The five of Stones is challenging. Stability is, inevitably, temporary. We cannot maintain an indefinite period of stasis but must eventually move. If we stubbornly refuse to change and attempt to hold onto what we think of as “ours” then we will be pushed, prodded, and poked into a new stance. This can be very painful. Stress creates growth and the five of Stones is the necessity that mothers invention. And so, traditionally, this card represents financial loss or decline in health. Bob Dylan sings:
“Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.1”
And so the five of Stones offers a cautionary tale. No matter how secure we may feel sitting safe within the walls of the four of Stones, even the mightiest can fall. But for Grace any one of us may be the beggar on the street. And so we must see ourselves in the face of the homeless, impoverished, and sick. The five of Stones is whatever loss is needful to propel us back into our Soul’s dance towards Wisdom.
Great losses often lead to greater gains. While it is impossible (and inappropriate) to quantify the exact effects of a death, financial setback, illness, or other loss, it is often the case that they mark turning points in our lives. It is when we are up against the wall or at rock-bottom that we learn the substance of which we’re made. We test our strength and resilience against the stresses of life. And, with Grace, overcome.
Many healers come to their paths through illness. By learning to heal themselves they realize a calling to a higher service of assisting others. Others use physical illness to re-set their priorities about what’s really important and to heal relationships that may have been broken. Job losses may lead to innovation and new independence. Divorces may take us into brighter, healthier emotional lives. While these are never “easy” transitions, they can be made into good ones.
Fives always represent change and movement. They also represent tests. And this five reminds us that: “this too shall pass.” It also reminds us to give gratitude even in the darkest nights. It is these times that temper our metal, refining and fortifying our essential selves.
Look at the greatest losses of your life thus far. It may be difficult, but find the “silver lining” in them. How did they propel you toward your deeper purpose?
During times of financial insecurity, like we’ve experienced collectively the last few years, it is easy to get caught in security fears. Look at the macro-economics of our world and consider how the losses could be turned to a more healthy, balanced distribution of wealth. Consider how you can contribute to such change. Consider the positive aspects of economic decline.
How can illness be considered growth? What have your or others’ illnesses taught you about the life and death?
Some thinkers argue that we are all operating out of a basic fear of death. Do you find this to be true for yourself? What is your deepest fear? This is not a surface question and the answer may be changeable. It is hard to know what we fear until we face it. Some people are motivated by fear of death. Others out of fear of poverty. Still others out of a fear of insanity. Consider your deepest fears and how they may influence your daily life. As you do your motivation will change from operating out of fear to operating out of positive states such as service, love, and joy.
When the five of Stones enters your life, don’t panic! Sacrifice the fears of loss you may still hold and look for some way to move that energy. Understand good things can come from loss and consider the places in your life that are ill and may need to be sacrificed. Offer up those fears, anxieties, and illnesses and make room for positive growth.
1Dylan, Bob. Like a Rolling Stone.