The 5 of Wands

The 5 of Wands - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

Representing conflict; the 5 of Wands as depicted on a regular deck of cards is often drawn as an X shape here that symbolism is echoed. As wands are often seen as manipulating the other domains of the Tarot, the 5 of Wands in representing conflict is not limited to the domain of Creation alone it can incorporate the other domains, but crucially, in doing so the emphasis is the impact upon our creativity and action that this conflict causes and the impact that our actions have in turn.

In the upright state the 5 of Wands represents the connection between our objective in our creative endeavour and the reality that we have to work within. It may be that our creative endeavour is the source of this conflict, or it may be that the existing reality has put in place a structure or power dynamic that is challenged by our creative endeavour and the conflict therefore results from the disruption. In either case the 5 of Wands is a warning that our creative endeavour will be disrupted by external forces and that we should prepare for this accordingly.

In the inverted state this focus shifts from the external to the internal, instead of our creative endeavour causing disruption or being disrupted by external forces, it is instead the source of disruption this represents an internal conflict, where our own actions are complicating our endeavour. This can be a sign that we are holding ourselves back unnecessarily or that our focus needs to shift to be able to recognise the obstruction we have created, in situations such as this there is often an underlying emotion such as fear or attachment that impedes our progress.

In the Rider-Waite deck the 5 of Wands is depicted as a skirmish between 5 men in different coloured uniforms representing the conflicting interests of each individual; there does not appear to be any single opponent or proponent in the depiction representing ambiguity and disarray.

In self-reflection the 5 of Wands serves as a prompt to consider the negative elements that you may have failed to remove and revaluate your methods to negate those negative influences. Positive influences here do not need to be addressed - problems need to be solved, solutions do not.

Ask yourself “What is holding me back?” and “How can I remove this barrier?” where the 4 of Wands asks us to narrow our vision the 5 of Wands asks us to maintain flexibility, when creating smaller tasks our objectives become more precise and in turn can become much more rigid and unforgiving. The focus here should be to maintain flexibility and a willingness to accept outcomes that may not be what we first envisioned but still achieve the core objective.

For example, if your career goal is to ascend the corporate ladder and you are offered a promotion to a position you had not considered, reflect on the forward movement and whether that step will bring you closer to your goal even if it was not the path you first thought you would take.

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