This is a weekly column, but I am human and sometimes not even very good at that, so last week I failed completely and this week I failed a little. I’m sorry. But I’m back, and I’m here, and we’re gonna get to the weekend alive. sportscaster voice Let’s go to the caaaaaaaaaaaaard!
The Five of Wands isn’t not what I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks. I don’t mean to make this about me, but it’s my column, and that is the only sentence I’m going to say about my actual self, so. Sorry. The Five of Wands is a card of turmoil, of confusion and difficulty, of a thousand different voices all saying something at a volume that drowns out everything else.
Never thought I’d live to see the day
When everybody’s words got in the way
-“Everybody Talks,” Neon Trees
Sometimes the voices are internal; however, a lot of times when you see the Five of Wands it means that you’re in this place externally, this place of conflict and tension with those around you. This could be at work, at home, or in social circles – it just means that you’re at odds with a lot of people at the same time. This could also mean competition, which is a sort of controlled conflict, isn’t it? The important thing about the Five of Wands is that it wants you to stop talking and listen.
Listen to the voices, whether they’re coming from somewhere else in your brain or from someone outside of you entirely. The Five of Wands is an opportunity to learn, if you are willing to take it. This doesn’t mean I don’t want you to stand up for yourself; of course I do. But I want you to do so in a way that allows for the possibility of growth, of change. Of a different viewpoint being of value to you. The Five of Wands is often seen as the diversity card, the card of acceptance – looking at difference, at a source of potential conflict, and being okay with it. This card is a very good reminder of other peoples’ personhood, their lived experience. It is tempting to fear what you don’t understand, and to put yourself at odds with it, but the Five of Wands asks you to try a different approach.
Try to see it my way
Only time will tell if I am right
Or I am wrong
-“We Can Work It Out,” the Beatles, covered by Big Time Rush
No matter where it’s coming from, being challenged is stressful, and painful, and can bring up a lot of things that you don’t want to know or acknowledge about yourself. Being forced to really articulate, either to yourself or to others, what you believe and care about can be taxing beyond what you’d expect, but it is good for you. I feel like I say this every week, but I want you to remember it: the cards only appear when you’re ready for them, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Knowing that you are in the midst of turmoil gives you the armor you need to sort it out productively, with respect for yourself and for everyone else involved. It doesn’t necessarily make it easier to go through, but this is what I can promise you. There isn’t ever going to be a way to resolve everything so that everyone is happy, and sometimes the person who isn’t happy is going to be you. What you have to do in this situation is to find the path that will make you as comfortable as you can be where you are. You are a constantly changing thing, a learning breathing living thing, and it is not unlikely that you are different now than you were, and than you will be. It is not a fault; it is not a failing. Conflict is a source of stress and confusion but it is also a source of change, and if you are willing to put in some work you will get something good from that change.
You’ve got to give a little, take a little
And let your poor heart break a little
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love
-“The Glory of Love,” Bette Midler
The Five of Wands reversed indicates an aversion to conflict, a sore spot in your life that you’re avoiding. Recognize this warning for what it is, and find the source of your trouble. Don’t keep pushing it down, away; remember that the temporary discomfort of whatever confrontation may arise will be quickly replaced by something better. Don’t let yourself compromise when it won’t be productive for anyone involved – the momentary calm isn’t going to fix the underlying problem. Remember that.