Five of Wands

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The Meaning of the Five of Wands

At a Glance

The Five of Wands depicts a group of five young people each brandish a stout wand. They stand on uneven ground and each appears to be trying to gain advantage.

If You Drew This Card…

This is an interesting card full of complicated meanings and seeming contradiction. It is sometimes connected to the process of learning and practice. Reflect on these questions to begin exploring the Five of Wands:

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  • How is the mood of a group you are part of shifting from how it was when the group first came together? 
  • Consider a group you are part of. What is your role in it, and are you happy with this role?
  • A certain amount of conflict can be motivational. How can you use the current atmosphere of tension to propel your own creative involvement in a group project?


  • Are you so frightened of conflict that you have isolated yourself? Throw yourself in the ring; at the very least, you will learn something important about yourself.
  • Do you feel you have lost your footing in a recent confrontation? Before you continue the argument, get seriously grounded within yourself.
  • Are all battles worth fighting? When does the expense of remaining in the fight outweigh any potential gain you hope to achieve?

Interpreting the Symbols

  • Five : The number five represents complete material reality – the world that contains earth, air, fire, water, and space/time. Although it conventionally denotes totality, in tarot the number five often shows a transition point, a moment when struggle comes to a head and must be creatively resolved before advanced progress can be made.
  • Wands : The tarot suit traditionally associated with fire as well as with thought, action, planning, intellect, study, and problem solving. Messages, news, and communication are subjects frequently depicted by Wand cards.
  • Youths : In tarot, young adults symbolize vigor, ambition, and energy as well as recklessness and stubbornness. The conflict illustrated on this card might underscore this particular meaning.
  • The rocky ground : The sky is clear and there are no obstacles to be seen; this might be a playful fight or a mock battle. However, the rocky ground suggests a dimension of seriousness. Even if the young people are playfully fighting they still want to see who will be victorious.

Charmaine’s Take

One of the most interesting parts about this card is that every youth appears to be the same person even though they are all dressed very differently. Some readers like to interpret this card as referring to mental confusion and internal conflict. Have you ever felt divided against yourself when trying to make a complicated decision? This card can speak to that feeling

Sometimes this card is interpreted to show a mock battle or a pretend fight. Although I think this interpretation has value, I pay attention to the fact that everyone seems to be attacking each other at the same time; there is no one defending. This is a serious conflict in the sense that all participants are taking it very seriously. Even if there is no particular motivation for fighting, the outcome is still important to the participants. Reflecting on the reasons why you are involved in a conflict can help you decide if it is worth fighting.

The Five of Wands can also refer to the difficult stage of growth that must be experienced as one advances in education, career, and life experience. There will be many conflicts and small battles; knowing how to handle oneself inside these circumstances takes wisdom.

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