Movable wealth, in the sense of well-being. ‘Weal’, ‘common weal’ and ‘commonwealth’ were once words commonly considered and spoken.
Feoh means cattle and signifies movable wealth. If someone were to give a ‘pop-quiz’ and ask, “Why are cattle the symbol of movable wealth (money?)” The first thought would probably be about either the meat or milk-product industries. Now, my first thought is to check the sense of the word as a lot of the sense can get lost in translation. Footnote number one, below, shows how the sense of this word can change with just one letter. The rune, which is represented by that one letter, is what makes the difference in the sense. Notice that EOH, the rune of continuity and endurance (gh), is contained within FEOH, the concept of wealth. Cattle, as an expression of wealth, is a more accurate depiction of the physical and spiritual reality of well-being. Wealth is not about stuff, about merchandise like beef on the hoof or milk factories. Weal means ‘well-being’. The -TH makes ‘weal’ a definitive statement. ‘Weal’, ‘common weal’ and ‘commonwealth’ are words that were once commonly considered and spoken. We have lost the sense of these words. Well-being is to be well. The/W/ represents ‘joy’ and the double /L/ or LAGU means fluidity, changeability. The verb ‘wellan’ has the sense of ‘a bubbling up’ like a ground spring. Now, this sounds like wealth, well-being and continuity and endurance.
In the rune FEOH, we have cattle used as an archetypal pattern. The HAGAL /H/, is natural law and the personal unconscious mind. We are recognizing the importance of the cattle herd as a symbol.
Cattle were too important to life to just be killed for food. This rune, FEOH, would represent Audhumla, the primal cow, the power from which, in the Northern Tradition, we all originate. The cow, and the bull, are dominant archetypal patterns in many cultures; however, they do not have similar meanings. The italic alphabet begins with A which was originally a bull’s head, and represented the masculine principle. (The ‘feet’ of the A were once the horns.)
I call up a mental picture of cows and think about what they offer us, even vegetarians. They are quiet, peaceable, companionable, gregarious creatures who provide warmth, fuel, fertilizer, and many kinds of food such as milk, curds and whey (cottage cheese), butter, ghee, cheeses (and their products). They also fertilize fields, eat weeds, scrub growth, and vegetable waste and don’t compete with humans for food or resources. In cold climates, people have kept them close for their warmth. People still collect ‘cow pies’ (dry manure pads) to burn as fuel. I hasten to add that it doesn’t smell foul like most chemical fuel does. We don’t have to kill cattle for anything (save our own meat appetites) because we can use their hides after they die. Then, they provide us with leather for garments and tools. Their hooves and horns provide us with other materials,(including non-kosher gelatin). Imagine their faces; their eyes look almost human, yet gentler. Interesting that ‘cow’, can be analyzed runically, as wise eye and ‘calf’ can be wise elf, an ‘elf’ being a kind of guardian spirit.
This is valuing the cow more as would the ‘Hindu’ of India or the Masai of Africa. For centuries the Masai men have lived on milk and cows blood while spending their strength protecting the cattle from lions. They have valued cattle as a source of life in an inhospitable land. The Babylonian Assyrian ideograph, which later became the Roman letter /A/, was a picture of a bull’s head. The Egyptians recognized a cow goddess which passed into Roman mythology as Io, a consort of Zeus. In India, the people cherish cows to this day. This is a strong, ubiquitous archetypal pattern. Horns are recognized as power symbols even in places where there are no longer livestock living, like in cities. Another vestige of this archetype is that ‘wise eye’, which is often referred to as ‘the eye of God’. Every one that I have seen to date, appears to have a non-predator shape. The ‘predator’ eye looks forward and focuses with the second eye. The non-predator eyes are on the sides of the face, like those on deer or cattle. They have a gentle, mystical appearance like the legendary ‘third eye’. Whether the Babylonian -Assyrian symbol had anything to do with wealth or was straightforwardly representative of masculine power, that matter would be moot. In this context, the cattle of the runic system are patently about well-being, in its’ many expressions. That is demonstrated not only by the runic spelling; but, by the words which come under the category of FEOH. When we speak of ‘wealth’ here, it is as the source of the common weal or ‘ well-being’, all of those matters which comprise the well-being of a people. Unlike the popular view today, wealth is not just about symbolic wealth (money), precious stones, possessions, and merchandise. Well-being has a much broader sense and that has been rediscovered in the word ‘wellness’as an ideal. Wellness has replaced ‘health’ since that words’ sense was corrupted by being linked with a gambling cartel and the idea of ‘insuring’ it. Recently, the idea was made more bizarre by marketing to grandparents the idea of betting that their new grandchild would die. If I’m missing some rational connection, pray, tell me what I’m missing- and what if you win the bet?
Back to the cattle- which still make sense:
We do not have to go way back in history, nor do we have to go to other peoples and cultures to grasp a spiritual connection with cattle. My mother told me that when she was just a toddler, she was sent to live with her grandmother on a working farm. Her mother was pregnant with her brother and she was too small to help or to leave unattended. Great grandmother Etta had a farm to take care of and there was no one there to look after a small child. ‘Shorty’ said that grandma took some apron strings and tied her to an old cow, gave her a tin cup so she could get milk when she was hungry, and left her to be tended by that old mama cow. When she got tired, she just curled up next to her ‘nanny’. That story probably was told in many families. Shorty kept a picture of herself and that cow until she died. I asked about that ‘family picture’ which is how I learned the story.
Again, notice that Eoh, the rune of continuity and endurance, is blended into the name of feoh. There is more to this story also. Movable wealth has continuity, and it endures, when it can more easily be distributed and passed on to family and tribal members as inheritance. This inherited wealth has an attendant power and influence which also results in continuity of the family or tribe. Having the ability to influence and to provide for several generations of family carries the message that this person, or these people, have substance on many levels, physical and spiritual.
On this physical or material level, feoh represents accretion of power and control as well as material possessions. If this were just about things, stuff, material possessions, that kind of ‘wealth’ is easily, and quite frequently, lost in less than one generation. The power and influence that comes with having inherited a respected family name is a thing which endures. This rune is transliterated into the Italic letter ‘f’. Sometimes the entire runic name is included and sometimes just a few representative letters.
One English word which clearly retains its runic meaning is ‘fee’. Another word, which originally contained the entire rune, is ‘fight’. See the runic section of EOH for the sense of ‘fight’ [AS.feoht a fight, battle, from feohtan, to fight] 1. a battle, a combat; a physical struggle 4. a contest or quarrel of any kind; a struggle for supremacy. I have taken two of the four definitions given. The parallels between the rune FEOH and the definitions for the word ‘fight’ lead me to think that the message here is that ‘well-being’ is the one legitimate purpose for fighting. This ‘purpose’ would also provide the rationale for its runic expression. In all of the runes I have found a core sense which expresses human needs and behaviors in terms of their natural energy expression. If ‘fighting’ is an expression of a natural energy which we generate and then direct and express for some beneficial purpose, then ‘feoht’ or ‘fight’ are both indicators of well-being rather than some aberrant behaviour. I’m sure we really need no explanation of all the connections between wealth and fighting; however, with what we know about how fighting can go too far, we could probably use a classic cautionary tale.
This brings to mind the Celtic archetypal story, Tain Bo Cuailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley. This is not a battle that is bragged about. It is considered one of the great griefs. Queen Maeve, reputed to be a strong, beautiful woman as well as a great warrior, was comparing her wealth with that of her new husband. He made the mistake of suggesting that she had raised her status by marrying a wealthy man (himself). She took offense and declared herself to be his equal, in wealth also. They counted their assets and Maeve was one perfect cow short of equaling him in wealth. She started a long and bloody fight to gain the prized cow. While she did ‘win’ the cow, she lost her son in the battle. Then the cow died. Another ancient story about conflict between people over ‘money’ and the perception of power. This is one of the great tragedies -in any age.
Then there is the story of Boadicea, one of the great stories of any age and any people. She was from a tribe where there was equality between men and women. The Romans did not grasp the idea of such a thing, or just how much such freedom means to some peoples. The story of the chieftain “Boadicea [relished by the learned as Boudicca]” is one that descendents still take pride in. Her husband, the king of the East Anglian ‘Iceni’ tribe, had died. His daughters were heirs and Boadicea was the queen. The centurions flogged her, raped her daughters, and reduced all the king’s relatives to slavery. The chiefs of the Iceni, who had once been the most powerful, and yet the most submissive, became infuriated. Every man, woman and child went to war. The first target of the revolt was Camulodunum (Colchester). The town was burned to ashes. Everyone and everything Roman and Romanized was destroyed. The Ninth Legion marched to the rescue. The Britons advanced and slaughtered them to a man. Londinium (London) was next and the slaughter was universal. Next was Verulamium (St. Albans), another trading center. “A like total slaughter and obliteration was inflicted.” ” ‘No less,” according to Tacitus, ‘than seventy thousand citizens and allies were slain’ in these three cities.” “The barbarians” would have no capturing, selling, or the usual traffic of war. The Procurator, Julius Classicianus, wrote and pleaded for the pacification of the warrior bands who kept fighting without seeking truce or mercy. He made the point that there would be nothing but a desert instead of a province. Rome finally listened. The commonweal for which the Iceni were fighting cannot be bought for money or gold.
These are two more stories in our inheritance that help us to get the messages about what constitutes wealth. This is the way our forebears saw wealth and this is what they immortalized in our language. Wealth is about autonomy (freedom) and well-being. That, according to these stories, is what is worth fighting about. It seems that England became too enamoured of Roman ways. When England tried to force their new ways on their colonies, England found that the Vulgate of America were ready and willing to fight for their well-being. The Revolution was not over money but over weal, the common-weal. It was a matter of citizens wanting some say in their lives, of wanting representation of the people in matters concerning making laws, assessing taxes and other matters regarding their well-being.
In all three stories, the ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley’, the story of Boudicca, and the American Revolution, weal is the issue; but, it is the well-being of autonomy and personal freedom that is at issue. In the ‘Cattle Raid’ we have been given an example of what happens when we lose track of what we are fighting for. There are times when there is a fine line between a fight over wealth and one about well-being. The Revolution was about taxation and regulation with no representation and thus a loss of freeman status. In the first two cases there was dominance based on gender. Women were being treated as lesser beings which went against centuries of custom as there were both patrilineal and matrilineal tribes among the peoples of the ‘British Isles’. The big difference is that Boudicca did not lose track of the big picture but Maeve did.
Are female, feminine and fertility about Feoh?
The first two battles brought together some strange grouping: masculine/feminine, male/female. Just where did the ‘fe’ come from in feminine, female and fertility. I can find no Gr.L. root. Feoh is the only plausible source. A lot of discussion has taken place about the rise of the patriarchy and the overthrow of the matriarchy. One thought I haven’t heard expressed is the possibility of an economic origin. With the change from a hunting and gathering people to a herding people, the view of women would have shifted. The female bears young thereby increasing the herd. The woman, in bearing young, would also increase the wealth. She would either bear more warriors and hunters or more productive females. An excess of females also constituted movable wealth, a form of negotiable securities. This societal shift also suggests a more ancient origin for runes and the roots of English than is often thought to exist. When we started to think of movable wealth, we would have come up with symbols to represent that wealth in a more totable form. That means coinage in some form. We are symbol-making creatures and coinage is symbolic. This would lead to exchanging coinage for people.
How do we determine which words refer to movable wealth?
Since these words were coined many years ago, we have to think in terms of what things would have been considered needful for a person’s well-being at that time. Today, a fur might be a luxury; but, at one time a fur might have been a matter of life or death. It is not necessary for all of these things named to have been necessary to well-being. It is enough that a pattern of necessities emerges. This is evidence that the letter at the beginning of the words has the sense of matters of well-being. Once it is established that this is a category of things that are of such concern that they are named with this consideration in mind, then we have evidence that this is probably a fundamental principle of the people. We already have a word feorh which means ‘the principle of life’. We have the first rune of the runerow as FEOH. Now we have a list of words which contain a preponderance of ‘needs’ which begin with that same symbol.
In order to get an image of what constitutes ‘well-being’ and what there is that ensures that well-being, it helps to have a sort of chart, an idea of what one needs in order to secure that sense of ‘well’and an image of what ‘well-ness’ is about. A word picture clarifies the substance of this feeling. Sometimes, for me, it clarifies the actual sense of a word. An illustration of FEOH words follows this section. They are all words beginning with /f/ or /fe/. The sense elements in the words puts the image in the words. For example -ind has the image of fascia, of things bound together and -ell is an arbitrary unit of measure, -ool is probably something coming from a mouth or other opening, like ‘pool, drool, stool’. Then we have ‘fool’, both the professional and the amateur. The fool was a staple at the king’s court and even the king was not allowed to do harm to the fool because he was too valuable as an entertainer and truth-teller. Though, all words won’t be recognizable as needs, we also do not know much of what was needful back then. However, is a great proportion of those things which we still ‘need’ for well-being.
Our words have changed often and in many ways. We have a thousand years of guessing between us and our language origins. The sense of ‘guessing’ is not as vacuous as it sounds. We frequently have to guess until enough information accrues. If a pattern repeats frequently, it comes to be evidence. As we start looking at words as combinations of repeat patterns, as sense elements, it becomes apparent that runes are still alive and well in our language. As we start to become familiar with the sense elements we will find some surprises which will make words both memorable and sensible.
In decoding words of runic origin, it appears that the initial one to three symbols can constitute a determinative and the next one to five symbols are a sense pattern that says what we are talking about. The last symbol appears to have a blended sense of both runic meaning and grammatical sense, for example -ing as a verb suffix or -d as a noun suffix. Since words ending with -ing are often nouns, -ing can also serve as a noun suffix. And, of course, ing is a sense element. This part of the pattern is not definite and likely won’t be since we have a thousand years of guessing between now and the initial transliteration. However, there is ample evidence that the runes are still within the language.
As I continue to decode words and am seeing more about the relationships that exist between spellings of words and their runic connections, I find that those connections are not as simplistic as a strict determinative code placed at the beginning of a word. Ideas are evolving and those evolutions are showing from one rune to another, some of which have been distorted by spelling changes. The impression is that the various runic codings developed over many many centuries before the transliteration to Italic was even considered.
Being able to see the sense of words is the main benefit of runic decoding.
The idea of a runic suffix may make no change in our language other than the way that we see that particular sense component. When it comes to the words ‘elf’ and ‘self’ though, I cannot imagine FEOH not being a significant sense element. Well-being is almost synonymous with the idea of a “Holy Elf “ that guides and protects us. So far, the idea of a runic suffix is not the main change that the runic factor would be making. Seeing the sense of our language is the main factor, as well as the main problem, that we are already having with learning to use English competently. If someone is having absolutely no difficulty with English, they are either extremely gifted and lucky or, more likely, blissfully not noticing.
Fundamental Principles of Fellowship
The following is a short list of words which are related to the fundamental principle of fellowship (considerations of a peoples’ well-being):
|for||fend||fell (a skin)||feather|
It is interesting that both friend and fiend (enemy) are here. They are one letter apart. That letter ‘r’ represents rad, the rune of transformation, and gives perspective on how to deal with enemies as well as with friends. (hint: Bide awhile with them.) They are both expressions of the worldly ‘goods’ included in ‘movable wealth’. I cannot think of ‘enemies’ without thinking of something that I came across when reading one of Shakespeare’s plays. ‘Your friends will call you wise and lie to you; but, your enemies will tell you the truth. Your enemies will call you an ass and help you see yourself for what you are.’ I call those friends.
I compiled the above list in order to glean the sense of /F/ as it occurs at the beginning of words. While we haven’t very many words beginning with /F/, I sorted primarily for A.S. words. The majority of the words are consistent with the sense of matters of well-being. When I read through the section of words beginning with /F/ in the “Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary”, the meaning of the words was compelling evidence that those words are about matters of well-being. Many of the spellings are obviously influenced by runic code. The alphabetic transliteration of the runes, ash, eth and cweorth are still in the spelling code though the code appears to be several generations removed from the 10th Century translation or transliteration.
While, I also am not certain of just when the Futhark system began, there is quite a bit of information written into the runically coded words which indicate when they showed up, relative to words of other languages. Futharks are a significant departure from the abcdiary system (ABCs) in that the order of the symbols start with a representation of ‘movable wealth’ instead of with Aleph. This alters the priorities of those who use the system, as we have this quirk of linear organization in which the order is interpreted as having to do with worth and importance. If we take the view that feoh translates into money and merchandise, we then corrupt the sense of this rune and all of the words related to it. As long as we bear in mind that FEOH is about the well-being of everyone and of everything we keep our values intact and these words, beginning with /F/ and representing well-being, have a position of primacy in the coding system.
The benefits of runic translation vs. the negative viewpoints:
On the positive side feoh also re frames the attitude toward physically overthrowing and seizing land and possessions and replaces it with a symbolic financial transaction, buying instead of taking by force. It re frames men’s groups and clubs around business contacts instead of raiding parties. On the negative side, we humans can take things to perverse extremes. Saying, “A woman of valour, her price is far above rubies.” is a wonderful compliment. If someone says, “This woman of valour, what price are you asking?” What then? feudal systems, slavery as a business, women and children as marketable assets. The idea of ‘movable wealth’ and developments like ‘financial compensation instead of blood feuds’ are wondrous and society altering innovations. Like most things in life, the problem is with finding the balance point between need and greed, between creations and monstrous growths, between our angels and our demons.
The giant says, “Fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he live or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.” This very old ‘nursery rhyme’ reflects a truth. In England, a few hundred years ago, people added ground bone to bread to increase its weight. Food, as movable wealth, is still contaminated to increase profits, soy, cellulose, gluten, etc.
The rune of FEOH is still very much alive in the English language. If we would be conscious of this principle, as it grows and mutates within language, perhaps we would be better able to keep matters in check. We make words with symbols. Those symbols are representative of ideas and images that are deeply impressed on our Mind, both individually and as a group. The words composed of those symbols not only reflect our thinking, but alter our ways of thinking, of seeing and of creating. When we lose control of our creations, they take control of us.
Words have meaning and words have power. Who and what controls the power depends, in great part, upon who and how few have the power of language. Having this power and controlling it also requires that we understand what we are saying and that we listen to what we, and others, say. Above, when I referred to ‘financial transactions’, I prefaced the words with ‘symbolic’ written in italics. All such transactions are symbolic; the value is in life itself. (See GYFU for the source of ‘life’.) Seeing how many diverse matters are contained in the category of movable wealth has forever altered my attitude about what is meant by the word ‘wealth’. This has also altered my opinion of what constitutes ‘poverty’.
Since I have referred to well-being assuming that we all understand it the same way, I should probably define the word with a strong visual image – just in case. ‘Well’ derives from the AS. wellan, and has the sense of a spring bubbling up from the ground or from rocks. When you see water ‘bubbling’, it looks like it is being pushed up in little droplets or goblets of clear fluid. Runically, ‘well’ is wyn-ehwaz-lagu-lagu Harmony; balance, neither too much nor too little movement necessary for any task of life that fate decrees (like the horse) fluidity, life force inherent in matter, cyclic growth (x2). Then contrast ‘well’ with ‘ill’. The two runes of lagu (fluidity) preceded by the rune of IS, which is the principle of static existence, of inertia and entropy. To give ‘wellness’ a human image, the picture on my mental screen is a human baby, all gurgles, bubbles, drool, tears, and puddles; ‘illness’ would be dry, feverish, and shriveled.
Wealth vs. well-being:
Understanding our human tendency to go to extremes, our ancestors gave us a story, a myth to help us keep our mental/moral balance about wealth: There was once a great king named Midas who had a prosperous kingdom with productive, loving subjects who respected him. The neighboring kingdoms were also peaceful and prosperous. King Midas had a family, a loving wife and dutiful children, in short everything a man should need to keep him happy and satisfied. He became obsessed with the part of his wealth that was called ‘gold’ and asked the gods to give him the gift of having everything he touched turn to gold. He received this gift and counted himself blessed until- until he tried to eat and drink and to caress his loved ones. His once peaceful neighbors invaded his kingdom. Everything, his wife and children and his food and drink, all had turned to gold. Raiders came and took every thing.
Addendum: -of angels, demons, feuds and fighting
 “Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary” pp. 114,115 Clark Hall, John R. Feoh means ‘movable wealth’; however, feo means cattle, herd ; feoht means ‘action of fighting’; feorh means ‘the principle of life’ (r is Rad- transformation) .
Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary p. 683 The entire definition is not included, as the AS. is the one with which the text is concerned. Other sources are given when they are informative for these purposes.
“The Birth of Britain” Churchill, Winston p.17 The different spelling of her name takes on special significance because it has the rune of UR and the ICCA of Wicca, which makes her a strong, wisewoman. Her story is also on this page.
op. cit. pp.18, 19
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