I promised some of my followers an example reading with my new missing person spread, and since I had already laid out the cards for this cold case using my “Train to Nowhere” spread but haven’t analyzed and posted it yet, I decided to do both readings for comparative purposes. This is the case of a New Hampshire man whose life and law enforcement career were derailed by multiple sclerosis back in the 1990s, and who went missing from his security guard job in 2000 after his condition worsened.
For the “Train to Nowhere” layout, I used the Thoth-based Liber T: Tarot of Stars Eternal, with reversals, and the Knight (King) of Disks as the Significator. The draw placed the Significator in the eighth position of the “train,” the description of which is simply “deceased.” His family has long suspected that he is dead but is still looking for answers to his disappearance. The Knight of Disks appeared as the top card in the eighth stack before it was turned over for the search, so it became the primary “driver” for the six-card line when the sub-pack was flipped. Because the series was headed by the Significator, I get the impression that whatever happened to Curtis Pishon was to a significant extent his own doing.
All images copyright Los Scarabeo, Torino, Italy
The next card was the 8 of Wands. I consider all of the Eights to be cards of anxiety because of their connection to astrological Mercury and their off-balance position on the qabalistic Tree of Life that Aleister Crowley was on about in the Book of Thoth. In this case I can envision the anxiety being about the escalating loss of motor skills that Curtis suffered as he progressed with MS. He may have sensed that he was running out of time to do something on his own behalf, and was stressing over the looming deadline.
The third card was the 9 of Disks, generally seen as a benevolent if somewhat self-absorbed card. It suggests that Curtis had achieved a degree of closure in his material affairs and was at peace with his planned exit.
The fourth card was the High Priestess reversed; whatever revelations were going through his mind Curtis kept to himself. Perhaps he had a peek beneath the veil that sent him on his journey of no return.
The fifth card was the 8 of Disks reversed, another card of anxiety, possibly revealing his nagging concern about being unable to set all of his plans in motion. The suggestion with the reversal is that some things were left unfinished.
The sixth card was the 4 of Cups, a card that signifies the end of caring and worrying. There are no highly traumatic or especially disturbing cards in this line at all, so it appears to end, as TS Eliot penned, “not with a bang but a whimper.” The burning car may have been a red herring that didn’t convince anyone, since it doesn’t seem to figure into the spread in any way. A benign and eminently passive Cup card at the heart of the “deceased” position could simply mean a “watery grave;” since Curtis worked at the New Hampshire seacoast, he wasn’t far from opportunity in that respect.
I looked for evidence of co-conspirators in the spread, but the closest I could come was the association of four of the six cards with mutable astrological signs, which are described as “people-oriented;” Curtis may well have had friends who were in on his intentions that were unknown to his family and other acquaintances. In most cases, people of his age don’t simply stop breathing and keel over in the middle of the street, so there would almost inevitably have to be somebody tasked with taking care of the “messy details.” If they were indeed anonymous, there would have been no hint of suspicion. The sense I get is that Curtis bowed out with dignity under his own steam.
In the “World of Hurt” missing-person spread, I used the Golden Universal RWS clone and chose the first King to appear in the draw as the Significator; this happened to be the King of Cups on the first pull of the second round, and it turned up in the “Escaping Something” position. I can only assume that Curtis was fleeing his personal demons.
In the position indicating whether the subject of the reading will be found, the 3 of Swords stands as one of the more emphatic “No” cards, so there doesn’t seem to be much chance of it. There was really no need to pull a timing card in this “open-and-shut” case, but I did anyway and it came up the 4 of Swords, a picture of a dead knight lying peacefully on his sarcophagus. As George Carlin once cynically remarked about the old movie scene of a locomotive going full-tilt into a tunnel, “You don’t have to be Fellini to figure that one out.” Nor here either. The King of Cup implies that, wherever he is, it may be a “wet” place where he has settled in and most likely won’t be disturbed. This is one situation where I would read the time-frame for his recovery as “never.” Besides, if he were still lurking about with that debilitating disease sitting heavily on him, I think someone would have to notice and report it.