Six months ago I started a thorough initial study of the Elder Futhark. Each week I would focus on a new rune, reading the rune poems and a number of published interpretations. While these posts are old (originally posted to my Tumblr), I want to move them over here for easy reference.
Week 11: Isa
Basic meaning: Ice
Further meanings: Standstill, a temporary stop to growth or evolution. Preservation. Resistance to change. Stability. Stillness, lack of vibration.
Divinatory meanings: Challenge or frustration. Psychological block to thought or activity. Time to turn inward and wait for what is to come or to seek clarity. A time or situation that will not change yet. A frustrating influence that suggests no immediate possibility of change. Can point to both self-preservation as well as self-centeredness. Can reveal areas in the unconscious that have been imprinted with a particular pattern. This rune reinforces other runes around it.
Reverse meanings: Ego-mania, dullness, blindness, dissipation. Treachery, illusion, deceit, betrayal, guile, stealth, ambush, plots. Gross materialism, greed.
Magical uses: Maintaining integrity. Provides focus in a crisis. Can give clarity of sight devoid of emotion. When used with a gentle fire rune like Kenaz it can help break through barriers or blocks, or bring about necessary change. Holds ego-self together during times of distress. Can act as a bridge. Aids in development of concentration and will. Constricts or halts unwanted dynamic forces. Power of control and constraint over other wights. Can cancel out aggressive/disruptive forces in magic, thus is great for self-defense.
Personal thoughts on and associations with Isa
Possibly due to a nearly complete lack of ice and snow in my life, I was surprised at how much I identified with this rune.
From an elemental standpoint, I’ve always been more of an earth-type (stone, not plant aspects). I’d never really considered ice beyond being that thing that gets everywhere for a few weeks out of the year and bring me back my 110 degree summer dammit.
So I was surprised to see how much this rune points to many of the same aspects I see in the earth – stability, resistance to change, etc.
I am definitely going to be using this rune to work through blockage issues, and any time I feel like I’m in a rut (which I do to myself very often). I can also see how it would be extremely helpful when dealing with anxiety. Even the shape of it suggests alinement, centering, calming. I’m interested to see how it would help me in situations that trigger my social anxieties as it also has the ego-centric aspect.
Sources for meanings:
- Runelore by Edred Thorsson
- Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic by Edred Thorsson
- Principles of Runes by Freya Aswynn
- Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn