Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down: A Missing-Person Subroutine

Yesterday while performing a missing-person reading on a young girl, I came upon an implausible scenario that pointed out a flaw in my spread methodology. I presently have two spreads to examine these situations. One is more locational, asking “Where is X?” while the other attempts to answer “What happened to X?” The second one produces five possible conclusions: Escaping Something; Taken; Dazed and Confused; Disabled or Confined; Deceased. In the current case, the girl was very young and disappeared while riding her bike a short distance from home. She had not reached an age where personal volition has matured to the point that running away or hiding is likely unless it’s part of a game (not the case here). But that is the answer the spread gave me, and I considered it invalid.

In fact, the girl’s youth made a couple of the possible outcomes improbable since they assume a developed personality.  I’ve been thinking that the first cut in any missing-person reading should be whether the individual is most likely still alive or is in fact dead. A verdict of deceased would make the rest of the “what happened” analysis moot and there would be no reason to lay all of the cards in the spread. (I have a different spread for “Who killed X?”) The “Where is X?” question would remain, but it too would have to be sharpened to exclude a self-initiated or self-perpetuated absence.

The best way to approach this may not be with the cards at all, but instead with the roll of a single six-sided die. The odd and even numbers already have connotations that can be pressed into service for this purpose: odd numbers, because they are unbalanced, are generally considered to be dissonant, while even numbers are viewed as harmonious. It should be possible, beyond obtaining a basic “yes-or-no” answer to the question, to squeeze more intelligence out of the roll. Here is a theoretical break-down of “spot” meanings:

One spot could mean dead, and died alone in an isolated place.
Three spots could mean dead at the hands of others, and not alone at death.
Five spots could mean dead as part of a larger disaster, or as one of a string of victims.

Two spots could mean alive and either alone or held by a single person.
Four spots could mean alive and with a small group of people, perhaps a couple.
Six spots could mean alive and in a larger group, as might occur in a human trafficking situation.

With  this preliminary assessment in mind, the number of potential outcomes in a spread design can be streamlined to eliminate those that don’t apply to the indicated state. A truncated layout could be performed that focuses only on those card positions that speak to the initial testimony. It may even be best to create a separate, small spread for each possibility, with only “alive” or “dead” particulars. In that case, the nature of the cards themselves rather than simply their position in the spread would convey a more telling sense of “where” and “what.” This is one of a series of opportunities I’ve been exploring to use the dice as an adjunct to card-reading, and the approach continues to show promise.

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