Five of Wands tarot card

Five of Wands Tarot Meanings

The card of conflict, competition, and struggle.

Last Updated: April 16, 2024.

The Five of Wands is the fifth card in the suit of Wands (also known as the suit of Rods or Staffs) and one of the fifty-six suit cards from the minor arcana. In divinatory tarot, the Suit of Wands is associated with the element of fire and traditionally signifies creativity, inspiration, ambition, determination and willpower. Each card of this suit represents aspects of our lives such as career, travel and spirituality.

Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.

The Five of Wands relates to the conflicts we are facing in our life, it suggests one is at battle, and that there’s a vast amount of tension and/or competition with those surrounding you. It isn’t the most comfortable of times at all! You’ll be finding it hard to move forward during this period and being in an environment where there’s a lack of communication and a lot of miscommunication when it does occur, isn’t helping matters – it’s a stressful time.

In this article, we will discuss the meanings of the Five of Wands in various tarot reading contexts as well as the different symbols and nuances that can be found within this court card.

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Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck

The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher. 

The Five of Wands is represented by 5 people clashing whilst having their wands raised. Whilst the scene is chaotic, the wands aren’t actually clashing or looking to cause harm to one another, more just a bit of a show or a performance of ego. There is evidently no common ground people the individuals involved currently, they are in competition with one another, each one trying to outdo the other but with no real cause behind their drive – hence why it’s representing more of a performance than a nasty clash with violent intention.

Five of Wands from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck

The Five of Wands key correspondences

Upright keywords

Conflict, arguments, temper, lack of cooperation, people clashing, competition, frustration.

Reversed keywords

Compromise, conflict coming to an end, cooperation, focus, order.

Yes or No






Ruling Planet


Astrological Sign

Leo, Saturn in Leo, July 22nd to August 1st

Associated Deities

Ares, Mars, Set, The Morrigan, Horus, Menhit, Athena

What does the upright Five of Wands mean in the Tarot?

Things typically aren’t going your way right now, and things are getting heated because of it! You’re finding no cooperation with the community around you, you’re butting heads with others, and arguments are occurring because of all the chaos, conflict, and competitiveness occurring right now. 

You, and the others around you, are all pulling in opposite directions, and no one is willing to listen to the other. Where is this going to get you? Who’s going to be the bigger person and go for the compromise? Sometimes you need to be the bigger person and accept that an alternative approach is necessary to attempt to start simmering the conflict down. 

We all like our thoughts and opinions being heard, don’t we? It’s time to lend an ear, you may find others begin to do the same for you. The conflict requires a resolution and being heated with one another is only going to lead to further miscommunication and further chaos. 

Upright Five of Wands

When pulled in the upright position, the Five of Wands is associated with conflict, arguments, temper, lack of cooperation, people clashing, competition, and frustration.

What does the upright Five of Wands mean in a love reading

If you’re in a relationship, then the Five of Wands does not bode well for how things are going! You and your partner are most likely at each other’s throats at the moment, with plenty of disagreements and arguments taking up the space between you. 

The appearance of this Five is imploring you to stop point scoring with one another, what’s the point in battling your partner? You need to create an environment where compromise and cooperation thrive, so it’s time to step back, breathe, control your temper, and listen. Both of you. 

If you’re single, then the Five of Wands can suggest that things are particularly chaotic for you in the dating world currently! You may feel at odds with the amount of competition you have around you, or those that are interested in you may be fighting for your attention specifically – especially if you have more than one suitor! If this is the case, don’t get caught up in the drama, and don’t play people off against each other. 

What does the upright Five of Wands mean in a career reading?

Things at the workplace right now are heated and competitive! Are you feeling like you have all these great ideas but you’re struggling to make your voice heard due to how chaotic is it? Everyone seems to be fighting for the limelight, things are busy, busy, busy, and you definitely don’t feel like you’re being given the chance or receiving the recognition, you deserve. 

It’s time to accept that you’re in a highly competitive environment and you’ll have to work your butt off simply to get noticed.

The Five of Wands as feelings/emotions

If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling the Five of Wands suggests that this person is feeling quite conflicted about their emotions towards you. Perhaps this person believes they shouldn’t be feeling the way they do about you, and they have some inner conflict arising as it’s a mind vs heart battle for them, or perhaps this person is currently unsure of where they stand with you and if you both have a future together (romantic or otherwise) due to potentially locking heads recently. Have you had some disagreements with this individual recently?

The Five of Wands as a person

As a personality archetype, the Five of Wands represents someone that is easily overwhelmed, stressed, aggressive, and exhausted. This will be someone that easily lashes out, always makes a mountain out of a molehill, and just seems to want to fight the world at any given chance – even if it’s over nothing! 

This will be someone that’s at war with themselves and this outwardly reflects in their negative behaviour. 

The Five of Wands as advice

The Five of Wands is here to remind you that facing up to the conflict is sometimes the only way. You can’t bury your heart, you need to buckle down in your own corner, and be prepared to fight and defend it. Sometimes wars are needed in order to bring about a resolution to things at hand.

If your query, however, is surrounding some major competitiveness where you don’t know how to be seen or heard, this Five is requesting that you look for ways of incorporating balance and cooperation into the order of things, everyone fighting to be on the pedestal isn’t going to work. Flaunting pridefully won’t get you anywhere, so be smart and you’ll limit the licks you take to the ego

What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with the Five of Wands?

This card is ruled by Saturn in Leo and the dates of July 22nd to August 1st. Saturn in Leo is a prideful placement and specifically can show us how we need to manage our own insecurity when restrictions are placed on us in a way we didn’t ask for.

Is the Five of Wands a yes or no card?

The Five of Wands is overall a negative card, so it typically reads as a ‘no’ when it comes to ‘yes or no’ questions. There’s just too much chaos, uncooperativeness, tension, and heated tempers in order for anything to work out in a positive manner right now. 

This is a challenging time, so right now it’s best to just work through the struggle and then reassess once things have started to calm down. Being told ‘no’ now doesn’t mean it’ll always remain that way – the negativity just needs to move away from the situation first.

Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:

Querent question: “Will I get the job?”

Card interpretation: There seems to be a lot of competition right now surrounding the job(s) you’re after, whether this is because of the role or company, or simply because of the way the economy is, to land a job you’re going to need to stand out from the crowd – you’ll need to fight for this. It could also mean that the type of job you’ll be going into has a high-stress environment – think sales or retail! 

Querent question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”

Card interpretation: This will be an individual that isn’t quite sure about who they are or what they’re doing, it may be clear that they have an internal battle occurring, but this does mean that they may be prone to lashing out every now and again – even if they don’t want to. This may be someone you need to have a lot of patience and understanding with whilst they navigate this unsure time, especially whilst they work themselves out, but you may be able to assist them with that. Sometimes it’s we who can be good to others initially and in return that provides us with important life lessons – so in a sense, yes…this person could be good for you in the long run. Valuable lessons may be taught and learnt from one another, but you initially may need to offer an understanding hand and shoulder to lean on when they need it. But this doesn’t mean you should make yourself completely available for someone who may be focused on lashing out and being a very negative person about things currently, you don’t need to put up with it and bring yourself down all the time, make a judgement on when you can and can’t be present for them.

Querent question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”

Card interpretation: Whilst you’re on this path, you’ll be facing some competition and obstacles that are going to impact your reaching the finishing line – or the next milestone, at least. It looks like you’ll be fighting with others around you, instead of being able to work with them, and these conflicts and tensions are going to cause you issues in being able to move forward. 

Querent question: “Should I start my own business?”

Card interpretation: If you go ahead with this, it’s going to be a challenge, and one hell of a challenge at that! I’m talking healthy competition to stressful legal situations. You’ll need to work extremely hard with what you want to do and have to prove yourself, and ensure to set yourself apart from everyone else! This is a time when you’ll really need to stand out from the crowd, as the market you want to go into is going to see you find a lot of competition.

What does the reversed Five of Wands mean in the Tarot?

Allow yourself a moment to take a sigh of relief, the reversed Five of Wands indicates that a time of great conflict, tensions, and arguments is coming to an end. It’s possible that compromises have been made and all involved are looking to find the middle ground. 

However, on a personal level, this card could be representing your own fear of any sort of confrontation at all, does the idea of arguments and fighting scare and worry you so much you’d rather swallow how you’re feeling than face up to it?

Reverse Five of Wands

When pulled in the reversed position, the Five of Wands is linked with compromise, conflict coming to an end, cooperation, focus, and order.

What does the reversed Five of Wands mean in a love reading?

If you’re in a relationship, then the presence of the Five of Wands typically means one of two things. On one hand, you and your partner may just be coming out of a time of being at each other’s throats, and constant conflict, but have managed to find the compromise you both needed to work past these issues. 

But on the other hand, it could represent you being with a less-than-savoury partner. Are you with someone that’s physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually abusive towards you? Does this person show you a lot of aggression and actively choose to scare and/or hurt you? This is someone you need to get away from, turn to the help of others (whether that be family, authority, or otherwise) and get away – the help does exist, and you can’t fix this situation for them as it’s not a challenge for you to take on. 

If you’re single, then the presence of the Five of Wands typically suggests that your dating life is currently a bit lacklustre! You once were enjoying exciting times, but right now not much is really happening, and this has perhaps knocked your confidence with it and you may be avoiding putting yourself out there again. 

But you need to take that leap of faith in order to meet someone, the dating scene can be big and scary, but you aren’t facing it alone – remember that! Everyone’s pretty much in the same boat. Reach out to your friends, see if they can take you out for a break from dating and enjoy the quality of life you do have outside of romantic endeavours.

What does the inverted Five of Wands mean in a career reading?

Either you’re looking to come away from a highly stressful job that’s way too competitive for you, or you and your colleagues have finally learnt how to work together! What were once times of you all being in competition against each other, with tempers and tensions running high, it’s now a time of great cooperation and being able to work well with one another for the sake of the progression and success of work projects and tasks. 

You’ve all come to realise what it takes to get the job done and teamwork is fundamental here


In conclusion, the 5 of Wands tarot card is a powerful symbol of conflict, arguments, temper, lack of cooperation, people clashing, competition, and frustration. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you are facing some kind of strife or disagreement. This card can also indicate that you are dealing with a lot of stress and feeling overwhelmed. The key to moving past this is to remain focused on your goals, take action, and stay true to yourself even in the face of adversity.

Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot practitioners, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.

The 56 lesser arcana cards relate to the day-to-day events of our lives, the more mundane aspects of our existence. Even though that part of the tarot is about the “smaller picture”, it symbolizes the constant choices we make that shape our lives, our characters, and ultimately our destinies.

Have you ever had a reading where the Five Of Wands appeared? What was the outcome? What does that card mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice?

Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. Additionally, If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out my complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.


Written by Amy

Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.

Learn more about the Suit of Wands

This page is part of our comprehensive list of the 56 minor arcana tarot cards & their meanings. If you enjoyed the read, then you’ll love the following articles.