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Predictions: End of Regular Season ’09 March 31, 2009

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

I gave a cards-only reading last month, so this month I’m going to sit down and get this done. This will take me a couple of hours tonight, but hey, I need the practice–I’ll be doing this again for the conference quarterfinals in another two weeks, and I guess you could say I need a warm-up.

One quick item before I dive into the final reading of the regular season. Last game, I did an informal 3-card reading for a couple of Caps staffers–it started out as a couple of sales reps, and ended with about a half-dozen suits clustered around the table. I get stage fright sometimes, so I didn’t give the best reading. Anyway, the cards there, in order, were Star reversed, 9 of Wands, 4 of Wands reversed. I said that there was hope, but faint, for a higher standing. The 9 of Wands is about standing firm against opposition, and I predicted a chippy game against the Bolts (who ended up getting hit with ten penalties). The 4 of Wands reversed threw me for a minute. A celebration deferred, I said. I had no idea how the game itself would turn out–overtime loss, maybe?–but this much I could say for sure: don’t start the party yet. And while our magic number to clinch the division is now down to 3, Carolina is flat-out refusing to go quietly, and a couple of the Caps’ remaining opponents are not going down without a fight. The Islanders are heading for the Eastern Conference cellar, but they just shut out Detroit the other night, so tomorrow is no guarantee. And while Carolina certainly has a tougher closing slate on paper, that’s no excuse to stop. Don’t celebrate yet, indeed.

Anyway, on to the business at hand. These are my predictions for the final six Capitals games of the 2009 regular season.

Deck: Tarot of the Angels (Lo Scarabeo)
Spread: Celtic Cross
Question: What does the rest of the regular season hold for the Washington Capitals?

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: WHOA! 7 of these ten cards are from the Major Arcana. That is unusual to say the least. For those of you who don’t know Tarot, there are 78 cards in the deck. 56 of them are in the Minor Arcana, 22 are in the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana looks an awful lot like a deck of playing cards: 4 suits with cards numbered 1-10, and four “court” cards in each suit. The Major Arcana is 22 cards that are not in any suit. In fact, there is an actual Tarot card game, and in that game the Major Arcana are the “trump” suit. I’m drifting, sorry. Anyway, there are about five Minor Arcana cards for every two in the Major Arcana, so you’d expect to see about two or three Majors in a ten-card spread. For this many Majors to come up is, very, very, VERY significant. Major Arcana cards are karmic cards: you’re going to have to deal with the issues they represent, period. There’s almost no way to weasel out of a Major Arcana card. Minors are free-will: if you don’t like what you see, change course. Majors, you’re going to have to face. And three of these are cards I don’t like to see individually, never MIND in the same spread. But there are some silver linings to all three of these, and ways to overcome their influence.

BASIS: 3 OF CHALICES. The 3 of Chalices is a bit of a celebratory card. It’s not the biggest celebration in the deck–that would probably be the 4 of Wands–but it’s a sweet card. If the 4 of Wands is like the 4th of July on The Mall, the 3 of Chalices would be something like the Kennedy Center Honors: a celebratory atmosphere, to be sure, but a little more formal and reserved. And I think that’s appropriate: the Caps have clinched a playoff berth, and are closing in on another division title. And while that’s worth a moment’s joy, there are two things that shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll still say anyway. First, the division has not yet been clinched, so it bears repeating–don’t start the party yet. Second, all the regular-season success in the world means nothing if the Caps can’t win a playoff series or three. Be grateful for the accomplishment, yes, but remember that the real work is just about to begin.

CROSSING: II, THE HIGH PRIESTESS. The Crossing card has a number of ways to read it, and the regulars don’t need me to re-hash those. The High Priestess is card that represents mystery, intuition, and the unseen. There’s more going on than meets the eye. That’s not to say there’s deception here–it’s just that there are unseen forces at work in this card, which are interacting with the 3 of Chalices as the Basis card. I essentially have to consider the entire layout here just to read this one card, which is kind of cool, but also kind of a headache. Essentially, my read on this is that this card, in this position, represents a spiritual journey. What’s going on here is the culmination of not only this season, but several seasons’ worth of work. And while I’m not going to go so far as to say that all of Capitals history has been leading up to this moment, I can say without doubting that the conclusion to this season is the culmination of all that’s gone on since Alex Ovechkin joined the team. That may have been true last year, but it’s certainly true now. Last year, it took a Cinderella run to make the playoffs, and we had to win the division to do it. This year, we’re already in, and the division is almost assured. We enter the playoffs from a position of strength this year. Last year, we were just happy to be there, and a first-round exit was at least a step in the right direction. This year, we all knew we’d be in the playoffs, and we expect a series win or two. Those two 70-point seasons, last year’s glass-slipper stretch run, the adversities we’ve overcome this season…it’s all been leading up to this postseason. And while I’m sure this postseason will, in its own way, lead up to next, our moment really is right now. This really is our time.

DISTANT PAST: 7 OF WANDS REVERSED. When upright, the 7 of Wands represents success through hard work. When reversed, it represents, for lack of a better description, taking your foot off the gas, and giving up when the end is in sight. I know the Caps have been accused of “playing down” to lesser opponents for some recent games, and there have been some who think the team is saving it for the playoffs. Well, for one thing, that particularly-themed card is here in the Distant Past position, so it’s receding. And I don’t think anyone in the room wants the Caps to coast into the playoffs and take a game or two to toughen up. That didn’t work so well last year, and to repeat that mistake would be folly of the first order. The players don’t want to repeat that history, Coach Boudreau is no doubt insisting on hard work for these last few, and I’m sure senior leadership has let it be known that coasting isn’t going to happen this year. The coasting is done–at least, it should be if the players are serious about winning a series this year.

RECENT PAST: XV, THE DEVIL REVERSED. A reversal can sometimes take the “sting” off a challenging card, and we’re going to see that a little further down. Here, however, a reversal only intensifies the meaning of the card. Essentially, take the seven deadly sins, and raise them to the power of 666. Put simply, this card represents Evil, and that capital letter is intentional. What’s contradictory about evil is that it usually gets started with the desire to eliminate evil. And for some reason, as I typed that, I was hearing the chorus of “Crosby Sucks” in my head. No, I’m not saying that’s an evil song (although I’m not from Pittsburgh). Evil is, in at least one sense, the idea that WE are right, THEY are wrong, and so WE must use all our power to DESTROY them. Evil is NOT merely being passionate about something; it’s being so taken in with something that you blindly set out to impose it on everyone else, regardless of their will. Evil is NOT dissent, but the SILENCING of dissent. Evil is NOT being a good Capitals fan; it is thinking that other fans are somehow inferior (and no, I’m not perfect on this one, either.) Evil is NOT “saving it for the playoffs,” it is assuming that playoff success is yours by right. Now, fortunately, all of this is in the past, and some of it will recede (although I’m convinced Caps fans will never see Penguins fans as Mitmenschen.) But although our recent run-in with Evil is in the rear view mirror and receding, that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and puffy clouds coming down the pike. Read on.

GENERAL DIRECTION: VIII, STRENGTH. I like this card, and I love seeing it in this position. Strength is a card that’s not so much about power and control–that’s more the domain of The Chariot–but of free-flowing benevolence. Strength. Honor. Optimism. Courage. Self-control. It’s all there, and that’s generally the direction the team is headed. Unfortunately, that’s not quite where it ends.

IMMEDIATE FUTURE: I, THE MAGICIAN. Not bad. The Magician is all about being in control, and having the power to make changes. It’s about transformation, command, Creator force. I’m going to extrapolate a bit from that, and call for a couple of good wins at home over the next few days. They won’t be easy wins: this card is about transformation, not continuity. So one of the final three home games may be a come-from-behind win. The Magician is, pardon the ESPN-ism, Master of His Domain. Our final three home games should go well.

TEAM: III, THE EMPRESS. The Empress is the “Mom” card of the Major Arcana. My mom’s going to blush at this next part. A good Mom (like mine) is nurturing, compassionate, and cares deeply about her children. She blesses her children the best way she knows how to, even if it’s not quite what those children always had in mind. And she always wants her children to be the best they can be–even if it’s better than they themselves think they can be. That’s how my Mom is, at least–and I do love her dearly for it, even though I’m awful at letting her know about it. (And I don’t mind admitting it in public, either.) And that’s also something of what The Empress represents: security, love, encouragement, and maybe even, if you want to stretch it a bit, having someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself. Right now, the Capitals are surrounded by a very loving, very nurturing, very secure energy. I hope they harness it well…the rest of this doesn’t look quite so rosy.

OUTSIDE INFLUENCES: XVI, THE TOWER REVERSED. Gulp. This one’s no fun. As I alluded to earlier, some challenging cards are less negative when reversed, and this is one of them. Face-up, The Tower represents the world falling down around you. When reversed, the sky isn’t completely falling, but its support beams are sure going to need emergency repairs. Right now, there is a lot of negativity coming at the Caps from outside. Don Cherry here, a cheap-shot-minded Tampa Bay squad there, officials that seem to have it in for the Caps, I’m sure every Caps fan could list several negative influences coming at the Caps from outside. However, I do believe that they have what they need to overcome those obstacles. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. Face-up, I wouldn’t be so sure. Reversed, this is definitely survivable.

HOPES AND FEARS: XIII, DEATH. Wow. That is a LOT of tricky Major Arcana cards out there. The Devil, The Tower, and now Death. However, it does seem that those three cards are counterbalanced by some more benevolent cards: Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Strength. (The Emperor is noticeably absent.) So, on balance, there’s more good going on here than bad. It’s just that the challenges look quite steep indeed. Now, Death is probably the most misunderstood card in Tarot. It usually has nothing to do with physical death: it just means that something is coming to an end. I call it the “Closing Time” card, after that song by Semisonic. “Closing time/Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” That’s what Death represents: the end of one thing, and the beginning of another. As a hopes and fears card, it may represent a subconscious fear of new beginnings (the playoffs?). Fortunately, when upright, the change is usually for the better, and perhaps what’s going on here isn’t so much a fear of an ending, so much as a hope in a new beginning. If that’s true, then this is a good thing: it actually represents the team’s hope for a better finish this year than last. So in a very roundabout way, this is actually a very beneficial card here.

OUTCOME: 5 OF PENTACLES REVERSED. I know there’s no such thing as “good cards” and “bad cards”, but this is not what I wanted to see here. 5’s are generally no fun, and this one is made even more challenging when reversed. The 5 of Pentacles reversed represents extreme material difficulty, and a dire lack of resources. Let me put this in Toyota terms. An upright 5 of Pentacles means that you can’t quite afford to buy a Corolla, but you might if you work at it. A 5 of Pentacles reversed means that you can’t even afford to rent a Yaris for the weekend. That’s admittedly a bit overboard, but you get the idea: a 5 of Pentacles reversed is nothing to sneeze at. Now, the good news here is that it is a free-will card, and can be avoided. Well, what exactly are the Caps avoiding here? What kind of material difficulty is this? I doubt it’s an equipment shortage: that brief look in the equipment room they gave us on Red Line Monday a few weeks ago was astonishing. Those guys have EVERYTHING in that equipment room. So the only other material difficulty I can think of would be a serious, possibly season-ending injury. I want to be wrong here in the worst way, believe me. But look what else is out there: The Devil, The Tower, Death…now this. All told, this is a combination that, frankly, alarms me. Again, I fervently hope I’m wrong. And this is a free-will card, so I may prove to be wrong on this, and no one will be happier than me at that. Be CAREFUL out there, guys. Just…be careful. I’ll be glad when the playoffs start–more so than usual, seeing this.

FINAL THOUGHTS: While there’s plenty of good news to be had here, what bad news I see is not trivial. These final six games of the regular season could yet prove much more consequential than they look going in. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt, and I really hope this is a horrible mis-read, but if it’s not, I hope it can be avoided. There’s nothing left for me to say. Just be careful, guys. For the love of God, be careful out there.



1. june white - April 1, 2009

Hi, Son, Read your message–Love you Lots, mom

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