The Card of the Day: The Five of Wands
“The immaturity of the comparison game.”
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.”
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.