Isa Rune {Meaning and Divination Reading}

If you are starting out with Elder Futhark divination readings, you’re probably still getting to grips with their meanings. So if you’ve drawn the Isa rune, you’re curious about what it means.

The Isa rune is associated with stagnation and delays. It is the eleventh symbol of the Elder Futhark alphabet. The Isa sign is ruled under Hagal’s aett. The Isa symbol is also related to being patient and having self-control.

That’s a brief idea of the Isa symbol, but if you want to know more, keep reading. This guide will tell you everything you want to know about this rune symbol. You’ll also learn how to use it with divination and energy work.

Let’s get started.

Isa Rune Meaning

What is the Isa Rune?

Isa is the eleventh symbol of the Elder Futhark Runes. You pronounce it as ee-sah.

The whole elder futhark alphabet is split into three lots of eight. A Norse deity rules over each set as an aettir (family).

Isa is the third symbol of the second (Hagal’s) Aett. This set of runes is ruled by Heimdall, the Norse god of perception and foresight.

Hagal’s aett represents runes that encourage action with self. They bring about introspection and endurance. These runes help to navigate the hardships of being human and encourage us with the will to push forward.

The Isa Rune represents slowing down, focusing inward, and holding it together.

In addition to Isa, the other symbols in this Aettir include the:

What is the Meaning of the Isa Rune?

ISA Rune Meaning

In a general rune reading, Isa symbolizes a still containment but with dangerous strength.

The translation means ‘Ice.’

For the ancient Norse people, ice was a great obstacle that slowed things down. The cold of ice also threatened their survival if they were ignorant of its presence.

The ice of winter seems still and calm, yet the emergence of spring is happening below the surface. This stoic vibe is one that Isa brings.

Isa is a rune that represents delays, frustrations, and stagnation. Things are not going to go your way at times. Yet during this time, you can contemplate your next move.

Isa is a rune of control and is likely to present you with a situation in which you are trapped. Be aware of beauty and illusion lulling you into dangerous circumstances.

It’s important to remember that Ice is seasonal and will eventually melt away. Despite the cold, keep a warmth burning inside to help you move forward into a new phase of life.

Isa Rune Keywords:

  • Stagnation
  • Delay
  • Danger
  • Entrapment
  • Blockages

How to read the Isa Rune

Rune divination starts with you having a question or intention in mind. Drawing the Isa rune can bring answers to that which you seek guidance.

We’ve already discussed the general meaning of the Isa rune. Yet, you may find this doesn’t really relate to your intention or question.

Isa is not a chief rune for some intentions. On its own, it doesn’t always give the depth of answer you need.

When you’ve drawn an Isa rune, it’s always better you get context from the neighboring runes. Often the order you read them will give you more details about the message of the Isa.

On that note, the meanings in this guide are not set in stone. As a beginner, they may help you decipher the message’s meaning in your rune reading.

Use your own judgment and intuition to guide you through.

Can Isa be reversed?

Isa Lying in opposition
Isa Lying in Opposition

The Isa rune cannot be reversed. That’s because the symbol looks the same in both upright and reversed positions. Therefore, it’s impossible to know which one is intended.

Although the Isa rune doesn’t have a typical reverse (merkstave) position, it can ‘lie in opposition.’

Some rune casters will assign a negative meaning to Isa in a sideways position.

Negativity may also be evident from other runes that have been cast.

A negative Isa reading can signal that there is no solution in sight to your problems. It can also related to an out of control ego or deceit from another. This is because you caught in the illusion of things being perfect and beautiful, while the truth is being hidden below the surface.

It is the calm before a dangerous storm that blinds you and leaves you unprepared.

You may choose not to consider Isa lying in opposition as a meaning. But, you could be missing an important message from the Divine.

Isa For Love


An Isa rune in a love intention can indicate stagnation in a relationship. You are both stuck in place, unable and unwilling to be flexible to change. There are likely to be periods of argument and even separation.

There is an element of coldness to emotions, communication, or sexual connections between you both.  If you are single, you may be experiencing unrequited love.

Isa can also symbolize stability after a whirlwind period in your relationship. This can be after a big event like a wedding or a new baby. It’s a time when you need to settle into new roles and review what the future holds.

In Opposition

Drawing negative Isa for a love intention signals you may feel stuck in a relationship you see no way out of. There will be no immediate solutions to the problems you’re facing.

You may even experience love-bombing. This is when you feel smothered by love. Yet, your partner’s intentions turn abusive once this behavior stops.

Isa for Family and Friends


When Isa is drawn for matters of family and friends, it indicates a time for you to take it easy and spend some time chilling out with friends.

Consider a support network that offers you stability and calm. One which doesn’t makes you feel heightened or chaotic in their presence.

After a disagreement, this can also be a cooling-off period you’ve had with friends or family members.

In Opposition

A negative Isa usually signals that you feel frozen out by friends or family. No matter what you do, they are not letting you in. It may signal the end of your relationship with no resolution in sight.

An Isa in opposition can also indicate that it’s family or friends, causing stagnation in your life. They are encouraging lethargy and procrastination. This is because your drive for change is causing a shift in your relationship’s dynamic.

Isa for Health and wellbeing


Isa drawn for health can indicate poor health resulting in a lack of physical movement. This can be frustrating for you, but be patient with your recovery.

Isa can also relate to reproductive or fertility problems.  In nature ice stops new life from blooming until it thaws. You may experience delays waiting on test results to address any issues.

Fatigue and lethargy are common with Isa. You may be feeling like you have no energy to do anything at the moment.

In Opposition

Drawing a negative Isa can often point to issues of mental health. It’s an invisible illness, and just like an iceberg the problem may be bigger than others can see.

Periods of dissociation or psychosis are often associated with Isa as a deep and unyielding state of mental health.

Feeling restricted or on hold may exacerbate low mood and cause you to sink into a depressive state.

Isa For Money and finances


In money matters, drawing the Isa rune indicates your finances are about to stagnate. Investments won’t have any growth, and your income will likely stall.

Although this may be frustrating, the positive side is that you are not experiencing losses.

Take this time to educate yourself financially. When things start to ease, you’ll clearly understand finances and how to improve them.

In Opposition

A negative Isa can relate to your ego causing financial stagnation. You may always looking toward the next thing without taking the time to stop and consider the impact for what you are doing now.

Your current spending habits may be slowing down your savings. think about having a plan in place if you suddenly lose your income.

You only have to look at the impact of the economic lockdowns caused by the recent pandemic. Are you prepared if something similar happens again?

Isa for Career


When Isa is drawn in career intention, it signals that you’ve become complacent in your job role. At the moment, you are not challenging yourself.

This may be self-imposed after a busy period, or it may be that you feel you ‘know it all’.

Now is not the time to apply for new positions. Instead, take this time to explore some learning within your role. Soft skills such as communication, time management, and teamwork will benefit any role.

In Opposition

Isa, in opposition, can indicate that you need to be aware of what is going on below the surface. There may be low-level chatter of changes that are coming, and at the moment, management is remaining tight-lipped.

Don’t be distracted from the truth, and remain vigilant to the impact this may have on your career. Be mindful of accepting work from those who may be plotting to restrict your ability to progress in the future.

Isa for Personal development


Isa is a rune of developing focus and concentration. It’s not a rune of full-on growth but rather a slow and enticing pull towards developing these traits.

Developing self-introspection is a great way to use the Isa rune. You’ll gain the ability to think critically and challenge yourself.

You may not see the effects immediately. But when a situation arises, you’ll notice how to put your new found knowledge into action.

In Opposition

Isa, in opposition, can indicate that you neglect to care for yourself.  You’ve got yourself into restrictive habits preventing you from moving forward.

The runes message is that you need to make baby steps towards change. You likely won’t see any big differences now, but all those little actions will add up over time.

Isa for Spirituality


Drawing an Isa rune is excellent for spiritual practice. It relates to the message that you must slow down and focus on soul work.

Adopting mindfulness and meditation brings the stillness and clarity that Isa desires.

You won’t always see the immediate effects of a period of stillness in your routine. You should remain patient and watch as your spirit matures and the impact this has on your behaviours.

In Opposition

An Isa in opposition can relate to a spiritual crisis. You are likely, fixated on a spiritual aspect that is holding you back.

A negative Isa can often indicate an overindulgence in energy work. With Chakra healing there is a danger with awaking the kundalini if you are unprepared for it.

Isa does not resonate with chakra healing. This is due to the conflict of constant moving chakra energy against the stillness of Isa.

Magical uses of the Isa Rune

  • Protection spells requiring strength and stability
  • Bringing Clarity
  • Strengthening connection to the spiritual self
  • Improving reflection and concentration
  • Strengthening the soul complex

Isa Rune Associations

The Isa rune connects with many other universal energies. These may suggest ways to incorporate the Isa energy into your divination work.

Isa has been associated with the following

AnimalsReindeer, wolves
BodyMuscles, sensations
CrystalsClear quartz
God/GoddessesSkadi, Rind
Half monthNovember 28th– December 13th
Ruling planetNeptune
TarotThe Hanged Man

Isa Rune Poems

Anglo-Saxon Isa Poem

Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;

it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;

it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.

Norwegian Isa Poem

Ice is called the broad bridge;

the blind man must be led.

Icelandic Isa Poem


bark of rivers

and roof of wave

and destruction of the doomed.

Isa Galdr (Runic Chant)

Isa isa isa

Rune Isa Other Names

  • Old Germanic name: Icz
  • Old Norwegian name: Iss
  • Anglo-Saxon name: Is
  • Old Celtic name: Iss
  • Old Icelandic name: Iss

Final thoughts

Isa is a rune of stagnation and stillness. It’s a period of preserving and preparing for the future.

A personality that thrives only on growth and moving forward may feel frustrated or experience a low mood during this time. Don’t fall into this trap, as it leads to a loss of momentum and creative spark.

Just because you can’t see a change doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.

Isa reminds you of the benefits of slowing down, taking your time, and looking at things with clarity. Constantly acting with haste will lead to mistakes and poor decision-making.

In opposition, Isa reminds us that you can become trapped without resolving a problem.

Even when you think you have no control, you can always choose how you react to a situation. Use this time to self-reflect and perfect your interpersonal skills.

Use the Isa rune to harness these energies into your life and divination work.

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