Conflict, Constructs and Contests - the 5's, The Hierophant (V) and Temperance (XIV or 1+4)
June 3, 2017
Following on from the stability of the Fours, we see the energy to 'break the mould', stir things up and set the cat amongst the pigeons of the Fives. This energy is more often than not externally sourced or motivated, shaking up those patterns and structures that we'd become settled and comfortable with.
The number Five celebrates the addition of the human element to the existing stability of the Four primal elements, and it's this energy that is changeable, dynamic and can lead to interpersonal conflict and challenges. The Fifth astrological house is Leo, which covers, amongst other things, creative self expression, enjoyment and entertainment, and the way in which those very individual aspects of this house are represented can contribute to those conflict areas.
Fives deal primarily with how conflict, contests, constructs and complexities affect our lives, usually, but not always, from external sources. The Fives chafe against the restriction, real or imagined, that the Fours before it put into place, creating some tension. Son in the individual Minors, we see: sadness, regret and upset caused over an upheaval or loss (Five of Cups); competition, conflict and minor skirmishes coming from different sources or caused by differing points of view (Five of Wands); going without, or feeling pushed out into the cold by circumstances beyond our control (Five of Pentacles); betrayal, mercenary or scavenging behaviour, or gloating after a perceived win (Five of Swords).
When we see multiple Fives appear in a reading, they will talk about conflicting energies, and how they're manifesting in the moment; a situation in turmoil, where there is a risk of getting sucked into that upheaval or drama; events starting to unravel, where structure and organisation starts to break down; things beyond our control, where external influences are overriding our immediate ability to take action or respond effectively.
The Major Fives appear in the first two septs, the Physical and Mental. The Spiritual sept has it's own challenges and conflicts, but not represented at this Five point, probably because those Spiritual challenges would be internally motivated (represented by the later Sevens), rather than externally so...nevertheless, the Physical Five, The Hierophant (V), has a spiritual aspect all its own. The Hierophant is one of those cards that has a tendency to give readers the heebie-jeebies, as it traditionally shows a priest or papal figure holding court over two young novitiates, and the presence of authority symbols, such as the pillars, the triple crown, the triple cross, the throne, and the crossed keys. These symbols combine to give an authority similar to that of the Emperor before him, but the authority here is that of tradition, "that which should not be questioned", the given way of doing things that is taught rather than learned or experienced for oneself, truth that is delivered from a pulpit rather than from personal experience, prescriptive obeyance rather than self moral guidance. Variations of the card show the Hierophant more as a wise man, shaman or keeper of ancestral or gathered knowledge, a librarian or seeker of truth, while some others swing the opposite way, showing the Hierophant as oppressive, abusive or manipulating that power for their own gains! The Hierophants planetary association is traditionally Venus - an unusual combination, through the connection with Taurus - but it reflects on the desire of most faiths to want to undo the years of conflict and turmoil in which they have been embroiled by dent of loving grace presented 'after the fact', but there is that influence from the Fifth House Leo, and the Sun, at once lifegiving and sustaining, but also fiery and liable to burn if too intensely focused or exposed for too long.
When we look at the other Five, in the Mental Sept, we have Temperance (XIV or 1+4), characterising the desire to find balance in conflict, to seek resolution, to pour oil on those troubled waters. We see here that individual energy of the 1 blending, hopefully harmoniously, with the structure provided by the 4, to give us a 5 that seeks to mix together disparate elements, to seek harmony rather than giving in to the easy option of conflict; to see that higher state, 'if they go low, we go high', of wanting to rise above despite the temptation; to ensure that the individual, as well as the group, are respected; to ensure that no individual is exempt from the rules that govern all, and that the rules that govern all benefit all, and not just the individual. Traditionally this card is portrayed as being all about balance, an angelic figure shown as having one foot on the land, and one in the water; blending seamlessly two cups of water, or, in some cases fire and water, without extinguishing the fire, nor turning the water to steam. The angel usually has the Fire symbol on their person, and is portrayed with that angelic grace, halo or aura and a crown or triple crown reflecting, once again, that sense of authority. It's interesting that the spiritual aspect of the Five is represented here too, with the card featuring an angel, in continuance of that spiritual authority started in the Hierophant card... the need here is to restore much needed balance, to bring together, to bring patience and understanding, to recognise that a mix of energy is required to find a solution, and that it is necessary to embrace, or at least acknowledge, opposing views, individuality and expression. The planetary association for Temperance is Jupiter, associated with all forms of 'higher authority' from judges and lawyers, to teachers and religious leaders, but at the same time is a planetary influence that seeks to encourage growth, to enlarge, and bring good fortune, optimism and a sense of hope.
It is the Fives that challenge us, stir up the status quo and leave us either invigorated and revitalised because of the challenge, or disrupted and unbalanced because our boundaries have been threatened or invaded. Conflict is inevitable where the individual is concerned, but management and resolution of that conflict are what the Fives call us to recognise and implement, to overcome those challenges and move forwards successfully.
What are your experiences of the Fives in Tarot? I'd love to hear your thoughts!