The Five of Wands is the fifth tarot card in the Minor Arcana’s suit of Wands and depicts a scene of conflict between a group of people, each one trying to have their voice heard or their point of view validated. It symbolizes a process of dynamic tension where internal or external discord produces the need to integrate and synthesize competing wants, needs, and perspectives.

The Five of Wands is associated with the element of fire and the first decan of the Leo zodiac sign (0-9 degrees). It is linked to Saturn in Leo, a sign where Saturn is thought to be in detriment or ill-equipped to meet its needs. This tension is evident in the struggle between the desire for self-expression (a quality of Leo) and the desire to establish order and group harmony (a quality of Saturn).

Where the key meanings of the Major Arcana focus on life’s overarching themes and events, Minor Arcana cards like the Five of Wands explore and reveal the more subtle changes impacting one’s day-to-day life and near future.

Five of Wands Keywords

Upright Keywords

Reversed Keywords

discord, conflict, dynamic tension, imbalance, competition

integrating competing forces, resolving disputes, inner conflict, or conflict avoidance

Description of the Five of Wands Tarot Card

Following the stability and celebration of the Four of Wands, the Five of Wands tarot card description encompasses conflict, competition, and strife. The fives in the Minor Arcana, like in numerology, speak to experiences marked by constraint, conflict, change, and creative synthesis. They are necessary periods of contraction in order to arrive at the harmony and balance found in the sixes.

In the classic Rider Waite tarot deck, the Five of Wands shows a group of figures mid-conflict, with their wands raised high in the air in an effort to knock down their opponents. Their wands represent their life force, creative energy, and self-expression. They are using their wands as weapons, indicating that they haven’t yet learned how to avoid clashes and channel their energy in productive ways.

Each figure is dressed in different colored and patterned clothing, suggesting that everyone’s viewpoint is unique and exists in contrast to the rest of the group. There doesn’t appear to be a winner, only a cacophony of competing voices and energies, each one vying for primacy over the others.

Five of Wands Upright Meaning

In the upright position, The Five of Wands indicates a period of conflict or struggle with others. There is an air of competition and tension as each person tries to assert themselves and have their voice heard by the group. This card suggests an approach of slowing down, considering other opinions and perspectives, and working to find a way to integrate each person’s perspective.

The Five of Wands upright can indicate that you are meeting resistance either internally or in your environment as you try to bring your will into existence. The process of trying to realize your creative dreams often comes with tension, pushback, resistance, or doubts. This card can speak to the frustration of coming up against roadblocks or necessary compromises as you try to bring your dreams to reality.

This card can symbolize a period of creative brainstorming, ideation, and collaboration where many diverse perspectives serve to enhance the project or the goal of the group. You can benefit from this by testing your viewpoint against others and by having your ideas challenged and strengthened in the process. The result of what you can create together, upon finding common ground, is greater than what can be achieved alone.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position of a love reading, The Five of Wands suggests that you’re facing a period of conflict or lack of cooperation within your relationship or with loved ones. You could be entrenched in a cyclical dynamic where each person ardently tries to defend their position without listening to the other. This card can signal the need for more calm, considered, and compassionate ways of communicating that allow each person to be heard.

The upright Five of Wands can also speak to the need for more creative collaboration in your relationship. There could be a spirit of competition that creates unnecessary division between you. If you find yourself comparing your hurts against theirs, this card suggests the need to work together as a team, with a unifying goal in mind rather than in opposition to each other.

Love/relationships upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

conflict, defensiveness, competition, need for creative collaboration and teamwork 

competing points of view, need to listen to others, creative brainstorming, collaboration

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position of a tarot card reading, The Five of Wands suggests that you’re involved in a group project or workplace that is characterized by tension or friendly competition. The tension could stem from competing points of view or the inability to achieve group harmony amidst a sea of loud voices.  This card suggests the need to slow down to listen to each other and appreciate each person’s perspective.

This card can also suggest a period of creative brainstorming which produces dynamic and interesting ideas. The challenge of collaboration results in a mixture of opinions, styles, and ways of working that can be synthesized into something novel and exciting. If the energy can be channeled into a coherent strategy, this collaboration can produce a creative breakthrough.

Five of Wands Reversed Meaning

The Five of Wands reversed can signal that you may be suppressing feelings of anger or frustration out of a desire to avoid conflict. If you are keeping your feelings to yourself rather than giving voice to them, you may be feeling resentful and on edge. If you can find a way to approach the conversation in a calm and constructive way, you may find new solutions that arise from expressing your truth.

Rather than facing conflict with another person or group of people, it can also signify being internally conflicted over an issue in your life, with strong feelings pulling you in more than one direction. It can suggest that conflicting aspects of your psyche are vying for attention, and it may be beneficial to try and find a solution that attends to multiple needs and desires.

In the reverse, the Five of Wands tarot meaning can also signify that you are emerging from a period of conflict and are finding ways to resolve the tension. Perhaps you have learned to implement different communication strategies or have become less defensive. Your fighting instincts may have shown you where you were wounded in the past, but you’ve learned to approach your anger with a new, calmer perspective.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reversed Five of Wands, the struggle to be heard in your love life can be amplified. There could be issues of competition for ego dominance, defensiveness, passive aggression, and bickering. This could be leading to emotionally volatile situations where each person insists on the righteousness of their position. Try to disengage from this type of conflict and re-enter the conversation from a grounded and calm perspective.

Alternatively, a tarot reading with the Five of Wands reversed can signify that you are working through a period of conflict and struggle in your relationship and are healing the tension caused by fighting, competition, and strife. You have learned to listen respectfully to each others’ points of view, to respond calmly, and to temper the desire to respond defensively. This suggests that a more mature, open, and honest communication style is being established, which can benefit your current relationship or one with a potential partner or suitor.

Love/relationships reversed keywords

Career/finance reversed keyword

competition for ego dominance, defensiveness, bickering, working through conflict

creative struggle, pulled in multiple directions, roadblocks, resolving conflict

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position of a tarot spread, the Five of Wands suggests that there’s a creative struggle taking place in your work, either internally or externally. Perhaps you are feeling conflicted about which direction to go or are feeling pulled in multiple directions. You could also be facing pushback externally or are hitting roadblocks as you try to actualize your ideas in the world.

Alternatively, the reversed Five of Wands can indicate that you are resolving a conflict in your work and have used this tension to propel you toward a resolution. You have arrived at a solution born of the need to creatively integrate competing aspects or desires.

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