"Two white radiant angelic hands issuing from clouds right and left of the center of the card. They are clasped together as in the Grip of the First Order, and they hold at the same time by their centers five wands, or torches, which are similar to the wand of a Z.A.M. Four wands cross each other, but the fifth is upright in the center. Flames leap from the point of junction. Above the central wand is the symbol Saturn and below it that of Leo representing the Decanate.
"Violent strife and contest, boldness, rashness, cruelty, violence, lust and desire, prodigality and generosity, depending on well or ill dignified.
The Five of Wands is Geburah in the scale of Atziluth. It is Martial Severity in the Archetypal World of Pure Spirit. In all of the Minor cards, the Number Five is seen as a sign of strife and opposition. Geburah is the Sephirah identified with Martial energy and destruction. This destructive quality is not "evil" but is in fact a necessary purification. It is a Holy Consuming Fire which breaks down the forms built up in Chesed, purges them utterly, then transmits them to the Solar Center of Tiphareth where the cycle of rebuilding continues. In the Minor cards, which clearly illustrate the immediate potency and influence of the Sephiroth on the elements, the effect of Geburah spells trouble. In the suit of Wands, the combination of elemental Fire (raw energy) and the destructive Martial Power of Geburah results in strife and quarreling.
In this card Leo, the fixed sign of Fire, is in Saturn, the planet associated with the concept of Time. The metal assigned to Saturn is lead, with the quality of heaviness. Thus the strongest Fire sign, Leo, combined with the Active Force of Geburah, is stifled and opposed by the slow, ponderous mass of Saturn. This only adds to the idea of Strife associated with this card. It should be noted that the Five of Wands, like the other fives, do not always signify certain defeat, but they point out that trouble is present.
As in the other cards of the suit of Wands, the predominant colors are red and green, signifying it as a Fire card. The background color is orange, the color of Geburah in the scale of Atziluth. Orange is the color resulting from the mixture of red and yellow, the two most active shades on the color wheel. Therefore the color orange rightly describes the activity and Force of Geburah in the King Scale.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.