Wil Darcangelo, Spiritual Director at First Parish Unitarian Universalist.

You might find it surprising to know that I possess a belief in astrology. Or perhaps you won’t find it surprising at all. As a way of making an eventual point, in the roundabout style I typically employ, I’ll share the details of the astrological portion of my faith. You need not subscribe to these beliefs, but keep an open mind as they shall eventually become metaphorical to the premise that follows.

It is apparent that all things have magnetism about them. Even the hazy rotation of an atom creates a field. That’s how it bonds with other atoms to form a molecule. It is also what repels some atoms away from one another. Within our own bodies exists magnetism as well. Our organs and cells all have polarity. They are affected by magnetic fields around them. We can be healed by magnets, and we can become physically injured by living too closely to power lines or interacting with other types of strong electromagnetic fields.

Our cells use the magnetic fields they create to communicate with one another. Our eyes interpret electromagnetic radiation to create sight. Our hair stands on end before a lightning strike. We are intrinsically magnetic beings, head to toe, as are all planetary bodies. Stars, planets, asteroids, gas — all magnetic. All capable of producing a field. How far-reaching these fields may be is a matter of speculation and limited instrumentation, but that they possess such fields is not in question.

Those who remember enjoying music on the medium of cassette tapes may recall that those tapes are magnetically produced. Specialized magnets, affected by the sound they receive, arrange particles along a strip of cassette tape in such a way that a magnetic reader can later interpret the patterns and produce sound through a speaker. Unless erased or damaged by other magnetic fields, the patterns remain intact.

Now picture yourself as the cassette tape. And at the moment of birth, whatever celestially originated electromagnetic fields are most prevalent upon the Earth at that time become imprinted upon every cell in your body. In theory, these imprints play that same song, in one way or another, throughout your life.

For the record, I do not believe all astrologers are genuine. And so, not all astrology is competent. The same can be said for medicine, education and ministry. But I do believe that astrology could have some merit based upon the above. I do consider that we may tend to regularly play the song given to us by the heavens at birth. We can either become victims of that imprint or rise above it. But the imprint remains until it is erased, balanced or modified.

The word “constellation” literally means a collection of stars. These celestial bodies, as arranged, are said to exert an influence upon the life which originates under their gaze. And while that may or may not be true, for I am agnostic on the point even as I debate in its favor, there is something quite earthly to be learned from the metaphor.

When we begin something, anything — from a relationship to the first day of school — there is always a variety of factors occurring in the vicinity of that point of beginning. Influences that exert a force upon all that follows.

For instance, if a romantic relationship is begun under a lie, that lie will follow the relationship everywhere it goes. It plays like a song in the background that you can’t get out of your head. The lie is a star within the greater constellation under which the relationship was born. But it will not be the only star.

Other stars in play may also be of the person’s usually prevailing ability to be honest despite the lie that was told, which eventually overrides the ability to keep the lie a secret forever. Should the lie be revealed with sincerity, those two opposing “stars” are given the opportunity to balance out the effects of the lie and perhaps even make the relationship stronger, risky as it may be to find out.

When a company is formed with solid ethics and honest practices, those are the constellation under which the company operates. Consumers like that. So do employees. Those companies that adhere to their best founding practices tend to do better and remain nimble during lean times. They are often able to survive by the loyalty they have built over time. The constellation of their ethics generates ethical solutions to problems they encounter.

As this new year begins, what shall be the constellation of it for you? If you decide to lose weight, get a new job, learn a new language, start a new chapter, what are the various circumstances surrounding and influencing these beginnings? What will their effect be over time? What can you do to counteract the stars over which you have no control? That last one is often the main concern. What does a Taurus do to balance its bullish nature?

The answer is to care. Care about the circumstances surrounding you. Notice what influences exist in your environment and do something with them. You may want to go back to school but feel you can’t afford it. Notice that apprehension, and counteract it. Add a new star to the mix. Balance it out with added dedication to finding scholarships and grants.

Look at the situations around you. Your relationships, your job, your faith. Under what constellations were these things begun for you? How are they working out now? Are there glitches that can be balanced? Is there hope, or must the cassette tape be erased and rerecorded to a better tune altogether? Maybe the song is good, it just needs a new arrangement, a perkier tempo, a new duet partner. What better influence can you be upon the start of something new or the improvement of something old? How can you sculpt (or surf) the constellation?

You are not powerless, despite our universal inability to control very much of anything. We can control our relationship with the world around us. We can exert an influence over the circumstances. We can change the way we feel by rearranging the stars that affect it. That’s something we definitely have that all quadrants of the zodiac do not: free will. We can be mindful of the influences around us and take note when they are not singing their songs in our meter or key. We can write a counter-melody that swerves and weaves through the wrought-iron bars of what we think are the inevitable realities of who we are and transform their purpose into something else entirely.

You are the positioner of stars. Use that power with good intent, and they shall align for you.

Wil Darcangelo, M.Div., is the minister at First Parish UU Church of Fitchburg and the First Church of Christ Unitarian in Lancaster. He is the producer of The UU Virtual Church of Fitchburg and Lancaster on YouTube and host of the Our Common Dharma podcast series. Email wildarcangelo@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @wildarcangelo. His blog, Hopeful Thinking, can be found at www.hopefulthinkingworld.blogspot.com.