Elder Futhark Rune Isa

Isa is the 11th Rune of the Elder Futhark Rune set. Keywords for Isa include ice, stillness, immobility, harshness, restriction, constriction, frustration, coldness, ego, selfishness, blindness. If you draw the Isa Rune in your reading, it is like a cold shock, a harsh energy. Something is not right in your life.


Isa is a hostile energy, inimical to the experience of Life and Living. Isa appears in a reading when you are in some sort of danger. A slow moving yet a serious danger and you are unaware of this. If you can spot it in time, perhaps you can escape but once you are in a situation indicated by Isa, you are in trouble.

In inter-personal relationship readings, Isa indicates a lack of warmth. Things are frozen between the two of you. If you do not act in time, Isa will tear you two apart. This is not a kind energy, it is impersonally cruel. Isa shows you the harsh, cold, merciless, egoistical face of the person you are interacting with. You are dealing with someone who has an exaggerated sense of self-ego, a spear of ice. Do not expect him to come to a mutual understanding. Break-ups are possible during this time. If you are surrounded by Isa yourself, then you must think and feel yourself out of it. Try to feel the good times with your loved one or think on why this person is important to you. Try to do the things you used to enjoy together and unfreeze the love that you have for him/ her. Try to put your self-ego aside. Else the relationship or partnership will break down and you will suffer even more. 

Isa in a reading on business or finance represents a control imposed from the outside which will eventually create a bigger problem. If a business has to grow there has to be a flow, a movement of energy, money, goods, services etc. Isa does not allow this flow. Or if you are expecting a big profit or something, it will be delayed or not happen. Isa means that the situation is stuck and significant efforts will be needed to get things moving again. Taking critical decisions in periods indicated by Isa is treacherous. You will see only the superficial tip of the ice-berg, its real depth is always hidden. Your movement is limited, the flow of events is frozen. Try to find out more about the situation you are in before acting. Options will be limited. But act you must, if you do not, you will be stuck even more deeply.

In questions on personal growth, Isa indicates that your exaggerated self-ego is the root cause of the situation you find yourself in. Isa’s ‘stillness’ can easily become stagnation. You think you know everything and thus your downfall begins. Being a know-it-all in the spiritual path is dangerous. But taking corrective actions will be difficult as self-ego will obstruct. Isa in this context means that the life philosophy you are following is not helping you evolve, instead it has frozen you stiff.


Time periods indicated by Isa are generally quite long, 6 months or more. There will be challenges during this period, either emotional, physical, financial etc. Getting the ice to melt requires significant work. And the more you ignore these stalled things, the more difficult it will get to make them work again. Isa is the Rune of barriers, obstacles and mental blocks. It will prevent you from acting, when in fact action is most necessary here. You do not care, not about yourself, not about the other person, or the situation you are in. Strong hidden forces are working against you, stopping your thoughts and actions both. This can also mean that you are not willing to change your perspective when the time/ situation demands it. You are numb.

On the practical side, try to find out more about the situation you are in. Read books or listen to others more knowledgeable than you. Put your self-ego aside for a bit. As with the other Runes of the second Aett, Isa is linked to patience. There are things beyond your control and you have to endure. But this does not mean that you just give up and sit down. The energy is not going to vanish by itself, you have to take some efforts. Try to work things out, act in some way. If you do not, you will be frozen even more.

A typical thing with Isa. People who are right now around you are not the ones who will help you, because in fact they are the ones who are freezing you! You are lonely with them. And the people who can genuinely help you? The persons you really know you must be with? Isa will ensure that you do not meet them. Or even if you meet them, your self-ego will be so high that you will not listen to what they say. You are unaware of what is happening to you. The coldness of the winter, Isa, has put you in hostile situations and you are blind to the possible outcomes. You are blind to the implications of your actions on yourself, on your situation and on your loved ones. You are numb to the danger you are causing yourself. Positivity, creativity, potential, the will to live, the ability to enjoy life is frozen under Isa. Getting out of this will require a lot of work from your side. You may not be able to move much, but move you must.

And Isa’s final knock-out punch. Isa puts things on hold for a long-ish time. There might eventually after this long period, come a time when these things might start moving again. And this is the time where you will feel the most intense regret. As you realise that you have irrevocably lost something which was so important to you by your own blindness. Those emotions which were frozen by Isa, will flow in the form of bitter tears.

  • Eg you were emotionally distant with your loved one for 6 months and more. You also broke up during this time. Later, you realised that you have lost the one you love and you miss her/him dreadfully.
  • Eg in your business, you missed several opportunities because you were blind to them. A year later you look back and realise the extent of your losses.
  • Eg your health was not good but you thought that the situation was not that serious. You neglected going to a proper doctor. After Isa has done its job, you realise that your health has taken a huge hit.

Isa is not just a test of patience and endurance. Its real test is, ‘Can you put your self-ego aside? Can you recognise and also act to keep close what is important to you in the long run? Can you? Will you?’.


I do not think that Runes can be reversed. However depending on the question, the energy of the Rune can be in opposition. Eg What is the reason things are going wrong? and you get Isa means that the situation has reached a point of utter stillness. Getting Isa in opposition is even worse. This means that things have frozen over completely, there is coldness, lack of warmth, stagnation etc which is causing bitterness, arguments, numbness and overall blindness. You will have to act in a positive manner to make things flow again. Doing this will be difficult but you must try.

Isa is not a kind Rune, it is the power of offence and defence. You can use the power of Isa to still things in the following situations. When you are attacked by negativity, black magic etc and you cannot do anything about it, you can freeze the situation by using Isa. This will give you some breathing space till you find the solution. Always remember that Isa is not the solution. Forcing stillness on something from outside is not real stability and will not resolve anything in the long run. Or if you are emotionally overwhelmed and a meltdown is going to happen, you can use Isa to freeze the energies. But remember to release these emotions in a safer way later. Isa should not be used for extended times in these situations. Never use Isa to freeze things for long, as the power of ice gets stronger with time. You will create more issues for yourself if you do so. Releasing energies which have been frozen by the power of Isa can sometimes make them explode in a spectacularly dangerous manner. So when using Isa actively be very careful. 

These meanings are for Isa drawn as a single Rune cast. In case you get Isa in a multiple Rune reading, you have to blend its meanings with the others in the context of the question asked. In such readings, Isa can either intensify the meanings of the other Runes or block these too with its power of stasis. Interpreting multiple Runes together requires practice, intuition and finally the blessings of Odin.

One positive. Isa can sometimes indicate that there is significant unrealised potential hidden within you/ the situation, which can be released by acting decisively, if you can. Or you can use its energies of stillness in some spiritual practice where stillness is needed. Using Isa can be as simple as creating a chi-ball, putting the Rune with the intention into it and releasing it into the time/space desired. But to work with the energy of Isa requires considerable will-power, practice and the blessings of Odin. The Elder Futhark Runes are raw magic and should be used with proper respect and care. (Overview of the Runes post here.)


Post on Ansuz here.

It is possible that you might have felt the danger of Isa in reading this post. The truth is that there are often unpleasant situations in life and you have to make the best of it. There are these three Runes, Hagalaz, Isa and Ihwaz. I have used their energies also in my work and these are the proverbial double edged swords.

Some time ago, I was in a very typical situation. I asked Odin which way do I go. The person I was facing was in Isa. The Runes said that option 1 would take me the Hagalaz route and option 2 was the Ihwaz way. I had to choose one and use its energy for growth. This was the most difficult period of my life.