The Card of the Day: The Five of Wands (Reversed)
“Feeling it’s them against me.”
The Five of Wands traditionally represents competition, ambition, and struggle. It symbolizes the inner tension we feel when we are caught up in our egos, constantly comparing our “status” in relation to others. Early on kids are taught “you must be the winner!” Life is a series of competitions.... best at music, best at Monopoly, best at softball, best at spelling. You must win at each thing you try otherwise...........you must be a loser, a nothing, a failure at life. This sort of “all or nothing” thinking sets up impossible standards that can never be attained. As kids grow into adulthood, they carry this toxic baggage, feeling there is something wrong with them. No wonder so many adults struggle with self-esteem.
Do you constantly compare your “status” with others? Do you feel that you must be perfect at everything? Have you ever stopped to think how adolescent that is?
The adolescents on the card are competing. Each is trying to prove that he has the biggest stick. Each of the competitors think there can only be one winner. They think to themselves, “Either I win this, or I am humiliated.” The teenagers on the card do not have the wisdom that age engenders. They do not see that each is an individual, with their own combination of unique skills. This is represented by their distinctive colored costumes and designs. Each figure in the card has condensed his whole concept of self-worth on a game of sticks! This is all or nothing thinking, and it is very damaging to self-esteem.
Think about it, could you ever attain being the richest, most beautiful, eternally young, perfect bodied, artistic genius? Oh, and smartest person in the world, best at every sport, every subject, every language, every artistic medium and every skill set known to man? Nobody can do that! The truth is we each have a unique combination of gifts. You might not be the best at each skill and talent you possess, however, there is no person on the planet with your unique combination of talents, skills, and abilities.
Today, catch yourself if you are playing the game of the big sticks! It’s ridiculous! You don’t have to win at everything to be worthy. You are special, unique and radiate a beauty that is all your own. Nobody does you like you. My favorite entertainer Judy Garland used to say:
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
When the Five of Wands appears reversed it alerts you to anyone who may be projecting negativity onto you because of their perception that somehow you are “better than them.” People with wounded egos often look at others who project self-confidence or kindness as threats. To be kind implies that somehow you aren’t enduring your own struggles. This isn’t always the case, but insecure people often assume it is so. When confronting people with low self-esteem it’s important that you don’t let your ego get triggered when they treat in you in a less-than-kind manner. Immature behavior like this says more about them then it does about you. Keep being excellent for yourself. You will attract those of like mind and will repel those that you don’t really want around anyway.
Don’t participate in ego struggles brought on by the comparison game. There is no need to struggle or prove something to others who are obviously wounded. It's time to keep your eyes on your own paper. Be at peace with wherever you are at. My wise friend and teacher Nancy Retzlaff wrote in her book "Cinderella Doesn't Live Here Anymore," that:
"Comparison is a ticket to Hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to Hell! If you compare yourself and come off superior today, you're sure to find yourself inferior to someone tomorrow. It never ends. We are all unique, and it's like comparing apples to oranges on the physical level of what appears to be."
Today you received a Get Out of Hell Free card! Love yourself and stop playing the game of superior/inferior.
If this resonated with you…
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 Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger, The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot, (Woodbury, MN. Llewellyn Publications., 2016), 86. The authors of this book were the first to make me realize that these were adolescents competing in a struggle.