A 1980 Cold-Case Reading

I recently came across a news report about an investigation by local police and FBI agents into a 37-year-old New Hampshire (USA) missing-person “cold case.”


I have a spread designed for missing-person divination and decided to apply it to this case. Here is the layout:


The spread has thirteen positions modeled after a “locomotive” motif. The reading involves selecting a Significator card for the subject of the reading and leaving it in the deck, shuffling and cutting, then dealing the entire deck consecutively into thirteen piles of six cards. The pile in which the Significator appears identifies the present location of the missing person. The six cards in the pile are then read as a “story” to provide details of the situation.

The missing person was a 25-yaer-old mother of two with a fair complexion and light-colored hair, so I chose the Queen of Cups to represent her. I dealt the cards and discovered the Significator as the first card in the last pile, titled “The Caboose.” The meaning of this position is “In the background; hard to see; not easily found.” Here is the layout for all six cards, using the Tarot of Dreams deck:

All images copyright U.S. Games Systems, Inc, Stamford, CT

The Queen of Cups was followed by the Page of Wands, the 9 of Swords and the Page of Swords, with the two Pages bracketing the 9 of Swords. The Tower followed the Page of Swords, and finally the 2 of Wands.

The Tarot of Dreams 9 of Swords is a perfect depiction of a woman in distress, and the two Pages on either side suggest that two younger men (probably teen-agers at the time) were the cause of her torment. The Tower shows the dire consequences of the pair’s actions, and the 2 of Wands suggests that they were dismayed by their deed, taking A.E. Waite’s alternate interpretation of “physical suffering, disease, chagrin, sadness, mortification.” Take a close look at the 2 of Wands. It shows two lighted windows, one of a pinkish hue that closely matches the coloration of the Page of Wands, and the other light-blue in color, echoing the appearance of the Page of Swords. This coincidence and the design of the card make me think the young men were next-door neighbors, possibly living in a duplex that shared a stairway as shown in the picture. Note that there are three “Mars” cards here – the 9 of Swords (Mars in Gemini), the Tower (Mars, plain and simple) and the 2 of Wands (Mars in Aries); some kind of aggressive behavior is almost guaranteed.

Another interpretation of these cards could be that the two Pages represent her two children (of either gender), in which case the Tower holds the secret, suggesting a major interruption in her life (a “Tower event”) following a nightmarish episode of terror (the 9 of Swords); in that case, a more typical meaning of the 2 of Wands applies: her spirit is caught between two worlds and her fate is still indeterminate.

Since there is no clear indication of a location in these cards, the implication is that, if the authorities identify and apprehend the two men, they will be led to the location of the missing woman. The Tower suggests that she did not survive. The police are focusing on a now-deceased suspect who has been linked to another missing-person case in the same time-frame and local area, but this reading points in a different direction. I will be watching developments with interest.

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