Minor Arcana: The Fives

The 5’s in general are cards of conflict, chaos, and disruption.  They may seem ominous at first glance, standing on their own; but within a reading their meanings may be softened, expanded, and further explained by the cards around them.  The 5’s may be the culmination of past events or the future stormy sky that’s going to descend upon you.  In any case, they are situations and conflicts to be worked through, perhaps making you stronger in the end, tempered from facing and solving the crises these cards herald.

Five of Pentacles

This is the card of poverty and hard times.

The dire effects of this card are shown by the dejected couple slogging through the snow in their tattered clothing and bare feet.  And that’s generally what this card points to—financial crisis.  The severity and duration of this state of affairs can usually be gleaned by the cards surrounding it.  What led up to this predicament may also be revealed in the same way, as well as the solutions needed to solve this crisis.

The hard times the five of coins represents isn’t meant to last forever, almost nothing in life is.  This couple is not standing still, hovering in hopelessness or self-pity; they’re putting one foot ahead of the other in dogged determination, to be able to move ahead.  And that’s what you must be prepared to do when this card pops up in your readings.

Five of Swords

This is the card of conflict and battle.

This card smacks of aggression, unfair advantage, insecurity, and petty battles with arrogant victors.  It speaks of “winning the battle but losing the war”—at the cost of irreparably damaged relationships, shattered self-esteem, and ruined reputations.  The victory, if that’s what you want to call it, is short-lived; and the participants in this debacle will have to live with the results…shattered lives and regret.

In an unusual twist, this card has often appeared in my readings when my querents take too much to heart and feel they have to defend every ideal, underdog, or cause that comes along.  These are noble souls; but if they continue on this course, they will wear themselves out.  I encourage them to choose their battles wisely and decide what they can let go.

Not surprisingly, this card often warns of an individual who will put their own needs, desires, and goals ahead of everything and everyone.  They will attain the desired outcome, but they will leave a slew of bodies in their wake, victims of their selfish ego and emotional vacancy.

Five of Wands 

This is the card of quarrels and bickering.

The five of wands has always reminded me of a group of unruly children. And this is the essence of the five of wands—bickering, nitpicking, childish behavior, chaos, everyone talking at once, “his share his bigger than mine”.

Is there an adult in the house?

This card naturally comes up when there is a problem with a group of people, whether it is siblings, employees, neighbors, or any other group who cannot come to a satisfactory agreement. No one may be physically hurt from these encounters—unless surrounding cards suggest otherwise—but the mutual anguish, anger, frustration and upheaval can have prolonged and lasting affects. This card often tells you that a mediator may be needed, someone who can look at the situation objectively and find common ground between the parties involved.

Five of Cups

This is the card of mourning, loss, and grief.

Where this card is concerned, it’s pointed out in almost every tarot book I’ve ever read to “look at the bright side, there are two cups still standing”, and while this cheery observation is correct, it skims over the feelings of grief this card inspires and this emotion, which must be faced on its many levels.  Yes, you will recover from this period of mourning and loss; your life will go on with some semblance of normalcy at some point.  But that is not to say that you will be left without scars from this experience, or that you will not be a changed person from having come through an intense period of grief.

The brightest meanings these two standing cups could bring to a reading may indicate the newfound strength, wisdom, and inner initiation this period of mourning, loss and grief may bring to you.

This card has also revealed episodes of depression, bi-polar disorders, or abuse.  Stay alert to these observations.


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