Five – Strife

Five of Wands – Strife

Strife means rivalry, conflict, discord or antagonism. Archaically, strife means strenuous effort. The antonym of strife is peace

The Five of Wands suggests growing pains. The action has increased to the point that it is being noticed, and not necessarily appreciated by others. Now is the time to take more aggressive action to ensure that the actions succeeds. Testing the action to see that it is strong enough. Product testing. Testing to destruction.

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Image of Five of Wands minor tarot card in the Rider-Waite deck
Five of Wands – Rider-Waite

A posse of youths, who are brandishing staves, as if in sport or strife. It is mimic warfare, and hereto correspond the

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.

Additional Meanings: Success in financial speculation.


Litigation, disputes, trickery, contradiction.

Additional Meanings: Quarrels may be turned to advantage.

Book of Thoth – Strife

Image of Five of Wands - Strife in the Book of Thoth deck
Five of Wands – Strife

In the “Naples arrangement”, the introduction of the number Five shows the idea of motion coming to the aid of that of matter. This is quite a revolutionary conception; the result is a complete upset of the statically stabilized system. Now appear storm and stress.

This must not be regarded as something “evil”. The natural feeling about it is really a little more than the reluctance of people to get up from lunch and go back to the job. In the Buddhist doctrine of Sorrow this idea is implicit, that inertia and insensitiveness must characterize peace. The climate of India is perhaps partly responsible for this notion. The Adepts of the White School, of which the Tarot is the sacred book, cannot agree to such a simplification of existence. Every phenomenon is a sacrament. For all that, a disturbance is a disturbance; the five of Wands is called Strife.

Irrational energy that is impossible to control.

More information

Golden Dawn – Lord of Strife

Pain, especially physical; an aching questioning of one’s actions leading to despair. War. Strife, internal or external. Actions against life and death must lead to regret. (Constructive use of a potentially destructive force. The ability to still question things and ideas to which one has given much.)


Gold, Opulence, Gain, Heritage, Riches, Fortune, Money.


Legal proceedings, Judgment, Law, Lawyer, Tribunal.

Image of Etteilla Five of Wands minor tarot card
Etteilla Five of Wands

Etteilla: Five of Wands

Gold, Riches, Opulence, Splendor, Sumptuousness, Brilliance, Luxury, Abundance, Fortune. Physical, Philosophical, and Moral Sun.


Legal Proceeding, Lawsuit, Disagreements, Discussions, Disputes, Fights, Litigation, Pre-Trial Investigation, Judicial Proceeding. Annoyances, Conversation, Squabble, Harassment. Contradiction, Inconsistency.

Thierens: Five of Wands

Gold, riches, opulence, magnificence, brilliancy, luxury, the struggle for riches, “physical, philosophical and moral sun.” (P.) But also process, trickery, contradiction, discussion, chicane, etc.
Air on the Fifth house: that of the sun. The house of the heart and of children, of speculation and love affairs, of pride and of will-power. There is more of the richness of the heart in it than of material abundance, though generally Leo-people know how to reach the latter. It is a house of Fire, and the combination of Fire and Air makes warm air, which may be used to heat rooms, in the same way as words, that contain warm feelings of the heart, will do good to other people, and on the other hand hot speech will arouse lively contradiction. Here is the same mistake: the card is not that of contradiction, but of hot speech, very positive expression, and contentions, suggestions, rather than discussion, egocentric thought, from which we may conclude, that it will evoke contradiction, or some other effect. But we have to do with the proper meaning of a card itself. It is quite true, that the house Leo may bring gold and presents. Thought-power taken to heart, or taking its motives from love and from the desires and wishes of the heart, may very often be more selfish than reasonable, but it is a real pushing power and therefore generally is the most helpful element towards attaining the goal. This, of course, has been the reason for ascribing riches, etc., to this card.
Egotism, positive speech, contention, persuasion, suggestion, hot speech, demonstration (e.g. of love or desire); pushing power; all this may lead to trickery, to competition perhaps, and to struggle for riches certainly; it means speaking and thinking to such a self-centred way, that no notice is taken of other people’s standpoint; consequently clashing of opinions; sometimes it may allude to gold and presents, but to the promise rather than to the fact. There is little or no evil in this card. At most it may denote stupid and childish persistence in one’s own personal opinion, e.g. wishes. It has something sunny in it and is good for health and wealth in a general way, promoting both, but it is not ‘riches’ in itself.

Paul Foster-Case: Five of Wands

In the triangle are the Tables of the Law, referring to the Hebrew attribution of 5 to Justice. But 5 is also Severity, and is called the Sphere of Mars, which somewhat modifies the meanings of the card.

Time period

First decanate of Leo, July 23rd to August 1st, ruled by the Sun.


Power, and pleasure in exercising it; adventure, speculation, and uncertainty; strong attachments.


Boldness, command, generosity.


Cruelty, violence, lust, prodigality.



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Five of Wands Strife tarot meanings
Five of Wands - Strife suggests growing pains. Action has increased to the point that it is being noticed, and not necessarily appreciated by others.

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