Fehu 2017

Fehu 2017

In the Elder Futhark, the first rune is Fehu. Her time of year is the January 1 through the 15th of the calendar year if you are using the Gregorian calendar. Every year I spend two weeks living and pondering the ruling rune of the wheel of the year.

Fehu is the rune of material abundance. It represents the cow, which historically was a sign of wealth. Cows are not the most liquid asset. They provide bounty in the form of milk, meat and hide. Surely, owners of a cow will not go hungry. The bounty can be traded for other things of value. They have seasons to their life: growing, producing, and reaping.  A lone cow is only worth what it can generate during its life. A pair of cows, however, can be a renewable asset.  More can be produced with a pair.Eventually they will die whether they are used wisely or not. If they are not cared for, they will die even sooner.

From the modern perspective, we can take lessons from Fehu to make the most of the wealth that we come into and to share excesses with our communities. Abundance implies an overflow of bounty and this must be shared or spoiled. When it is shared the community thrives, it doesn’t need to work as hard, and there is more time for rest and play. Breaking of bread is done together with friends and family.  How the overflow is spent creates the world. The products and services that we buy as beget more of the same.

Be wise in how we share our excess wealth, and the excess that we keep needs to be tended and cared for. It should be used to produce more of itself to be of most benefit.


As I plan my year of adventure (because every year is the opportunity for adventure) and look to where I will spend my overflow, I always get concerned that I might not have enough. This has never been the actual case. When I have the desire to do something, it is because the means are present. The fact that I have a full year of experiences planned is the indication that I have wealth. If I were to be more conservative in my plans, that overflow would be spoilt on things that would come up to spend it. I would have more car repairs, or weddings, or birthday parties to attend. Nature abhors a vacuum and will spend money if it is left sitting for too long. Fehu says to be sure to keep some money aside for the future, but make it “work” by producing more of itself by being invested wisely in a vehicle that keeps it growing.
After looking over my post last year, I see I am still learning new things from this rune and anticipate next year will yield even more growth!

Fehu, week 2

My work with Fehu this week began with me asking, “What does prosperity and abundance mean to me?”. The answer is that it is the ability to do what I want, when I want and being able to generate what I need, when I need it.  Essentially, it means freedom. I began this week by looking at what impinges on my freedom and saw a lot of material stuff that needs storage, dusting, and maintenance. I saw where I had agreed to do something for someone to be nice, so they would like, accept and approve of me, but the act of holding up that promise was really weighing me down. I found no joy in the act of carrying out the agreement, and when I examined the relationships I was trying to cultivate through the agreement I found they were not of the highest quality. In essence, it was time for a purge!

Fehu is associated with fire and inspiration. Often the act of creation is referred to as the creative fire. I feel creativity in my belly. I am on fire when I am in the flow and moving through projects, creating things, quickly. As I culled my possessions, responsibilities and relationships, stagnation was rising away and giving way to flow. I could viscerally feel the movement in my life. It reminded me of when a frozen river starts the thaw, first a few cracks, then large chunks of ice began to move. Soon those melt and the river is raging. Nothing can stop it unless the temperature drops so low that it freezes again. A river is always a river, however. It’s nature is to flow and it will always return to that state as soon as it gets a chance. I had stagnated and frozen myself. This was necessary for me, and the Runes were telling me that it was the time for ice. This phase is now over and for the first time in a long time I feel like I am aware of the flow and ice seasons of my life; I will listen and not fight them!

I have made progress starting my business and understand that the things holding me back were a fear of responsibility and not being able to  deliver. Fehu gives me the confidence to make commitments and deliver on them. I will figure out the path to success so long as I intend to and keep that intention even if I encounter failure along the way.

This week I was also learning how to receive. It struck me during the holidays that the inability to receive (without guilt or the anxiety of repayment) was a limitation to my growth. In the Northern Tradition, it is very clear that giving and gifting is integral to life. I never know when it is appropriate to give or receive as it seems often when I give, the situation is uncomfortable. “But I didn’t get you anything…” is something I frequently hear. Or, “Oh, you shouldn’t have…”. Very rarely does someone just accept a gift with gratitude and joy. As a result, I grew up expecting that every gift I receive must be paid back. I couldn’t enjoy a gift because I was so anxious about how to pay it back, and quick, so the giver wouldn’t think I dropped the ball and hence never gift me again! I never gave a gift with expectation of return, but my anxiety about receiving, coupled with mixed signals from those I have gifted, turned me off to the whole process. Now that I am open to receiving and not anxious about paybacks, I see that I am much more generous with money and gifts. Coincidentally, I get a lot more in return.  

This is Fehu, keeping the “currency” and the “cash flow” moving.

All of these lessons were echoed in the reading I did on Fehu by authors Freya Aswynn, Jeremy RJ White and Jonathon Dee. In his book The Runes: An Illustrated Guide to Interpreting the Stones,  Jonathon Dee described the story of Audhumla, and how she, born of a union of Fire and Ice, slowly licked away the ice to reveal the giant Ymir thus starting the world of Gods, men, and all that is.  In her book Northern Mysteries and Magick, Freya Aswynn talks about the creative fire of Fehu to light a spark or add a burst of power to an intention, project, or ritual. And Jeremy White describes his experience with Fehu where he was submerged through the bubbling cauldron to release fears he had on his spiritual path and be born anew on the other side.

The kennings in the Havamal also have new meaning to me. Before where I saw the gifts, giving, and sacrifice as prices to pay I now see them as reciprocal energy that keeps the flow of life moving. If I am shown kindness by someone and remain open, I will naturally develop a relationship and take great joy in reciprocating. In the event that the kindness is paid by a stranger I am not likely to meet again, then paying it forward to a stranger in their time of need is a beautiful way to honor the gift received. Fehu showed me where my hesitance to circulate wealth was really due to my hesitance in creating relationships and participating in the flow of life. Wealth takes many faces, and if everything is energy as I believe it to be, then abundance is meant to be circulated and have movement. Fehu also showed me how the creative spark is great for getting started on a project, but consistent work on that project is what keeps it moving and progressing toward completion. This work can be 10 minutes a day or an hour a week. Seemingly minuscule amounts of time, with consistency, will add up to a finished product.

Fehu, week 1

In the beginning there was Fehu. The first rune in the Elder Futhark has a primary meaning of abundance and wealth, but this is a modern-age interpretation of its literal meaning in Old Norse which is cattle. Cattle back in the day were mighty valuable and having several must have been a indication of the well to do. Cattle meant your family would not starve during the cold Nordic winter when they were land bound for several months. It also meant they wouldn’t be cold as the hide could warm them on chilly nights. Today we don’t trade in cattle, but in coin. So the abundance of Fehu is now considered to be of wealth.

Fehu is also the first rune in the alphabet, and according to Norse Myths, in the of beginning was the primeval cow, Audumbla. Fehu is associated with Frey and Freya, Vanir gods known for fertility and passion. I imagine it was Freya that sparked my interest in doing this series, a perfect time of the year for new projects, as it is the time for new beginnings and commitments. She knew I was aching to delve into these stones on a more intimate level, and so she lit the fire in my belly to write about the process of connecting more deeply with each of the runes in the Elder Futhark.

This week I have come to understand Fehu as the wealth that we generate. 

Fehu is about wealth but also new beginnings and creation. If you had cattle in Old Norse times that might mean a certain amount of wealth based on how necessary cattle were that year (did they die off due to disease, did you get a lot of births and hence more mouths to feed, was the weather conducive to farming, etc). But it isn’t just about the wealth of that cattle, but what you could do to generate more wealth. A family could stud a male cattle or impregnate a female cow and have 2 animals next year. They could lease their cattle for grazing and fertilizing pasture land in exchange for a percentage of the crop. They can use a cow for several years to produce dairy, or slaughter it for meat and hide. The choice would depend on variable factors and would require skill of the owner to know and be able to carry out the methods for bringing wealth through the ownership of the cattle.

Working with Fehu finds me thinking more about my business, how I want to generate money off my cattle – the investment I have made in myself through education and my creativity and hard work ethic. Since New Year’s day, I have registered for a business that I have been procrastinating on for 6 months, started this blog which I have put off for at least that long with the excuse I didn’t have anything to write about, and been burning through the fear that created all the blockages to impede moving forward on my creative projects. Embarking on the project was impetuous, but I recognize divine inspiration when I see it and know to heed the call or get eaten from the inside out.  This week has been spent observing where my capacity is for creating more wealth, how to create habits that are useful toward this goal, and taking action on projects I have been procrastinating on. I have also been shown where current habits and attachments could be deflecting wealth. Fehu has also made me feel pretty flush in respect to wealth due to increased income from a new job and Christmas money!