Fives in The Minor Arcana represent change and the need for change. The energy of Five changes the order of things for either good or bad. Unlike most other cards in tarot where the Upright aspect is deemed to be more positive, the Five changes this pattern by being more positive when Reversed. Five just has to be different, or difficult! When Upright, it can be rigid and narrow as it resists change or struggles with it. When Reversed it becomes all-embracing and accepting. However, because Reversed Cards can be extreme, the conflict of the Upright can become intense. Alas, due to Five’s overriding erratic nature, both the Upright and Reverse aspect can bring great extremes. The orientation of Five dictates the manner in which it deals with or approaches change. The change brought about by Five is often unexpected or chaotic.
After a period of stability, building resources, consolidation and preparation, the Universe shifts gear and jolts the Four Suits back into mainstream life once more. Change is needed to shift them out of individual ruts, mind-sets, lifestyles and behaviour. Up until now, they may have felt somewhat in control of life and had a certain idea of how things would run for the rest of their journey. The arrival of the energy of Five throws curve balls at them from out of the blue, some traumatic and destabilising. Some may have felt the energy of Five building over a period of time and are not totally surprised by the turn of events, while others remained blissfully ignorant of the rapidly approaching upheaval in their lives. Like a runaway train, Five comes hurtling down the tracks, eager to cause as much disturbance as possible. However, every cloud has a silver lining, even the Five Cloud. What is one person’s misfortune can turn out to be someone else’s gain. Also, without Five, the Suits would never fully appreciate the oasis that Four and Six offer, or the sense of achievement gained in the Ten. Without challenge, the Suits will not progress and evolve, the full human existence not truly experienced.
Kabbalistic Tree Of Life
The Four Fives reside in the 5th Sephira, Geburah (Severity/Strength/Judgement/Power). This Sephira brings with it restrictions, chaos and upheaval. Restrictive and eliminating, it can force energy to die if deemed obsolete or unworthy. It holds great authority and judgement over what can stay and what must go. Old outworn or outdated habits and patterns are ripped away to be replaced by new energy. Great power is unleashed in Geburah which can be destructive if handled irresponsibly or deliberately misused. Its power and force must be unleashed for the greater good or it can have devastating consequences.
Astrologically this Sephira corresponds with the planet Mars – God of War and Conflict. Energy takes another step closer to creation and manifestation. The birthing or bringing of life into existence is not always easy. Sometimes one must fight to overthrow opposition and obstruction that seeks to block progress and evolution. Geburah helps forming energy battle through, fighting the just cause for survival and overwhelming opponents that work on the lower planes. Geburah clears the path of excess and overabundance.
Corresponding Major Arcana
The Hierophant (V). This Major is quite complicated, carrying both a light and dark side in his energy. Numerically he is linked to the number 5 which is chaotic, unpredictable, ever-changing and destabilising – the very opposite of what the Hierophant stands for and therein may lie the karmic lesson of this major. He is a man of great education, entrenched in long standing tradition and conventional governing – very un-five like. His presence can be associated with restriction, narrowed-beliefs and conventional expectation, but he is the bedrock of stability and constancy. When life is turned upside down and full of uncertainty, it is the Hierophant who will offer a steadying hand and reassure us of the divine order of things. In times of the great trauma and loss Five can bring, we often turn to prayer and religion to guide us through. We seek support that comes with group identity and understanding. The Hierophant is there for us when we need him regardless of how indifferent we are to his presence at other times.
Bound within institutionalised laws and rules, The Hierophant has remained constant in his approach throughout time. He is not one to challenge or overthrow longstanding hierarchies, being at the top of that order himself. Whether he declares it or not, the Hierophant holds great power over our actions, feelings and thoughts. He can make it difficult to remain true to our inner-self, own beliefs and personal direction when they break from the conventional path. His doctrine is deep-rooted within us which can be either a blessing or curse. We can stymie our own progress and growth by fearing what others may think or say about us. We may seek to belong, drawn to the group, eager to fit in, or we can actively remain apart and aloof, reveling in our individuality and uniqueness. Discouraging of individual thought or freedom of expression in favour of group belief systems, The Hierophant stands for conformity and compliancy, which at times can appear repressive depending on how tight his control and how great our desire to do as we please.
The Hierophant is the appointed, or self-appointed spiritual/religious ruler who teaches and guides his congregation in either a group or mob fashion. He instructs them in the ways of the world, religious beliefs, and moral values. It will take great strength of conviction to stand up to the conservative energy of The Hierophant if you do not agree with him. You may also find it hard to get others to rally to your support as his reach and influence is far and wide.
In his Upright Aspect, he represents those who live by conformity, convention and the often-rigid expectations of society. He is the spiritual teacher of duty, morality and group values. He symbolises the conscientious and righteous. When tempted to stray from his path and doctrine, he steps in and saves us from ourselves. Without his guidance and constraint, his flock would fall into disarray, becoming indolent, slothful and immoral, or rebellious and mutinous. He reminds his followers to be mindful of the consequences of their actions should they wander from his tutelage. He observes closely those who seek to question his authority or teachings as they threaten the stability of all he stands for. In his most noble sense, The Hierophant will move with the times, embracing the beliefs of all, making himself available to those in need of his counselling and support, regardless of creed they follow. He is benevolent and compassionate and teaches his followers to do likewise. However, he can be equally intolerant of those who do not share his belief system, dismissing them as unworthy or unjust. He can encourage his flock to think the same.
The Hierophant when Upright resists the energy of Five. He refuses to adapt or be flexible to changing tides of belief or administration. When Reversed, he represents those who challenge conformity, seek change and think outside the box. When Upright he can encourage rigidity and stagnation. His dogma and narrative may not allow for individuality or autonomy. When Reversed, he fosters release, escape and free thinking. We need a healthy balance of The Hierophant for the extreme of both Upright and Reversed are equally concerning. Somewhere in the middle lies an acceptance and tolerance of both states of mind and manner of existence. His flock, do not need him to access god, or be morally responsible. They are only led to believe this. If The Emperor and Empress have done their work well, their produce will reflect such balance. The Hierophant should not misuse his power for forceful control. He must rise above such tendencies and work only on a spiritually just level. He is but a channel for divine and spiritual knowledge, not the source of it.
Temperance XIV, another Five when its digits are reduced, attempts to find balance and offers healing between the influence of Death (unsettling change) and The Devil (domination and bondage) during times of trauma and change. Death seeks change and release, while The Devil deals in servitude and captivity. It can come down to a decision of staying with the old or moving with the new. Change can be actively avoided or eagerly embraced depending on which energy holds power. Death will seek change and release, while the Devil will hold on by his claws, resisting new ways of being or thinking. Temperance must find a way to strike a deal with both through personal empowerment and integrity. There is a time to change or rebel, and a time to conform and accept. Temperance understands the timing of both. Death and The Devil battle for supremacy. Under the ceremonial robes of The Hierophant, The Devil can lurk. He preaches of only one God, his God, he who must be obeyed. Those who lack the power to question and blindly follow may be unaware of whose true presence they stand in.
Temperance will offer the voice of reason through moderation. Temperance does not jump fully into the lake, preferring to keep a balanced perspective on what is going on. There is no ‘all or nothing’ approach with Temperance. Temperance helps those who are heavily under the influence of The Hierophant understand there is more than one way, more than one fix for the situation, it may not be to the liking of others, or what is socially acceptable, but it may work for the individual. Somewhere in between lies the truth, not necessarily on one side or the other. It is not their way or the highway, but must be negotiated. It is Temperance who restrains both Death and The Devil from violently ripping through on their agenda. It will seek a softer approach by calming tempers and soothing the frayed nerves ignited by disruptive change and loss.
Five In Tarot
Five rebels and rails against the predictability of Four. It finds the symmetry of Four boring and uninspiring and sets out to disrupt it. It challenges Four to a battle for supremacy. Five wants to show there is more to life than what Four has to offer and asks ‘is this it? Look how you are boxed in, how limited your scope and coverage. How boring to tread the same four corners, day in and day out. Look at the variety of options when a fifth point is added. How interesting and diverse it will be. I can show you, but first I must take apart what you have so carefully put together. Are you up for that?’
Five wants to prove to Four that the world won’t necessarily end should it decide to rearrange itself, or look for new ways of being. However, Four will not be open to such dissension and will stubbornly refuse to budge holding fast to the structures it has laid in place. Instead of Five accepting this and moving on, it will seek to rattle Four’s cage and foundations. Five does not like to be told ‘no’. It may deliberately knock or kick down the walls of Four, undermining and weakening its strength. This is all high energy and great fun for Five, as if in a challenge or game, will be keen to see how quickly it can destabilise Four. Four may attempt to barricade the doors and windows against a Five that has turned up unannounced in its garden, but Five will find a weak point and gain entry.
Five is not content to go with the flow of what others expect of it. It has an independent streak and fiery spirit and opposes what the Hierophant stands for, sometimes blatantly so. Five changes its mind regularly and rapidly, shifting direction constantly on a whim or for the sheer thrill of it. It may be hard to keep up with Five as its pattern is random and erratic, its energy shooting out in all directions. It is in constant need of change and will regroup and reform in several stimulating arrangements as it builds momentum, each new formation inspiring and motivating further action. Five brings disturbing impulsive influences that can feel threatening and destabilising. It has no time for the status quo of things. Where order has been allowed settle and form, its natural instinct will be to upend it, to shake it up out of apathy and lethargy and see how far it can push the boundaries.
Five does not recognise or respect margins or parameters, preferring to step over the line, barging its way through and trespassing on private property. It has a free for all attitude and approaches change in a cleansing and cathartic manner. It positively thrives in a sea of uncertainty, chaos, disruption and disorder. However, Five is refreshing, its energy invigorating and revitalising. It is a challenging and testing number, demanding engagement and retaliation. Blatantly competitive and provoking in its manner, it seeks confrontation, not compliancy.
Unlike Four that is opposed to change or resists disturbance, Five embraces it ecstatically. If life becomes too boring or stagnant, it acts as a catalyst, instigating change – often forcing it when resistance is encountered. Five blows the cobwebs away and throws open the curtains on sedate Four, exposing the layers of dust that have gathered when life has become too settled. Five blows out the windows, inviting a hurricane to enter and do as it will. It seeks novelty and change to such an extent it can be irresponsible or thoughtless about the consequences of its actions. Not everyone will feel as exuberant about change and disruption as Five does, but it may not take that into consideration, deeming its presence a breath of fresh air and long overdue. In its negative sense Five can force change in a selfish manner, without a thought for those who are happy as they are. It is quite ready to throw a grenade in the door causing great destruction and upset.
Five is flexible and adaptable, able to pack its bags in minutes and head off into uncertainty without a plan of action. Five finds it tough, even impossible, to put down roots or stay in one place for too long. It likes to try out several ways of being. Just when it appears to settle, it is up and off once more. It is a huge risk taker, and will push the boundaries of convention and society, possibly causing upheaval along the way and intense irritation to others. Five goes its own way and no amount of emotional appeals will get it to conform. Five will be admired by those who respect its spirit and dynamic nature, but will be held in contempt by those who disapprove of its wayward behaviour.
As much as Five is a strongly competitive number, it’s not a team player. It does not like to be bound to group thought or conformity so will avoid being drawn into clubs or organisations that seek to force upon it their dogma, rules and regulations. It likes to play by its own rules, make up its own mind, do its own thing and go its own way. Five will aggressively resist and rebel against stifling attitudes and will be quick to offer its opinion in a confrontational manner. It does not hold back, does not stand on ceremony and does not take prisoners. It lives by its own ideals and beliefs. As a result, Five will be opposed to religion in most forms, viewing it controlling and restricting. Five must follow its own path.
Five has an agenda that seeks freedom. This desire for freedom makes it hard to control. Five can quickly get out of hand if no self-discipline is applied. It has very strong opinions and will not be afraid to voice them irrespective of how controversial they may be. Five can get into overheated debates about certain topics. In this negative aspect, it lacks self-discipline and may not think before it acts. It may become uncaring about the impact of its behaviour on others. Five can also fall into bad company with its daredevil attitude and scant regard for appropriate behaviour. Its craving of novelty and distraction may lead it into trouble with no sense of the consequences involved.
Five’s sense of fun and games can end in tears if behaviour goes unchecked. It can get a bit rough. Not everyone sees the humour of Five that declares it all fun and sport with no harm intended. Good intentions or not, Five can bring chaos and massive disruption in its wake. It chases drama and can be wild and wilful. Its need for constant stimulation can see it stir up trouble just to get a response. It is both active and reactive. It likes to get embroiled in whatever drama it has created, enjoying the fallout and explosive reactions of others. Five is mercurial in nature so will be hard to pin down. What it wants today, it may not want tomorrow, or even in the next hour. It likes to remain foot loose and fancy-free which can cause problems where relationships are concerned. The energy of Five will cause restlessness and agitation between partners. It does not like to be tied down, or feel stifled and smothered. Five will get bored with any situation that becomes monotonous and tedious. It will happily flit from job to job or jump from one career to another as it ventures through life. It moves in all directions; forwards, backwards, from side to side and up and down. It may be difficult to determine if it is in a state of progression or regression, or whether it’s star is in ascent or descent, if it is building or destroying. Anyone wishing to know what tomorrow and the next week is likely to bring, will find Five an uncomfortable bed fellow.
Five is a transient number, it lives by the code of impermanence, disinterested in becoming overly attached to anything or anyone. Life is constantly changing for Five so it can grow rapidly jaded in love as its attention span is limited. It may prefer variety and turnover in love, not commitment and steadiness. Five is a natural flirt and prone to indulging its physical cravings. It does little to restrain such urges and cannot be relied upon to behave appropriately when not overseen or supervised. Five can have a string of broken relationships.
Five has a curiosity that is quite charming. It likes to experience everything at least once, and in a very direct manner. It is not afraid to make mistakes or learn hard lessons. It will enthusiastically throw itself into the foray of life and likes to be kept busy and active. It cannot grow or flourish without new experiences. Five does not follow the crowd and can often stand out from it. It is the party animal, the exhibitionist, the eccentric who raises hell and causes riots. Expect the unexpected when Five is around.
Part of the challenge for Five is knowing when enough is enough where change is concerned. Change and novelty can become addictive. Five’s energy dilutes and dissipates when too much change occurs around it. It becomes scattered and unproductive. It may think it is progressing but can become even more locked in than Four if all the mad peddling is getting nowhere. It craves too much at one time. If Five does not attempt to apply self-discipline, it can fail to master any area of life. It will know a little bit about everything but not enough about anything to be useful. With Five firing off in so many directions, it might find it difficult to finish things it starts. Indeed, Five may have many false starts due to its hasty and impulsive nature. It arrives too rapidly at decisions, or doesn’t wait to make one. Ready or not, it jumps in and discovers only too late it should have waited or taken another approach. Its interest drops instantly as another impulsive urge takes over.
Life is never dull, and never far from a drama with Five around. With Five being a reactive number and its energy combustible and explosive, it can have a volatile nature. Its strong opinions can become overly-forceful. Arguments can turn into heated debates or massive rows as tempers ignite and rub each other the wrong way. Five can be demanding and irritating, getting in people’s faces and on their nerves. This eruptive nature can easily lead it into trouble. The positive Five that is the standard bearer for freedom, individuality and independent thinking may not apply that to anyone but itself. It might attempt to force its way and stifle the freedom of others. It can seek supremacy through brute force. It will resist and oppose change and block the path for others who seek it. Five can become rigid and unbending. Extreme negative Five can become dark and disturbing, its desire to try new things can lead it into unethical and immoral practices. It can also lose control of its physical appetite and indulge in excess of the senses leading it into ever darkening territory.
The effect of the energy of Five on the Four Suits is interesting to observe but also gives us excellent insight into how these archetypal characters respond to challenges and difficulties. They have all experienced a few bumps along the way but apart from the Suit of Swords in Card 2, 3 and 4, it is really their first taste of disruption or loss. If they had hoped for a clear run and smooth travel throughout their Suits they are sadly delusional. This is life in the full human sense. No one can march through it untouched.
In negative mode, Five can fear change, lacks energy and excitement. It becomes sedate and stagnant. Afraid of the great big world beyond its horizon, it stays tied to the apron strings of Four. Instead of learning from direct experience, it accepts what is told or instructed by others without question or curiosity. It’s view of life and the world, the hand-me-down of another. In this manner, Five will stick close to the Hierophant and choose group identity over autonomy.
The Four Fives in the Tarot represent change, generally unpleasant, and each Suit shows how it approaches change. The change implied in the Tarot is not always well received or welcome. The Change is often associated with conflict, stress, upset and loss. The Wands approach this change as if it were a challenge. Rising to the occasion and enjoying the conflict it brings, the challenge of Five releases their fiercely competitive spirit, burning ambition and fearlessness. The Cups, being sentimental and emotional resist the change Five forces upon them and mourn the loss it brings. The Swords need for inner change forces them into external clashes and arguments which can sometimes spill over into aggression and violence. The Pentacles experience a terrible change in circumstances when they lack financially or become physically ill.
The Fives cause chaos and disorder and we can become vulnerable to the influence of others’ negativity during this time. Our behaviour can strongly alter when exposed to stress and upset. We can also think just of ourselves, blinkered to the needs or feelings of others during times of personal upheaval. The change or transition the Fives bring to the Four Suits can be difficult and sometimes traumatic. In their Reverse aspect, they become more open-minded and willing to accept change and the losses associated with it. This unusual association of a Reversed card being more positive than when Upright, is influenced by the number Five, which in numerology brings change, conflict, stress and the unexpected when Upright, but less so when Reversed. In times of great change and disorder, we might seek the Reversed Five, to lessen the blow, or as a sign that difficulty is coming to an end. However, as with all Reversals, it would be unwise to assume that trouble is lessening unless surrounding cards suggest it. Reversals bring extremes and the upheaval of the Upright Five may bring even more trouble to bear when Reversed if surrounding cards point in that direction, and if that’s what is being experienced. Disagreements can turn into major rows, demands become overbearing, battle lines are drawn, aggression builds, calamity abounds and change is overwhelmingly destructive.
The Fives in Tarot when Upright tend to resist change, become narrow-minded, negative, rigid and unyielding. The influence of Five loses its powerful grip when Reversed as it falls between the influence of the Four and Six, both balancing and harmonising numbers. Then change and transition are accepted and dealt with, allowing life to settle and healing occur.
Ideally, one does not want to encounter too many Fives in a reading for obvious reasons. However, there is very little gain without pain and it is all part of the learning process of life. Sometimes the lessons we need to learn come fast and furious, all at the one time, unrelenting and devastating. Other times, they are drip fed to us at a more tolerable pace giving us time and space to deal with them individually. If we fail to attend to our lessons, allowing them to build unchecked in the background, a time will come when they burst the dam and flood in on top of us.
Multiples Of Five
***One Five in a reading normally represents problems or upheavals in the area of life dictated by the Suit. One Five does not point to major issues. The situation with a bit of effort can be sorted or simply needs to be endured. The cards that surround the Five would determine what the issue may be, how serious it is and who is involved. One Five suggests a possible flare up or flash-fire with the potential for drama. It is likely to be transient, any disruption or upheaval, short-lived. A single Five could point to disquiet within, or an irritating external presence.
Two or more Fives in a reading suggest a period of difficult changes and upheavals. Life may feel upended and the individual totally lost as to how to fix things or find peace and stability. Irritation and frustration will be evident. It is as if life is thwarting you at every available opportunity. Two Fives can highlight conflict between the need for personal change and those who oppose it.
If all Four Fives appear and are grouped close to each other it can suggest problems which are ongoing; arguments that have reached a stalemate – no one is backing down or prepared to change. There is much drama, stress and upset. Several Fives in a Reading can suggest a loss of control. Life as you know it has fragmented before your eyes. You may not know how to respond. The presence of numerous Fives could point to a general discontent with life and the need for radical change. Disruption and chaos are welcomed as forced change clears the boards. Three or more Fives can imply you are surrounded by strong competition, work in a very competitive environment, or are involved in a competitive relationship. It could reflect an obsession with outdoing everyone else, needing to be the best, always having to win. There may be a combative personality streak where everyone is perceived as an opponent wishing to claim your territory. Several Upright Fives could suggest the odds are on your side where a battle is concerned as you. They can also suggest the need to win at all costs.
Several Fives could imply difficulty in committing or following through. There may be too many false starts and not enough completion. It highlights superficial knowledge as opposed to mastery. A personality easily distracted by novelty. If the Fives are spaced out the Querant is probably experiencing change and difficulty in several areas of life at the one time. This may be the result of a knock-on effect from an earlier originating issue. Look to the other cards for clues, especially Past and Surrounding Energy Positions.
When Fives appear reversed the querant is open to, or has managed to accept any changes that have come their way. If several reversed Fives appear, the individual has freed them self or come out of a period of dreadful discord and upset in their lives. They may now view their experience as life-changing and cleansing. Great personal power and inner-strength was needed to escape the strong influence of so many Fives. They will not forget this time too easily and are bound to have learned much from their experiences. Their card reading and personal story should be very interesting and inspiring.
Reversed Fives can suggest a fear of change or new experiences. There may be rigidity and stagnation in the areas of life suggested by the Suit. Numerous Fives can point to litigation or disputes that have escalated. They can also highlight forceful behaviour or groups that bully or harass. Their presence can suggest intimidation and unpleasant situations. Competition may be healthy or cut-throat when Fives appear Reversed.
A lack of Fives in a reading may possibly suggest a trouble-free time for the querant when life is running smooth and easy.
Now Click onto The Five (V) of Wands, The Five (V) of Cups, The Five (V) of Swords and The Five (V) of Pentacles or in the Sub Menu where you will find their Descriptions, Meanings both Upright and Reversed along with all their relevant Keywords. Alternatively click on the Images above.