Zodiacal Odes: A Love Letter for Every Sign
by Shari Zollinger
Illustrations by Holli Zollinger
March 21 to April 19
We measure the first blush of spring at the onset of crocus buds peering through the ground. This usually comes with a relief, a smile, and a hope for something new. You give us this hope, Aries—the hope for the new. We love to watch you, ever curious about what you’ll do, how you’ll grow. You surprise us with your
new tricks, your independence, and your utter spontaneity. We are in awe of your willingness to face the bright sun—how you show your colors. Thank you for being first. Thank you for your maverick earnestness. We love your stories of new places, strange happenings, and spicy confrontations. You are the hero, shaman of the ultra modern, and shunner of all things hackneyed.
April 20 to May 20
How would you like to roll up your pant legs, crawl into a large barrel bare-footed and stomp your heart out over a pile of grapes? This is how we see you Taurus, close to the vine, feet on the earth, sleeves rolled up, cultivating something for us to drink, growing something for us to eat. We will drink your wine. We will eat your fresh peas. We will sup on your midnight hour because you feel that good. We will roll you up over our bodies at night, down-feathered and warm, we will decanter you on a summer evening as the sun sets, with fish on the grill, with stem glasses in tow. You are luxury bound, keeper of greens, bearer of blooms and tender shoots.
May 21 to June 21
Peter Pan came peering through Wendy’s window on a warm summer’s eve. He came as a sprite, a fairy—a winged messenger with tales of Never, Never Land and stories of endless youth. You’ve dreamed this, Gemini, wished for a flight like this into the arms of time. You are the weather vane that points to our youthful spirits. Without you we grow old before our time. We forget how to romp, dance, twirl, and juggle. You are tongue-in-cheek, quicksilver, sharp-witted jungle gym, and all-around hipster of electric dreams. We follow you at any age; we wear your laugh like a memory.
June 22 to July 22
Have you ever picked up a beautiful shell from the beach, only to bring it home to find it lackluster? We trust you, Cancer, to understand the beauty of a thing in its natural environs. If you collect anything, you collect memories. You can describe the shape of childhood, the smell of kindergarten, the strictness of a teacher, the feel of a first crush. This is your box of everything, sealed with a lock. Once in a while you open it, dust it off, view reminiscence like an old lover. You are spiral-shelled, belly-loved, and mother of pearl. You are clams in white wine and garlic. We want, nay, need your help. Your support is our relief.
July 23 to August 22
Leo, we will find you in the heart chamber, Warhol-splashed and coloring with Crayola like a child. You are the white of a gessoed canvas, anticipating every possibility. Maestro, your atelier awaits. Table, chair, and the tools are here for your creations—for that moment when a singular golden tingle travels up your spine bidding begin. It is time to produce. You are unbending, uncompromising, and willing to mark the things you love, the people you love. Heart tattoos: your touch is warm, kind, real. You crave the caress of the world, the attention that colors your face. You are lion’s lair, fiery platinum, sequin-bold—visual heartbeat.
August 23 to September 23
Where do we begin Virgo? Our love affair runs deep into the landscape of pledges, vows, oaths, and bonds. Your willingness to honor your promises set down at the beginning of our acquaintanceship accounts for every other wrong. Thank you for staying. You are duster, adjuster, and powerful organizer of names. Look how each electrical pulse-point in your lover’s body lights up when you enter the room. Whitman’s body electric is no match to the devotional neurons you emit. To love and be loved is all you ask. You are the truth-master, other end of the rainbow, silver platter, mad hatter, and the genius loci of heart and hearth.
September 23 to October 22
There is a chocolate bar that comes wrapped in a sonnet, and that is you, Libra, my love, nestled in poetry, yet not immediately decipherable. Do you remember the first time you felt a soft breeze, the kind that rushes through sheer curtains, and plants a touch on your skin like you’ve never known? Remember how you closed your eyes, and pronounced that moment perfect? Believe it or not this is how you feel on our skin, that kind of soft, that kind of touch, that kind of perfection. You are clean sheets on a morning clothesline, soothing endearments when life tanks. You are magnolia, leather sofa, artisan everything—light. You give us our balance back, thank you.
October 23 to November 21
There has been much said about pomegranate seeds, how they kept the curious Persephone down in Hades half of each year. This bejeweled fruit really does help us know you better, buried-spark-of-passion. We must peel you, Scorpio, slice you open, and search for your soul, time and time again, in countless chambers. But when we do finally taste you, however long it takes to get there, we break open. You are often misunderstood; they all think you play the field, when all you want is to ping like a bat off the object of your devotion. You are Morpheus, shape-shifter, and conductor of the great transmigration of souls. We give you our nightmares, you hand us fresh pomegranate juice.
November 22 to December 21
Sag, you are the one to watch, what with your love of open spaces. We’ve often seen you dancing wildly out on the mesa tops. We know you can’t keep your eyes off the horizon, and we find that beautiful in you, the way the sun sets and rises wherever you are. The sexy quiver that sits on your hip is full of pens, feathers, and quills—your proverbial fanny pack always at the ready. You walk through airports like you own them. You view terminals as portals that deliver your soul to remote villages half way around the world. You are gorgeously no-nonsense, a hothouse flower, Amelia Earhart incarnate, and the dust that lifts from your shoes as you finish day thirty of a six-month pilgrimage.
December 22 to January 19
Capricorn, you are the first brick set down in a building, the one that all others must follow, the one that holds weight and sets patterns. You can take pressure like no other. You give us relief. Dear cornerstone, without you, we would have nothing. There is creation and then there is incarnation, and you know the kind of work it takes to make a thing, a thing. You will work until the work is done for the glimpse of what your hands can form. You love real materials, bone, wood, steel, and clay. Keeper of earth, you are Atlas, long distance runner, sculptor, mountain crag, and the one who sets the world in motion.
January 20 to February 18
Have you ever spent time identifying the various species of clouds, Cumulus, Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulonimbus, Altocumulus? You are ever shifting and changing like these bilious and whimsical balls of fluff. We know that if you could have your way you would stay up amongst the stuff, weather up to your ankles, breathing in the atmosphere. You are outlandish, Seussian, the perfect iconoclast. Aquarius, your friend, the wind, helps you cover more ground, nay, more air than any other. We are in awe of your tousled hair and elevated complexion. You are a great friend with far-reaching kindness, yet sometimes rebellious and never, never still.
February 19 to March 20
Remember the first time you saw the ocean, Pisces? Was it scary, awesome, underwhelming, or overwhelming? Recall the grainy sand between your toes reminding you of the place that stands between you and the water? Did you want to jump in and swim forever? You’ve been given the great job of protecting the darkness. As you dive deep into the nautical mystery, you are more comfortable in these depths than most. You are dream-catcher, wave-bearer, unconscious whisperer, ancient source and slacker of thirst. “Come all who are weary,” you’ll say to us with such heartbreaking generosity, and we will come, we won’t be able to resist.