5 of Wands

Alt names: Strife, Rivalry
Keywords: Confrontation, disruption, distinction, objection, strife
5 of Wands
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Range of meanings

Light: Calmly expressing a dissenting opinion. Allowing someone to use his or her own methods to get a job done. Opening the floor for discussion or debate. Comparing progress made so far to standards set earlier.

Shadow: Berating others for their ridiculous opinions. Picking fights. Offering destructive criticism. Baiting people with barbed remarks. Disrupting progress with an endless stream of pointless objections.

Questions to ask

  1. How might meekness (as opposed to confrontation) work in your situation?
  2. How might changing yourself change the outcome of this particular battle?
  3. We’re quick to see the errors of others, but slow to understand how our own actions might contribute to confrontations. How have your actions contributed to the crisis?
  4. To what extent is your current issue worth fighting for?
  5. What alternatives are there to outright conflict?
  6. What happens in a “fair fight?” How can you keep this fight fair?

Advice

Personal Growth: What makes you angry? How do you respond when you loose your cool? Going berserk isn’t the answer. Swallowing your feelings won’t work either. Find constructive, level-headed ways to say what you need to say before you reach the boiling point.

Work: If your workplace lacks harmony, getting things done requires far more time and effort. Create an atmosphere where people feel free to share what they really think. Avoid the blame game; talk in terms of what should happen…and what happens when the system breaks down.

Relationships: Every relationship has its ups and downs; no two people can be together for any length of time without some friction. Without making things personal, air your grievances. Share how you feel. If you feel a confrontation coming on, ask yourself what triggers it and why.

Spirituality: It’s easy to feel spiritually connected when meditating in a tranquil garden. But how can you maintain your balance when surrounded by emotionally-charged chaos? Remember: you are not your emotions. Withdraw. Breathe. Save anger for those few transgressions worthy of such a powerful emotion.

Fortune-Telling: Prepare for a fight with your best friend. Remember: once you let words loose, you can’t take them back.

Associations

Astrological: Leo

Planet: Saturn

Fool's Journey: The main character takes a stand and says, “Enough is enough!”

The Number 5: The Catalyst: instability, resistance, confrontation, evolution. The number representing humanity (head, arms, and legs).

Wands: One of the four suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called rods, staves, or staffs. Represents desire, inspiration, vision, creation, and invention. Many decks depict budding Wands, suggesting the potential for growth. As a suit marker, Wands suggest the power and potency of a king’s scepter. When a Magician wants something to happen, he waves his magic wand to make his intentions manifest.

In RWS-inspired decks, five figures on the 5 of Wands confront each other. Are they fighting? Are they dancing? Are three watching while the other two battle to the death? Waite claimed the youths could be engaged in either sport or strife -- or even a “sham fight.” It’s worth asking whether or not your conflict, represented by this card, is the problem or just a symptom of something else in the group dynamic.:

Content generously licensed from Mark McElroy via TarotTools.com.