Five of Wands Tarot
„the struggle between spirit and soul“
Symbols: conflict, competition, temerity, revolution
Expression: Geburah through Atziluth
On this card, one can observe Yaldabaoth, the lion serpent versus the liberator, symbolized by the unicorn. In other terms, these alchemical antagonists are represented by mortificatio and albificatio. Also this fight between two brothers is a symbol in many mythologies and scriptures. The conflict is often within us itself. This card not necessarily describes a real enemy outside of oneself, but rather an inner struggle, which has to be resolved.
This animal is no friendly unicorn, as you can imagine. Being the liberator, it is often the destroyer of an often rigid order. It is adorned with reptile sheds, emblematizing the archaic brain stem, in which our flight and attack mode rests. Being in this state can be expressed by feelings of presumption and behaviour of aggressivity, often without knowing, to whom it shall be directed. This is no friendly lion serpent either. Symbolizing control, rigid orders and patriarchal systems it will defend itself until the end, always thinking it knows best. It will regard it’s opponent as the villain, and vice versa.
In the upper part are four spears, arranged as a quadrat. It is the arena, in which the act takes place. Like in an arena, there is no escape from this inevitable combat.
A spear strikes down on the alchemical vessel. In it, phosphorus is trapped in matter, ready to be set free. This explosion will be fierce and inevitable – it will destroy the vessel. When it’s broken, it can’t be fixed. Once the conflict takes form, it can’t be contained any more. The now free phosphorus becomes spirit and as such has the opportunity to enlighten both opponents in this delicate process. To be freed from illusion would serve them both well. A disruption of fire will finally bring both opponents to the table. Like in a volcanic eruption, this can be messy in the beginning. There is no need to bother about the destruction now, because while being in this process it can’t be stopped. The shards must be picked up later.
These two polarities are entangled in eternity, symbolized by the infinity symbol, connecting them in endless confrontation. They will be antagonists until the chymical wedding is fulfilled. Even then, they will be drifting apart again, as time rots away every goal which has been achieved. So no need to be angry about this inner dialogue and struggle. This is maybe something which all beings have in common. At least no one is alone with unachievable balance. Which can be won, is a truce, or even that one accepts the necessity and place of the other. This is part of the goal of this card.