Here we see five tree stumps. They have been cut off nearly at the base. One has a tree hollow and they are all covered in moss. Of note is the fact that they all have limited above ground root systems for trees of this size.
In the Rider Waite deck this card is represented by a man mourning three spilled cups and ignoring two standing cups behind him. In the Thoth deck this card represents disappointment and emotional crisis. Fives in tarot typically indicate a crossroads. A challenge has presented itself causing emotional and spiritual upheaval, but in that challenge a solution has also been presented. It can be hard to see that solution through the chaos and the emotional pain and loss. Either way, change is coming and it can be extreme for example spiritual poverty or material wealth. Five also indicates the ‘fifth’ element – spirit, the heart of what unites us. Fives ask us to look at what it is that unites our being? What unites our physical and spiritual elements? It is time to slow down while you navigate these rocky waters of change and consider these questions. As you mourn, make it purposeful. What does it mean to let go of this? How can you move forward? What have you learned in hindsight?
The trees that have been cut down were mature and by the looks of it, healthy trees. There are no blooms or signs of new life. Something you were working towards or hoping for hasn’t come to fruition. It has been cut off at the base. This card is not prescribing how you must feel but rather is an invitation to mourn what is no longer growing so you can move past it and see how much still remains. Feelings that may come up for you now is disappointment, despair, self doubt, confusion, feelings of being lost, directionless or hopeless. You may have lost faith in someone you trusted or even yourself. There could be a very real fear of ‘lack’ or there being nothing left. Be careful, there is a time to mourn and a time to move on. Do not get lost to the sadness.
Tree-stumps have often signified death. They are often used as tombstones and can be seen throughout popular culture in scenes depicting death. However, as much as losing these trees is a great shame and a great sadness, you now have a wealth of material in terms of wood and the moss is still growing. Moss is a hugely important plant but often overlooked. It lives in the dark and damp, generally on the forest floor. It has male and female aspects that rely on water to carry the spores – no animals involved in reproduction at all. It has varied uses around the house from bedding to cleaning. Most importantly in the past certain mosses were used for bandaging and some mosses still have medicinal properties today. However their strongest association is with luck, money and tranquility. In short, there is still life and there is still hope, you just have to take the time to see it, and look from another angle. In short, you need to move past your emotions of sadness and look for another way.
As much as this card represents loss and sadness, it also presents an opportunity to exert self compassion and an open mind. Try and forgive yourself, see what you can learn from this situation, assess your own expectations and directions, and try a different perspective. Hope is slim, but it is there and ready to help you heal and move on.
Upright: disappointment, loss, sadness, despair, unbalanced, grieving, change, upheaval, narrow mindedness.
Reversed: two extremes either moving on, or a refusal to move on. Either way, the grief is working towards its natural end and a new path is opening up even if you can’t see it yet.