One act changes a mans life forever. What is it about an albatross that is so powerful it could affect the lives of people? It’s only a bird, a large bird, an aquatic bird with coloring of white and dark brown or black. In the poem “Rimm of the Ancient Mariner”, life changes for over 200 men with the single act of a man with his bow. Only if you believe there is a link between nature and the spiritual world would you be affected. But what is it about the life of a bird, an albatross that could change lives. Sailors for centuries have considered the albatross an omen of good luck or in some cases a curse.
In the poem “Rimm of the Ancient Mariner” the crew learns that life can change quickly both for the good or bad. When their ship is frozen in the ice and an albatross appears, the ship is freed and released and once again the sails are filled with the wind. The albatross has acted as a giver of life, something that goes deeper than just the flesh. This new freedom is almost like salvation, not only have they experienced the physical freedom but also their spirits have been released from certain doom. As the sailors feed and play with the bird there seems to be more than just a physical connection. A kindred spirit has formed, a trust in each other. Then for some unknown reason one of the sailors decides to kill the albatross. With this action comes retribution from an unforeseen source.
With the killing of the bird the spiritual world has been awakened. Both good and bad will exert their influence upon the ship. The curse of death has been passed upon them and upon that single sailor he will suffer the worst death of all. He would live but wish that he could die. They witness death coming in the form of a skeletal ship with a crew of two, Death and Life-in-Death. The souls are required of each man that condoned the killing, except the one who did the actual act. “Life-in-death” will require that sailor’s soul to be tormented inside him until the retribution has been paid, if ever. With the price paid the heavenly spirits guide the ship back to its home port, where the tormented sailor will start his journey of life-in-death.
Because we live in the natural world and cannot see the spiritual one does not mean that it does not exist. I have had feelings at one time or another that certain things were not right to do, and it was more than conscience that was talking to me. I am also sure that many have experienced or heard about someone dying and talking about the angels that they see. The sailors on this ship saw death and the price that each had to pay. All this because they refused to honor the natural world and all it had to offer. So an albatross may have more power than we think. Just as much power in death as in life.