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"At the forefront of the pack, the hare sprints away. It darts past rocks and trees, slips under branches. Its paws flash across the ground with the race of adrenaline in its veins – the red, living pulse of blood that his pursuers scent. It drives them to a frenzy as they race after that elusive and pale streak. They race against each other, nearly climbing upon each other’s backs in their efforts of chase, leaping from the tops of the wands, springing wildly through the air. Everyone for himself!"

- Stephanie Pui-Mun Law & Barbara Moore
(Shadowscapes Companion)

The Five of Wands is the Universal Archetype and Worldly principle of Competition, Strife, Anxiety, Frustration and Renewed Focus. This card is a Strong Positive card which allows the Beholder to focus their energies in a more positive flow, honing in on precision and care.

Strife is the state of having abundant energy, but not knowing what to do with that energy, as this highly focused energy is being contained and held back by the Beholder. This is what produces the state of frustration.



"Strife or anxiety is that state where energy is stuck or unmoving, which is represented by the leaded of greyed-over coloration of this symbol. Any holding back or self-limitation will move you into that state in alchemy which is known as leaded consciousness. Leaded consciousness is symbolically represented by the greyed-over areas of this symbol. The lotus blossoms are grey, which means that in states of anxiety you have difficulty opening or unfolding. In states of anxiety or strife you have difficulty accessing inherent wisdom, the Ibis heads, or in moving in new directions to regenerate yourself. In states of anxiety or frustration or strife, you don’t see things clearly, which is represented by the winged Eye of Horus at the top of the card which is greyed-over, and are unable to renew and regenerate yourself like the snakes coming off the winged Eye of Horus. Yet the entire background of the card is yellow, which symbolizes energy that wants to be used but is being contained or limited, which creates the response or experience of strife."

- Angeles Arrien
(The Tarot Handbook)



Astrologically the Five of Wands is epitomised by Saturn in Leo. Saturn is the planet of Discipline, of setting boundaries and limiting yourself, of proceeding on the path, step by step. Leo is the sign of the Zodiac that is associated with full unrestrictive Creative power that does not want to be held back. Once these two powerful Archetypes wrestle for their dominion, this produces excessive exuberance, instinctive and uncontrolled reactions.


"This card is referred to Geburah of the suit of Fire. Geburah itself being fiery, it is a purely active force. It is ruled also by Saturn and Leo. Leo shows the element of Fire at its strongest and most balanced. Saturn tends to weigh it down and to embitter it. There is no limit to the scope of this volcanic energy."

- The Book of Thoth
(Aleister Crowley)



Mars in Scorpio is also an astrological trait that represents the Five of Wands, and symbolizes the ability to focus with strong willpower to accomplish anything.

It is about relishing the challenges that come along the way, accepting them with full passion and integrity to gain great opulence (wealth, riches). This is why the Five of Wands is also known as “the card of Gold”.



When you pull this card it can reflect the state of feeling frustrated and held back in your Creative endeavours. The Five of Wands symbolizes Strife and Battle, without hatred or bitterness.

This can also reflect the state of anxiety you are feeling with Leo people (July 21st to August 21st). In the next five weeks and five months there is great opportunity to release the patterns of anxiety and strife which are being experienced in your own Creative flows and passions. This is also an indicator to release frustration with Leo people and also in the months of Leo.



Pulling this card is also a strong indicator that you have great opportunity to release patterns of frustration that go back five months, five years and also to when you were five years old.

A lot of our habits and energy patterns we inherit from our parents. Spend some time thinking about which of your parents had the tendency to hold back and then make the decision not to be the lineage bearer of frustration any further. The line must be drawn!



The aspect of family is represented by the number five which is also the number for The Hierophant card which is the symbol and archetype of the Family and Spiritual teaching and learning. The Hierophant is an excellent card to meditate upon to assist with the releasing of these blocks and walls of Strife. Feel the freedom of the clear pond once the energy can flow freely!

In the Beautiful and elegant Animals Divine Tarot, the Five of Wands is symbolized by the elusive Chameleon, who represents the frustration of Conflicts in relationships and displaced energy.



"The chameleon clings to its branch in a state of confusion. It is caught between a world of stability and its own changeability. It radiates diffused energy, with no clear direction for dispersal. The energy becomes displaced and gravitates back to the creature’s form through its spiralling tail. The spiralling tale appears to be an endless vortex with no clear receptacle for the depositing energy. With the chameleon’s inability to direct the energy in a manner that will allow it to move forward, the creature gets caught in a state of restlessness and anxiety. It begins to tighten its grip as it becomes more apprehensive. It becomes completely still except for the darting movements of its errant eyes. It looks in several directions simultaneously, desperately seeking a way to break its paralysis."

- Animals Divine Companion
(Lisa Hunt)

There is an urgent need to channel energy in a more focused manner. Examine your Life as there may be negative influences affecting you from outside parties. It is necessary to break free from negative influences and people as a means of re-engaging in your Creative freedoms.

In the elegant Shadowscapes Companion Tarot, the Five of Wands is symbolized by the fox, hare and hunter, all aspects of one another as they lightly battle to achieve their goals and dreams.



"And through the battle of fiery brindled fur, he charges. They do all they can to obstruct him, as if for the mere enjoyment of conflict. It is like swimming upstream against a powerful surge. Exhaustion burns in the muscles and the lungs. At times there is a thin voice from within that urges, ‘Just lie down. Let the tide of strife wash over and past.’ But no, to do so would be to be trampled beneath the onrush. He does not falter. He feels his own pulse heat up with the excitement of this strife. It is an uphill struggle of living obstacles that he wades through. He feels a bit like the hare himself, struggling to break through to get to his haven."

- Shadowscapes Companion
(Stephanie Pui-Mun Law & Barbara Moore)

It seems as if the world has thrown all these minor obstructions into your path, which together make one Giant obstruction. See this as a Challenge to overcome, answering the call of the wild with renewed vigour. Take down each obstruction in turn until you find the peace within. Appreciate the mighty Strength within yourself!

The traditional Rider-Waite Tarot also symbolizes the energy of being beset by silly, minor annoyances. This has all to do with your own unique state of Perception. You attract what you give out to the Universe. Change how you perceive the World and hence you will change your Path!



"The Five of Wands stands for times when your environment seems to be fighting you. Nothing flows smoothly, everyone is working at cross-purposes. The figures on this card are all batting at each other. There is no coordinated effort, no agreement. When this card shows up, be prepared for a bumpy ride. You’re going to need extra patience and perseverance to get to the point where you can accomplish something. The Five of Wands does not represent major blockages, just many small, irritating ones."

- Learning The Tarot (Joan Bunning)

The Five of Wands also represents Competition. At times, when held in check Competition is good for growth and Life, however when pushed to extremes and skewed then it becomes toxic. Don’t get involved in the dog-eat-dog world that so many people foster. Make certain that any competitive elements you involve yourself in work towards clarity and co-operation!



Aleister Crowley speaks candidly about the Five of Wands and notes that the main symbol represents the wand of the Chief Adept, showing that the authority is derived from the superiors. The wands of the Second Major Adept have the head of the Phoenix which gives the idea of destruction through fire and the resurrection of the energy from its ashes. The Five of Wands is also known as the “Lord of Strife”.

There is also a pair of wands of the Third Minor Adept which are daughters and symbolize the mitigating influence of the Mother. One of the most difficult doctrines with regard to Geburah is that, while it represents all this tameless irrational energy and disturbance, it derives from the benign and gentle influence of the feminine.



"The Egyptians understood this doctrine perfectly. Their Lion-goddess, Pasht, was hailed as ‘saeva’ and ‘ferox’, was even called ‘red in tooth and claw’ by those fanatical devotees who wished to identify her with Nature. The idea of sexual cruelty is often inherent in the highest divine nature; compare Bhavani and Kali in the Hindu system, and observe the Shiva-Shakti coition portrayed on many Tibetan banners."

- The Book of Thoth
(Aleister Crowley)

In Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, Lon Milo Duquette has a very interesting fact which he shares regarding the Five of Wands.



"This is one of only three cards on which Crowley literally left his mark. If we look closely at the orb of the winged solar disk atop the large version of the Chief Adept’s wand in the centre of the card, we find the image of Crowley’s personal magical device, the Mark of the Beast upon the seven-pointed star of Babylon. This symbol is the device of the Ace of Disks and the Prince of Wands, who also rules the 30° period in which we find Crowley’s Ascendant."

All in all the Five of Wands is a Strong, positive card which reminds us to let go of our fears and inhibitions, retain our balance in the Divine and central core of our Being and accomplish what we have set out to do. The energy is all there, it is just being held back. Focus on the task at hand and apply yourself with full fervour, also keeping in Heart that you will be Successful!





- Challenges and Focus -

Rising to the challenge
Going against an opponent
Feeling the thrill of the contest
Overcoming difficult obstacles
Working hard with others
Facing difficult challenges


- Disagreements -

Everyone at cross-purposes
Being torn by dissension
Quarrelling, arguing and bickering
Becoming embroiled in a debate
Being at odds with others
Quibbling over details


- Experiencing Competition -

Being involved in a game/sport
Trying to outdo yourself
Going for the gold
Looking for a fight
Having a rival
Being challenged by an upstart


- Experiencing Hassles -

Getting annoyed by demands
Having minor setbacks
Needing to take care of details
Suffering from irritations
Being bothered by trivialities
Making the best of a bad situation





- Great Progress despite Conflict -

No nonsense attitude, Considering alternative approaches, Direct confrontation, Productive associations, Self-challenge, Fiery Challenges, Adding support to a difficult problem, Bravery, Competition, Reorganization, Willingness, Friction, Resisting the consensus, Pushing the boundaries, Sport, Mimic warfare, sham fight, Open declarations, Zeal, Will to succeed, Holding ground, Testing mettle, Testing, Steadfast conviction, Irrepressible sensuality, Competition




- Personal and Aggressive Conflicts -

Hating to see peace and love between others, Bitterness towards others, Disagreements, Resistance, ability to find alternative routes, Incompetence, Tension, Energy wasted, Hesitation at a critical time, Missing the boat, Lethargy, Frustration, Trouble, Conflict, Hard labour, Nervous tension, Hostility, Contest finished and decided against the person, Thankless, Breakdown of trust, Compromises end, Struggle and Effort fail to yield Positive Results, Uneconomical plans, Cruel, Worst methods chosen, A leader proves incompetent, Restlessness, Anxiety, Cowardly, Working under compulsion, Incompatibility, Taking on too much, Poor circulation, Evil-Speaking, Struggle, Unreliable, Disputes, Weakness, Defeat, A busybody and separator of friends, Repressed anger, Blockages, Sexual quandaries, Malice, Slander, Malicious, Litigation, Disputes, Trickery, Contradiction, Avarice, Failure, Poverty, Laborious, Slanderous, Spiteful, Loss, Lying, Loss and vileness of nature, Unresting, Defeat, Grieving after gain, Tale-bearing, War




- Disrupting Influences Overcome -

Cessation of a problematic period, Avoidance, Ending of conflicts or disagreements, Refusal to fight, Stepping out of the way, Avoiding trouble, Letting go of unessential projects, Lightening the load, Feelings of pity easily roused but unenduring, Clever and quick in thought and speech, Evaluating a situation, Conserving energy and resources, Avoiding negative people, Composure regained, Refusal to accuse and create enemies, Taking an easier path, Hard work comes to nothing



"The reversal asks to strengthen the positive and release the negative. Any path will always lead to both being fulfilled."

- Michael Tsarion





- Opposing Cards: Some Possibilities -

balance, agreement, working together

The World
integration, working together

The Two of Cups
truce, agreement. coming together

The Two of Pentacles
working smoothly, getting people together

The Three of Pentacles
teamwork, co-operation



- Reinforcing Cards: Some Possibilities -

The Seven of Wands
opposition, fighting

The Ten of Wands
struggles, hassles, meeting resistance

The Five of Swords
discord, people set against each other

The Two of Swords
fighting with a closed Heart




- Research sources -

Taroscopes by Michael Tsarion

Röhrig Tarot by Carl-W. Röhrig
Arcus Arcanum Tarot
by Hager Gunter
The Tarot Handbook
by Angeles Arrien
The Book of Thoth
by Aleister Crowley
Animals Divine Companion
by Lisa Hunt
Fantastical Creatures
by Lisa Hunt & D.J. Conway
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley & Lady Frieda Harris
Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot by Pamela Colman Smith
by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law & Barbara Moore
Understanding Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette
Robin Wood Tarot
by Robin Wood & Michael Short
Kleopatra Tarot by Etta Stoico & Silvana Alasia
Connolly Tarot
by Eileen & Peter Paul Connolly
Learning the Tarot
by Joan Bunning
Haindl Tarot by
Hermann Haindl