I just created a “state of undoing” table that is designed to aid in assessing the survival potential of individuals in missing-person situations. Although tarot professionals like to say that no single card can predict death, in missing-person scenarios it’s an unavoidable possibility that must be accounted for in the interest of full disclosure. Especially as time drags on from the date of the disappearance, we must chase down any likely lead we can find, and this table offers a concise and convenient way to cross-check earlier observations.
As a result, I extended the reach of my last reading on the status of Michael McClain (who has been missing for five months) by drawing two more cards – a minor card and a trump – that are intended to convey the probability of one outcome over the other: still alive or deceased. I drew the 5 of Swords and the Tower; the minor card reflects the present physical condition of the individual and the trump card describes the broader implications of the situation.
In the table, I binned the 5 of Swords in the “Almost Certainly Dead” category. The Golden Dawn title for this card is “Lord of Defeat,” and the interpretive text in their tarot compendium, Liber T, includes the following keywords and phrases: “Contest finished, and decided against the person, failure, defeat, anxiety, trouble . . .” My original reading for this case indicated that McClain may have been accosted by two aggressive men (King of Wands and Knight of Wands), who were most likely intent on robbery (4 of Pentacles reversed). My most recent update suggested that he may have become combative (7 of Wands), which – if he was as intoxicated as is now believed – could have been disastrous for him.
The Tower intimates that violence of some kind was visited upon his person. Liber T, gives the following divinatory meaning for the Tower: “Ambition, fighting, war, courage. In certain combinations, destruction, danger, fall, ruin.” My opinion is that bringing it together with the “Lord of Defeat” meets the conditions for assuming dire consequences, and referring back to the confrontational scenario of the initial reading lends that assumption further credibility. There is one opinion that he may have accidentally fallen to his death, but with an occurrence of that type he would almost certainly have been found by now unless his disappearance from view was “assisted” in some way. In physical terms the Tower typically delivers trauma and isn’t keen on “cleaning up its messes,” so I find that scenario improbable.