Rune Talk: Fehu
Wealth is a comfort to all men;
yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honor in the sight of the Lord.
-The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem, from Ragnar's Page.
source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.
-The Icelandic Rune Poem, from Ragnar's Page.
Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.
-The Norwegian Rune Poem, from Ragnar's Page.
Fehu is the first Rune in the futhark, it's phonic Value is F, as in Fee.
From those three Runic poems, we can gain much information on what Fehu means. We can also infer much information from other clues. From the Anglo-Saxon Poem, Fehu is wealth, but it's wealth that must be given away to stay in good graces. An exchange of energy and services. For the Icelandic Poem, wealth is also the focus but we have a bit more... The fire of the sea, and the path of the serpent. Fire of the sea has been suggested to refer to Amber, or the Nibelungenlied gold. Diana Paxson also suggests that the “path of the serpent” is referring to Fafnir's death at the hands of Siegfried his kinsman. Then with the Norwegian Rune poem, wealth being an issue with family is again brought up, but then we have a wolf living in the forest, for me, that suggests a warning to greed and that your money can be taken away from you.
What else can be inferred about Fehu? Linguistically Fehu means cattle, specifically the domesticated type. So the wealth the poems are talking about is movable wealth. Today we would think of it more as money. It can be traded, given away, and even stolen. Also with the idea of cattle, we have Productivity, fertility, and generative energy. All the things you would think of with cattle. Fehu, being the first rune, gains the meaning of beginnings. I think that's part of where the idea of “you have to have money to make money” comes from.. You have to have cattle to make cattle.
So what now? We know a little more about how Fehu works, but what's the practical use of Fehu? Well lets break this down for easy reference.
Divination: Beginnings, Wealth, Personal Pets, Energy, Improving of Health or Wealth, A person who works with Animals or Finances. Foresight and planning,
Magic: To start over, To bring Wealth and Prosperity, To give energy to a project or spell, Passion, Productivity,
The Rune poem Translations that I used were taken from Ragnar's Ragweed Forge : http://www.ragweedforge.com/