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5 of Wands Strife

Strife. Putting energy to something at the wrong time, in the wrong place, or in the wrong way. Forcing. Striving. Pushing. Trying to make something into something it's not. Square peg, round hole. Molding a form to fit into a structure that is not suitable; not a match.

Struggle. Resistance. Frustration.

It is late autumn. The sun is low in the southern sky. The zucchini plant in my garden has stopped growing, its leaves molding and withered. And yet it has produced this beautiful squash blossom. It continues to strive to create new fruit. It reaches to the sun for nourishment. And although there is beauty in the effort, it is time for the plant to become fertilizer for the seeds that will sprout in the spring.

Strife indicates that we are out of sync with our internal and external environment. We did not look deeply or thoroughly enough to understand our place in it. We are out of balance with those around us. We force our ideas and concepts on the world. We are stubborn and rigid, struggling and resisting, refusing to see the essence of the situation.

The driving creative power within us is bursting to be expressed. When we find ourselves struggling with creativity and self-expression, strife is at play. Strife can be experienced several different ways. On one hand, we can have too many ideas, to many pans in the fire and cannot develop any one of them sufficiently. On the other hand, we allow our ego to take control and try to force our ideas into fruition.  And sometimes we stifle our creative energy altogether.

The antidote? Take a breath. Step back for a moment and assess the situation. Why am I

struggling?  Do I feel I have to fight for my ideas to be heard or do I fear others' reactions if I do express myself? Is self-discipline required to focus on fewer projects? Do I strive for perfection (which by the way is not humanly possible!)? Do I lack the vision to see the way forward clearly? Is my heart in it? Is it a match? We can breathe ourselves back into our own ball of energy and look again. Self-respect. Respect. "Re-spect," in other words, look again, look within.

The element of fire - wands, energy, spirit, breath, inspiration, creativity, vision, self-expression - informs our response to strife. If I am truly inspired, I don't care what anyone else thinks or says. I act for myself. I am sensitive to the ebb and flow of my own energy, my creative impulses, and what inspires me. I am able to express myself freely, spontaneously, honestly. I am a physical vessel and my spirit/soul/higher power speaks through me.

"Strife" and "to strive" entered the written English language c.1200. Strife (a quarrel, fight, discord, battle, combat, conflict, torment, distress, dispute) and to strive (to quarrel, contend, dispute, resist, struggle, put up a fight, compete, try hard) come from Old French estriver, as well as Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Old High German, German "to fight, contend, struggle," and Old Norse striðr "strong, hard, stubborn, severe."

We as a species have been doing this for a long time! Let's stop!!! Strife and striving are information. Let's look deeply and respectfully to understand what is a match, what resonates, what inspires, what is beautiful, creative, truthful...and ditch the rest!

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