Also known as: Isaz, Isa, Is, Iss, Isarz
Letter sound: I (as in “ice”)
Keywords: obstacles, standstill, stagnation, delay, coldness
Magical Uses: Maintaining the status quo, protection against unwanted energies or developments, bringing clarity to a situation
Isa is the third rune in Hagal’s Aett, and the third in a row to carry a predominantly negative meaning. It translates literally to “ice,” which may seem, depending on the context, to be a neutral or even positive substance to modern people, but to the ancient people of Northern Europe, ice was useless, and was more often than not an obstacle. As a representation of frozen water, Isa signifies a lack of movement which is likely frustrating. There may be physical circumstances blocking your progress, a loss of energy, or mental blocks that you cannot see past in order to move forward. Isa also indicates delay, and it is best to accept this as a reality in your current situation, rather than pushing against it. Know that the sun will eventually return to melt the ice and allow the water to flow freely again. In the meantime, take advantage of this still, static energy to practice focusing on the present moment. Meditation is highly useful now, as it can help dissipate frustration and take your focus off of things you can’t control. Don’t give up on your ambition or assume that a delay means it won’t work out. If there’s anything you can do to prepare for making progress once it becomes possible again, put your energy there instead. You might even find that you’re better equipped to pursue your goal as a result.
In the context of relationships, Isa can also point to emotional coldness between people. This could pertain to friendships, family relationships, or romantic partnerships. Affection may be lacking, communication may have come to a standstill, or a passionate romance may be cooling off. Arguments or conflicts are either present or forthcoming. Ask yourself if you have been open and demonstrative of your feelings for the person or people in question. If it is they who have closed themselves off, consider how you might approach reconnecting or rekindling the energy between you. Recognize, however, that in some situations, it may be best to let go and move on. The transparency of ice can also signify clarity, whether it comes to relationships or any other situation causing difficulty. Evaluating your circumstances from a cool, emotionally detached viewpoint can be helpful now, which is one positive aspect of Isa. Isa has no reversed meaning.