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Article:Manny Stiles presents Sports Augury: 2008 NBA Finals Edition

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Yup, Sports Augury's back and ready for your perusal!

Lakers vs. Celtics

There’s no doubt this matchup is probably the last I wanted to see and to be honest, at this point I really don’t care who wins. Just as long as it gets done quickly and we can go about forgetting it as soon as possible. Either way, I’m screwed.

If Boston wins, I’ll never hear the end of it from the bandwagon Boston fans. If the Lakers win, I’ll never hear the end of it from the bandwagon Lakers fans and the mindnumbing anti-intelligence that will be spewed in both directions.

But, I do have a rooting interest in “Sports Augury”!!!

For a refresher about Sports Augury – click here

For last year’s NBA Finals Sports Augury – click here

To see what happens when other Divinists take a shot at Sports Augury – click here and/or here

The Sports Shaman

Sports Shaman was a bit short on time today, so we rushed through it a bit this time but he was mildly intrigued by the fact that the Lakers and Celtics were matching up. After all, he grew up in the 60’s and mostly remembers the 80’s too.

He still knows little about the game of basketball but is a casual fan of people and our society. He admitted he knew of Kobe Bryant and had even heard of Kevin Garnett but only knew of the name Paul Pierce because he had worked with a guy name Paul Pierce at a bronze casting foundry once… I assured him they weren’t the same fellow.

Ray Allen is a name that sounds too much like “Billy Bob” for Shaman’s initial reaction. He wonders what Ray Allen’s last name is… Pau Gasol is something he thinks he ordered at an Asian restaurant once… if only he was joking; I still get a chuckle. I keep names like Sasha Vujacic and Rajon Rondo in my back pocket for fear of what pitfall they may open.

Besides, too much info will (theoretically) taint diviner's ability to accurately perform the reading.

SS prepares the set and setting

Once again, we used tarot cards in lieu of sacrificing a goat (darn it). The actual term “augury” means to practice a divination and in past times involved hanging a goat upside down then disemboweling it to have it’s innards spill on the ground to create a picture for a Diviner of the village (usually a Shaman) depict and translate what the entrails were telling of the near future.

Tarot cards are similar in most respects but obviously a lot cleaner – plus most people “frown upon” goat slayings – especially for entertainment/gambling/deciphering the NBA’s champions these days.

The reading took place Wednesday evening with a Crowley adapted Rider-Waite deck.

The readings depicted are actual and true and were not altered by any of my "wishes, wants or anticipations" but in parenthesis is "Manny's take" on the “translations” of Sports Shaman’s interpretations.

Unlike last year, the Sports Shaman ‘’has’’ been to both Boston and to Los Angeles; each on more than one occasion. But due to his nature and practices, he could not care about the outcome of the actual games, as he states often "I can't make a difference in the outcome, so outcome makes no difference to me".

Those unfamiliar with tarot readings need to understand that the laying out of cards is NOT a future telling method, but similar to the laying down of a picture and interpreting it's meaning. Call it "entertainment" or have a reading, understand it, encompass it's scope and be wildly “entertained”...

The Reading

The tradition of burning white copal resin and crumbled, dried sage begins. He puts the pile of plant matter onto a brass chalice that has a couple hot coals burning in it. It is a smell that feels heavy yet seems light. It soon becomes so smoky in the chamber I can barely see the other side, but it is a pleasant, cleansing stench that actually makes my aura feel floaty. And it smells like a “clean” scent, which is why I guess they use it at churches (and funeral parlors).

He tosses some more powders into the chalice and he lights a short, round stogie and grabs the cards.


I presented both logos to Sports Shaman and other than the color schemes, he seemed disinterested. This through me for a loop because last year he took such details into a sense of overimportance.

I asked him why the logos weren’t as important this year. After all, last year he wanted to know all about the logos.

“Why aren’t you concentrating on the team’s names and logos like last time?” I queried.

“Because you brought them to show me this time.” He deadpanned. “There they are. What is to question?”

If I hadn’t seen this procedure so many times before, I’d say he was just rushing through it. But he tends to rush when I go slow and he goes slow when I try to rush him, so I’ll take my notes and mostly shut up.

As I wonder why I bother to tell the diviner what to do or what to question, he shuffles the deck and ponders aloud “Why are they the Celtics and not the Celtics (sounds like Keltics)?”

It’s Celtic (Keltic) music, everything is Celtic (Keltic) but the basketball team.

I inform him that I have indeed often wondered that my self and that it’s a sports question I don’t have the answer to (yet)… he keeps shuffling.

He seems pleased by my non-answer but also a bit perplexed soon again.

“Because they used to play in Minnesota before they moved to L.A.” I beat him to the question he was ‘’just about’’ to ask. Because I knew it was coming eventually…

“That makes as much sense as any” he shrugs off my mind reading and tells me “Let’s read the spread for the Lakers first”

“That makes as much sense as any” I retort abruptly because I was just going to ask which team we were going to read first, so I could start writing! He knows it.

Every time I think I can read into him, he’s already two more steps ahead. Uncanny.

He cuts the deck and lays the first reading out…

The Los Angeles Lakers spread

The cards are laid upside down in the cross spread formation (see graph) and turned over one at a time in the following order:

First Card - Present Position

Ten of Cups - Mars in Pisces - Key word: Satiety

A red card with overflowing cups.

Exhaustion from expended energy. Filled to the point of glut. They are overwhelmed by getting here and may fall wayside to the overflow of riches laid before them. They are full and can fill no more and will stumble due to want for more of the physical realm. There is little of lasting value here.

  • Stiles' take – The Lakers feel beating the Spurs was their Championship.

Second Card - Spiritual Position

Seven of Disks - Saturn in Taurus - Key word: Failure

A very dark card. It looks unhappy.

The binding conditions of earthly life. Little gained from much labor. They went for things that do not last. They are here and now but are trying to be here and gone quickly. False sense of security grown from a shift in ego awareness. They have been barking so long, they night have forgotten how to bite.

  • Stiles' take – They wanted this so bad, they are forgetting how they got here and are resting on what they think they are.

Third Card - Instinct Position

Five of Swords – Venus in Aquarius - Key word: Defeat

Four of the swords are bent and pointing downward. One sword (with a crown reminiscent of Kobe’s tattoo) is holding them up, but it appears to be bending under the pressure and might even be rusting.

Intellect weakened by sentiment. Anxiety, dishonor, trouble. The knowledge to succeed is there. The will is able, but the body isn’t following suit. May have more to do with the coach than the team.

  • Stiles' take – How about the coach AND the team. The Lakers ‘’and’’ Phil are worn out from Kobe. I am too.

Fourth Card - Passing Position

Eight of Disks - Sun in Scorpio - Key word: Prudence

A picture representing the “Tree of Life” on a large hill and a yellow background.

Possessing the fruits of earth may bring on binding conditions. “Penny wise and Pound Foolish”. They have entered a journey they weren’t prepared to complete. A lot of work to get somewhere they didn’t realize they could end up. Falling short might be the worst case scenario in the end.

  • Stiles' take – If the Lakers lose, Kobe is going to be irrepressible this summer. He’ll have a mental meltdown and shoot up a fast food restaurant.

Fifth Card - Future Position

The Fool - Trump Card – 0

A main character surrounded by – to put it shortly – just about everything. Wandering unknowingly and uncaring to his surroundings.

Air, emptiness. Striving to transcend earthly matters. However, material mattersmay lead to folly, eccentricity, even mania! It’s the moment of divine consciousness.

It can represent an individual who is faking their role and trying to be aloof about it.

Sports Shaman adds - Also sometimes called the “Green Man of the Celts” in some decks!

  • Stiles' take – Confusing card here. Maybe Kobe will lose the series, then his mind. He’ll become so caught up with pushing himself further that he’ll finally crack?

Overall Spread - Lakers

Too much static. Too much interspersed negativity. Too many things this team has to overcome for a realm of success to widen it’s path. Perhaps the biggest oxen can only pull a yoke of weaker – or more appropriately balanced - oxen so far?

  • Stiles' take – With Defeat and Failure topping off Satiety in the vertical cross, the Lakers are toast. I don’t even need to read the Celtics cards. It’s over. It seems the only thing that is REALLY of interest is what happens to the pieces afterwards. The Lakers are so driven by what Kobe is and what Kobe does that if they fail because Kobe snaps or implodes, where does Kobe go from there? He has all the pressure and none of the positives going on here. Worse yet, where do the Lakers go next year if Kobe snaps??

The Boston Celtics spread

The cards are laid upside down in the cross spread formation (see graph) and turned over one at a time in the following order:

First Card - Present Position

Three of Wands – Sun in Aries - Key Word: Virtue

Three very similar wands intersecting in the middle on top of a star with a bright orange-ish, happy background.

Three lotus wands, unfolding, representing creation. Success after struggle. Realization after hope. “three pieces joining together”, “a triangle is stronger because of it’s geometry, not because of it’s parts”…

This is where I first mention to Sports Shaman about the “Big Three”. I figured I’d save him the time of figuring it out from this card.

  • Stiles' take – Wands typically represent “efforts”, “work” or “force”. This card is absolutely a “triumvirate” and also indicates the strength in coming together.

Second Card - Spiritual Position

Three of Disks – Mars in Capricorn - Key Word: Works

Three disks connected by a triangle that comes to a three dimensional point above them. Waves (or turbulent winds) are breaking all around them but do not touch them.

A three-dimensional pyramid looked upon from above. Commencement of matters. Not only is this a victory for the Celtics but it might concretize their place in history.

  • Stiles' take – KG and Ray Allen are going to put this on their HoF resumes… Maybe Paul Pierce amasses some numbers to make his argument heard in Springfield too?

Third Card - Instinct Position

Nine of Cups – Venus in Scorpio - Key word: Happiness

This card SCREAMS Happiness. It is brightly colored in positive tones and shows opened lotus flowers overflowing each cup.

Complete Success. Partaking of a ritual in a loving manner. Happiness almost perfect, but might be temporary.

“So the Celtics are winning this thing, eh?” Sports Shaman spouts. “But their celebration may be cut short for some reason.”

  • Stiles' take – I think we have a clear picture of what’s going to happen here, but I’m wondering about the short lived nature of the celebration… Is there a tragedy around the corner? Are players leaving? What’s the deal?

Fourth Card - Passing Position

Heirophant - Trump Card – V A mystical old man holding a staff surrounded by masks of several beasts. He has a staff in one hand that appears to have three intertwining circles and also has two fingers extended on his left hand. Behind his head is a five leafed clover!!!

Divine wisdom, inspiration, stubborn strength. Patience, organization. Help from superiors. Can represent occult forces voluntarily invoked. Lots of triangles here…

  • Manny's take – Whoever put the spell on Boston for the last few years knows what they were doing! Or else Bill Russell really is the Sage himself!

Fifth Card - Future Position

Prince of Wands - Face Card

Very fiery card. The prince is on fire and rides a chariot of fire pulled by a single lion on fire.

The airy quality of fire, smoke and expansion. An artist whose calm surface masks intense passion. A hero from a place of passion.

  • Stiles' take – Ray Allen. This card is Ray Allen. Take off the fiery headdress and shave his head, this is Ray Allen!!! Ray Allen is going to get smoking hot and be the difference!

Overall Spread - Celtics

It’s clear that they are in an environment that is much more conducive to winning. They have matters to contend with in the future, but it is clear their path is easier. Having a strong core will help them overcome attacks from just one angle

  • Stiles' take – I say it aloud… “Sweet redemption for KG, Double P and Jesus Shuttlesworth” and now I gotta explain who “Jesus Shuttlesworth” is to Sports Shaman for the next 15 minutes.

Just for my own brand of fun

After Sports Shaman finishes cleaning the reading area, I decided to pull two “destiny cards” on my own to see if it would jive with the Shaman’s original look.

The Lakers:

Four of Disks – Sun in Capricorn - Power

Very square card. Even the disks are square.Looks like a castle surrounded by a moat with only one entrance.

This card means “Earthly power and nothing beyond”. If it is ill-dignified, it can represent covetness and suspicion. Also a sign of a lack of originality.

  • Stiles' take – Kobe isn’t going to be happy with just getting there. I don’t see a happy ending for this series or after it for the Lakers. Maybe his trade demands will pop up after the Olympics? Maybe he’ll lock himself in his “castle” and turn into Howard Hughes?

The Celtics:

Universe – Trump Card – XXI

Absolutely beautiful card with depth and a 3-D illusion look to it. Like the space behind the woman (Mother Earth?) goes on forever.

“The essence of the question itself. The end of the journey, the end of the matter. The crystallization of the whole matter involved.”

Gee, I wonder who will win? <sarcasm font/>

Yeah. I get to hear it all summer how great Boston is and how super special their fans are…you know, the same fans that say “We” so much… yes, lucky me.

  • Stiles' take – Can you say “Celtics in Six”? You can? Well, I’ll say “Celtics in Five” just to play it safe…

In summary:

Overall, I’m very surprised at this entire reading. I thought the coaches would show up more. I figured the past would cast a shadow. None of that. Augury cares not for what was, but focuses more on what might be.

In some ways, I think maybe we got the teams switched and all the “triangles” are supposed to represent the Lakers’ Offense, not the “Big Three”. But none of the reading had much to do with strategies, just interactions among the teammates. It looks like the Lakers will lose the series and have issues to contend with in dealing with the failure. It also looks like the Celtics are going to achieve their goal and then have a short celebration due to unforeseen circumstances. I just hope it isn’t senseless tragedy, or a game fixing scandal or something like that… Let's hope the Celtics don't have too many cameramen spying on the Lakers...

Let’s just hope this series is 1/10th as exciting as the Lakers-Celtics matchups of yesteryear!

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