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The Mood of the Fans: A Reading July 2, 2008

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Let me commence with a conclusion. I have concluded that there are three kinds of difficult people in this world: those who are hard to please; those who are impossible to please; and fans of the Washington Capitals.

My tarot cards are safely put away, and I’m not about to deal this question out and read it. But I suspect that if I did ask the question, “How are things going with the fan base of the Washington Capitals?”, that I would see four, five, maybe even six Water cards on a Celtic Cross layout, with not a single Air card to be found. Actually? Check that. Let me get those cards out and test this little hypothesis.

Deck: Tarot of the Angels (Scarabeo)
Spread: Celtic Cross
Normal distribution: 3-3-2-2, Majors: 2 or 3
Question: “What’s going on right now among the Washington Capitals fan base?”

First impression: Wow, this is telling me more than I thought it would, even on a casual inspection. Best way I’m going to be able to distill all this is to go through this one card at a time and tie it all together as I go. Four Major Arcana cards on the layout, and that is unusual. That tells me that what’s happening among the fans right now, as I type this, is very significant. Some important lessons to be learned right now, Caps fans, if this reading is any indication. Interesting item number one: there is one 3 on the layout, and one court card. The other four minors are, in poker terms, nines over eights, in suit. As for the Majors, the lowest number among them is 16 (out of 21). Put it this way: if these cards were a college schedule, it would be the schedule of a graduate student. I can’t stress it enough: if I’m reading this correctly, what’s going on right now among the fans in Caps Nation is, big, big, BIG.

Card 1: Basis. The Sun, reversed. My goodness, start by saying the obvious, why don’t you. The Sun, when reversed, indicates that things are generally sour. Even though the sun is shining just as brightly when the card is reversed, everything is totally out of whack. It’s like, even though the sun is shining, all the light and success that this card usually heralds when face-up are either being ignored, or just being flat-out rejected outright. If I were to apply this card to the fan base right now, the message would seem to be, “Sun? What sun? We ENJOY our rain clouds, dagnabbit.”

Card 2: Crossing. 3 of Wands. The general mood of the 3 of Wands is traditionally one of virtue, of doing the right thing because that’s the way it should be done. Reading the card itself tells a subtler story. On this card, a man is standing on a rock outcropping, surveying the land before him, holding one of the three wands at his side. And this is not a magician’s wand, it’s more like a staff: it’s almost twice as tall as the man holding it. A good angel is offering another wand (#2) to him, but he doesn’t notice: his eyes are looking skyward. Meanwhile, a dark angel pokes him in the back with Wand #3. In the distance, storm clouds are gathering, and it seems that this is what the man is focusing on. Recall that the Crossing card in a Celtic Cross spread usually indicates either the road you’re on, or an obstacle in your way, and I tend to read it both ways. I take this as meaning that we’re focusing too much on the storm in the distance, and not paying any attention to the spiritual energy, positive and negative, that is at work around us right now. We’re looking at everything that can possibly go wrong down the road, and ignoring the here and now. We didn’t land our first choice between the pipes, so never mind that we just locked up Mike Green for four years on the very same day. We’re focusing on the dark clouds on the horizon, and never mind the forces of Light that are offering their help right under our noses. No, we’ll just watch the storm, and keep letting ourselves get poked in the back. Taken together, these cards are telling me that the good news is being ignored: Mike Green got signed for four years and everyone whined that he got signed for too much. Meanwhile, we got a sweet deal on the best goaltender we could get under the circumstances, and people were calling for George McPhee’s head the very same day. Why? I think the next card may help answer that.

Card 3: Distant Past. The Tower. No way to sugar-coat this card, especially when it’s face-up. Everything breaks, plans don’t work out, the center doesn’t hold, things fall apart…Burma Shave. Now, this card is, again, in the Distant Past position, but it still affects the question as it stands right now. The team’s distant past is–let’s be honest, Caps Nation–a history of perpetual also-ran-ness. We’ve been to the Stanley Cup Finals exactly once, and we didn’t win a single game when we were there. Our inaugural season in ’74-’75 was, let’s admit, one of the worst hockey teams ever assembled. All-time, we are 72-89 in the playoffs. We haven’t exactly been a hockey dynasty in the three and a half decades we’ve played in the NHL. And all that failure–all that Tower-type energy–is still affecting the mood of the fans, right now, this minute. Some Caps fans seem to be so conditioned to failure that they can’t seem to believe things will ever go well for the team. And from there, it’s not very far to reflexively believing that every front office move is a mistake; that none of our players can ever be any good; even, it seems, that management actually WANTS the team to fail. But the thing is, this is the DISTANT past. It’s OVER. It’s DONE. FINISHED. This team is not the woeful bunch that raised a garbage can in celebration. We have a once-in-a-generation player committed to this team for over a decade. We have a young team that has been battle-tested in the playoffs this season past, and players who now understand what it takes to win in the second season. We also have one very gifted coach who knows how to get the best from his players. The Capitals are a team that is undeniably on the rise. Yet, with The Tower showing up in the distant past, I get the sense that there are still some fans in Caps Nation who can’t seem to accept the idea that this team will succeed, and soon. We Caps fans have gotten too used to failure. Strange as this sounds, we need to allow ourselves to accept that the Capitals can and will succeed.

Card 4: Recent Past. 8 of Chalices. The scene on this card is of an old man, looking at the night sky with a telescope. Judging by the look on his face, he sees something in the night sky that concerns him. However, there is a reassuring hand on his shoulder. The hand is evidently that of an angel, even though the hand and forearm are the only parts of the angel that are actually depicted (it’s reaching in from outside the frame.) There has been a lot of unease among Capitals fans–myself included–over the last few days and weeks. I daresay that most of us have been searching and scouring everywhere we could think to look, desperate to know if this player or that were anywhere close to signing. I’m not sure if the man on this card feels that spiritual reassurance, but I’d be willing to bet that most Caps fans haven’t been feeling it the past few weeks. Even though this is an 8–a generally good number–there’s still a sense of unease around it. It’s a very dark night that this man is looking up at, after all. Yet, this is in the past, and receding, so I would go so far as to submit that the dark night may soon give way to a new dawn for the Capitals. Call it a hunch.

Card 5: General Direction. 9 of Chalices. I can think of many worse cards to draw in a predictive position. The 9 of Chalices represents a very emotional success: think tears of joy as you throw up your arms and yell, “Yes! We did it!” It’s not the 10 of Chalices–Tarot’s way of saying “And they all lived happily ever after”–but it’s pretty darn close. It’s kind of like wishing upon a star, but knowing that wish really will come true. So while I think we are heading toward better times ahead–yes, I’m going there, even better than a Division Championship–there’s still one cautionary note I’m getting from this. And that is, that while wishes can indeed come true, be careful what you wish for. Given some of the other cards on this layout, I think some Caps fans may, subconsciously, be wishing for the team to fail. It bears repeating: the Caps are a team on the rise. We fans can no longer be comfortable with the team losing as it has in the past. We seem to have resigned ourselves to being a perpetual also-ran in the NHL. We need to lose that attitude now, because bad wishes can come true, too.

Card 6: Immediate Future. The Star. This card seems to come up a LOT when I do readings for the Caps, and regular readers of this blog no doubt know by now that it represents hope. If this is a true indication, it means we will have reason to hope, and sooner rather than later. I believe we may see another RFA signing or two before the Fan Fest next Saturday, or perhaps good medical news for the Caps, although that is admittedly conjecture. So there’s a little bit of back-to-back good news in these last two cards. If that hope is indeed coming down the pike, it may very well be enough to make us concentrate less on the mistakes, perceived or actual, of the past two days.

Card 7: Querant. 9 of Pentacles. The scene on this card is one of an angel that is resting from its work. It seems to have finished building something, to judge by the tools around it, and is now resting–along with a very endearing dog–while nine coins shine in the sky overhead. The general energy of this card is of material gain, and of being rewarded for a good day’s work. And we Caps fans have been rewarded, richly, this past season. We put up an emotional, crazy, triumphant run from the outhouse of the NHL to the penthouse of the Southeast. We made it to overtime in Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs–no small feat for a team full of players who were making their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts. We’ve got a young group of players who are ready to show that last season’s run was no fluke. We’ve got a coach who has a Jack Adams to justify. And we’ve got a once-in-a-generation hockey superstar signed long-term. And that, folks, brings me back to the Basis card, The Sun, reversed. After all the Caps did last year, and all the triumph and tragedy we witnessed, we still get snippy when things don’t go perfectly. We don’t have that luxury now, and I don’t think we ever should have claimed it. We are in a position of abundance (9 of Pentacles), but our attitude is still one of ingratitude (The Sun reversed). We fans have to learn to accept the blessings we have been given.

Card 8: Outside Influences. 8 of Pentacles. Unlike the 8 of Chalices in the recent past, the 8 of Pentacles is an 8 that’s almost straight-up good news. It represents knowledge, mastery of the physical world, being skilled at your craft, and so on. So, how does that relate to the fan base of the Caps? I’m going to read this–and I could be off here, but I’m going on intuition–as a reflection of out-of-town opinions. Think TSN, The Hockey News, out-of-town media, the news pages on NHL.com, and so on. The Hockey News, to pick one site, seems to think Jose Theodore was the best goalie on the market not named Huet. If that’s the general consensus across the board, perhaps Caps fans will come to accept that if Huet was going to leave regardless, that Jose Theodore really was the best the Caps could have done. Really. (Unless someone really wants to argue that Ty Conklin would have been a better pick-up?) I suspect that after the dust settles a bit, Caps fans will realize that signing Theodore really wasn’t as boneheaded as some were so quick to say.

Card 9: Subconscious Influences/Hopes and Fears. The World, Reversed. Remember how I said that some fans seem to want the Caps to fail? Well, here you go. Face-up, The World represents ultimate victory. Reversed, it signifies a Pyrrhic victory, or perhaps a victory squandered. Or, perhaps–and I’m looking at the gestalt of the spread to get this–it could signify a victory that isn’t embraced. Or, perhaps the meaning is more literal: what Caps fans fear the most right now, is their world being turned upside-down. Kolzig is now in Tampa Bay. Huet is now in Chicago. The big signings on day two of free agency were…Graham Mink and Tyler Sloan? Huh? I think the fans are worried that the magical run from last year won’t happen again for this reason or that. They look at the team’s history (Distant Past: Tower), they fret about possible troubles to come (Crossing: 3 of Wands), and they end up feeling like sourpusses (Basis: The Sun, reversed). It’s a message that’s being repeated in this spread by four different cards (The Sun reversed, 3 of Wands, The Tower, The World reversed): Caps fans, QUIT FEARING FOR THE WORST, already. Hope (The Star), richness (9 of Pentacles), knowledge (8 of Pentacles), and fortune (9 of Chalices) are all around this team, if we’ll simply open our hearts and accept them with gratitude. We must stop being fans living in a perpetual subconscious fear of the worst. Failure may have been our lot in the past, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Go ahead and Believe: it won’t hurt you.

Card 10: Outcome. Knave of Wands. This would seem to indicate that one person will drastically affect the overall mood of the Caps fan base. Either this person is very young, or they may be bringing a message of some kind to the fans. (Don’t look at me–I’m more the Knight of Chalices type.) This might also indicate the beginning of some kind of spiritual journey for the fans. I know that looks odd, but consider the 9 of Chalices back in the General Direction position. If we, the fans, really are heading in a fortunate direction, we may be fortunate enough to see the Caps come roaring out of the gate in October. Ours may, perhaps, be a season of destiny. And if so, I thoroughly expect that by the time the season is halfway over, Verizon Center will be rocking out with Capital Spirit.

Suits of the Major Arcana Cards: The Sun, Fire; The Tower, Fire; The Star, Air; The World, Earth.
Distribution: Earth 3, Air 1, Fire 4, Water 2. Surprisingly, emotional Water and physical Earth are where they should be. The imbalance is 4 Fire cards to 1 Air card. That tells me the fans aren’t doing a lot of logical thinking right about now. Fire represents spiritual energy, but it also represents light, and more importantly, heat. So my take on the distribution is that we Caps fans need to turn down the heat a little bit, and do a little bit more thinking before we hit “Submit Reply.” Let’s not get so carried away by our passions that we end up typing before we think, and end up saying things we may regret once the new season begins.




1. SF Mike - July 4, 2008

Knave of Wands may not be a particular person — it may be youth generally. The card may be saying that this team has to grow up and go through all the ups and downs that implies…

2. CapitalSpirit - July 4, 2008

That’s certainly another way of looking at that particular card. Don’t forget, though, this wasn’t a reading for the team itself–it was a reading for the fans. That’s you and me and everyone else in the stands. So if that Knave of Wands is referring to the fan base, how do you interpret it then?

3. Party Star - September 11, 2008

nice post keep it real!:)

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