The Mercury principle of the Alchemical philosophy relates to the Spirit. It is the universal principle of all matter, and expresses itself uniquely through each kingdom.
As we find in the plant kingdom, the Mercury represents itself as EtOH or ethyl alcohol. Here we find the root of the term Spirits as it relates to drinking alcohol.
The Mercury of a kingdom is the result of the putrification of a material through fermentation, as we see with plants the body breaks down to produce a wine containing the alcohol or spirit. To attain the pure Mercury it is then necessary to separate, or exalt, the spirit through distillation. This is the most volatile aspect of any being, and as such separates at the lowest temperature.
As previously expressed, the spirit of the plant realm is chemically recognized as EtOH, an ethyl alcohol. As for fungus, the spirit is not so straight forward as through my experiments I have produced some very intriguing volatiles (through fermentation and distillation of fresh fruiting bodies or mycelium) that do not seem to contain any alcohol. Leaving room for further research and insights.
On the other side of the Mercury we are looking at philosophical applications of the fungus as it relates to the ecology and culture. Mercury relates to communication and information, thus, through this section I want to explore the influence of mushrooms on our consciousness through ethnomycology, from myth, to history, to personal experiences.
We have much to learn from the fungal realm and as we can clearly see, through the gravitation of our culture toward the beneficial application of mycology to save a dying ecology, they are communicating with us at a rapid rate and offering unique praxis for healing the environment and growing as a (earth-centric- human) species.