The Five of Wands shows two types of conflict - outer and inner. The former arises when the world around you is filled with hassles and minor obstacles that would not slow your progress alone, but, when combined, they become increasingly difficult to overcome. The latter meaning manifests in times of difficult ethical choices, when the head fights the heart and when both are in combat with the conscience, each trying to tell you the best way to act and the right thing to do. It can indeed seem that you are being held back and attacked from all sides in such times.
When an outer battle is signaled by the appearance of this card, expect several problems to crop up all at once, each demanding immediate attention and none seeming particularly easy to solve. In the Rider-Waite variants the five combatants are evenly matched and armed, because none of them are any more important that the others. The situation then becomes a lesson about setting priorities calmly and without vacillation. In the Five of Wands there is a tendency towards rashness and loss of control, and you must be careful not to let that overwhelm you.
For inner battles marked by the Five of Wands the approach you must take is similar. Strategy is the key, because the energy of this card is natural, wild and untamed, an "every man for himself" philosophy. In such situations, once again, a clear head will prevail where hot-headed personalities get overwhelmed by difficulties. The emphasis is now on finding the sources of inner conflict and righting the wrongs that have caused them too appear. As long as there is guilt there can be no peace. Forgiveness and repentance, in these cases, make much more powerful weapons than the thickest wand or the sharpest sword.
The implementation of new ideas is a central theme of the Wands and the Five can show times where this implementation is halted or blocked in some way. This card may also appear when your ideas meet tough challenges by skeptics or opponents around you. At times like this, the best offense is a good defense. Hold fast to your resolve and let nothing deter you from your objectives. You will always succeed if you can tap the fiery energy of the Wands and, instead of using it for destructive purposes like fighting and quarelling, use it for constructive purposes. Compromise if you must, but refuse to lose your cool, even while standing on the hottest coals.