In  long ago college course on death and dying, I read that drowning was among the most peaceful ways to die. Reportedly after some initial panic, drowning is a very peaceful experience, not unlike floating.

My alchemy group explored Solutio last week, the alchemical process associated with water, a fitting follow-up to Calcinatio, the process of burning. Most people had peaceful associations with water, though we were reminded that water can also be aggressive and raging. Think hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans.

For me, though, Solutio called up the sensation of standing at the edge of the ocean and feeling all my words dissolve. Not just words, but any thought of words, as though nothing solid could exist beside the incredible, vast, primitive ocean. My Solutio image was a small container tangled with fabric resembling seaweed, like something that would wash up on shore, mostly empty, whatever it once carried having long ago dissolved in the sea. It felt not unlike Calcinatio, in which something that once seemed important must go up in flames. But Solutio did feel gentler. It let me picture those dissolved aspects of self, those old ideas, floating out onto the ocean. It let me consider what it is I would put in that container, to be slowly rocked out to sea.