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Also known as: Fe, Feh, Feoh, Frey
Letter sound: F
Translation: cattle, wealth, money
Keywords: wealth, prosperity, abundance, reward, good health, beginnings
Magical Uses: Increase wealth, strengthen psychic ability, attract and improve social relationships, “sending” a magical working into the invisible world to manifest
The most common interpretation of Fehu concerns wealth—particularly “moveable” wealth. For the ancient Germanic peoples (as well as for many other ancient cultures), to own cattle could mean the difference between a comfortable existence and a life of deprivation. Not only could these animals be traded for other valuable goods, but they offered sustenance in and of themselves and could therefore be life-saving in times of extreme need. Modern interpretations of Fehu tend to focus on money and credit, as these are the primary sources of “moveable” wealth that we deal with today. However, a broader meaning of this rune concerns prosperity and abundance in general, which includes non-monetary forms of well-being in addition to our reserves of actual cash—good health, plentiful food, love, social success, and a joyful approach to life. Thus, Fehu can serve as a useful reminder to appreciate what is going well in our lives, in whatever form it takes. Depending on the context of the reading, Fehu may indeed indicate that good fortune in the form of wealth is coming your way. Business success and other kinds of rewards for your efforts are manifesting. However, it also points to the need to share one’s good fortune with others in one’s family or community. It is important to avoid greed or selfishness in order to maintain positive relationships with others. As the verse for Fehu in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem states, “Wealth is a consolation to all men / Yet much of it must each man give away / If glory he desire / To gain before his god.” Fehu reversed often indicates a loss of wealth, property, or self-esteem. For whatever reason, the winds of fortune are not blowing your way at the moment. You may be experiencing disappointment, frustration, a lack of fulfillment, the need to abandon your plans, or health problems. Regrouping is necessary—what do you need to let go of, and how can you refocus your efforts in a more practical way? This may involve budgeting, cutting back on expenses, taking better care of your body, or reevaluating your priorities. Know that while you may have to deal with some setbacks, this is a learning opportunity, and you will ultimately be better off for having had this experience.
As the first character of all the runes in the Elder Futhark, Fehu also symbolizes beginnings. This meaning is reinforced by the rune’s literal translation, “cattle,” and the Norse myth of Audhumla, the cow who was responsible for creating the father of the human race. Yet as new beginnings always follow endings in the cyclical pattern of life, there is the associated meaning of “completion” here as well. You may have recently come to the end of a project or endeavor, or otherwise reached a goal you’ve been working to obtain. If so, you may be being advised to rest and enjoy the fruits of your labor, while still turning your attention to what your next, new focus might be. In this sense, Fehu reversed points to the need to tie up loose ends, commit to finishing an abandoned project, or acknowledge that something has failed and cut your losses. Because some modern rune systems associate Fehu with Venus and the Moon, it is sometimes associated with romantic love. Depending on the context of the reading, you may be experiencing the beginning relationship, or simply enjoying a period of mutual fulfillment within an established relationship. With Fehu reversed in this context, you may be looking at a break-up, unrequited love, or at the very least a period of dissatisfaction within a relationship.