Disclaimer: Runic divination as we know it now is an esoteric practice with not many historical attestations to point to (though it is described briefly in Tacitus’ Germania), which essentially means that the section on divinatory meanings can be changed as you see fit.
By now I’ve made posts on achieving a good frame of mind for divination, what galdr is, and examples of my own galdr, but I have yet to post anything on the runes themselves. So today’s post is brought to you by (what amounts to roughly, kind-of-but-not-really) the letter F. It is the first of many individual rune posts in a category that will eventually include references on each of the 24 runes in the Elder Fuþark (Futhark), among other topics.
The rune fehu looks sort of like the Latin letter F, and it was equated with that letter way back in the time of the original heathens. Fehu is:
- The first rune in the first ætt (Freyr’s ætt),
- represented numerically as “1:1,”
- pronounced like FEH-hoo,
- and translates to “fee,” or “cattle.”
In divination, it’s a rune I’m always happy to see. It betokens luck, relief, and the acquisition of many a desirable thing or outcome. My notes on fehu’s divinatory meanings look like this:
- Success, wealth, power, good fortune
- Fertility, energy, creation
- Long hours of work rewarded
- A dream coming close to being achieved
- A warning to be cautious and use this new wealth to acquire permanently useful things rather than frivolities
- An indication of outstanding personal debts; a warning to keep old promises
- A warning against becoming corrupt and selfish
Any bit of runic divination you perform that involves fehu showing up doesn’t necessarily indicate that every single one of these meanings is relevant, so it’s important to trust your gut and what your instincts are telling you in order to discern what you should take away from the reading. However, in order to discern which meanings are relevant, you have to be able to sift through them all, and so to help me remember all of those divinatory meanings, I’ve written short poems.
My fehu rune poem looks like this:
I worked to buy one cow for milk,
And she gave birth to calfs of gold.
I’ve more than repaid all my ilk
Now that achieved are dreams of old.
The imagery in the poem sparks recollection, so in the whiteboard in my mind, the poem looks like this:
- I worked (long hours of hard work)
- to buy one cow for milk, (fertility, creation, humble beginnings)
- And she gave birth (fertility, creation)
- to calfs of gold. (wealth, success, good fortune, power)
- I’ve more than repaid all my ilk (generosity, personal debts paid)
- Now that achieved are dreams of old. (lifelong dreams achieved)
Of course, though the poem might help one remember the divinatory meanings more easily than if the task was trying to remember a list block of text, the task of remembering the poem itself becomes a problem. Why should the word “fehu” spark a memory of the words “I worked to buy…”?
To solve this problem, I have a much simpler “chain link” sentence that contains a word that is a rough phonetic equivalent of the rune’s name (in this case, fae = fehu) and important key words to help connect the word to the poem. The sentence evokes a silly image one’s mind, which is the point; the more absurd the image, the greater the probability is that you’ll remember it.
The chain link is:
I see a horned “fae” cow sitting with her newborn calfs made of gold.
I’d like to keep these references simple, so for now, I’ll leave the topic of fehu at this. If you’d like to find this post again more easily, it will be on my Learning Resources page under the “Cultural Magic” section. I wish you good luck in all your runic divination, and I hope that this helps!