Tarot Card Meanings: 5 of Wands

The 5 of Wands is a card of quickening, restlessness, and contest.  Traditionally showing five boys engaged in playful faux combat, this card indicates a chaotic time period during which events occur too quickly to be consciously understood.  One part kerfuffle and one part cascade, the querent will need to rely upon instinct, past training, and reflex.

Dali represents the 5 of Wands in a more menacing, adult fashion.  At the center of the card, framed by three intersecting green wands, appears the leering face of a foot soldier.  He is clad in medieval armor.  More infantry men, armed with glaives, appear behind him.  Again, this army is framed within an upside down triangle taking up only a tiny fraction of the card’s face.  Below this small scene, coral red paint obscures the action of the foot soldiers.  Crudely blotting out the specifics, the coral red functions as an emotional gage, indicating the tension and confusion innate to the 5 of Wands.

This is a murky, aggressive, and confusing card.  But the hostility is minor.  As such, much of the card is white and blue, an empty frame for the tiny image that seems to disconnect it from any given meaning.  We don’t really know what is going on here.  The five wands are not weapons, but rather crisscross the small scene, barring it from the viewer while overwhelming the image.

When you pull the 5 of Wands, brace yourself for a fast-paced, energetic, and competitive time.  You may not understand the relevance of events as they unfold around you.  Indeed, the events are most probably minor and irrelevant – but that doesn’t mean your emotional reactions will be.  You may find this time period stressful and draining, but you must stay within the chaos and instinctually move with it.  When things finally do calm themselves, you probably won’t even remember it.


**While all manner of comments are welcomed, any further information pertaining to art history, symbolism, myth, cultural reverberations, and Tarot card meanings that traverse decks or lend especial light to the Universal Dali deck, specifically, are actively sought and encouraged.  I’m not using a book for these descriptions, so I may miss a reference that bears mention in relation to a card.  If you know something, please share it!

Conversely, I actively negate the astrological significations of the Trump cards within the Universal Dali deck in favor of the more traditional Thoth.  My plan is to tackle the astrological significations of the Universal Dali Trumps and their overt divergence from all norms in one article… after having described each card.  That’s a ways off.  ;)

Numerological Affiliations: XV. The Devil5 of Cups5 of Swords5 of Pentacles

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6 responses to “Tarot Card Meanings: 5 of Wands

    • The butterflies are almost as common as his signature. ;) I take it to be a symbol of transformation, which most definitely lightens some of the heavier cards. The butterflies appear on the 5 of Pentacles and the 5 of Swords. The deck is crawling with them. Have you considered this deck, Monika? Because it’s collage, each card is a variety of references to artwork and myth outside of traditional Tarot, too. I love it, although many Tarot reviews say its violent/dark and filled with…. butterflies! I think most people are missing the classical art and myth references, and I know that I could never catch them all.

  1. Butterflies in homeopathic provings (from an article written by Timmerman and Shamat, 2013) have shown they are, in the lead up to being expressions of transformation, about agitation, restlessness, feelings of being abandoned, and loss of boundaries; confusion of identity; identity which has been suppressed, lost, hidden. There is chaos and forgetfulness; but most markedly, butterflies do not take the problems they experience as serious problems: they love to dance and feel as if they are flying, they bring the sensation of being light; they do not experience the conditions in which they live as a problem. They are attracted by beauty in the broadest sense of the word and they especially love bright and daring colours.
    Children and adults who benefit from butterfly remedies often grow up in unsafe, unstable families, but they can often nevertheless have strong love and loyalty to their family. They express a total confidence and an ultimate courage to face and solve difficulties in life.
    The butterfly gives the sensation that a personal change is inevitable. You have to give up control and surrender to the unknown in order to become fully yourself. Thus you can judge yourself with your own yardstick; your own inner standards and not by the values imposed upon you from outside.
    Caterpillars incubate for a time in a cocoon, keeping themselves away from the world. This incubation period was perceived during the provings as dark descents into memories and emotions. As they surface, butterfly offers you your own approach to life, with a desire not to surrender, but to be yourself, in your own uniqueness and reality. The life that is really intended for you.
    There is the theme of Secrets and Constriction: butterflies help to give your life your own destination, to extricate yourself from old sorrows and secrets. To become more who you really are and become more involved, not only with new ventures but especially with the life around you. They bring life back to its essence and help you in making a new beginning, more free from constrictions, the feeling of being stuck or trapped in a cocoon or a tight corset.
    Faith and final transformation: The butterflies will help you to transform, to experience a total trust and faith in yourself and to implement these changes. Discovering who you are and who you want to be, making a real relationship possible, to share your life with someone. It is a transformation of the inside by marshaling compassion, consecrated dedication and the experience of universal love. Even though you may not be able to liberate yourself, you can emerge with respect for yourself, with vitality and an individual identity.

    If you quote or re-use this information, please acknowledge it as the intellectual property of the above authors. thanks.

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