5 of Wands vs. 5 of Swords


What is the difference between these two cards? They both involve conflict, disputes, faction.

Major Tom

I get this from R.T. Kaser:

The 5 of Wands is about competition.
The 5 of Swords is about self-defense.

Obviously this is a bit simplistic, but if you think about it, these are two very different types of conflict. }>


5 of Wands is the disagreement, the quarrell, the competition, the need to face the opponent and accept the challenge, the rivality.
5 of Swords, on the other hand, speaks of dishonourable attitude, decaying morality and integrity; self-interest and egotism, from and towards oneself; hostile environment (rivality again, but more abstractly) and support of a party in a conflict.

Anyhow, when I have doubts myself, I try to look at the energy of the cards - which may be similar, as in this case - but shading them with the power of their own elemnts:
Fire is will, strength, action, beating if you like;
Air is intent, idea, project, intellectual doing, pamphleting.


Quote:Tommy (04 Dec, 2001 16:08):
What is the difference between these two cards? They both involve conflict, disputes, faction.

In the five of wands, there's an implication that there are lots of other folk out there and you're going to get lost among them. When I think of this card I think of a movie actor walking up to an audition. As he gets close, he sees a long line of actors...they all look pretty much like him, all waiting their chance to audition for the part. How can he outshine them? How can he stand out amid this competition?

The five of swords is much nastier; it's about being beaten by one guy who has all the advantages and isn't playing fair anyway. It's getting into an argument you can't win.

So you can begin to see the differences. In 5 wands, the battle isn't personal, and there's a possiblity you might win. It is, as the picture suggests, a bunch of guys going at it with wands to see who's the best.

5 swords is personal, even if the person you're battling has taken out others; it's one on one, as sword fights are. And you're not going to win simply because the other guy is a better and nastier fighter.


Oh, just to add, there is, in a way, an opposite message to these cards. The 5 of Wands urges the querent not to give up. The 5 of Swords urges them not to go on.

See, when you turn up the 5 of wands, it predicts that the querent will feel a loss of energy, that they feel that they can't possibly stand out or succeed in this competition. The card more or less urges them not to give up, to keep up the energy and try.

5 of swords is the opposite, the intellect. In this case, the querent is bound and determined to match wits with this bully, but the card predicts that they'll lose this battle of words. The bully will steal away their wits/words. The card more or less advises the querent to use their intellect and find another way to solve this problem than fighting with this guy.