Five of Stars/Five of Wands
This is the card of competition and action. It’s about expressing yourself through struggle and clashing wills. This may seem like a bad card, but it has more in common with sports or chess than with Game of Thrones. This is a friendly competition, of sorts. You’ll notice the man in the picture is fighting against the raging tide. He could work with the river current and go much faster, and with much less effort. But that’s not really the point. This would be a bit like telling a rock climber that there’s an elevator to the top of the mountain – that’s not really why he’s out here. The fact that everyone has turned their efforts against each other may make it seem like the effort is all going to waste, but it’s more about self-improvement and self-satisfaction through the conflict. It allows the participants to work out their pent up energy without causing harm, and it allows everyone involved to practice for more serious competitions.
This is when you’re rafting down a river, and you hit a patch of bad rapids. What was a benign exertion has suddenly turned into a fight for your life. The Five of Stars inverted is for when the struggle turns nasty. Someone might have lost their temper, or maybe one of your competitors turned out to be cruel and violence minded from the very beginning. This isn’t a game anymore, and you need to change your expectations and tactics to respond to that.