The first Rune of the First Ætt of the Elder Futhark
(for more information on the First Ætt per se, go to

This is an installment in a series covering each and every Rune of the Elder Futhark. In this series, instead of giving the esoteric meaning of the Rune by citing the Rune poems written in Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon (a.k.a. Old English), or any modern commentary, the etymology of the Rune name is presented.

F        F    F
F      F    F
F    F    F
F  F    F
FF    F
F    F
F  F

1:1 FEHU

Pronunciation: “fay-hooo” with “ay” like the “ay” in “day” and the stress on first syllable “fay.”

Phonetically, the /f/ sound is a whole lot of white noise. White noise is primal and unordered - it is every frequency taking place at once! What does this sound symbolize to you?

The /f/ sound is pronounced by biting down onto the lip. What does such an oral gesture symbolize to you?

Writing: The FEHU stave stands for the phoneme /f/ as in “fee.” You may use the FEHU stave to write a word with the /f/ sound in it.

Etymology: FEHU is Proto-Germanic for “cattle, livestock.” English fee descends from this word; German Vieh (cattle, livestock) does, too. FEHU itself descends from a posited Indo-European proto-form pekju (mobile property). From this Proto-Indo-European word comes Latin pecu (cattle, money), and pecus (head of cattle),  pecunia (money), so on. English pecuniary comes from the Latin. Look for other English words with this root!

        Kluge’s Etymologisches Wörterbuch (23rd Edition)
        New Oxford American Dictionary

In the spirit of the rune FEHU it is appropriate to connect to it the word currency and its etymology. Currency derives from the same root as current, which, we all know, can be applied to an electric current as well as the movement of water, as well as the current moment in time - a very non-tangible “thing” indeed, just like the current of the water, which does not exist in and of itself, but only in the sense of the water being on-the-move. Current ultimately comes from Latin currere (to run). It comes from a verb. Current is to water as FEHU is to OTHALA (non-mobile wealth - i.e, it doesn’t “run,” it “sits”). The wealth, then, that FEHU represents, is a wealth whose value exists only to the extent that it is in motion through a network of buying and selling, i.e, an economy. When currency ceases to be believed in, when it ceases to be in motion - which can come about through hoarding (think of a dragon here) -then its value vanishes - just like when either of the poles of an electric current ceases to be, then the electricity, too, ceases to be. In this way, this is the rune of Sigurð the Dragonslayer, who slays the dragon Fafnir! When FFFEHU/FFFafnir is active (not hoarded), it breathes fffire!

        New Oxford American Dictionary
        Volsunga Saga

...Now, NOTICE the entire semantic domain covered by FEHU through time. Let this be the MYSTICAL MEANING of FEHU. Study it and ABSORB it.

AUTHOR: Francis Tokarski


I myself wonder if really all that the mind can "grasp" is really only illusions... Grasping/comprehending is an attempt to force-fit what is really only a verb and always on-the-go to the form of a noun/thing'ness... The waters of life flow - FEHU is the motion of that current: but to take a bucket of water out of the river's current, well, that doesn't destroy the current, yet that bucket of water has none of that current... Knowing (beyond grasping/comprehending) is experiencing the experience, without you feeling alien from that experience. Autonomy (to use a word from the Tyriel's chapter) comes from realizing that you are NOT that lonely single One caught up in the mess of the herd - that you yourself ARE that herd...

My way into the runes is etymology and zen. I especially cannot help the form, so I must proceed in citing some relevant favorite etymologies of mine... The German words for GRASP, COMPREHEND and CONCEPT are all from the same root: GREIFEN, BEGREIFEN, BEGRIFF. They all fundamentally mean "grasping." What does this say of the nature of comprending? - it means comprehending is the intellect's way of getting its greedy little possessive fingers around the reality - but, the fingers clutch at the currents of a flowing river, and so, when the fist is made, nothing is in it...

COM-PREHEND comes from the same Latin root as PREHENSILE, as in prehensile tails - or, for that matter, prehensile hands - or even: PREHENSILE INTELLECTS/BRAINS... I feel we evolved to have prehensile brains (intellects and illusory understanding) at the same time as we developed opposable thumbs...  I would not be surprised to find the same actual physical area of the brain that controls the intellect controls the fingers... and for that matter, the way the tongue gets itself around word, i.e, articulates... Articulation itself is of the intellect, and of the fingers, and of speech per se: WORDS FAIL US, being more tools, like our intellects, and like our fingers...

FEHU, on the other hand, is not a thing-in-itself, is not the actual substance of the water of life, but the current of this water... It is current (in the Now), and it is a current because it is flowing (not graspable)... it is known by being full experienced... Experienced with complete presence of mind (being current to the current)...

Significantly, the root of the word CURRENCY is CURRENT - just like the mobile sort of wealth that FEHU stands for (roaming cattle) can mean money...

Could money be worth anything if not in motion? Would it not then just be an idea? An empty IOU?

FEHU is significant because it shows that not just the substantial is essential. FEHU shows us that "substantial" does not mean the same as "essential," and that the essential does not have to be substantial. The essence may be beyond our grasping, in a flowing reality all around us, bigger than our minds, and therefore ungraspable by the mind...

FEHU is the essence.

Get to know the herd, get to know thyself.

As for using your head with FEHU?

There is a quote of the Bible that I know Alan what like's to quote: "Those who seek their souls shall loose it, those who loose their souls shall find it." (maybe I got the quote a tad wrong - but no matter, hahaha) The point is: let your head loose - loose your head - and you shall find it...

Sanity comes from not holding on to thought-patterns, but letting thoughts flow and go...

FLOW AND GO.......!!!!!!!!!

NOTE: UTHARK is an alternative ordering to the Eder Futhark, whereby one starts one’s Runic Journey with the second rune, URUZ, and proceeds until when gets to the last rune (either OTHALA, unless one cosiders DAGAZ the last, as some do), and then at last one comes to FEHU.

Think of the cattle of FEHU being all the runes of the Elder Futhark, from URUZ to OTHALA. You can UTHARK in the sense that to know all those runes means to know the cattle, means to know FEHU. At least, that is one approach to FEHU  - not the only, of course! This is recursive in the sense of the acronyms made for Linux things, where the first letter of the acronym is itself the acronym, and the following letters do stand for something else: e.g, WINE stands for “WINE Is Not [a Windows] Emulator; GNU stands for “GNU's Not Unix”; so on... FEHU means [insert names of all the runes].


Even if you take HAGALAZ for being the basic blueprint pattern of all the runes, there is something fundamental about FEHU that makes it, too, be the most basic rune. This I've observed from looking at trees. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when I look up into the barren branches of a winter tree, there is FEHU all over the place. Most branches bifurcate into FEHU. And so, the basic life-energy of a tree is in itself a certain animating spirit - like the very current of the currency of an economy (to go back to that example again) where the value of the currency meaning is itself its motion (to and from hands, in exchange, GEBO). FEHU is the verbiness in the noun (the growing of a tree, verb and noun)...