Reid Vanderburgh - Solstice 2007 Newsletter

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Solstice 2007 Newsletter

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Heather Becomes Alexander, The Heir
I usually produce a newsletter every other month, and ordinarily, I would be writing a January, 2008 newsletter about this time. However, I am producing a special issue, in honor of a remarkable CD I received as a solstice gift a few days ago.

I have known Heather Alexander for a couple of years. Heather was, for nearly twenty years, a recording artist of iconic stature within the pagan/wiccan culture. She produced numerous recordings, and performed all over the world. But when I met Heather, she was beginning to face the fact that she was not comfortable with "she" any longer, and could no longer ignore "her" core identity of male. About a year ago, Heather began taking hormones and at that point, became Alexander James Adams, with the intention of carrying on Heather's career. Alexander refers to himself as The Heir.

The remarkable CD I received is titled Winter Tide, and is an excellent compilation of holiday songs, from various spiritual traditions. I am a singer myself, and appreciate the outstanding musicianship on this recording. I've played it numerous times over the past two days, and find myself appreciating the musical complexity, the freshness given to long-familiar tunes. Amazing because he is not Christian himself, Alexander imbues his Christmas tunes with more sense of spirituality than I've ever heard before.

However, musical excellence aside, I have another reason for playing this CD incessantly, and that reaction comes from my lived experience as a transman. As a therapist, I have witnessed many clients refer to their jobs as transitional in nature, with the idea of getting a new job once they are far enough along in their transitions that they are being perceived as they perceive themselves. As a professional musician, Alexander's process has been different - he has recorded a "transitional" CD. He sings all the parts on every song - some as Heather, recorded prior to his beginning hormones, and others as Alexander. He is singing duets with himself.

This CD has had a powerful impact on me as a transman, as there are very few media portrayals of my lived experience. The following song, in particular, has stayed with me. Heather begins the song, Alexander joins in the second time through, and then Alexander sings various harmony parts as the song builds. This is a wonderful description of a philosophical approach to transition:

It's in every one of us to be wise
Find your heart, open up both your eyes
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why
It's in every one of us to be wise, by and by
When Alexander gave me this CD as a gift, he remarked that he wanted to find ways to mentor, to help others also going through transition. Well, Alexander, if you do nothing more than release this CD you will have touched far more people than you will ever know.

Visit Alexander's website for more information about him, or to order this remarkable CD.

2007 All rights reserved

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