Into the fray: the Fives in tarot

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Editor’s Note: If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article tells you how to use the spread. You can visit Sarah’s website here. –efc

By Sarah Taylor

When we looked at the Fours last month, we were met with the sense of being away from the action. The Fours describe a pause, whether obligatory or of one’s own choosing, where there is a call to take stock. In the Fives, we are thrust back into life… and into a different world from the one that we left in the Threes.

Five of Wands and Five of Cups - RWS Tarot deck.

The Five of Wands and the Five of Cups from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot deck. Click on the image for a larger version.

The Fives in tarot represent those moments where we find ourselves in some form of ensnarement — physical, mental or emotional. The smooth, well-worn path has given way to potholes and low-hanging branches. The environment seems unwelcoming.

This is the first time since we first looked at the Aces that conflict has made a significant appearance in each suit. Yes, we’ve had moments of conflict; but the Fives are defined by it. When we move from the realm of non-incarnate potential (the Aces) and into the world of duality (the Twos), we have bound ourselves to the experience of contrast. Perhaps conflict is inevitable. Perhaps what we do with it isn’t.

Five of Wands

Five men are gathered on open ground, engaged in some sort of confrontation with each other. There is nothing in the background to situate them in any particular landscape. It is, simply, them, and their Wands.

A few things strike me when I look at what I’ve just described. First, the men are not dressed for battle. They are brightly clothed — fashionable, even; and although one of them is wearing chainmail, there is no other sign of armour, nor are there any swords.

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Sarah Taylor

About Sarah Taylor

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5 Responses to Into the fray: the Fives in tarot

  1. Sarah Taylor sarah taylor says:

    Thank you all for your comments here.

    Jere – your interpretations are so different from mine, and it is truly valuable to have these additional angles brought in. The more facets, the more the cards shine, so thank you.

    … and women in the Wands? Hmmm!

  2. Jere says:

    ..After further reflection on the 5 of cups I want to add,.. “the morning after the ‘pre’-party”. Now, with a bit of a hangover, the character must journey to the ‘big’ party. I would associate the “Oh shit! What did I do?”, more with the 7 of cups, where as the 5 is a bit less intense although quite the moving/action card.


  3. awordedgewise awordedgewise says:

    Thank you Sarah. I’m not able to catch up just yet, but wanted to know your work here is appreciated.

  4. Jere says:

    ..Cups,.. 5.. after the ideal party there’s the morning after: what did I do?..

    ..backstep, WANDS, they’re all chicks, except perhaps the dude in the lower right hand corner.. although I’d say, perhaps she’s just a stout built woman. (Our genetics, as a species, are Truly altering..)

    Swords are children, pure and simple. This cat is using his mind to advance his ‘thoughted’ cause. Swords (mentality/logic/ the abyss) always leads to Ruin.

    Pentacles, 5,.. after the idea has been solidified is there not work to be done.? And, is that work not going to take some ‘hardcore’ effort to ‘induce’? These cats know it’s a long hard row. They’ve seen the plans (the blueprint was an exhausting project), they’ve taken the hits, now, in material form, they Understand that there are physical limitations within incarnations but, these screwballs have determination,.. NO limitations will impede them from traversing the path. Their Path. Their Own Path.

    Thanks for letting me Play! :)

    I exit with some Grateful Dead, “..unable to dance, I’ll crawl..”

    Love ya all!


  5. marileedawn says:


    How apt that we have found ourselves studying the fives at this particular juncture considering the events of the last week. I am finding the smile of the young man on the 5 of Swords especially unnerving, while the rear figure weeps. What happens next indeed?

    Thank you Sarah for your excellent column on Tarot. I look forward to your insightful contributions and the thoughtful responses of readers. Tarot has been a gift in my life and this column has only made it more so.

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