The 5 of wands is often depicted as strife, conflict, and disagreement, but a closer look often shows competition as motivation, conflict as inspiration, and differing opinions as a way to open eyes to new methods and balance. Things that seem like hassles can actually be necessary for growth and success, and different points of view can be combined for a whole that is stronger than its parts. The figures in this card are often shown as many different nationalities, hinting at the idea that there is a greater global balance at work. The five of wands may remind you that you can't succeed without competing. You may feel like you are below others, but if you look around, you'll find that other people look up to you the way you look up to others; you are part of a larger framework than you may realize.
That's a heady amount of stuff to get into a little teeny card. I wanted to stay to five figures, as tradition dictates, but I really wanted to concentrate on the positive aspects of the card, and I had to find a way to merge that all with the Carnival theme of this deck. Acrobats, balancing each other using staffs, seemed like a natural way to translate the meaning of the card.
This card was a challenge to me technically, as well. Full figures are not easy. Five full figures of distinct nationalities, balanced in crazy, acrobatic formations that have no references took a lot of careful work. I erased the figures several times. I am also not particularly comfortable with color, and I tend to default to neutral tones... which this card, and the theme of the deck, did not call for at all. I used Pigma Micron pens, Copics, and a little bit of white gel pen (a first!), and really stretched out of my comfort zone in a big way.
You can pre-order the deck now, through Kickstarter! We funded in less than three days, and now we're working towards super awesome stretch goals: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayti/78-tarot-carnival
Contact me if you are interested in the original piece.