Five of Staves: Strife
Historical: Lord of Strife
Ruling Pentagram: Pent #5 “Root” – Fire of 兌 (Tui) The Joyous, Lake
Berashith: “And Elohim separated the Dawn”
Element/Planet: Fire of Mars (Gevurah, Severity)
Tiered Bigrams: Fire (Above), Air (Middle), Fire (Below)
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #10 (履 lǚ) Treading (Conduct)
Planet/Sun Sign: Saturn in Leo
Keywords: Protection, Wrath, Ferocity, Discrimination, War, Offense, Unassailability, Sageness
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Waiting, Arrogance, Incompetence, Foolishness, Rage
Golden Dawn: Called The Five of Wands, Lord of Strife, the Five of Wands card corresponds to the planetary Saturn and the zodiacal Leo. It places between Sephira #5 (Geburah,) in the Golden Dawn system. Its angels are Vahaviah and Yelayel.
A central wand topped with a winged disc and two serpent heads, is crossed by four wands. The first pair are sickles, and threaten to cut the heads off of the serpents. the two other wands are topped with mutated and demented lions. The ends of these wands are insect wings of some kind. Flames issue from the crosspoints. A disc with the symbols of Saturn and Leo on it covers the junctions. Two small torches are at the bottom.
Thoth: The Five of Wands, as he calls it, “is referred to Geburah of the suit of Fire. Geburah itself being fiery, it is a purely active force. It is ruled also by Saturn and Leo.” The heads of the phoenix on the wands indicate resurrection of energy from ashes, within the “tameless irrational energy (of the Mother.)” Crowley indicates that the doctrine of “Lion-goddess Pasht” now known as Sekhmet, is identified with the station, fierce and savage, sexually cruel, comparable to “The highest divine nature” (The Tarot of the Egyptians, Aleister Crowley 1944)
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The Hexagram ruling the card, #10, Treading, includes a description of “Treading upon the tail of the tiger. It does not bite the man. Success.” which pairs well with the subject of this card – Sekhmet. In the image we find that the Hexagram is about discriminating between high and low. In the tiered bigrams we find an Air element between two Fire elements, above and below. This is a heated and fiery situation, with the Earthly Fire below being stirred up by Air and the Heavenly Fire above inspiring and facilitating the growth of the Air element. In the trigrams we have the circle for Heaven above and Lake below. The bigger picture is quite creative and prosperous, so it is that this station indicates fruitful labor of Heaven, often in a cruel scene.
Fire of Mars is as militaristic and violent a pairing of the elementals and planetaries as one will get. Saturn in Leo reminds us this is all for the forces of good and the light as well. This could be an auspicious card depending on the context of where it is placed, especially if vengeance or justice is sought through military or force.
The Scene: The unbridled ferocity of Sekhmet destroying humankind fills this card, called Strife. Connected with Geburah, Severity, Fire makes for an unstoppable and uncontrollable force when set to destruction.
It is not a nice card, and it is not meant to be, for the force and assurance of destruction is its only silver lining, and only for those experiencing injustice.
Because it is a purifying fire, the symbol of the Egida, The Abrahadabra Institute’s house of healing was used as the iconography for the tip of her electrified staff.
The scene was painted in December 2010, right before the Egyptian revolution that ended the corrupt rule of Hosni Mubarak, and it was finished on the 24th of January.
It is up to the viewer to determine if the hands of the people are burning, already dead in the lake of fire of the Duat, or people wronged, praising Sekhmet for her vengeance.