into lenses of various forms to create funhouse like appearances when you look through the ice lenses. Ice can be reflective, much like water, showing us the image we are projecting to the world. Maybe Isa is showing you that a time for personal review and introspection is at hand. You can’t make much forward progress without knowing where you’ve been, where you’re going and how you plan to get here. Isa gives you the opportunity to go within to see where you may need to reclarify something within yourself.

rune-block-IsaIsa talks about patience. Ice doesn’t move quickly, but the changes it creates are massive. Creating moraines thousands of feet high, deep channels and wide spans carved out between mountains to create valleys. Sediments, picked up and incorporated into the glacier as it moves slowly across the ground, are deposited as the ice melts. Ice can change the face of the earth, but it can take eons, even millennia, for it to do so.

Isa, with its association with ice and winter also tells us to prepare. It is time to go within to prepare in order to be ready for when the ice melts. Normally ice melts first as a drop, then a trickle that turns into a rivulette, to a brook and so on. As the ice melts, more is revealed and forward progress can be made.