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The Magic of Metal: Mercury

Natural History and Folklore

Mercury is also known as quicksilver and was known historically as mercurius vivens or ‘the living mercury’ do to the fact that it still moves around as the temperature changes, even slightly. It has been found in tombs in China, Egypt and India. The Greeks used it to treat skin conditions and it was used to treat syphilis in the Middle Ages. It was also once used in women’s cosmetics, which of course proved fatal.

It was used in thermometers for the longest time, despite its toxicity. Ir rarely occurs alone in nature, usually in cinnabar as droplets. Its earliest use can be traced back to 1500BC, as use in adornments in Egyptian tombs.

Chemical Information/ Toxicity
Chemical Symbol: Hg           Melting Point: −38.829*C / −37.892*F
Atomic Number: 80              Boiling Point: 356.619*C / 673.914*F

Mercury is very toxic, so most of its uses are phased out or are under review.
Physical Properties

Mercury is one of the heaviest metals known to man and is a liquid at room temperature. It is an anomaly among the other metals, as it only reacts to heat, though it does not conduct it. It is not hard or malleable, making it unable to be scratched, shaped or bent. It works as an excellent conductor of electricity when it is frozen.

It has no known biological role, though it is found readily in the environment and in every living thing.

Practical Uses

Its mot notable usage might be that is was used in thermometers. It is now use mainly as a catalyst in the chemical industry, though it is also used in electrical switches. It is also used to make alloys called amalgams.

Magical Associations/ Uses

Since it is dangerous to use, it is often replaced with silver. Mercury and its replacements can be used in metal for change, communication, and progress. Mental clarity, learning, and being persuasive are some reasons to use mercury in magic. It can be used in glamour magic as well, but you should not have any direct physical contact with this metal.

This metal can be used in magic for luck, in scrying magic. Since it is so poisonous, either silver or aluminum can be used in its place.

  • Serpents (due to the way it moves)
  • Change
  • Life, death and decomposition
  • Luck
  • Deity: Mercury/ Hermes
  • Planet: Mercury
  • Zodiac: Gemini and Virgo
  • Element: Water. Earth and Air

Alchemical Symbols

Image result for mercury symbol
Fun Facts

It is highly poisonous

Hg, the symbol comes from the Greek hydrargyrum

Quicksilver comes from its mobility

It is useful in extracting gold from rocks

Mercury weighs 13.6x as much as the same amount of water

It is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature