What is the fehu?

What is the fehu?

Anyone who has had a delivery from us or looked over our website might have noticed a strange 'F' shaped thing and wondered what it means.

It's called the Fehu and it's a very ancient symbol called a rune. We chose it to represent our business very carefully and for a number of reasons, but first let's look at it's history and origins.

What are runes?

Simply runes are letters in an ancient alphabet that was used to write various Germanic languages before the introduction of the latin alphabet but this definition only tells a very small part of the true meaning of runes.

Each rune although can be thought of as a letter is more accurately a sound which carries meaning and the deep subtle nuances of these are what makes them so interesting and difficult to explain.


Wealth in cattle

The Fehu means "(mobile) wealth", cognate to English fee with the original meaning of "sheep" or "cattle" (Dutch Vee, German Vieh, Latin pecū, Sanskrit pashu). The rune derives from the unattested but reconstructed Proto-Germanic *fehu in the Elder Futhark alphabet, with the original meaning of "money, cattle, wealth".

In short the simple version is that it signifies wealth and prosperity through the ownership of cattle but the meaning is much deeper and more nuanced than this simple version.


Motion and Vitality

The Fehu can symbolise motion and vitality as pre agriculture humans would have followed cattle and tended to them rather than owning them and farming them  but the vitality comes from the nutrition they provide for us. It is said by students of the runes that this energy of 'wealth' must be in constant motion as stagnation leads to the the ugly side of wealth which is hoarding and possessiveness. 

We see that as a reminder to move forward, this can be interpreted in the modern day by using wealth to move to be progressive, innovative and regenerative which resonates with us.


The colour red

The colour most commonly associated with Fehu is light red. This is the traditional colour for the runes and so appropriate for the first rune in the Futhark.

Red was almost universally the first colour named across human cultures; it is also the colour most easy to create with natural dyes.

Fehu represents life force itself and for all these reasons it is strongly associated with blood.


Modern meaning?

The runes can be used to help guide us through problems or issues and help show us what is likely to happen. They’re not a form of fortune-telling and don’t offer exact answers or give you advice - rather they offer different variables and suggest how you could behave if the event does occur.

In simple terms this means that understanding the symbolism of runes can shift our mindset and help us to see things in a different way to our usual dialectic programming.

Whether you believe in any powers of symbolism it's worth remembering that the power comes from us, from an idea and notion can cause movement in a mindset as we meditate on the wisdom of the ancients and realise that we don't know everything.


We finish this thought with a very ancient poem on the fehu.

Old English Rune Poem: 

Wealth is a comfort to any man
yet each person must share it out well
if he wants to win a good name before his lord

Translated by Pollington, Rudiments of Runelore (Book)