Five of Wands Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations

Five of Wands, Rods or Batons, Tarot card meaning and interpretation

“Too many cooks spoil the broth.” - English proverb

The Suit of Wands, representing the element of Fire, is symbolic of energy, passion and drive. It is the fire that burns in the home and within the engines of our transport and industry. Tarot cards numbered 5 in the Minor Arcana are all, without exception, problematic. This is not a coincidence but a reflection of the symbology of the number 5. Numerology defines the negative traits of 5 as are being unstable, chaotic, irresponsible or careless. In numerology adjacent numbers have opposite traits. The number 4 is stable and ridged as can be seen in the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck's 4 Of Wands with its beautiful 4 sided pergola. In the RWS 6 Of Wands we have a follow on scene from the 5 of Wands where someone responsible has arrived and taken charge of the chaos.

The RWS 5 of Wands is illustrated with 5 men, each holding a wand, doing their own thing without any regard to what the other 4 are doing. There is a total lack of unity in the picture. The element of Fire focuses this disunity in either the home, community or workplace. All the energy and passion, that this element provides, is being wasted due to a lack of singular focus and direction. In A.E Waite's description of the card he suggests that this could be youths at play and this image will remind any parent of the joyful scene of anarchy watching very small children playing in a pre-school group. If play is the objective then there is no need to interfere and bring order to their happy chaos. This card, taken in a positive light, could suggest applying ones energy and passion to athletic pursuits. In numerology the positive traits of the number 5 are being energetic, flexible, adventurous, adaptable and freedom loving. Of the four Minor Arcana cards numbered 5, the 5 of Wands remains open to having a positive or negative meaning. For example another positive meaning of this card could be to interpret it as describing a complex, multifaceted, situation which has many conflicting sides. There is no obvious solution or way forward and perhaps changing its structure, by adding or removing parts of it, could bring about harmony.

In looking for solutions to these problematic 5s it is worth considering the ones presented in the Major Arcana. Unlike the Minor Arcana the major's 5s are not problematic but harmonious. Card 5 of the Major Arcana is The Hierophant which represents institutional, state or religious authority and law. If the RWS 5 of Wands scene is one of 5 builders trying to form a coherent structure from 5 wands then The Hierophant, as a solution, may represent building regulations or architects. The other 5 in the Major Arcana is Temperance which, as card 14, reduces to 5 (1+4=5). Where the The Hierophant represents external control Temperance represents internal control or self control. Temperance reminds us of the number 5's positive traits of being adaptable and flexible.

The 5 of Wands, 5 of Rods or 5 of Batons is a card of disunity, chaos, conflict, struggle, tension and problems in the home, community or work place. The element here is Fire which relates to home, community, work, projects and ambitions. The negative traits of the number 5 in numerology are instability, chaos, irresponsibility and carelessness. The positive traits are being energetic, flexible, adventurous, adaptable and freedom loving.

© Phuture Me Ltd 2010-2019. All rights reserved.


By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

A posse of youths, who are brandishing staves, as if in sport or strife. It is mimic warfare, and hereto correspond the Divinatory Meanings: Imitation, as, for example, sham fight, but also the strenuous competition and struggle of the search after riches and fortune. In this sense it connects with the battle of life. Hence some attributions say that it is a card of gold, gain, opulence. Reversed: Litigation, disputes, trickery, contradiction.

Related Tarot Cards

Five of Pentacles Tarot card meaning and interpretation Five of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation Five of Cups Tarot card meaning and interpretation
The Hierophant Tarot card meaning and interpretation Temperance Tarot card meaning and interpretation

© Phuture Me Ltd 2019. All rights reserved.

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