The Case for the “Rescue Person” (A Crisis-Intervention Spread)

The modern phenomenon of the “rescue dog” (or cat, rabbit, hamster, pig, horse, etc) is well-known. These are domestic animals that are captive strays or that are being abandoned by their owners, who don’t want or for some reason can’t keep them. Older or infirm pets are frequently on the road to euthanization and rescue is their last chance. But we all know (or know of) human beings who fit the same general profile: they seem to be habitual miscreants, adrift in life, hapless, clueless, without hope, disconnected from others, unable to get their bearings even when drugs and alcohol aren’t involved (although they often are). The other side of the picture is the would-be noble “rescuer,” the individual who feels the “rescuee” just needs a fresh start and a sympathetic helping hand, or who simply wants to “save them from themselves.”

Together they embark on a downward spiral of dysfunctional and mutually destructive behavior (although admittedly there are many success stories in this type of scenario), with the erstwhile helper becoming a long-suffering “saint” to the erring (and perhaps irredeemable) “sinner.” Unhappy marriages are sometimes based on this flawed and emotionally unhealthy pattern. Another example might be the incorrigible foster child who is shuttled from one host home to another. It doesn’t even have to be a personal initiative, it could be a court-ordered rehab situation with a counselor or therapist, or a judicial probationary setting. The goal is one of individual or social intervention and the question is whether it will “take.”

Here is a spread that is aimed at any situation where a “rescuer” intends to shoulder the burden of trying to reform a wandering and possibly damaged spirit. Although it suggests a “fatal attraction” form of infatuation, I can also see it being used in less highly-charged interpersonal cases where a seeker is simply asking “Is this person I’m interested in right for me?” The court card in the center is chosen in advance as the “significator” for the querent, while the rest of the court cards are removed from the deck and shuffled, then six of them are placed face-down in the six peripheral positions. A single die is rolled to select one of the six cards to turn over, which purports to show the character traits that the querent is likely to encounter in the subject individual (reversals may be used to reflect “hidden” or “shadow” personality quirks that aren’t obvious on first encounter). These can be qualities like relative level of maturity or immaturity and attitudes and behaviors that may be deeply entrenched. After that, the remainder of the deck is shuffled and three cards are dealt in a line radiating outward from the significator/subject pair. The five cards are read as the path that the relationship may take, and it can also offer potential guidance for dealing with any obstacles to success. Card #1 as the pivotal “hinge” card in the sequence is the critical entry point or “first step” (hopefully “putting the best foot forward” and not “getting off on the wrong foot”) in the developmental outlook.

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