This card depicts five individuals struggling together and apart from one another to form a new geometry, each holding and embodying their own unique energy. They do not fight each other, but rather swing wildly around each other and inevitably create new motion. Ultimately, this is a disruption of energy, and one that will need to be resolved.
The Five of Wands imposes a new challenge to the spiritual will, a struggle to break free, to expand, to grow. The challenge is only heightened by a lack of listening to all of the perspectives, which creates tension; yet compels the will to go beyond that which has been previously established.
As the wheels of change continuously turn in life, the stability of the Four of Wands eventually meets some disruption, and so enters into the Five of Wands; its main keyword being struggle. This card embodies energies of conflict, challenges, disagreements, tension and even a contest. This is depicted in the card by five individuals struggling together, waving their wands about to try and form a new geometry. In this image, they aren’t necessarily fighting against each other, but rather each expressing their own unique will, not fully paying attention to what the other is doing or expressing.
This card emerges as a disruption to the previous energy of the Four of Wands; a challenge that needs to be resolved. In this we are forced to expand and grow against the restriction of the container which has been set before us. This tension gets tighter when there is a lack of listening, engaging and a willingness to see the root of the problem and learn to solve it together as a group – which is typified by the Five of Wands. Recognize that not all struggle is bad – and although this card depicts people struggling to come together due to unique perspectives, this is important in order to learn from each individual’s unique experience allowing for personal growth at a deeper level. With awareness towards learning from the other person’s perspective we can come to a solution that works for everyone. This card can also represents the energy of a group in a situation such as a group of peers all contesting against each other for the highest grades.
This is a natural part of life, where we must learn to face the challenges that are put in front of us, for they are always there for a very important reason. This is especially important after the celebration of completion and stability with the Four of Wands. This ebb and flow of harmony and disruption will always bring new and harder challenges, encouraging us to grow from them, and ultimately help others do the same. Diversity is key, if everything stays the same – there is no growth, and stagnation is inevitable.
No matter what struggles you’re facing in your life, it can actually be very easy to resolve them. All it takes is the willingness to look at a situation objectively, listen to all sides of perspective, and be open to changing your own perspective when necessary. This change is coming regardless of how we feel about it, and when we can listen to each others desires and needs – then we can all win!
The reverse of the Five of Wands relates with the energy of hostility. In its upright sense, the Five of Wands discusses a number of people each asserting their own creativity, will, and perspectives. However, they are not necessarily fighting each other, until now. In the reversed Five of Wands, the energy of the competition turns from an open exploration of ideas and refinement into a battle for supremacy, and has become lost to the throes of the ego. This state comes about as a result of the attachment to a specific thing (whatever is being fought over) as if it dictates how valuable the individual’s identity is, and thus there is a feeling of “need to prove oneself” in order to feel like they are worth something.
In another sense, the reversed Five of Wands may also even relate with an avoidance of a conflict, however this is still the same energy of “hostility”, however it is an internal battle between the ego and Spirit. When someone is unable to work with others, listen to other perspectives or see their point of view – it can lead to all manner of problems.
To turn this reversed card upright, you must take a look at yourself and acknowledge your fears, and ask yourself what it is you hope to achieve by engaging in this struggle as if it was that of a war. If you can identify the part of your ego that needs validation for acting in this way, then you can actively shift it within you, and not feel the need to treat others any less than you would like to be treated. If your battle is within you, and you want to run and hide, then perhaps you could inquire why you want to shy away from what is happening? What is it that causes you to want to run away, or avoid the task at hand? Regardless of which one it is, by addressing the challenge internally, you can bring balance to the whole group dynamic, and your efforts to work together will create a bigger victory than letting them handle it without you or just trying to do it all yourself!
The Book of Thoth
The Golden Dawn
The Tarot Handbook