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The Elder Futhark – Fehu




This is the first of a series of articles on the Elder Futhark Runes that will explore each rune in order plus the three Aetts (families) and rune-work in general. The Runes are the foundation of the Northern Traditions, a basis for the magic and religions therefrom. They are quite different from the more common Platonic systems and, in fact, don’t really blend well with them. The direction, colors, elements are all different and trying to mix them on any but a very superficial level doesn’t work very well, in my experience.

 

A quick explanation of where the Runes came from. The Runes are primal energies of creation, manifestation, destruction and re-creation. Their exact origin is unknown but most consider them to be eternal. The symbols of the runes are not the runes themselves, but a glyph connecting the true rune to the world of Midgard, Middle-Earth. The god Odhinn earned the ability to understand and use the runes through a lengthy ordeal, much like a true shamanic death-walk. Described in the verses below from the Havamal, a runic poem;

 

“137.

I trow I hung on that windy Tree nine whole days and nights, stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin, myself to mine own self given, high on that Tree of which none hath heard from what roots it rises to heaven.

138.

None refreshed me ever with food or drink, I peered right down in the deep; crying aloud I lifted the Runes then back I fell from thence.

139.

Nine mighty songs I learned from the great son of Bale-thorn, Bestla's sire; I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead, with the Soulstirrer's drops I was showered.

140.

Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well, I grew and waxed in wisdom; word following word, I found me words, deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

141.

Hidden Runes shalt thou seek and interpreted signs, many symbols of might and power, by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned, graved by the Utterer of gods.

142.

For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Daïn, Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs, All-wise for Jötuns, and I, of myself, graved some for the sons of men.

143.

Dost know how to write, dost know how to read, dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove, dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer, dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?”


Having earned the power of the runes, Odhinn also shared them with humans, those who would accept the work and weight of the knowledge of the runes and their songs. The Elder Futhark has 24 runes, and Fehu is the first of them.

 

 

Fehu              



 Sound: "F"

 

Depiction: Looks like the horns of a cow or two arms reaching skyward

 

Runic position: 1st aett, 1st rune

 

Original meaning: Cattle, which first meant mobile wealth and the power that came from it. Today, mobile wealth comes in the form of money, which buys goods that can be kept, bartered, or sold.

 

Key words: Prosperity, mobile wealth, abundance, fertility, unstructured creativity, the primal fire

 

Tree: Elder

 

Herb: Nettle

 

Stones: Ruby, garnet, red cat's eye, rose quartz, blood agate, carnelian, jasper

 

Color: Red

 

Runic month: June 29 - July 14

 

Runic hour: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

 

Other names: The Germanic name: Fe (Fehu)

The Norse name: Fé

The Anglo-Saxon name: Feo, Feoh

The Icelandic name: Fé

The Norwegian name: Fe

 

Description: The name Fehu means "cattle." In early herding cultures, such as the Norse, cattle could be kept and milked, thus providing a continuing source of food. In addition, cattle could be sold or bartered for other goods or killed for meat. Their hides could be used for clothing and their bones and horns for tools.

 

The first letter of the Hebrew, Greek, and Gothic alphabets also means cattle, illustrating the importance of these animals for ensuring the survival of early societies. Because of their importance as a form of wealth, cattle were carefully guarded to promote their health and fertility. The wealth aspect of the Fehu is characterized when the giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk" says, "Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman." The runic "fee," which is an English version of the root Fehu, refers to his riches. Basically, the giant is singing the Fehu galdr, (see below) when up pops Jack. The beanstalk corresponds to the World Tree, and Jack even trades the family cow for the beanstalk seeds.

 

The F-rune rules the basic force of fertility, containing the mystery of both creation and destruction. It denotes the harmonious functioning of these two extremes, leading to a

dynamic evolutionary power within Oneness. Wealth, for example, can either create or destroy things, depending upon the situation.

 

This destructive quality of wealth can bring out people's worst nature. On the positive side, we live, we learn, and in the process, we evolve to higher levels of awareness. As we do, we

begin to realize that riches and wealth come in many forms.

 

God & Goddess: Aesir/Vanir - The Aesir were the human gods and goddesses, such as Odin, Frigga, and Thor. The Vanir were the original nature gods and goddesses, such as Njord, Frey, and Freyja. Originally, the Vanir and Aesir were separate, but after a great deal of conflict and warring, they exchanged members. That is when Frey and Freyja became members of the Aesir.

 

Power animals: Falcon, boar, cat, bear, cow, tiger, horse, sow, ant, deer, hare, bee, bull, hedgehog, ewe, snake, sparrow, mouse, goat, ram, lion, monkey

 

Element: Fire

 

Number: 1

 

Astrology: Aries

 

Tarot card: The Magician

 

Mythology: Audhumla, the primal cow, licked the frosty salt-covered stones, thereby freeing a tall handsome man named Buri. The gods of Aesir were descended from Buri. Because of the cow's association with Fehu, it is the eldest of all the Elder Futhark runes. Along with the Aesir, the gods of humankind, this rune is also associated with the Vanir, the gods of nature.

 

More specifically, Fehu relates to the early Vanir deities Njord, Frey, and Freyja. Njord and his twin sister, Nerthus, were parents to Frey and Freyja, and directly related to the natural wealth of the Earth, whereas Frey and Freyja were fertility deities, associated with livestock, especially newborn calves in the spring.

 

Coming directly out of the creation of the universe, Fehu is the raw archetypal energy of motion and expansion in Oneness. In mythology, this force flowed from Muspelheim, the southern world of flames, and acted as the source of the cosmic fire that produced Midgard, our human world. The cosmic fire illustrated by Fehu represented not only creation but also destruction, again reflecting the energetic polarities inherent in all things.

 


Magical qualities: Strengthens intuitive abilities. Channel for transferring, projecting, and sending runic energy. Draws the celestial energies of the sun, moon, and stars into your personal energy field.  Increases monetary wealth, increases your wealth of knowledge, Increases the fertility of your life goals and plans

 

  Galdr Song: Fehu, fehu, fehu

 F f f f f f f f f f

 Fu fa fi fe fo

 Of ef if af uf

 F f f f f f f f f f

 

Divination: A mobile form of power, closely related to the Germanic concept of "hamingia," which translates as good luck and guardian spirit. The "hamingia" was a field of energy around the body that could move at will-on its own. From this perception, Fehu embodied the directed, expansive power that moved energy outward from people and objects. It was manifested in healing energy, primal expansive motion, and prayers or blessings.

 

The two lines of the rune extending upward look like the horns of a cow and also like a person with his/her hands raised and outstretched-traditionally a pose used by priests and priestesses for prayers and blessings. In this way, Fehu symbolized communing with the gods and goddesses, where a person's field of intention moved outward (and inward) into the many dimensions of Oneness. As mobile wealth, this rune also represents money and the things it can buy.

 

The energy of the F-rune is the unbridled creative fire that has no boundaries, and thus no real structure or form. This energy intimidates some people because it seems so uncontrollable. But if you merge with this Fehu energy and become one with it, a great burst of creative fire results, which you can use to create and fuel your personal magical patterns. With Fehu, you need to be careful not to burn yourself out, but instead feel the runic energy in every cell of your body, until you become energized physically, mentally, and spiritually.

 

The Rune of Possessions or Material Gain represents financial success, perseverance, and fulfillment. It can also connote new beginnings or victory over longstanding opposition.

 

Fehu bears a double meaning - the rune is the everyday reality that we live in, however also the catalyst showing us what there is lying behind it. On the one side this is our home, and on the other - our roaming in search of spiritual progress that surpasses simple pleasures and joys of home, family, and good business.

 


Fehu reminds us that we have to be certain about our psychological capabilities prior to setting off into any kind of spiritual journey. We have to start from the everyday reality of life, that is never superseded by majority of people. Tamed and domesticated like heads of domestic cattle, we mostly live in everyday reality, not expecting anything else and not hoping that any stepping out is possible at all. The first step leading out of such a situation is simple view of other possibilities, without leaving the everyday security.

 

When used in divination it signifies: prosperity, money, plentitude, wealth, satisfaction of physical and financial needs and requirements, goal, promotion or advancement, self-respect.

 

Magik: For use in magic: for money, - business, advancement, employment, attainment of goals, commencement of new undertakings.

 

Casting: When drawn in a casting in the upright position this rune suggests financial success, however also for positive assessment of own efforts and actions, which includes much more than just money itself. The rune says that correct evaluation of own actions and deeds means

the key of an answer to the question.

 

In its upright position Fehu promises fulfillment of wishes in the sphere of romance; it is very encouraging and favors all kinds of relationships including emotions. In material sense it denotes gain owing to a bet or inheritance.

 

When drawn in the reversed position this rune suggests disappointment, delay, or loss. Fehu reversed also suggests failures in love. In the financial spheres, too, this is a bad sign, as expectations are not going to be materialized.

 

It needs to be said that there are no surviving texts from the ancient times instructing us on the usages of the runes in any great detail. Much of what survived the years was written by others watching the ancestors, rather then those practicing the runes. Or collected centuries afterwards as folklore and stories. There are sagas and the Eddas, but they are far from instructional. Much of what we know and practice today is our best reconstruction of what was, adapted to our modern world.

 

This is to be expected, as the world has changed since those days. Much of society has changed, our needs have changed in many ways. That the outer ways of Rune-working should change also is normal. So many to the correspondences stated above are not to be found in some hoary tome, but in our understanding of the energies found in different stones, herbs and so forth, matching as well as can be with an appropriate rune. You will find some Runes sharing stones or herbs with other Runes. This is because some things have a variety of energies and relate with many things.

 

This means that I do not claims my correspondences and teachings are the one and only truth of the Runes. They are far too great for that and I am far too little. I do present them as the truth as I know it at this time. Test them, try them, prove them, and then write your own. We all have much to learn of the Runes, and to re-learn. I hope that Odhinn grants that you grow far beyond me.

 

Thanks for reading this post, I do hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learned something from it. I’ll be posting another soon on the Rune Uruz. Please post your comments below, your experiences with the runes. I look forward to reading them.

 

Until next time,

Farvel och Odin välsigne.

Farewell and Odhinn bless.

Sterling Knight

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