The five of wands is a Minor Arcana tarot card that is full of intriguing images. Depending on the context in which it is presented, the five of wands can indicate a time of labor, conflict, challenges or obstacles. It is generally viewed as a somewhat negative card, but might indicate success if the tarot subject is willing to face the challenges ahead.
In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the most popular tarot card set in the English-speaking world, the five of wands depicts five men with five wands, apparently quarreling. One of the men looks joyful, two look angry, one looks pensive, and one has his back turned toward the tarot reader. The story of the card can be interpreted in a variety of manners: perhaps they are involved in a construction project, but have interrupted their progress to fight.
The five of wands, given the apparent story told by the image, can mean that a person’s own emotional, spiritual, or material progress have been halted by interpersonal conflict or inner struggle. The tarot subject’s goals may be achieved, but only through relentless hard work and a willingness to make comprimises. The five of wands tells the tarot reader that the subject must listen to outside suggestions and admit past mistakes.
When reversed, the meaning of the five of wands tarot card becomes even more negative. It can signifty lies, deception, hatred, and unnecessary struggles that are maintained despite logic. Grudges, gossip, and unnecessary competitiveness are often symbolized by the reveresed five of wands, and it can signal a failure to “forgive and forget” past transgressions.
The meaning of the five of wands might vary depending on the tarot deck being used and the specific image that it displays; it might also depend on the context of the reading and the card’s position in a tarot spread. In some decks, the five of wands may show a slightly different competitive scene, or lack the features of the Rider-Waite card entirely. In playing card tarot reading, the five of wands’ equivalent is the five of clubs.
Tarot readers should view the five of wands as a symbol of progress that has been slowed or stalled due to stubbornness and prejudice. The tarot subject should consider whether or not his personal conflicts are actually worth the battle, because emotional and spiritual development are being hindered by an unwillingness to see beyond petty conflict.
Source: Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
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