Isa is the rune of Ice and cold. Ice, perfectly frozen with very very air bubbles can look like precious stones, so much so that people once believed that clear quartz was in fact a kind of ice that could not be melted.
Ice, the power of cold, to freeze things and lock them into a state where they are well preserved for as long as they stay frozen. That is part of the power of Isa. Whether it is to cool a situation down or you want to put someone “on ice” Isa is the rune to turn to. While heat is a very popular and widely used tool, from “hot footing” to melting wax dolls in order to soften someone’s heart, or even in the form of candle burning (which bring heat and light to the spiritual and magical work) cold can play a useful role, one that is often overlooked. As soon as methods of cooling things became available with items like iceboxes and then later freezer and refrigerators, people started using them to work cooling freezing magic.
Another useful parallel is language found in African diaspora groups of spirits that are “hot” and “cool” The cool spirits are often the main ones that people have allegiance to, like the Orishas, although they can turn hot when needed (or offended) but often the desire is to cool them down and to keep your spiritual essence cool. The practice of rogacion is about cooling the head and the spirit of the head to help bring clarity, insight and wisdom. A cool intellect often literally sees things much better then a raging hot head, something that is actually scientifically true.
Inguz/Ing/Yngvi is name that Sweden and seems to be a later addition to the Futhorc. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem refers it to the the leader of Ynglings, but it also seems connected to Freyr, usually in the form Ingvifreyr, which suggests that while Freyr was his title, Ingvi may actually be his real name. But the truth of that is lost to time. However connection to the god Freyr remains, and this rune seems to resonate with some of the powers of Freyr, the shining brother of Freya. He is the lord of seasons, and by some he is the compared to the Horned God of Wicca, believing that the rituals of which Wicca was seeking to revive was the older rituals of Vanir, the tribe and gods who predated the arrival of the Aesir and the establishment of Asgard. So, like the Horned God, he is through to rise anew each year, only to be sacrificed again with each harvest, that his sacrifice may give renewal to the ground in gratitude for the gifts of food that it has given. The Vanir might have even been the Gaelic people who inhabited Europe for a much longer time until the arrival of the nomadic and conquering Aesir.
The magic and mystery of Inguz is the masculine birth/death/rebirth cycle expressed by seasons. It is the masculine complement to the Beorc. It’s various shapes always remind me of a seed, which one might compare to the seed of sperm, the tiny activator that starts the process of pregnancy once it reaches and fertilizes the egg, but in doing so, it is gone, as the egg begins a new process, catalyzed by the sperm to start cell division and create a new life.
To some ancient cultures that saw this present in nature as well. Noticing that areas of land struck by lightning would produce more abundant crops (as the lightning would fix the nitrogen in the soil) they equated lightning with fertilizing force of the gods. The same with rain as well, as it brings growth to plants and food crops, which without it, they would lay fallow in the ground until sufficient water is brought to help the plants to grow.
A similar metaphor can be found internally. Sometime the formative idea or concept is there, working on itself until a catalyst, the lightning flash of insight, inseminates it and it starts to grow and form itself into the new work that you are creating.
Ior is the rune of the World Serpent, that beast born of Loki and Angrboda, a giantess who gave Loki three children, one of which was the Midgard Serpent, Jormungandr. As it is one of the much later Anglo-Saxon runes, and it’s rune poem is odd, describing a river fish that lives in both land and water. To older cultures, they readily identified anything that lived in water as being a fish, whether it is actually a fish or not by today’s scientific classification. The “river fish” that they indentified may have been an otter or a beaver, or some other kind of amphibious mammal that lives in and surrounded by water.
Part of the mystery of Ior is the dual natured, or polymorphous nature of this river fish. Something that inhabits both land and water, but is not tied to both. Some have seen this as a fitting description for Jormungandr, the world serpent, as it was born on land, and lives in the sea, mainly because it is so huge that is the only place with room for it. But the coils of Jormungandr are seem to identify what is within Midgard and what is outside of it, the serpentine “hedge” of in-lying and out-lying on a cosmic scale. Being able to cross those boundaries is usually part of the tool kit of the spiritual practitioner, being able to leave the physical world behind and enter in the other worlds, but also being able to think outside the limits of place, time and culture to see things differently and recognize beneficial change but also harmful change. Working with Ior can cause you to experience that boundary, and being able to cross it, but also to affirm it, and somehow to become it. Making yourself polymorphous and no longer locked into one state of being, thinking or doing. No longer a person who is something or is not something, but simple a person.