Bovine is derived from Latin bos, "ox". Bovines includes a diverse group of medium- to large-sized ungulates, including domestic cattle, bison, the water buffalo, the yak, and the spiral-horned antelopes. General characteristics include cloven hoofs and usually at least one of the sexes of a species having horns. In most countries, bovines are used for food.
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated bovines, an estimated 1.3 billion cattle are in the world today. Cattle occupy a unique role in human history, domesticated since at least the early Neolithic. Bulls were used as offerings to the Gods in pagan era sacrifices. Cattle are raised as livestock for meat (beef and veal), as dairy animals for milk, and as draft animals (pulling carts and plows). Cattle are eaten almost everywhere except in major parts of India and Nepal, where bovines are considered sacred by Hindus. Other products include leather and dung for manure or fuel.
Cattle symbolism differs in that cow represents the feminine nature; bull, the masculine. These bovines are subjects of myths and superstition. Druids associated the bull with solar energy; the cow, earth energy. The Egyptian Sky Goddess Nut was, sometimes, depicted as a cow having four stars on her belly that represented the four cosmic quarters of the earth and the respective energy from which each direction’s energy flows. Hindus and Buddhists symbolism of the cow is patience and holiness. In Norse belief, Audhumla was a cow whose utters emitted the four rivers of power that provided nourishment for the giants that ruled the First World.
There are also numerous cattle, cow and bull superstitions. Cattle were driven through the smoke of bonfires made from ash and rowan wood to protect them from faeries. White cows give inferior milk; red ones, the best. If cows turn their tails upright or lie down in pastures, rain will soon come. An omen of bad weather is a cow slapping her tail against a fence or tree. Keeping a tip of a calf’s tongue protects people from danger and ensures that they will always have money.
The aurochs originally ranged throughout Europe, North Africa, and much of Asia. In historical times, its range became restricted to Europe, and the last known individual died in Poland. Uruz rune u is symbolized by the Auroch, or ox. The ‘auroch’ was a species of wild oxen or huge bovine, similar to a longhorn bull, that was once found all over Europe. They had become extinct since sometime in the 17th Century. Aurochs were reputed to have had horns as long as six feet and were highly prized by people as drinking horns. Paintings of aurochs have been found in Neolithic caves. It was believed that the hunting of the aurochs had a significance as a ‘rite of passage’ for boys entering manhood. Uruz is the rune of the ‘God of the Sacred hunt’ and his shaman or priest.
The ancient people of the Norse saw the horn of the auroch as a symbol of strength. It was used to swear oaths upon, make firm friendships by and to clinch deals.
The importance of cattle to the early Germanic peoples is shown by the fact that, as aurochs became domesticated cattle, a second rune in the runic alphabet was created to describe the domesticated animal, symbolized by the rune fehu f, which literally means "cattle". Over time, the rune came to mean "wealth, money, fee," for cattle were the measure of wealth in early Germanic society.
Within its historical background this rune refers to cattle. The ownership of cattle gives potential for further expansion and empowerment. To own cattle ensures there would be meat for the family, or alternatively, it could be sold or traded for other necessities, wants and wishes. To be the owner of cattle in ancient times, signified that you were a person of sound decision making skills, as portrayed by your management talents and deft wisdom and knowledge.
To our ancestors, as with us in today’s society, the accumulation of wealth, when gained honorably, is a positive thing. It ensures survival as wealth in its purest sense is a steady food supply. The cattle gives financial security, which in turn delivers comforts needed on all levels.
grab life by the horns,
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of strength.
So may it be.