Unpacking the Five of Wands
I do a lot of livestream readings on Facebook. On Friday I do the Friday Weekly Wrap-up. I pull a single card for the collective, and then individual cards for those who make a request. The goal is to use a card to reflect on the week; to discover what we learned, what we did, and how we will move forward.
Even though I shuffle between each card I pull, I find that very often a particular card comes up a lot. This Friday the Five of Wands was the card for the collective, and then came up quite a few more times for individuals.
Then, in subsequent private readings later in the day, the Five of Wands appeared again.
It seems that the Five of Wands is describing an energy many of us are feeling right now.
A typical keyword for the Five of Wands is ‘conflict’. Yet, there is so much more to unpack in this card.
Let us start with the number Five. I see the number Four as the ‘comfort zone’, and the number Six as ‘Victory’. Therefore, Five is that place of expansion out of the comfort zone yet before we have secured our victory. By nature, Five is an uncomfortable place to be.
Now, let us look at the suit of Wands. Wands, of course, relate to the element of Fire. Fire is our motivation, our passion, our creativity, our anger, our humor, our vitality, and our spirituality.
When we add the expansive nature of Five to the fiery nature of Wands, we see great potential for an explosion. Whether that is an explosion of anger or creative inspiration depends on the individual circumstances.
The classic Waite-Smith image often makes the rounds on social media with the caption “Stupid Tent”.
The card shows an image of five people, each with a wand. They might be fighting. They might be playing. They might be dancing. Or, indeed, they might be building something or struggling to set up a tent.
Sometimes when this card appears, I like to ask my client what they think the people in the Five of Wands are doing. Whatever activity they see in the card is the activity they need to be doing. Perhaps they need to fight for what they want. Perhaps they need to dance more, to bring more joy into their lives. Perhaps they need to focus on building something. Perhaps they need to be more playful.
I think sometimes tarotists see the conflict inherent in this card and don’t bother to dig more deeply.
Sometimes, this card really is about conflict. That might be internal conflict, as in decision-making. It might be conflict going on around the querent. It also might be a conflict between the querent and someone else.
When reversed or ill-dignified, it can sometimes be about people who are unwilling to take a stand. That is, those who are conflict-averse to their own detriment.
Yet, this card can also be about creative collaboration, and the tension inherent in that process. This card can be about taking a creative risk in order to build something bigger and better than before. This card can be about the motivation it takes to push for success, and the anxiety that happens along the way.
Why is the Five of Wands appearing so often right now? Certainly, there is a great deal of conflict happening on the planet at the moment. Yet, within the Five of Wands is the journey toward success, both personal and planetary.
The Five of Wands reminds us that things are uncomfortable right now. Yet, with creative solutions and good collaboration we can, as individuals, as communities, and as a planet, build something wonderful.
The Five of Wands also reminds us that nothing wonderful happens without the willingness to incur a modicum of risk.