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The Meaning of
the "Five of Wands" Tarot Card

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What is the inverted meaning of
the "Five of Wands"?

The Meaning of the "Five of Wands"
Tarot Card

The Symbolism of the Five of Wands

On the Five of Wands card, a mock battle takes place among a group of youths.

The age of the young men is intentional: They are old enough that it may turn serious quickly, but young enough that they are still just playing at it rather than making real war.

... their wands are raised and prepared to strike but are not shown actually striking.

It's also important to notice that their wands are raised and prepared to strike but are not shown actually striking.

Each of the five young men pictured on the Five of Wands wears a different color: Signifying that they come from different houses, backgrounds, or perspectives. The message here is that the conflict between them rises from different viewpoints or loyalties.

The ground under the combatants' feet is rough and uneven, symbolizing the chaos and uncertainty of the current situation.

How to Interpret the Five of Wands

Conflict and tension are indicated in the Five of Wands card. Everyone has their own viewpoint and their own agenda, and disagreements threaten to tear everything apart.

While the card probably does not indicate actual "fighting" — although it may — it does indicate an open, mutually recognized war of words and ideas.

... it generally represents a point of conflict. Something will be contested; possibly by multiple parties.

When the Five of Wands appears in a reading, it generally represents a point of conflict. Something will be contested; possibly by multiple parties.

It's important to notice that the card does not portray suffering, injury or regret (as in the Five of Swords card): Instead the card shows 5 enthusiastic combatants. This is an important point: There are times when hashing out ideas and viewpoints can occasionally be beneficial — as long as no one is getting hurt.

The card generally carries an overall negative sentiment, because conflict is unproductive in most cases. However, the card can in some cases indicate a worthwhile exercise in working through opposing viewpoints.

The important takeaway is to listen. If everyone is shouting and no one is listening, the conflict just might continue for a long, long time.

The Five of Wands Inverted

The reversed Five of Wands can have a few different meanings, depending on the specific tarot reading:

... the card relates to the end of a conflict and a coming to terms.

In most cases the card relates to the end of a conflict and a coming to terms. The parties which couldn't see eye-to-eye previously, have now "kissed and made up" and are moving on — in one way or another.

In some cases the parties involved in a conflict may have finally begun to communicate and listen to one another, and have reached a mutual agreement. In other cases however, one party may have given in, or sacrificed their position in the interest of moving forwards amicably.

If it's not clear which one of those resolutions applies, drawing a clarifying card, or looking to surrounding cards in the tarot spread may be beneficial.

Another possible meaning of the inverted Five of Wands card is that it may represent an internalized conflict: An outwardly calm exterior may conceal an inner turmoil and chaos of conflicting emotions and desires.

Common Symbols Found On the Five of Wands Card

Tarot cards often use a a symbolic language to visually communicate additional information about how each card should be read. The Five of Wands includes one well-known, repeating Tarot symbol. This symbols which repeats throughout the deck can add an additional dimension of meaning to the card.

A common symbol which appears on the Five of Wands card is:

  • Uneven Ground

    Uneven ground symbolism appears on the Five of Wands card:

    Uneven, rocky terrain in Tarot symbology, represents a time or place of uncertainty and instability and the possibility of mistakes. Uneven terrain may also suggest the possibility for a shift in fortunes, or for an unexpected event . When uneven ground shows up on a Tarot card, it often suggests to the reader that a heightened sense of caution is recommended because potential pitfalls abound — and the possibility for loss or injury is underfoot.

    NOTE: The uneven ground shown on the Five of Wands card helps to convey the concept of chaos in battle. There are many unknowns here, and the potential for the unexpected to occur is high.

    Read more about the symbolism of "Uneven Ground" in Tarot  

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