Are we having fun yet? Don’t take it too seriously. Are you obsessed with making the most beautiful sand castle on the beach, knowing that the wave will consume it at high tide? If you still work to make the turrets of your sand castle just perfect, you have mastered the Five of Wands. This is the card that appears to tell you that some things you are involved with are just fun and games – either lighten up and enjoy them or find a way to better integrate them with your life.
Five boys appear to be in a scuffle. They each hold a wooden walking stick called a Wand and are clanking them together. They are dressed in play clothes from the era the Tarot was most recently codified, nothing any of us would dress a child in, but simple shirts and stockings, a hat or two and good shoes. The Wands are raised above their heads and are bumping into each other. Behind the children is a cloudless blue sky. They stand on solid ground.
The most important thing one might notice about the scene depicted on the Five of Wands is that none of the boys playing are being hurt. Wands are banging into Wands. This is a perfect depiction of the phrase “child’s play.” Therein, though, lies the problem presented by the Five of Wands. Are you spending all of your time on a creative project that really is just escapism? Is there more you could be doing with your life? Is a significant other waiting for a deeper commitment while you embrace a partying lifestyle? While all work and no play will make you dull, escaping into play will make you lonely and unfulfilled.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
Every Tarot reading has areas into which the cards are dealt. These areas represent your past, your present and your future. When the Five of Wands lands in the past position it can represent a time of your life on which you can look back fondly, one of frivolity and fun. The older you get, though, the more you might see a past defined this way as having wasted precious time. Or you might look back on a lifetime of great memories. The Five of Wands in this position is one that is almost impossible for a Tarot reader to pinpoint exactly, as the definition of “play” has distinct meanings that vary across cultures. A family that raises its children to excel in education would be ashamed to have an adult son or daughter have their past defined by the Five of Wands, while a family from an oppressive culture would be pleased that their children had adjusted to hardships and still found a release and enjoyment of the few things in life that they were allowed.
In the present position, the Five of Wands means that your life now has many mild dramas and exciting outings, but that they are insubstantial in the long run. Your chances of building a foundation for success will not ever come if you simply remain a pleasure seeker. However, a Tarot reading need not be a lecture. Perhaps you are in the middle of a vacation or have been working hard for years to enjoy the present. In that case, the Five of Wands in the present position is a validation of all your planning and confirms what you have earned.
In the future position, the Five of Wands is an indicator that you will have free time to enjoy casual hobbies and the lighter side of life. There is little brooding or serious work involved. You might be foregoing the chance to really make your mark once and for all or merely be setting out on an overdue vacation.
Every Tarot Reading involves a group of Cards read individually as well as collectively. They refer to each other throughout the reading. The Cards that combine with the Five of Wands influence it greatly. This is a weak, passive card that changes greatly depending on the scenes around it in your Tarot reading.
When there are other Wands cards in your reading with this card, your playtime is actually valuable in bringing about creative solutions to projects on which you could make money and gain acclaim. If there are many cards from the suit of Swords, though, your escapism could become something that gets you into disagreeable arguments with a loved one. What starts out as harmless fun soon becomes an alienating activity.
When there are many cards from the suit of Cups in a reading with the Five of Wands present, the need to find a partner who shares the same passions as you is emphasized. If your hobby is rescuing animals and getting them to animal shelters, you probably are not going to have a successful love relationship with a man who wants to spend all his free time at a local casino playing poker. The presence of Cups insists that you match the passions that take up your free time.
The Five of Wands combines best with cards from the suit of Pentacles. Many Pentacles combining with the Five of Wands underscores that your passions for a hobby are so great that you might consider getting a job in that field. For example, if you love professional sports and spend all of your time watching your favorite team on television, why not get a part-time job as an usher at the stadium or start a blog and report on your favorite team in the hopes of selling advertising on your blog’s website?
Cards in the Major Arcana that combine well with the Five of Wands are The Star, The Moon and The Sun. These cards reinforce that you should enjoy the frivolities of life and find a way to incorporate them into your definition of a full and successful existence.