Getting perspective from the stars

It is with some trepidation that I approach a powder-blue house on the corner of 4th and Poplar in Takoma Park, Md. I’m here for my first astrological-chart reading, but it’s not just that.

There are hubcaps all over the front lawn. They wrap around the trees and line up like dominos around the bushes. There is even a hubcap on the front door. I count 74.

It’s a mystery, which is, perhaps, appropriate for such a place. Still, although it is fitting that the den of an astrologer isn’t quite normal, I half-wonder if my own car will still have hubcaps when I reemerge from the house.

The only information Carrie Megginson asks for in advance is my name and the date, place and time of birth.

She leads the way into a dimly lit room full of astrological and other paraphernalia of the mystic — a skull, books on kabbalah, exorcism, angels and mythology. Incense permeates the air with a sweet, smoky scent. The walls are sponge-painted pink and maroon. The chairs and couch are covered in hippie flower-patterned tapestries. The small room is cozy with a burst of colors — soft-pink fabric hangs from one window; sage green drapes another.

We settle down with notebooks into overstuffed chairs. She holds my chart and will soon begin delving into my childhood, career, family and love life.

Why do people get their astrological charts read?

“That varies a whole lot from person to person,” says Megginson, a heavily caffeinated woman with a friendly, non-frightening disposition. “Some people come because they are just curious. Sometimes people come because they are at a crossroads in life and just want some perspective.”

Megginson says having your chart read offers a “better understanding of our past to ground us in the present.” There will be no concrete predictions of the future. “Yeah, there is future-trending-type material,” she says, “but I don’t do forecasting. I want people to think about themselves.”

She does not profess to be psychic. “Maybe it’s an ultraheightened state of awareness,” she concedes.

Megginson’s astrological roots date back to when she was 7. Her mother plopped a sun-signs book in her lap, and she was hooked. “I read the whole book, and I read it again,” Megginson says, explaining that astrology is her first language. “Periodically Mom would feed the fire with another good book on astrology.”

At 16, she began giving readings, and later she earned her master’s degree in astrology at London’s Regent Park College. (“Ooh, how respectable,” she says.) Today she writes horoscopes for and the Takoma Voice. “I love it,” she says. “I have a ball.”

So, to the reading, which she says will be “fun and fabulous.” Surprisingly, it is generally positive and it’s flattering — intentionally? — to be told I’m a good listener, express myself well and have a good eye for detail. We Aquariuses apparently believe in social justice and are “fascinated by finding larger explanations for the littler things.”

Hmm, what about those hubcaps?

I glance at her notebook and see a list of numbers and letters up and down the page with a map in the middle, all of which is decipherable only to astrologers. But Megginson avoids obscure jargon because she says people won’t understand it.

Jupiter is moving into Scorpio right now, which means the next several months will be “very intense.” (This is said to be a positive thing, but she adds, darkly, “You can run from your own drive and intensity, but you can’t hide.”

She’s on a roll: “It behooves you to work to your potential, and — I’m quoting here [she laughs] — be all that you can be.”

I have no idea whether to take Megginson’s words to heart, but much of what she has said is astonishingly and disarmingly accurate. She has pegged aspects of my life with no information.

At the end of the reading, she leaves to go fire up a website on her computer ( that will show optimal places for me to live around the world — from Washington, D.C. (fortunately), Chicago, the California-Mexico border to Seattle, Paraguay and parts of Australia.

I leave the powder-blue house in decent spirits, and get a further boost from the fact that my hubcaps are still in place.

There is nothing mystical about 74 that festoon the front yard. Cars keep losing them as they round the corner, and Megginson, being environmentally conscious, recycles them.

“It’s kind of charming and cheerful,” she says. “We have a perverse sense of humor. You might not have noticed the toilet on our front porch.”

Megginson charges $150 for an astrological-chart reading and $50 for a tarot-card reading. She also does palmistry at private parties, for which charges vary. For more information, call (301) 891-3193.