Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, ne breath ne motion;

As idle as a painted Ship

Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Ne any drop to drink.1

These iconic lines are recognizable not only from the classic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but heavy metal fans will remember the lines from the equally iconic Iron Maiden song of the same name. For readers unfamiliar, Ian McKellan’s read of the poem in this video ( and Iron Maiden’s song with AI-generated images based on the Iron Maiden lyrics ( are sure to provide good immersion.

Coleridge was born with the North Node of the Moon conjunct Spica and Mercury within 5 degrees orb of Spica. The Sun was also 6 degrees orb from Spica; all in region of Coleridge’s midheaven. In all honesty, very similar natal placements as H. P. Lovecraft. In fact, Coleridge uses the description “eldritch” in this poem—a term Lovecraft is notorious for using often.

In this article, like the previous one, I will navigate some impressions about the Tree of Life; specifically, for the 8th sephiroth of the Tree of Life, Hod. What first stands out is not only Coleridge’s natal NN Moon-Mercury-Spica conjunction, but the fact the lead singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, also had a natal NN Moon-Jupiter-Spica conjunction, and the song is Dickinson’s favorite to perform:

Bassist Steven Harries recalled how, under time pressure, the song “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” was written in a relatively short space of time. Influenced by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem of the same name (drawing heavily from his 1815-16 gloss), the song directly quotes two passages from the poem, the former including the famous lines: ‘Water, water everywhere – nor any drop to drink’. At over thirteen minutes long, the track contains several distinct sections with differing moods and would become a fan favourite. During the 2008-9 Somewhere Back in Time World Tour, guitarist Dave Murray, vocalist Bruce Dickinson and harries cited this song as their favourite to play live.2

In the poem and song, a mariner—I’m going to use “narrator” going forward—stops a wedding guest just as the ceremony starts and imposes on the trapped listener a story of something that happened to the narrator at sea. The narrator, on his ship with crew, sailed from port towards the South Pole, navigating the ice, and when the ship left the fog, an albatross—a sea bird like a gull or tern—flew around the ship. The crew felt the encounter was an act of God, and they fed the bird as it traveled with them daily, both ship and bird riding the south wind. But then, one day, for really no reason, the narrator killed the albatross with his crossbow, and all things went south, literally.

The ship had sailed in between a newly formed crack in the ice that led to a new body of water that had not been discovered prior to this crew. After the bird was killed, the scene became dreadfully silent. The sun began tormenting the crew; there was no wind, fog, rain, or water. Slimy creatures began to reveal themselves, and then fires on the sea began to burn like ignited oil slicks. Some crew even dreamed of terrible demons. The crew realized that the narrator was at fault for the sudden change in their fortune, so they made him wear the dead bird around his neck like an ornament or giant pendant.

At this point, while everyone was starving and dehydrated, an odd, eerie ship is seen on the horizon, and it approaches their ship. This ship moved without waves causing it not to rock, moving even without help from the wind since there wasn’t any. Then, as the ship approached, it passed in front of the setting sun on the horizon; the weird ship’s crew was then seen—it was only two people—a woman with gold hair and dead-looking skin and a man without any skin/flesh but simply of black, rusted bones.

This ghost ship pulls up near the narrator’s vessel. The two specters are seen finishing up a game of dice; the woman wins. Then the ship takes off east, and the moon can be seen above it, horned, possibly waning, with one star close to it. The crew then look at the narrator and curse him. Then all the 200 men crumpled and fell, dead.

At this point, the narrator has the wedding guest’s undivided attention.

The narrator describes how this curse lasted seven days and nights as the dead men died gazing at the narrator. The sea still burned; strange snakes swam around in the strange sea. Then the narrator began to realize that these so-called “slimy creatures” he thought terrible were not that bad, that all God’s creatures deserve praise. At this thought, and exclamation, he began to pray, and the dead bird that was still around the narrator’s neck fell off and sank into the sea.

The narrator then went into a deep sleep, and when he woke up, the buckets on the deck were filled with rainwater—and it was still raining. A huge storm occurred. Then the wind filled the sail. The dead men come to life like automatons, piloting the ship, as the narrator follows suit—no one spoke a word. Then the crew circled the ship’s mast and let out “sweet sounds” like birds and angels’ songs. All then stopped and returned to ship work.

Sometime at this point, the ship took off like a bullet, and the narrator loses consciousness but wakes up when he hears two voices he recognizes—the skeletal man and the leprous woman. They discuss how the narrator was put through this ordeal because the spirit that lived in that land loved that bird, but the bird also loved the narrator, even though the narrator decided to kill it. The narrator was given the gift to recognize the worth of the albatross, and that he would be fated to continue to do so in his life; they also answer the narrator’s questions about how the ship could move so fast.

Incredibly, the ship returns to the narrator’s port. The dead crew each raise a burning hand in the sky around the ship’s mast. Then came a skiff with three people; the lights from the deck gained their attention, but now the lights were gone. Then, as the skiff approaches closer, the narrator’s ship suddenly sinks, and he finds himself afloat—the skiff circled around the whirlpool where the ship had sunk. The skiff crew pulled the narrator onto the skiff, even though they thought he was dead. The narrator, remaining still the entire time, then speaks; the boat pilot and his young assistant go into shock. The third person, a hermit, is stunned and believes the narrator is a devil; the narrator takes the oars and begins to row them back to the shore.

The narrator finishes up the story for the wedding guest, explaining that he travels to different places to tell his story now. The wedding guest, reflecting on the story the following morning, becomes “a sadder and a wiser man.”3

There is much to unpack here, primarily, the appearance of Coleridge’s chthonic woman that resembles the image of the “Daughter of the King” from the previous article’s ATU XXI, as well as her equally disturbing contemporary. But let’s start with Hod.

The sephiroth of the Tree of Life for this story (continue with the convention as “ToL”) is the essence of the quality of 8 and Mercury. But I digress. Perhaps an actual explanation of the ToL would benefit readers. From Crowley’s The Thoth Tarot (in reference to the actual figure of the ToL):

This figure must be studied very carefully, for it is the basis of the whole system on which the Tarot is based. It is quite impossible to give a complete explanation of this figure, because (for one thing) it is quite universal. Therefore it cannot mean the same to any one person as to any other. A’s universe is not B’s universe. If A and B are sitting opposite each other at table, A sees the right of the lobster, and B the left. If they stand side by side and look at a star, the angle is different; although this difference is infinitesimal, it exists. But the tarot is the same for all in the same way which any scientific fact or formula is the same for all. It is most important to remember that the facts of science, though universally true in the abstract, are still not precisely true for any one observer, because even if the observation of any common object is made by two people of identical sensory reactions from the same spot, it cannot be done directly at the same time; and event the smallest fraction of a second is sufficient to move both object and observer into space.

It seems probable that the Qabalists who invented the Tree of Life were inspired by Pythagoras, or that both he and they derived their knowledge from a common source in higher antiquity…Ultimate Reality is best described by Numbers and their interplay…Numbers, then, are the nearest approach to Reality which is shown in this system…In the Tree of Life, therefore, is found the first attempt to connect the Ideal with the Actual. The Qabalists say, for example, that the number 7 contains the idea of Venus, and the number 8 that of Mercury, that the connecting path between 1 and 6 refers to the Moon, and that between 3 and 6 to the sign of Gemini.4

In a way, then, my understanding of this model is an observation of my own subjective universe—the medium I use here to explain the celestial findings I glean from natal-chart patterns are the Spica planetary conjunctions. While as Earth-based creatures of matter, we can perceive our place from the 10th sephiroth, Malkuth (“The end of all energy; the seat of the material world”), and the path to the 9th sephiroth, Yesod (“The foundation; the seat of the great crystallization of energy”), is Atu XXI: The Universe—the previous article described some of my subjective facets of Yesod and Atu XXI—the path to the next sephiroth, Hod (“Splendor; Illusion, imbalance, weakness; the effeminate male”), is by means of Atu XIX: The Sun. But what does The Sun tarot card mean as a path from the nature of the previous article to this one?

It seems the previous path, Atu XXI—the Universe tarot card—and the character-tulpa representative of Yesod as Abdul Alhazred—Lovecraft’s author of the Necronomicon—introduced Persephone—Hades’ bride—as someone important here. And the woman in Coleridge’s story does seem similar in that aspect.

Atu XIX—the Sun—shows that,

The green mound represents the fertile earth, its shape, so to speak aspiring to the heavens. But around the top of the mound is a wall, which indicates that the aspiration of the new Aeon does not mean the absence of control. Yet outside this wall are the twin children who (in one form or another) have so frequently recurred in the whole symbolism. They represent the male and female, eternally young, shameless and innocent.5

Is this not another perspective of the lobster, this card? From Atu XXI, the Universe, in the previous article, from Persephone’s point of view now:

And the ring of the horizon above her is a company of glorious Archangels with joined hands, that stand and sing: This is the daughter of BABALON the Beautiful, that she hath borne unto the Father of All.6

The references are macro- and micro-cosmic correspondences of each other. Is not the Eleusinian Mysteries of Hades and Persephone an image of this very correspondence? Is Persephone’s previous name, Koré, not the prefix for this very term? So, what does this have to do with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

The story is really about a rocky transition in how man contemplates nature. The mariner observes nature as below him until he learns that even such an “insignificant act” as killing a bird can result in catastrophic circumstances, both objectively and subjectively. He learned that “man’s world” is a myth. He learned that there are forces at play beyond his comprehension that are bigger than him, and unknown; however, they still believe that man can be salvageable—well, at least some. The mariner is young, shameless, and innocent before he commits his cosmic faux pas. Then, in a chance of luck, he is saved by the gift of a glimpse of the actual threads that weave cosmic consciousness, as well as his own fate; his only obligation, via his will, is to share this gift with others through the medium of story. That is, the light of the Sun has rewarded him with cosmic meaning.

What does this have to do with Mercury? Mercury, or Hermes, the messenger of the gods, is the symbol of the feathered and the winged-footed usherer of souls to Tartarus, where they will pay Charon, the ferryman of Hades, for safe passage. Mercury is the friend to Man. The albatross is the proponent of Mercury in this story, as all birds are, and as the Spica essence seems to have influence in this research, the suffering and retribution of the bird is what fits the correspondences with Hod. The mariner is indeed the effeminate male in this case; that is, as a consequence of his action, a supernatural reaction simply realigns his relationship to the world. He is no longer simply living in it—he is tasked as an ambassador to something greater. This archetype of Mercury as both messenger and death-dula is concise, according to Richard Tarnas’ following description,

Mercury: the principle of mind, thought, communication, that which articulates the primary creative energy and renders it intelligible; the impulse and capacity to think, to conceptualize, to connect and mediate, to use words and language, to give and receive information; to make sense of, to grasp, to perceive and reason, understand and articulate; to transport, translate, transmit; the principle of Logos; Hermes, the messenger of the gods.7

In The Book of Thoth, as Crowley wraps up the book at the end, he also includes some guidance to those using tarot for divinatory means (originally appearing from his The Equinox, Vol. I, No. 8):

The position of the student of the Tarot is very similar. In this essay, and in these designs, is given an analysis of the general character of each card; but he cannot reach any true appreciation of them without observing their behavior over a long period; he can only come to an understanding of the Tarot through experience.

[Atu XIX—The Sun] Give forth thy light to all without doubt; the clouds and shadows are no matter for thee. Make Speech and Silence, Energy and Stillness, twin forms of thy play.

[Atu XXI—The Universe] Treat time and all conditions of Event as Servants of thy Will, appointed to present the Universe to thee in the form of thy Plan. And: blessing and worship to the prophet of the lovely Star.8

Oddly, and eerily enough, this affirmation seems to be the tone of Coleridge’s poem. Multiple mercurial symbols are present, like the appearance of the hermit—the Hermit, as a Tarot card, just happens to be Atu IX and also the zodiac sign, Virgo; in astrology, Mercury is exalted and the ruler of this sign. In fact, Mercury is in Virgo as I wrote this article. Yet, what I believe we find when Mercury is conjunct Spica in an author’s birth chart, and he writes a story of this nature, a very real mercurial muse-like character exists in the author’s psyche and influences the author to form the character in reality: this victimized, but still service-oriented character with “friends in low places,” was formed into the killed albatross. Like Lovecraft’s Moon-Spica was formed into Abdul Alhazred, Coleridge’s albatross exudes this archetypal cosmology.


Crowley, Aleister. The Thoth Tarot. York Beach: Weiser Books, Inc. 2017. Print.

Crowley, Aleister. The Vision and The Voice. York Beach: Weiser Books, Inc. 1998. Print.

Tarnas, Richard. Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Toronto: Plume, 2006. Kindle.

Wikipedia. “Powerslave.” Wikipedia.


Birth Data and Resources

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, born October 21, 1772, Ottery St. Mary, UK, 10:45. Astro-Databank (,_Samuel_Taylor). Source: Quoted birth chart/record in hand. (Rodden Rating: AA).

Dickinson, Bruce, born August 7, 1958, Worksop, UK, at time unknown. AstroTheme ( Source: Unknown.


1 Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

2 Wikipedia, “Powerslave.”

3 Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

4 Crowley, The Thoth Tarot, 30-33.

5 Crowley, The Thoth Tarot, 113.

6 Crowley, The Vision and The Voice, 174-75.

7 Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche, 90.

8 Crowley, The Thoth Tarot, 249-260.

Anthony Wynands has interests in topics like traditional astrology and tarot, the Younger Dryas Extinction Event, the rise and fall of historical civilizations, human consciousness, biofield tuning-fork sound therapies, New England true crime, cosmic horror, and the new wave of traditional heavy metal (NWOTHM). His background is in military and law enforcement, editing publications, and teaching writing and English as a second language. Currently, he works for the US Army. His blog site is

2 thoughts on “Part 2 – Spica and the Tree of Life: Mercury and the Albatross”

  1. Angela Pressley says:

    I’m trying to figure out what this has to do with my life day to day 🤔.

  2. Anthony Wynands says:

    I can’t tell if this is a rhetorical or legitimate question? Or just a jab? If legitimate, if you were born with a traditional planet conjoined the fixed star Spica in your natal chart, self reflect on your attraction to occult themes, etc. I suggest reading the other articles if it peaks your interest, as well.

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