Back in 2018 when I had just begun working on missing-person cases, I tackled the disappearance of Dwain “Dewey” Poulin from Tamworth, NH. Today while browsing a local news feed I found an article from February of this year noting that his remains (which were discovered in Ossipee, NH in 2020) had finally been identified. There was little detail in the article beyond the assumption that he had walked away from his assisted-living facility (he was suffering from Alzheimer’s and had been rapidly deteriorating) and was apparently trying to get to his childhood home in Maine. I pulled up my original reading to assess its accuracy, and realized two things: the prediction that he had left on his own volition was correct but (as near as I can tell) not the reason he left (other than his emotional discomposure — the departing man in the 8 of Cups), and the observation that he would not be found “safe” was also true. Where it fell down was in the timing of his discovery since the assumed rapidity of Wands and the number “9”” did not figure in.
At the time I had not yet refined my “tarot timing” techniques to the extent they are now. But this failure reinforces my impression that timing future events with the tarot is difficult at best. I’ve written a number of essays on the subject as my thinking evolved and I eventually reached the conclusion that the rule-of-thumb premise that Wands suggest “days,” Swords “weeks,” Cups “months” and Pentacles “years” is simply unreliable. As I’ve mentioned before, an event that should normally transpire within a few weeks at most would not reasonably be expected to take “years” as indicated by the 10 of Pentacles. Even falling back on the “fudge factor” that Wands can mean “quite soon” and Pentacles “much later” (perhaps “never” if the context implies that) wouldn’t have been useful in this case.
But in missing-person scenarios all bets are off because the circumstances of the disappearance are usually clouded. Did the person intentionally vanish into the woods? Was suicide or foul play a consideration? Was kidnapping or unlawful restraint involved? Was mental confusion or illness a factor that might have complicated the situation? I’ve had a few remarkable successes in predicting the state of well-being and even the likely location of missing individuals but have learned that “time of discovery” is too open-ended to forecast. This is most obvious with “cold cases” that have been hashed over by investigators for decades, so I’ve decided to stop doing them. This attempt I will bin as a partial success; the lesson learned is that I should probably revisit my readings if an initial short-term outlook doesn’t pan out and try a different angle. There have been instances where the family of the missing person has contacted me, and that tends to keep me on-point.