5 of Wands

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The Five of Wands Minor Arcana card presents us with a scene of conflict. The five characters in the card are quarrelling and clashing as a result of their irreconcilable world-views and conflicting desires.

When the 5 of Wands Tarot card shows up in a Tarot reading, it addresses a brewing or existing conflict. Whether the source of the discord is internal, or external, the Five of Swords points out the inherently fruitless and destructive nature of arguing, backstabbing and infighting. The Five of Wands appears to remind you that you may never be able to change someone’s views or opinions, flawed as they may seem to you. Whenever you find yourself immersed in a toxic situation or environment, the only part of the equation you really have the power to change or subtract is yourself.

What the Wands represent in Tarot

In the pictorial lounge of the Tarot, the wands are symbolic of the element of fire and all of its connotations; passion, ambition, drive, desire, willpower and manifestation.

Wands are prevalent symbols in the Tarot, appearing again and again, not only in the Minor Arcana suit of Wands but in several Major Arcana cards as well.

The Tarot offers many examples of the power of the wand and how this magical tool is used. The Magician of the Major Arcana gives us one of the best examples of how the wand, symbolic of inner fire, is meant to be used. The Magician card shows the Magus wielding his wand like a conductor’s wand. He is using it to channel and focus his willpower, as well as to direct powerful cosmic energies.

Another positive example of a Tarot archetype wielding his wand with power and purpose is the King of Wands. As the King of the fire element, his magical wand has grown to the size of a staff, and fresh green shoots are sprouting from it, indicating the King’s well-contained power and virility. The King of Wands, rather than using his wand actively, is resting it on the ground next to his throne.

In the 10 of Wands we have a negative example of a character whose passion and responsibilities have become a burden to him. Crushed under the weight of the ten wands he carries, his ambition and dedication are now weighing him down more and more with each step.

Numerology number five in Tarot

According to numerology, the number 5 is one of progress, expansion and pushing against the boundaries. This may come with some discomfort, but ultimately, it is impossible to experience growth and evolution while remaining static.

The meaning of the number 5 is interesting to contemplate in relation to the Five of Wands Tarot card, which is definitely an uncomfortable card. There is a sense of pushing up against the mores of your environment, challenging them with your own views and values.

Five of Wands Tarot card description

Depictions of the Five of Wands card vary between different Tarot decks, but most versions include the essential symbols and details of the classic Rider-Waite Tarot. Let us take a closer look.

The five men

For the most part, each Tarot card has only one singular figure, or at the very least, one obvious main character. This is not the case with the Five of Wand, where we see five men of roughly even size jostling with each other.

The five figures are all clumped together in the middle of the card, vying for space, foothold and the upper hand. The only thing that really differentiates the men are their differently coloured and patterned outfits. Their clothing indicates that they are from different backgrounds, different families, different political leanings and so on.

The five wands

Each of the men is equipped with an impressive-looking wand. Like the men, the five wands are all equal in size, and green shoots are sprouting from their tips suggesting great passion, drive and magical potential.

What a shame that the men, instead of pooling their collective creativity and ambitions, are quarrelling and fighting with each other. They are all letting their potential go to waste.

The battlefield

The fight scene is set against an exceedingly simple backdrop. There is only the battlefield – literally a muddy field – and a clear blue sky.

Under the right circumstances, if the men could only reconcile their differences and find harmony, they might be able to make something grow in this field. But for now, it is barren and muddy-looking, the soil constantly being disturbed by stamping feet. The clear blue sky indicates that there are no obstacles on the horizon – except the ones the men are creating among themselves.

5 of Wands Tarot card meanings

The Five of Wands Tarot card contains many layers and facets of meaning. Here are some of the most prevalent meanings of the upright Five of Wands.

Discord

When the 5 of Wands appears in a Tarot reading you can expect a bumpy ride.

Whether at home, at work or in your love life, clashing personalities, cross purposes and differences in values or opinions are the order of the day, all of it resulting in a great deal of constant tension.

Discord may take the form of all-out verbal fighting, or it may take the form of quiet, bitter tension.

Competition, challenge

When the upright Five of Wands Minor Arcana card appears in a Tarot reading it often indicates competition. This can mean competition in the workplace, in the wider marketplace, within group of siblings and so on.

Competition can be either positive, by inspiring you to do your damnedest and deliver you best, or it can be demoralising and discouraging. There are challenges that are character-building and challenges that have the ability crush you. The Five of Swords might indicate either.

Disagreements, arguments, mud-slinging

The Five of Wands suggest disagreements, arguments and fighting.

Arguments and disagreements can exist within a family structure, a relationship, a work place or online. Either way, there are constant clashes and an inability to put down your defences.

You are feeling constantly bothered and affected by the clashing and opposing views and opinions of others, to the point that it is affecting you mentally, emotionally and physically. Prolonged discord between you and your environment can lead to stress, anxiety and even a high blood pressure.

Irreconcilable differences

When the Five of Wands appears in its upright position it can signify that there are certain irreconcilable differences between you and someone you are sharing space with, whether this is someone you live with, work with, or share a country and a wider world with.

Consider whether it is truly impossible for you to find common ground with your adversaries. With a good dollop of extra patience, would you be able and willing to transcend the current conflict?

A toxic environment

From sexist workplace jargon to an unhealthy tone in your relationship, the Five of Wands suggests that you are in a toxic environment in one or more areas of life. The appearance one the Five of Wands card suggests that it is time to stop writing the prevailing unpleasant atmosphere off as just a bad day and acknowledge that it is time for you to be making some changes and get moving forward. Don’t accept, and don’t overstay in a situation fraught with conflict and put-downs.

5 of Wands reversed Tarot card meanings

When the Five of Wands card appears reversed in Tarot readings, its meaning becomes either inverted or exacerbated. Here are some of the most prominent meanings of the Five of Wands reversed.

Conflict avoidance

The Five of Wands reversed indicates conflict avoidance. Here, instead of arguing for your point of view and trying to get your ideas across, you have given up and recoiled in advance. You are avoiding the battlefield, the confrontation that is sometimes necessary.

Biting your tongue, in the long run, is toxic. Instead of having your frustration out in the open, you suppress it and become passive-aggressive instead. By not letting your true thoughts be known, you are not only harming yourself by letting yourself stew in your own frustration, you are also denying yourself and whoever your beef is with the opportunity to clear the air and perhaps even reconcile and grow from the experience.

Releasing tension

Another key Five of Wands reversed meaning is a release of tension.

You may have been biting your tongue while avoiding conflict for a very long time, but the time has come for you to let it all out, and out it comes, a great outpouring of long-held bitter truths. Purging yourself of the poison you have been holding in can come with a great sense of relief.

5 of Wands Tarot card interpretation

The Five of Wands, like all of the other Tarot cards, contains many facets and layers of meaning. Not all of them are going to be equally relevant in every single Tarot reading in which the card appears.

Which layer of the card’s meaning stands out in a specific reading is always going to depend on any surrounding cards in the Tarot spread, as well as on the individual Tarot reader’s take.

Here are a few examples of how the Five of Wands might be interpreted in different contexts.

What the Five of Wands means in a love Tarot reading

Upright

If you are in a relationship, it feels like an uphill battle. You and your partner might have cross purposes or are not seeing eye to eye in terms of the future.

Reversed

Things are hectic, chaotic and potentially toxic. Speak your mind, say how you really feel. If common ground cannot be found, move on alone.

What the Five of Wands means in a career Tarot reading

Upright

Competition is fierce, but it may also be stimulating. Take occasional time-outs form the battlefield to recuperate and reevaluate your options.

Reversed

The tone is toxic, the workload may be crushing. What are you even doing here? Every day at work is not supposed to be a life-draining struggle.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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