I know alchemy isn’t science, but rather its predecessor. The alchemists have a place in history where they united science, magic and religion in some bizarre ways. Much like astrologers, they attributed spiritual importance to objects. For the alchemist, they did so with elements instead of stars.
Mercury is a weird element. It’s a liquid metal. Even today, it is an outlier amongst the elements. Just imagine how strange it must have been to our ancestors. Mercury became the focus of a lot of study and interest. Dubbed ‘quicksilver’ because of its appearance, mercury was often the metal used as the basis for the transmutations alchemists tried to perform.
For alchemists, mercury was said to be the life force of all living beings. It is very ironic that a metal supposed to be the life force was in fact incredibly toxic and will kill you from painful poisoning or suffering psychiatric delusions. No wonder the alchemists didn’t live for very long or weren’t taken seriously.
©Oliver Kerrigan 2018