Five (V) of Wands –
Competition, Egos, Battles
Conflict, Chaos, Commotion, Unruly, Boisterous, Struggle, Inner Struggle, Lack of Cooperation, Lack of Control, Challenges, Feats, Opposition, Territory, Battles, Skirmishes, Pettiness, Quibbles, Rows, Disagreements, Sparring, Egos, Defensive, Agressive, Assertive, Conflicting Personalities, No Common Ground, Lack of Team-Work, Pent-Up Energy, Adrenaline, Frustration, Restleness, Impatience, Dissipation, Petty Problems, Irritations, Bothersome Trivialities, Rough Play, Sport, Games, Competition, Going for Gold, Sales, Brainstorming, Bright-Sparks, Strikes, Picketing,
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Card Imagery Description
It was all well and good finding stability in Card Four, settling into a new life, new job, new home, lazing around on holidays, parties and happy-clappy get-togethers, but where the Wands are concerned, it was bound to wear thin after a while. Going with the flow and happily doing what everyone else is doing is not their style at all. As the energy of Number Four is wearing off, the Wands people may get a little restless and complain that nothing seems to happen anymore or that they lack excitement in life. In the Five it is clear they badly need action once more.
The approaching energy of Number Five lights a fire in their belly. They are no longer content to just sit around and be part of the scenery. Instead, Five influencing Fire, hurtles them into seeking change, even if they aren’t consciously aware of it at the time. Any change, whether positive or negative, will be viewed as a welcome relief, or challenge not to be missed. Regardless of all the effort this change, upheaval or disturbance will cause, it gives the Wands their raison d’être. They are at their very best when life calls upon them to be daring, brave, gutsy, unflinching, determined and highly competitive. They positively thrive in a sea of change and uncertainty. Indeed, the Wands will view any form of upset, change or upheaval as competition and personal challenge; lusting after battles to feed their fearless, assertive and ultimately superior nature. Time to sink their teeth into life again.
With the Five influencing the Element of Fire, battles can range from minor skirmishes to all-out war on the flick of a coin or the roll of a dice. A lot of energy has built up and needs to be released. They are up for the game and challenge of any change that is heading their way. The Wands see this period as a very defining time in their lives. This is a test of their own personal strength and they will keep up the play until the final whistle is blown. When the dust settles, whoever is left standing will be crowned champion and win the ultimate prize. So, let’s get the adrenaline pumping.
A group of five young figures brandish Wands or sticks in their hands. It is unclear as to whether they use them as weapons for battle or sport. The scene presented to us is one of chaos, either organised or disorganised depending on the aim of the individuals involved. The figures appear to be fully engaged in this rowdy activity. At first glance, it looks a bit dangerous, as if a situation has gotten out of control. However, when we examine the individual faces, we find neither anger nor malice, but rather passion and determination. Indeed, they appear to be heartily enjoying themselves. There is an impression of noise and boisterousness as the Wands make contact and clash off each other. No one is directly hit with the sticks even though it might first appear that way. Unlike the Five of Swords, we see no injuries, no blood, no bodies scattered on the ground. These skirmishes symbolically represent the battles of daily life – our inherited human condition. Life is constantly throwing curve balls, or sticks (Wands) at us. We either run for cover, or come out fighting. The five figures have decided to stand and fight.
So, we have determined they are not engaged in mortal combat, but what else might they be up to? If we closely observe their faces, they do not appear to make eye contact with each other. Perhaps their Wands clash because they are not looking where they are going, or are too caught up with their own agendas to notice or care about others. They move around like busy bees. There is also a sense of urgency and haste in their mad running around. Could this be a challenge that must be completed in a set time? Do the five figures work independently or are they part of a team? With the Wands flying in all directions, we wonder if there is a common cause at all. There is also a distinct absence of leadership. This could be a competition or race of some sort, with every man for himself, out for what he can get or achieve. They may all be seeking the same outcome, but it might be in limited supply. The first man over the finish line will secure it, so there’s no time to dawdle. No one is project managing the frenzied activity, so anything might happen with such fiery energy flying in all directions.
Perhaps we are looking at an organised team who have been given a last-minute task or project to complete. With no time to prepare or delegate, it might be all hands-on deck, with everyone intent on getting on with their own job. This could be organised chaos we are observing. The Wands may have a collective purpose rather than how they are individually represented in the imagery. We are given a snapshot of this scene and it is unclear whether it is depicting a before or after scenario of the goal or aim of this group or individual. The scene is captured in high activity, the five Wands either coming together, or being pulled apart. Could they be a group of builders set with the task of constructing or demolishing something? Perhaps they are engaging in a tug of war over it, fighting over ownership. The Wands even in their current state of disarray do convey an uncanny resemblance to a five-pointed pentagram, at least at some stage of its existence. The form is there and we must look at what impact a Pentagram might have on the individuals in this scene. If they are constructing it, they seem to be in a bit of panic. Are they running out of time or just eager to reach completion? The pentagram is connected to the Element of Earth in occult usage, offering ultimate protection and defence. If they are attempting to erect one, it appears they all have differing ideas as to how this might be approached. Their definition of a Pentagram and what it means may wildly vary. Their scattered energy is getting them nowhere. If someone took charge it wouldn’t look as chaotic, but will these Fire personalities be happy with handing control to another, especially if large egos are involved?
The figures wear outfits of varying colour and style. This is very significant as it symbolises their different mindsets and personalities. There is no uniform or team colour here, and perhaps no common ground either. Whatever the situation, argument or challenge, all appear to have different approaches to how it should be sorted. Everyone is shouting at the same time making it impossible to hear what they individually say. If over-inflated egos are active, each will attempt to force their view, opinion, or idea on the others in an attempt to gain supremacy. Each figure thinks they know best, and will want their own way. In their eyes, there can be only one winner, one champion.
A victor must emerge from the group to assert full authority and command leadership. However, what started off as great sport, could result in tears if the figures become forceful or pushy with their own agenda. Petty conflicts and disagreements may escalate into open hostility or serious warfare unless someone can step in to calm the situation or assume control. The imagery depicts the archetypal situation of too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Everyone is too full of their own importance to think of the greater good of all. It could all get too personal with opponents perceiving slight or insult at every opportunity. There may be no physical injuries, but egos could take a bashing. If so, we will not see much reason or rationale among this group as they seek to retaliate and lash out at each other. Here we see the Fire Element overheating a situation or issue. It will gleefully run amok in this uncontrolled environment. With poor communication and cooperation among the group, mistakes are likely. They could waste valuable time and energy firefighting each ensuing disaster.
There must be one among them who has the foresight to see they are getting nowhere behaving as such. Surely they can find something to agree on. If they could negotiate some common ground to work from, it would at least be a start. A leader must be appointed or self-appointed. Whoever it is will need to be made of strong stuff, and assertive but not forceful. He will not be dealing with a group of easily led or swayed people, for most will have large egos and may not be compliant. He must also be popular with the group, not someone who raises their hackles or tries to lord it over them. The leader must be ingenious, and come up with something the others have not thought of, an acceptable solution to all their problems, something that will appeal to the mass. He knows the group is full of bright sparks who have great ideas and plans. He can only imagine the great things they could do if they were to put their heads together and work as a team instead of whingeing and back-biting. Individually they have wonderful qualities and talents to bring to the table. The creative possibilities of this group are endless, but the competition between them fierce, the pettiness of their quarrels and complaints often tedious and irritating. Compromise is the solution to any issues or disagreements between these figures, but that might be easier said than done. They need to listen to the needs, ideas, and opinions of each other without jumping in with their own, or engaging in heated disagreement and opposition. Grievances need to be aired and heard. If that is allowed, they may be surprised to discover they have many commonalities, something to work with for the greater good. With all the noise and uproar, they don’t take the time to listen, preferring to jump to conclusions instead. They must also understand that compromise does not equal failure, weakness, or selling out. Rather it is a sign of maturity and an openminded, balanced approach. If they can manage this, they will grow in stature and others will respect their integrity.
A peaceful end can be brought to the battle. Whoever manages to achieve this will undoubtedly emerge as the leader of the pack, the strong favourite. If he has been fair to all, he will gain the respect, support and loyalty of the others who will happily work under his guidance.
The Green Earth beneath the battling figures could be a sports pitch, but there doesn’t seem to be any Captain in charge of the team. At this point no one knows which side they should be on. They all run after the ball at the same time with no one left covering the rest of the field. However, this may be a practice or warm up before the real game or battle, as we see the figures limber up. Let the Games Begin and may The Best Team Win. It’s too late for nerves now as the men go out to fight to the bitter end. They will need plenty of stamina to stay the course.
The expanse of earth symbolises the territory each fight to protect, defend or maintain. There is plenty of land around, with more than enough space for all, but they fight over the same patch (opportunity) regardless. They may see this plot as the best land (opportunity), so all are determined to secure it. Second best will not do. Once a champion has emerged and secured it, he will then go after the unconquered territory in the background. There will always be more battles to fight.
At present, the group battle in a sports-like manner. They are all worthy opponents and good sports, happy to give as good as they get, and willing to take it on the chin if necessary. This type of challenge releases pent up energy and keeps them fresh and invigorated. All stand on equal footing. No one has seriously pushed to the front of the pack yet, but it won’t be long until someone makes a break for it. The five figures may appear to be caught up in their individual aims, but it is likely they are keeping an eye on each other, ready to move rapidly should one seek to gain advantage. We will then see the game, challenge, or battle accelerate rapidly as remaining competitors take chase.
If we were to stumble upon the scene in the Five of Wands, we might think someone is bound to get hurt, but adrenaline is running so high it would be some time before any would notice or feel the injuries sustained. For those involved, it might fire their blood to sustain such high level of challenge but it will prove wearing and stressful if allowed to continue indefinitely. It will also cause stress for others in their immediate environment who may have to live, work, or co-exist with them. There is little chance for peace and harmony with this group in action.
The balance and teamwork of the Four has vanished and it is everyman for himself now. Something may have happened to disturb the four strong Wands that were planted firmly in the ground. Someone wanted to change the set-up or arrangement of these four Wands by introducing a fifth, or perhaps they fell apart due to neglect. Craving change, they may have intentionally picked away at the foundations until they became lose and shaky. The fifth Wand might have been introduced to prop them up, a stop gap until they could determine what was to be done. The fifth Wand may stand out as different from the previous four. It may appear forcefully, an unwelcome visitor or uninvited guest arriving to disturb the status quo. It may invade the space of the four, causing change, shock and disruption. This fifth Wand has broken the perfect symmetry of the structure. It remains to be seen what it will be replaced with. The fifth Wand might be demanding, dictate how any changes will come about, and what form the new structure will take. It may want to be at the centre of it, usurping the original order. If the figures dismantled the previous four Wands without a plan for what happens next, they will have introduced great uncertainty, instability and insecurity. If the four Wands had provided shelter, sanctuary, or a home for its occupants, it looks like they may be left exposed to the elements until these five figures can get their act together.
With Five being a number of change, it could explain the chaotic scene in this card. Perhaps change is badly needed, and we see action taken to initiate that change. Regardless of how wonderful we view things at times of our life, we typically grow tired of them when they remain static or become outdated. Think of that lovely ‘to die for’ kitchen you had fitted 15 years ago. Yes, it was once right on trend, a la mode, but now it is all wrong and you feel jaded looking at it. You can’t wait to be rid of it, your attention shifting to something more stylish, novel, and aesthetically stimulating. So, we now see the figures enthusiastically throwing themselves into overturning the old order in favour of the new.
There is a need to alter, re-work, or re-imagine the Four Wands for one reason or another. Perhaps the figures are bored with the look, feel, or energy it yields. Has it become old-fashioned, a thing of the past? Then again, there may be no reason other than wanting change for change sake. There may have been nothing wrong with the old fitted kitchen that a lick of fresh paint could not have sorted, but the need to be rid of it becomes urgent. Now we might see a garden/boot sale or skip, as items (parts of life) that once held value or worth are sold off or discarded. However, we do see great interest shown by others, probably nostalgic Cups keen to restore, or conscientious Pentacles determined to recycle. What one figure views as rubbish or useless, another sees in it worth and potential. This card shows the Wands restless spirit and urge to shake things up for good or bad. The demolition team cannot wait to start. A change is as good as a rest. They have had their rest in the Four. In the Five it is time to get moving again.
Should this card symbolise deconstruction, the figures could live to regret tearing it apart or disturbing the foundations. Should they change their mind, it may not be possible to restore it to its original glory. Some things undone can never be redone in the same manner. It is hoped the figures took this into consideration before taking action. Although the five strive in earnest, nerves will be on edge and patience tested during this period of upheaval. If any of the Wands hold great value, some may get damaged in the foray through carelessness or negligence.
We might also be looking at blatant sabotage in the imagery of this card. The collective aim is to sort out all these Wands, to construct or deconstruct as necessary, but there may be one, or several among the group who seek to throw a spanner in the works. If this group have been getting nowhere with their project or task, they need to ask why? If they are beset with ongoing problems and setbacks, perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye. Could someone be working behind the scenes to ensure the group’s endeavour fails, to undo any good work that comes about. Might they not want it to progress to completion, or succeed? While all appear to strive in earnest, there may be one who works equally hard to scupper their progress or sabotage the outcome. The individuals may be too busy and distracted with the task at hand to notice treachery amongst them. Petty rivalry or jealousy could be the driving factor behind the scene. However, it could also be a cunning well-planned strategy. Orders of sabotage may come from an external source, someone higher up the ranks or flying below radar. Their involvement may not be immediately obvious, or perhaps above suspicion. This person may not wish to come out in the open, preferring to let others do their dirty work in their stead. This third-party could be known to the group; a close friend, family member, work colleague, associate, partner, or ex-partner.
We must also look at the imagery to determine if the group of combatant figures are being unreasonably pushed or forced in a negative sense. Has someone a whip to their back, driving them to extreme levels? Here we might see bully-type behaviour. Instead of working towards compromise and tolerance, the figures may be beaten into compliance or submission. They may have no say in the matter and must toe the line or suffer the consequences. They may not want to engage on such an aggressive level with each other, but it might be a case kill or be killed. Depending on the environment they work in, they might also be under pressure to compete or battle against their self, constantly pushing for more, peddling hard, afraid to get left behind.
Although The Five of Wands can simply represent a head of steam releasing, it also flags the potential for trouble if it blows at the one time or is encouraged to continue. Could there be one among the group intent on igniting trouble, using coercion or manipulation to fire tempers or attitudes. Could there already be a leader of the pack who hides among the group inciting rebellious behaviour? He may be the ring leader who leads his mob into such forays. This group might hunt in packs, appearing fierce and formidable when together, but when singled out or separated, are weak and insipid. They might be all mouth and show, with little substance underneath.
Arthur Edward Waite alludes to the scene being one of mimic warfare, again suggesting that it may look worse than it is, or that those who engage in this sham style of fighting mean no intentional harm. It is simply the way of the world as one climbs to the top. Everyone does it. The individual figures expect it to be so, and their opponents would deem it an unworthy fight if they did not have others to challenge them enroute. Without a healthy battle, it could feel a hollow victory for these combatants. The message rings out loud and clear. If you can’t beat them, join them. If you are not in, you can’t win.
Each Wand-bearing participant fears missing out on the action. It is best to be part of the game of life, rather than stand on the side lines. For them, it is the way of the world. They have actively signed up to be part of the rat race of life, the daily commute, the cut throat competition for jobs, promotion, opportunity, gain, success, and of course, love. No one wants to get left behind and are prepared to fight their way through. They hungrily seize upon every opportunity to partake in the games, a chance to make their mark or hit the spotlight. The five figures hold their individual Ace of Wands aloft, ready to put them to maximum use. The Wands ignite the fire in each one.
The sham warfare depicted is not for the faint-hearted. Much courage and conviction is required to stay in the game and last the pace. Each combatant must believe strongly in his chance of victory. Ask any top athlete or sportsperson and they will tell you there is no point entering the competition unless you intend to win. This self-belief must be present, regardless of any odds that are stacked against them. History has shown it is often the underdog, unseeded, or novice competitor that upsets the predictable order of play and medals. He can also upend the betting odds by outrunning or outdoing the favourites. Therefore, only by entering the race, can one hold any realistic expectation of succeeding, or coming out on top. Competing also improves their game. If they work hard and doggedly keep at it, they have every bit a chance as the next to get the upper hand and gain superiority. This is how it is done. If they keep throwing enough Wands at it, some are bound to hit their target. This is typical Wands behaviour, taking a chance, going for it, giving it their all. We don’t see any quitters in this imagery. No one stands on the side-lines, looking dejected or conceding defeat. The combatants may be eventually beaten into the ground by other competitors, but they will have tried their best. If they must go down, it will be fighting. Who knows what the outcome of their endeavours will be. All look equally matched at this point. It is still anyone’s game.
In the imagery of the Five of Wands we get a sense of fair play. Each combatant gives as good as they get without causing any serious injury or harm. Although they individually seek supremacy and are at odds with each other, they do have a collective understanding of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. There are certain rules, both spoken and unspoken which all are expected to abide by if they are to retain the respect of each other and those who may be overseeing or observing the battle. We see all the Wands brandished high in the air. There are no below the waist, underhand, or sneaky manoeuvres attempted. They each want to win fair and square, with no dispute over the outcome. They totally disassociate from dirty tactics or play, and would be horrified to discover any of their opponents stooping so low. They would be quickly called out should they do so. The group play under the motto of ‘may the best man win’. However, we would be terribly naive to assume they will not push the boundaries of this by seeking every opportunity to get ahead by disabling or disadvantaging their opponents. After all, that is the nature of competition. Of course, they do know where to draw the line with such behaviour, being careful not to break any golden rules that might result in a yellow or red card. All is fair in love and war, but only within acceptable and agreed levels of contact. They do not set out with the intention of seeing any of their fellow competitors stretchered off the pitch. Accidents will happen regardless of good intentions, but they will be just that – accidents, with no malice or spite intended.
We must also look at less sportsman’s like behaviour in the imagery of the Five of Wands as it does hold the potential to tip over into the dark side. In this instance, we find malice and skulduggery aplenty as blows delivered by the Wands intentionally strike below the belt. They aim to inflict injury, or at the very least stop someone in their tracks. Fair play goes out the window as the game becomes dangerous and mean-spirited. Rivalry and jealousy dominate, with cut-throat competitors prepared to do anything to win. A win is a win at the end of the day, the end justifies the means. They may be doubtful of their ability to win by just tactics, so are prepared to stoop low to gain unfair advantage. Ruthless with ambition, they use their Wands to beat others off their path. They do not seek healthy competition, preferring a guarantee of success without honourably earning it. They are prepared to walk over every and anyone to get it, leaving footprints on the backs of those who play by the rules. They are not interested in teaming up with others, or offering a helping hand to those who might be struggling to stay in the game. In this manner we see the closed approach of the Five as its world narrows down into a pinpoint, with a conceited, self-important, narcissist Wand at its epicentre.
Looking at the imagery of this card from another perspective we might see the five figures as conflicting aspects within the self. The raging battle comes from within this time, and highlights internal struggle, conflicting feelings, attitudes and ideas, that lead to agitation and confusion. The varying personality aspects battle each other to find order, or change the order of things, but opposing forces cause problematic challenges. The person depicted on this level may feel ‘all over the place’, totally ‘at odds’ with their feelings, environment and circumstances. They may seek change, but it might come at a cost. The change sought may not be compatible in all areas of their life. They may change the arrangement of these wands over and over to see how and where they might fit together. Change may be opposed by others who would rather maintain the status quo.
Looking at the Wand bearing figures we might also contemplate them as individual irritations, petty nuisances and trials that stand in the way of us going about our business. It would be nice to walk across the clear field for once, unhindered and unburdened by the demands of daily living and those we are under obligation to. The figures may be seen as interruptions to our day, work, leisure, and quality time spent with partner or loved ones. They might represent the annoying customers, guests, and clients that get in the way of us doing our job. If only they would go away and leave us alone. Everyone is demanding to be seen and dealt with first, each one assuming a sense of great importance and entitlement. One is expected to be here, there, and everywhere – all things to everyone – all at the same time. It is wearing to say the least, and leaves us disgruntled and ill-tempered with everyone. The participants could also be boisterous children, needy family members or demanding partners. Everyone wants a piece of you, now, this second. No one is prepared to wait or give you space. Sometimes things just need to be done, busy times as such when it’s all hands-on deck with much input required of you. From dawn to dusk you’re up against it, chained to the treadmill. Widespread demands could cause a dissipation of vital energy. When will it end? This level of exertion cannot be indefinitely sustained. However, we might find varying levels of contentment in this group. Some may enjoy such a frenetic lifestyle, unable to sit still, unwilling to miss out, while others feel they have no choice, all a constant challenge that drains their energy and resources. What stimulates one, will wear another out. Variation is key here with Five brining fluctuation, unpredictable and often incompatible arrangements. It might be hard to understand where each figure in the imagery stands in this manner.
The scene in the Five of Wands highlights petty squabbles, disagreements and in-house fighting which have a tendency to cause disruption and tension within a certain group or environment. An unsettled atmosphere is created, which like fire, is regularly stoked and refuelled as the situation demands. This quarrelsome bunch could represent family, friends, neighbours, college mates, work colleagues or troubled relationships. There is a need to be constantly at each other’s throats over certain hot topics. This scene could depict the normal everyday dynamics of the group, or a particular situation. Family members may be at loggerheads with each other, airing ancient grievances or dislikes. The group could divide and take sides, creating a situation of us against them. Disputes fail to get resolved as no one is prepared to back down on contentious issues. Some people just can’t get on with each other, or perhaps won’t try. Black is white and white becomes black as those involved refuse to agree on anything or deliberately contradict to stir things up. Life becomes harder than necessary. Peace is neither sought nor desired. Like unruly children, these trying Wands could need constant supervision and overseeing to ensure they don’t get out of hand. Someone may need to referee them.
The clear blue sky symbolises the need for peace through communication. There are no clouds in the sky so the situation is not as bad as it is made out to be. The battle looks worse than it is and those involved in the commotion may be confused at this stage as to what it’s all about, who started it and why it has gone on this long. They somehow got caught up in the drama of it and kept going. There may be nothing to fight about when all is said and done, except battle for battle sake. Perhaps it is a form of habitual behaviour for those represented by the figures in the imagery. Maybe this is their approach to life in general. Must everything be a battle, must they always react in such a manner when things do not go their way? Why the need to be so confrontational? Must there always be a scene wherever they go? Must drama constantly follow in their wake? The imagery could suggest a personality that struggles to stay under control. It doesn’t take much to set them off or ignite strong emotional responses. The disarray of Wands in the imagery could suggest tempers firing in all directions, lashing out indiscriminately. It resembles unsupervised children in the school yard. Games that started out innocently turn into a shambles of undisciplined rough-play, as they pick on each other with tit for tat reactions. If such rowdy scenes become regular occurrences, the group will quickly gain a reputation for it. They might be given a wide berth as no one is prepared to put up with their behaviour.
When we look at the scene of intense activity in the Five of Wands we have already noted how eager they are to engage. We might be looking at a group of friends who enthusiastically take on an ambitious project together, with or without the necessary experience required. They are willing to give it a go regardless. Whatever they lack in skills is made up for in their collective self-belief. They showcase a ‘can do’ attitude. It may look like mayhem at the moment as they struggle to find their feet with whatever project they have taken on. There might be a lot of learning on the job, but if they can stick with it, incredible results can be achieved.
The scene in the Five of Wands reminds us of an archetypal ‘barn raising’ where family, friends, and community come together to build or rebuild a barn for someone. Here we find a gathering of individually skilled tradespersons who take time out from their own work, business, or life to lend their experience to another. Hence, we do not have a formal team as depicted by their varying attire.
Five of Wands – Each Element has its own destiny to fulfil. Therefore, The Five of Wands’ Elemental duty is to Fire – to initiate change and activity for the purpose of continued progress and growth. After a period of passivity and controlled order in the Four of Wands, the Five struggles with the ongoing rules and regulations of The Emperor. For a time, it was content with the settled mature existence that was expected of it. It spent time consolidating its achievements and effort, turning them into something of worth and substance. It felt very grown up as it committed to a more conventional lifestyle. Roots were put down, foundations laid, walls erected and a roof sealed the lid on their new environment. Boundary lines were established with fences and gates to separate them from the outside world, threat, and those who did not belong. There was contentment and appreciation aplenty as the Wands counted their many blessings and basked in the glowing warmth of their family and friends. They knew where they had come from, where they now rested, and could count on what tomorrow would bring. They had striven to achieve this goal, the first major milestone on their journey.
For many Wands, there was a sense of having arrived home, of having achieved the ultimate success, but we were reminded of how limiting that might be. With not even half the journey complete, could they realistically assume that that was that, that they had achieved it all at such an early stage? Some Wands believed so, replacing their backpack for sensible family suitcases instead. They had all they needed and were prepared to work with what they had, developing it to the best of their ability. They did not sacrifice their Wands’ spirit but compromised on it instead. They were happy.
For other Wands, there was an understanding of having arrived at only their first major goal. They would work within the confines of that goal until they were free to pursue their next. Where they found themselves in the Four of Wands was only ever going to be a stop-gap, a stepping stone on their way to even greater achievements. These were the Wands individuals, couples, or families who lived in meagre or moderate accommodation while they built their dream homes or established business enterprises. Although it looked like they had settled, were here to stay, in truth they were only passing through. Their roots never sank so deep that they couldn’t be pulled up if and when necessary. They had an ambitious vision that didn’t stop at The Four.
And then there were The Wands who didn’t think too much at all about what the Four might mean for them long-term. They went with the flow, just thinking of today, in search of instant gratification and novelty. The Four of Wands carried a holiday vibe for them, something out of the norm where they could think, ‘ain’t this the life’? But the novelty of it would soon wear off, the sun would not shine so brightly, the habit and routine of their environment becoming claustrophobic and smothering. The Four would inevitably lose its appeal and they would wander to the boundaries of their domain to peer out at the world that was going on without them. They would become restless with longing to step over the line and wander into new territory or someone else’s. They had explored all they could in their own and were already bored with it. They became distracted by the comings and goings of the free people on the outside, imagining their lives to be more exciting and diverse. They yearned for the days of their backpack and nomadic existence. Life was what was happening in the outside world, not what they had come to accept in their own. At every corner of their domain stood The Emperor, or signs of him. His law and rule governed their life and for a while, the Wands agreed to obey his direction.
Things have now changed. The Hierophant has arrived bringing even further conformity and curtailment. Not only must the Wands adhere to the law set out by man, they must also follow a certain code of moral and spiritual conduct. The Hierophant also introduces the resident’s committee into their lives, complete with the dos and don’ts of being accepted into the community. They had happily bought into this arrangement, presuming to be able to come and go, dip in and out, do as they please, but this is not the case. Much is expected of them. They cannot be permitted to operate outside the ethos of those they live and work among. They must agree to toe the line and not just pay lip service to it. They are instructed in the way of their new world and learn it has a hierarchy and system of protocol that must be followed. They are told how to act, where they can go, what they should say and what is not tolerated. The Wands grow increasingly frustrated in their world, feeling the four walls close in on them, deeply irked by the confined channels they move in. It has all become too much and something needs to be done. However, the Wands may be quite alone in their reactions. Those they established roots with in the Four, might be very content with the way things are under the blessing of The Hierophant. This is perfectly normal, how the world works and what everyone else does. They now have the backing of so many who have gone before them, who signed up for this same life and will defend it against the Wand types who cast aspersions on it.
For Wands who made the formal commitment of marriage, The Hierophant reminds them of the contract they have entered. What God has joined, let no man take apart. In uniting under the eyes of God, their church, family and friends, it brings a sense of permanence with it. Whether the Wands took it seriously or not at the time, they are now bound by the duty, commitment and moral obligation that comes with marital contract. They are no longer foot loose and fancy free. They must live their lives by both the law of the land, through The Emperor, and the Law of God, through The Hierophant. Both will be enforced. It will not be so easy to walk away or to change mind, for many eyes are watching and ready to intercede.
Drowning in a sea of rule books and set expectations, rebellious and mutinous Wands rise up against The Emperor and Hierophant. Life cannot stay as is, something must give and if it won’t come about by natural means, the Wands must force it. Change is coming down the tracks, actively encouraged and accelerated by those who have grown jaded with their current status. There is more life to be experienced, new ways of being and further lessons to learn. Much of this can be found where they rest in the Four, but the restless Wands do not fully appreciate this. Instead of looking to enliven or enrich what they have, it is deemed obsolete and outdated. They are only interested in what they have not got. The help of Temperance is needed to assist the Wands negotiate a deal that will moderate their environment and life, making it more palatable for them. A bit of give and take is needed. However, the Wands may not wish to strike a deal right not, preferring a less balanced approach to their issues.
The Wands need to shed their skin and slip the chains of their present existence be it physically, mentally or emotionally. They must move on, upend what is there, cast out the safe and familiar in a search of a new look and way of being. They are seeking a makeover and reshuffle. There is a panicked realisation of being only half-way through their journey. Have they wasted too much time already? What have they missed out on by hanging around the Four indefinitely? In the Five of Wands we find them hastily packing bags, selling up, tearing down, re-building, leaving town and disturbing the status quo that has afforded them security and stability. In the Five of Wands we see them blatantly stir up trouble and disruption as their Fifth Wand, fully ablaze, is catapulted into the midst of their environment, without or without warning to those who reside within. The Five of Wands seeks change and won’t stop until it finds it. It may leave a trail of disaster in its wake. Neither The Emperor, nor Hierophant can exert control over it. It will do its own thing irrespective of how many laws and rules it breaks, or who it hurts in the process.
The Five of Wands tears up the rule books of The Emperor and Hierophant and begins to write its own. Its energy explodes, the Wands splitting in several directions all at once. It is unclear what is happening and where it all will end. Drama, mayhem and chaos will rule the day. Expect the unexpected for that is the only thing that can be relied on.
We have now reached the mid-point of the Wand’s journey through Love with Fire. Except for a mild bit of uncertainty, or hesitation in the Two, the Wands have had a clear run of it when Upright. Fire likes to travel and expand. It does not like to be held back or restricted. It is a positive forward flowing energy that thrives on momentum and enthusiasm. From the Ace to Four, it has pretty much run unrestricted and bathed in the glow of everything working out. It has had its way most of the time. The sun has shone down on the Upright Wands, making them feel blessed and joyful. There was much to celebrate, with no issues to bother about.
The Five changes matters, and for the first time, Fire’s path is blocked or challenged. Fire will aim to go over, under and around any obstacles, if going through them seems tedious or unsettling. The jubilant and triumphant Fire is disturbed, and it is unsure how it will react. Fire in a healthy state will choose to work through the challenge or obstacle, before continuing on its path as it is not a quitter. It may take time to work it out, but it is the best way. Avoiding the challenge or obstacle may seem like a quick fix, but this challenge will be encountered again and again until it is acted on. Transitioning through Five for Wands is extremely significant. How they handle the issues thrown up by Five could determine how successful their life, career and relationships are in the long run. It is a very defining time for them. This is the first real dilemma they have come up against.
We must hold on to the knowledge, that the Five of Wands is but a Minor Arcana, and therefore quite transient in nature. Although its energy may be causing a bit of drama, it might not be dreadfully serious, perhaps a phase they are going through. If they cannot successfully work through issues at a Minor Arcana level, how will they cope with even greater ones in the future that carry the weight of Majors? Surrounding cards in a reading should throw light onto how concerned one should be with the disruptive impact of Five. On its own, it might be viewed as a flash-fire that flares up menacingly, only to fizzle out rapidly. It has but a limited supply of fuel to sustain it. The fire can be extinguished without much fuss or inconvenience, and may be easily forgotten about. No need to call the Fire Brigade or jump from the bedroom windows just yet. However, the merest glimpse of fire might be enough to spur flight. Fire after all is not to be taken lightly. We all know how even the smallest spark can lead to disastrous consequences. Therefore, it may be viewed as far more serious than it is. Then there are those who accept there is no smoke without Fire. Although it is just smoldering, not yet caught light, its very presence suggests damage occurring behind the scenes. This damage may not be noticeable on the surface as the smoke has not filtered through just yet, or is perhaps being ignored. It lies in wait for a sudden draft or trigger to ignite it to full fury. When it does, it will take more than a bucket of water or fire blanket to extinguish it. Restless Fire should never go unchecked.
Wands, driven by Fire are positive and optimistic when Upright. They should be well equipped to tackle Five and determinedly see it through. Relationships experience their first bump in the road and may feel rattled. Their foundations will be tested for signs of any weakness or fault lines. If a relationship has been built out of the Reversed Ace, Reversed, Two, Reversed, Three and Reversed Four, The Five has the potential to take it down. Incompatibility, superficial feelings, and loose commitment will be exposed by Five. This could mark the end of the journey for some relationships as they hit a defining rough patch. The Five will separate the wheat from the chaff in relationships. Only strong, positive, committed ones will be permitted to journey on in the Upright Aspect. Weak, negative or unhealthy relationships can continue, but they may fall from one Reversed Aspect to another. The challenge for relationships is to battle through the Five and emerge triumphantly the other side, or concede defeat and withdraw.
The Five of Wands can be a tricky card to read as it carries shifting energy. It really depends on the theme of surrounding cards and the querant’s issue. On one level, it is an assertive positive card, full of life and activity, but on another level, it is overpowering, aggressive and challenging, even when upright. Your reaction to this card may bring relief or panic as a situation blows wide open. One may not be sure if it would be best in Reverse as it does suggest a more balanced energy.
However, Reversed cards can bring in extremes of the Upright energy. In this case, the Five of Wands is chaotic and challenging enough when Upright. Why might we look for even more in the Reverse? It is probably best to read both Upright and Reverse interpretations when looking for extremes. In the Five of Wands a battle has already broken out, so we are in the midst of chaos. When it Reverses, sides have been taken, the attack scaled up, or have backed down. Whatever way you look at it, there is change and upheaval that cannot be escaped. Brushing issues under the carpet or attempting to look the other way will not work as the issue is already upon you. You cannot escape into the Upright and make it all go away, as something is up regardless of which direction the card is pointing. You might have to think on your feet as you try to work your way out. This is not a peaceful time. It will however be interesting, and it would be wise to sit up and take note of what is actually going on. Knowledge gained now will stand to you in the future. Chaos does have a habit of taking us by surprise, but when the going gets tough the tough get going.
When the Five of Wands appears in your reading, that is unless it is in a past position, it is best to prepare for struggles, opposition and a rough ride. Everyone seems to be out to upset or annoy you and even the Universe seems to be working against you. You may just want to be left alone to get on with things or finish a particular project but are constantly coming up against petty problems and setbacks. Frustration and impatience will be evident. Not too much importance should be attached to these upheavals as they generally are minor and only temporary. If you have slept it out, got soap in your eyes in the shower, burnt the toast, got a flat tyre on your way to work, knocked over the bosses coffee during a meeting and then realised you had left your wallet at home after loading the conveyor belt in the supermarket with your week’s shopping then you are experiencing the energy of the Five of Wands. It is just one of those days from hell and tomorrow is bound to be better.
The Five of Wands can highlight a group or team of people who are not working together. There is lack of co-ordination and team spirit but plenty of adrenaline and racing pulses. Everyone has their own idea of how things should be done. No one is prepared to listen to what the other has to say and in their own self-important world believe that each has the best way or idea. You are bound to be caught up in power struggles and will need to keep a steady head and your cool. Competition is key here and even though you believe you will come out on top, so too, do many others. Keep your eye on the prize and accept nothing less than gold.
The Five of Wands often suggests a situation of too many chiefs and not enough Indians. There is bound to be a lot of top-heavy egos to deal with and plenty of hot air. This leads to a lack of productivity and growth. Time and energy is wasted and dissipated due to a lack of communication and strong leadership skills. The key here is to find some sort of common ground to work from. You will have to think of something that will appeal and benefit all or a solution to a problem that takes everyone’s issues and gripes into consideration. This will put you in charge but you will have to show those involved that you are the best person for the job and that much would be gained by following your lead. The thing is, no one wishes to compromise in this situation so you have a tough battle on your hands.
The Five of Wands can typify on-going family arguments and conflict. The Christmas dinner or family get-togethers that always end in rows with family members shouting the same old insults and accusations at each other year in and year out, then doors banging as the offended and disgruntled storm off in disgust. Many families operate in such a manner and the only way forward is for one member to find a way to pull them together and call a halt to hostilities or at least a ceasefire until matters can be sorted. To the onlooker it may appear ridiculous, petty and childish and the energy of The Five of Wands would agree. Generally, the problems are not as important as the people are making out them to be. It is just that it has all got out of hand and they continue to fight just for the sake of it.
The Five of Wands in your reading can sometimes highlight someone who has a tendency to draw negative attention. This person is prone and known to pick fights and loves getting embroiled in arguments. Not matter what your opinion is their’s is always going to be the opposite and will be on the attack as soon as you open your mouth. You must not let yourself be talked down to or belittled by this person. Someone may have it in for you so stand your ground and prepare to defend yourself. You must prove to be a worthy opponent.
Relationships and Love
In a Relationship spread the Five of Wands indicates a fiery relationship. Both partners are kept on their toes with great competitiveness within the relationship. This couple may have few commonalities, they may live separate lives, each with their own friends and interests. This does not mean to say that the relationship is bad or wrong for the Wands people depicted in this card cherish their freedom and individuality. One thing that they definitely will have in common is their love of a good, hot-headed row every now and then if their relationship gets a tad boring or dull. There is bound to be lots of thrills and excitement in the relationship even if intimacy and romance are low on the list. The relationship implied by The Five of Wands can suggest a sporty couple who enjoy the outdoors and lots of physical activity.
Career and Business
In a career Reading the Five of Wands can indicate an intense and challenging work environment full of excitement and enthusiasm but can also suggest a tense competitive work environment where there is little teamwork. The individuals may be responsible for this atmosphere but it’s quite likely that it is being encouraged and sustained by the nature of the work involved, so we see may sales-related careers represented by the Five of Wands. If applying for a particular job it would suggest that there is a lot of competition for the job or promotion you are after.
If this card comes up for you in a career reading it tells you that even though the going gets rough at times and competition is constant and fierce, you do have what it takes to succeed. You must rise to any challenges thrown at you and not be undermined by the competition around you. Stand your ground and let the best man win. It might easily be you. The Five of Wands can symbolise the effort put in to fight your way to the top of the career ladder.
In the workplace, a group, team or work colleagues may be undermining each other instead of working together for the common good. Workers whose grievances have not been dealt with by management may rebel against company policy by striking and picketing.
If you are going to a job interview, then prepare yourself for questions in relation to dealing with groups and teamwork that will highlight your leadership skills. Preparing for intense questioning in these areas may tip the scale in your favour as this will be a vital part of the job spec. Make sure you have examples to give your interviewers of how your handled groups of staff in the past or lead projects to a successful outcome. Try not to brag or show off as this would make you unpopular and will not foster good staff/management relations if they were to hire you.
The Five of Wands in a business reading can also suggest that a brainstorming session may be a good way to move a project out of a rut. Bring everyone around the table and let them go for it. It indicates that there is a lot of creativity around you and some impressive inspirational ideas that could greatly benefit the business. Let everyone thrash their ideas about and see what comes out of it. Everyone will be more than eager to prove themself but be careful not to pit one against the other. You will have to maintain firm control in this situation and let everyone have their say. You will be surprised by what comes out of it. It will also release new energy into the work environment.
The Five of Wands can sometimes represent sporting occasions. The Wands type love any type of sport where they can get stuck in and release some of their exuberant energy. Bumps, cuts, bruises or broken bones will not deter them and the rougher the sport the better. Rugby is a typical Wands type sport as it involves lots of tumbles and challenges and therefore a legitimate opportunity to play rough. Competition can be healthy but be sure you play by the rules.
Very often the conflict represented by the Five of Wands comes from within. The stress of being pulled here, there and everywhere by the constant demands of partner, family, work, friends, clubs, children or study is internalised leaving you feeling as if life is just a constant battle. Your mind may be all over the place with ideas, plans, people to see, phone calls to make and lists of things to do. You have to ask yourself if it is possible that you are bringing a lot of this stress on yourself by overdoing things and taking on too much. You may have too many fingers in the pie all at the one time. It may be a sign that you have lost sight of your goal and are running in too many different directions. Time to get back on track and get your priorities in order.
On a very simplistic level you may be going through a period in your life when you just feel at odds with yourself.
Cooperation, Compromise, Common Ground, Solutions, Teamwork, Order, Communication, Control, Discipline, Productive, Focused, Peace, End of Conflict, Harmony, Full Scale Battle, Looking for a Fight, Hot-Headed, Lack of Competition, Losing, Cancellation of Sporting Event, Physical & Nervous Exhaustion, Battle fatigue, Fear of Confrontation or Controversy, Shyness, Feeling Intimidated, Internalising Problems
When the Five of Wands Reverses, the constant battle and conflict has left everyone exhausted and fed up. Sticks and weapons are laid down in an attempt to reach a compromise. People start listening to each other’s opinions and take on board how others do things. With the reversal brings an end to a period of conflict and stress. All the minor details and tedious issues have been sorted. Focused and composed, you are back on target and have your goal in clear sight once more. If the problem has been internal, then you begin to prioritise and learn to say no to the constant demands of others.
On the other hand conflict and animosities may escalate with unpleasant skirmishes and angry clashes. If no one has stepped in to sort this situation out then the battle may indeed get worse as frustration reaches fever pitch. It may have to get really bad before any attempt is made to find a solution. Legal intervention may be called in as neither side wish to back down or compromise. Then again you may be drawing unnecessary challenges to yourself by being too hot-headed and self-opinionated. Are you deliberately looking for a fight?
If involved in legal matters, do not drop your guard. Your opponent may very cleverly be trying to give you the impression that they are ready to reach an agreement or concede defeat when their real intention is to lure you into a false sense of security before going in for the kill. You may think you are now just dealing face to face with your opponent but they could easily have the rest of their group lying low on the other side of the hill. Tread very carefully.
In the Upright version of this card we see bodies flying all over the place but when it is viewed in reverse, the lower part of their bodies, as in their legs and feet appear to find some sort of order. The men now line up in an organised manner and we eventually see a team begin to form. However, the Five of Wands Reversed can highlight the cancellation or postponement of a sporting event or losing to the opposing team. In the extreme aspect of this Reversed Five we also see the soccer hooligans who deliberately stir up trouble wherever they go. Surrounding cards would need to support any interpretations regarding this aspect. For example look for the Reversed Knight/Page of Wands, Reversed Knight/Page of Swords or Five of Swords
Relationships and Love
When the Five of Wands Reverses it can suggest that a once volatile or erratic relationship has now settled down and developed into something more stable. Calm and harmony is introduced or restored and the need to compete with each other is replaced by respecting each other’s individuality and personal success. Independence is kept but not at the price of intimacy. A freshness is retained within the relationship. On the other hand and there always is with Reversed Cards, problems and conflict within the relationship may intensify. There could be explosive arguments and vicious battles. If marriage is involved then it may be time to get the counsellors or mediators in an attempt to salvage it or bring it to a mutual and fair conclusion. However, things may have gone a bit further than that. Barristers and solicitors may be doing your battling for your as they thrash it out in a courtroom of law. Again, look for supporting cards such as Justice, Queen or King of Swords and Judgement.
Career and Business
In the workplace, The Five of Wands Reversed can herald the end of a dispute or period of conflict. Workers pull together and put their differences aside to get a job done or a project completed. Trade disputes get resolved or mediators are called in to settle disagreements and find a solution. It is time to go back to the Four of Wands to find stability and restore team spirit and morale. Common ground has eventually being found and lines of communication opened. What have you done or what have you promised to get everyone to listen to you and follow your way of doing things? I do hope you based it on reality, that it is feasible and are in a position to deliver that which you promise.
If enquiring about a job interview it very much depends on the cards surrounding the Reversed Five of Wands to determine whether you have won or lost the battle to secure a new position or promotion. The Reversed Five of Wands can also suggest that you fear competition and shy away from any controversial issues or subjects. You also fear confrontation and prefer to internalise problems rather than bring them out in the open.
As with all Reversed Wand Cards, we may be looking at the physical results of the hard work and effort required to reach the top or to stay at the top. Maintaining a constant level of excitement, enthusiasm, challenge and competition will eventually take its toll on the human body. You may think that the constant rush of adrenaline will keep you going but all it does is over-stimulate your nervous system and put too much pressure on your organs, especially the heart. Constant exposure to stress may result in physical and nervous exhaustion. You may be suffering intense fatigue but keep going in the fear that others will see it as a sign of weakness and move in on your patch.
***When we next encounter the Wands in Card Six we shall discover who, if anyone indeed, has won the battle or will they all be lying on the ground worn out with smashed Wands scattered here and there? We shall have to wait and see.
The 78 Cards – Detailed Study Version (Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)
The 78 Cards – Shortened Version (Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)