Futhark Village

Tarot for Rune Lovers – The Fives

Fives in the Minor Arcana

For all the talk of how depressing runes are, there is no Rune of sadness. The Fives are cards of ᚦ (Thurisaz) and ᚾ (Naudhiz), but only because there isn’t a rune that really captures the longing and despair of the cards. 

I will discuss the cards in chronological order, looking at the sky in the cards: cloudless morning, cloudy afternoon, twilight, and night. One might also argue that I am discussing them in order of the spirits of those depicted, from almost joyous in combat, through envy to mourning, and finally to despair.

Five of Wands

Five of Wands

Modern Witch Tarot

The Five of Wands is a card of ᚦ (Thurisaz) disrupting ᛗ (Mannaz). The five people are fighting with each other, but the way in which they are tangled up suggests that they had originally intended to work together in some way. Those five staves were originally tools, but now they are weapons because something went wrong. 

Looking in the picture, no one is looking each other in the eye, everyone is looking to blame someone else. There is no ᛊ (Sowilo). Rather than looking for reasons to fight, look for the misunderstanding which led to the fight in the first place. Be the Sowilo. If the person on the left has a different understanding than the person on the right, try to build a bridge between them. This is a fight between people who are nominally friends. 

Five of Swords

Five of Swords

Waite-Smith Tarot

There are a couple of ways to look at the Five of Swords, and neither of them is very pleasant. Optimistically, this is a card of picking up after a major defeat, while everyone else is still crying. Pessimistically, this is a card of a bully who just beat everyone up and took their swords. Most Tarot readers don’t like this kind of ambiguity, so they pick one interpretation or the other. As a Rune lover, we’re pretty used to this kind of ambiguity.

The optimistic interpretation of the Five of Swords is a bit of a cross between ᚾ (Naudhiz) and ᛃ (Jera). Something awful has happened, and people are walking away in despair, but they aren’t the focus of the card. The Five of Swords is the card of the person picking up the swords after the battle. There is no ᚨ (Ansuz) in this card: the one picking up the swords does not reach out to talk to the others who should be helping. This makes it the card of quietly doing the hard work that must be done.

If we are being pessimistic, then this card is the dark side of ᚢ (Uruz), strength being used to harm. In this interpretation, it is the card of the bully who beats people up and steals their swords. Again, there is no ᚨ (Ansuz). What communication is happening isn’t poetry or words, it is violence and ᚦ (Thurisaz). This person doesn’t care whom he hurts, he just wants to win. He smirks while he takes all the prizes.

Five of Cups

Five of Cups

Aquarian Tarot

The Five of Cups is a card of mourning, the opposite of ᚹ (Wunjo). This happens after a ᚺ (Hagalaz) situation of some sort. You feel like someone has just kicked the cup out of your hands, and you are emotionally empty and don’t know how to move forward. 

This is a card about the transition between ᛁ (Isa) and ᚱ (Raidho). You have been mourning, meditating, paying attention to those three empty cups in front of you (Isa), and that is necessary sometimes. But now it is time to get a move on (Raidho). You need to take care of those two cups you still have. 

In the Aquarian Tarot above, the person is looking away from the two full cups behind him at the three spilled cups in front of him. He has lost more than he still has. But there are birds taking flight, if he will only look up. There are still two full cups behind him, if he will only look at them. Now is the time to move.

Five of Pentacles

Five of Pentacles

Darkwood Tarot

The Five of Pentacles is a card of your basic needs not being met, but it goes beyond ᚾ (Naudhiz). When Naudhiz shows up in a reading, I point out that the querent should be taking care of their own basic needs. This card says that you are in a situation where you cannot take care of yourself. It is time to ask for help.

In the Darkwood Tarot above, Hansel and Gretel walk through the snow in ragged clothes. There is wealth in the tree as they pass it, but they can’t or won’t see it. They are without ᛊ (Sowilo), but there is hope. Help is near if you will only ask for it. But the ᛖ (Ehwaz) is invisible to them. This card is an invitation to discuss whom they can ask for help.