Five of Wands Tarot Card Meaning - Upright, Reversed & More

Five of Wands upright

Five of Wands At A Glance

Keywords: Competition, professional rivalry, imposter syndrome, negatively comparing self to others, jealousy, envy, overt passion for career or hobby
Season: Summer
Element: Fire (creativity, passion and will power)

Five of Wands Tarot Card Description

The Five of Wands is the fifth card within the suit of Wands in the Rider Waite Smith system of tarot. In the original imagery of this card we see five young men each holding a wand. Their body language and facial expressions suggest that the group is fighting amongst each other with each of the wands representing a large stick.

All of the men are entirely focused on the present moment and they all seem equally matched; there is no clear victor or loser within the battle. The scene is chaotic and frenzied but no one seems to be harmed. Despite the movement and chaos depicted there is also a feeling of impending stalemate that is about to be realized between the men.

Five of Wands Upright Meaning

When the Five of Wands comes to a reader in its upright position it can easily feel like a bit of a condescending ‘nag’ from the universe to “turn the other cheek” or to “be appreciative of what we have.” It is a card that can easily cause an eye roll from more advanced readers because the sickly sweet themes of ‘being yourself’ that this card evokes can become tiresome and cliche very quickly.

This means that the Five of Wands is sometimes not taken as seriously as other cards when it is pulled and ultimately its advice often goes unheeded. So I would like to suggest a fresh new take on this card: instead of seeing this card and thinking “surprise, surprise, I must be myself”; which is one of those things that’s easy to say and difficult to actually do, instead try asking ourselves a question.

Some examples of questions we can ask ourselves could be “how can I support my best self today?” or “what can I do today that makes way for a better tomorrow?”

This method of asking ourselves a question that relates to the themes of the tarot card we have received is a great way of cutting through the old worn out meanings and prompting our minds to make new associations with tarot cards.

This works for any tarot card and not just the Five of Wands. This is one method that can lead to a tarot reading practice that is much more organic and meaningful to us in the long term.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” - Helen Keller

Five of Wands Reversed Meaning

Five of Wands reversed

When the Five of Wands comes to us reversed (Its artwork is upside down) then it can mean that we have feelings of jealousy or rivalry which might be causing us to act in a manner which is negative for others around us and ourselves. For example we may be jealous of a colleague’s promotion and be tempted to sabotage their work.

Or perhaps we are envious of what a friend has and become snappy at them. But sometimes we can internalize these feelings and instead of acting out at others we treat ourselves badly. We may feel a deep sense of imposter syndrome as if we don’t deserve our recent successes or we may negatively compare ourselves to others and then berate ourselves.

Long term this lowers our self-esteem if we do not catch this mental habit quickly. The meaning of the 5 of Wands when reversed is to not try to erase or push away these negative feelings because we all experience them from time to time.

We are not bad people for feeling this way because we are not in complete control of our emotions, however we are in control of our actions. The Five of Wands reversed suggests forgiving ourselves when we notice these emotions bubble up from our sub-conscious and recognize that the very act of noticing them is progress in itself.

Once we are aware that we may be acting in a certain way because of a negative emotion we can forgive ourselves for the thought or emotion and then consciously choose to change our actions. In time we can even use these negative emotions to enact positive changes.

For example in this way envy is not too dissimilar from inspiration: if we initially feel envious of something a friend has we can in time move our mind-frame to one which is instead inspired to also do the work needed to obtain that same thing our friend had.

“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.” - Chris Pine

Five of Wands: Yes or No

The Five of Wands is a no card. Whether upright or reversed it is suggesting that in one way or another we are being too hard on ourselves. Currently we may have a lot of negativity directed internally at ourselves or externally at the world around us and this could hinder our ability to think clearly and navigate through this opportunity.

It suggests saying no and declining the opportunity for now so we can work through this negative internal landscape. Have no fear there will be more opportunities around the corner when the time and our psyche is right they will present themselves to us.

Let’s Break Down the Five of Wands In Our Lives

How the Five of Wands meanings can change when they refer to distinct areas of our daily lives and the specific advice it gives us.

Five of Wands In Love

We could be finding rivalry or competition within our relationships when we are presented with the Five of Wands in a love reading. However this doesn’t mean it is negative or unhealthy. Many of us thrive within relationships that challenge us as this leads to a bettering of ourselves and partners overtime. Banter and healthy debates can also be stimulating and very attractive which can keep the chemistry alive between us and our partners.

Reversed unfortunately it is a different story. It can suggest unproductive bickering and repetitive arguments and resentments which never get resolved. A daily stalemate can be felt which may kill the mood and long term lead to bitterness and resentment. We are being asked to use open and honest communication to cut through the endless bickering and get to the very heart of the matter.

Five of Wands With Money

Receiving the Five of Wands in answer to a financial question can suggest many ideas, income streams or opportunities all fighting for dominance. There is a lot of possibility which is very exciting but unfortunately it can create a lot of mental noise or chaos which makes it difficult for us to identify the correct path or option to take.

We may be tempted to pick one option at random or quickly just to quiet the din but we should not. Instead we must slow down and methodically view each option in turn, assessing all of the pros and cons. Only after thorough examination should we act.

Reversed it can suggest we are spreading ourselves too thinly across too many different income streams and as a result we are failing to see any progress in any one area because we are unable to dedicate the full amount of time and energy needed for each project.

We must think creatively to streamline, merge or potentially ditch the ones which are not bettering our finances or happiness levels.

Five of Wands At Work

When asking a career based question and the Five of Wands answers us it can suggest it might be competitive jealousy that is putting a spanner in the works. This could be our own feelings or we could be on the receiving end of someone else’s feeling of professional rivalry.

This is not always a bad thing, a little professional rivalry can cause both/all colleagues involved to perform better so long as all people are mindful not to employ any underhanded tactics. The advise is to rise above and try to work from a place of self-betterment instead of for someone else’s undoing.

Reversed the Five of Wands often points to a person directly within the workplace and occasionally this can be ourselves. It can refer to a colleague with a somewhat inflated ego or an exaggerated feeling of entitlement.

This can result in actions like someone shirking the work but demanding the bulk of the praise or credit or perhaps kissing up to superiors instead of focusing on their tasks.

This can quickly build feelings of resentment and low morale and create a toxic work environment. The advise is to jump ship ASAP. If this is not physically possible by changing environments and working from home then mentally by completely disengaging with this/these individual(s.)

Five of Wands With Others

The 5 of Wands in readings about others and our external world can indicate we may be facing potential conflicts within group or social settings. As an example this can look like political or religious views clashing and resulting in arguments within our friendship groups.

With this card we are being asked how much we value our relationship and if it is possible to set aside our differences or if they are ultimately irreconcilable. This is a decision only we can make for ourselves and on a case by case basis when we encounter conflict. We may need to set boundaries around certain topics of conversation if we choose to remain friends.

Reversed the Five of Wands discusses themes of deep-rooted imposter syndrome which causes us to frequently push away well-deserved praise and respect by others. We often do this without realizing but long term it is not good for our self-esteem.

When we see this card reversed we are being called to accept the compliments and praise that is given to us graciously, even if we don’t currently believe it now in time we will.

Five of Wands With Self

The Five of Wands in reference to our internal questions of self can point to an overly negative comparison of ourselves with others. Where in which we often find faults with any aspect of ourselves/bodies/work and negatively berate ourselves.

When we see this card we are being asked quite severely by the universe to cease this behavior immediately because it rarely if ever results in anything productive or positive for ourselves or anyone else. It nearly always crushes our confidence.

What we think we will ultimately end up believing so if this is negative we will feel negatively about ourselves. We are being asked to flip the script and confront these thoughts directly when we have them.

Reversed the Five of Wands suggests that though on the surface we are working hard towards our goals subconsciously we are self-sabotaging in someway. For example we may have the intention of meditating daily but doing so causes us to confront our own minds and perhaps some uncomfortable thoughts so instead we find ourselves seeking distraction by scrolling on social media.

With this card we are being asked to look at our self-sabotaging and distracting actions and try to find an action we can replace it with that actually heals us instead of just sweeping it under the rug.

Five of Wands As Feelings

The Five of Wands is a mixture of very complicated feelings. It can be the feeling of pride for a friend’s accomplishments whilst simultaneously feeling envious and on top of that feeling guilty for feeling envious.

It can be the feelings of anger and shame when we are bested in competition/rivalry and also the smug satisfaction when we in turn beat our competitors. It is a card containing emotions of extreme opposites and contradictions.