Exploring Tarot and Runes: 11 – Isa

Isa [pronounced Ee-sa] means ‘Ice’ and is the final rune in the trinity of more challenging runes that make up the first three staves of the second aett. In a mythological context, ice is one of two primordial elements that shaped the creation of the world.


According to Norse mythology, in the beginning, before Gods, giants or humankind, there were two realms – the land of ice, Niflheim, and the land of fire, Muspelheim. Between these realms lay the void of Ginnungagap [translation: The Open Mouth of the Sacred Descendants]. The freezing slush and lava of the two worlds mingled in this chasm, and from this alchemy the proto-giant Ymir and the primordial cow, Auðumbla, were formed. Ymir drank from her milk while she licked blocks of salty ice, from which the father of the Gods, Buri, emerged.

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