Wisdom from our Elder Brothers

The Mamas of the Kogi people of Colombia are true ancestors of spirit to modern-day Druids. They have a very deep and detailed understanding of the ecological principles that rule the workings of our Living Earth. Anyone interested in defending or protecting Mother Nature should listen, very carefully, to their words.

Having studied ecology for decades, myself, and having engaged in small-scale ecological restoration projects, I used to think that I understood quite a bit about ecology — until I watched this pair of films. Now I realize that my knowledge was still limited, focused on the workings of individual ecosystems, in isolation. The Kogi offer an even deeper level of understanding, tracing all the golden threads that weave the various ecosystems together into a united, magical whole.

The two documentaries here explore first, who the Kogi are, historically and sociologically, and second, the wisdom they have to offer regarding what needs to be done to heal the Earth Mother and save the world.

I hope you enjoy watching them as much as I did!

“Top Reasons for Loose Hands”

by Estifanos (age 8), of California, U.S.A.

“Top Reasons for Loose Hands,” is a  interesting You-Tube drumming lesson about the hands, and how to use a loose grip to play the drums. It was taught by a fantastic drummer named Rob Brown, from Toronto, Canada.

The most important things I learned from watching this video were:

  • Loose hands are important because you can get injured by banging the drums very, very hard if you have a stiff grip on the sticks.
  • There is a sweet spot close to the middle of the drum, that makes good volume if you just bounce the stick on it instead of hitting it.
  • If you lift the tip of the stick higher up, and bring it down fast (instead of hard), it makes a loud sound. And it takes very little effort.

What makes a loose grip loose is holding the stick with your thumb and middle finger, and just barely touching the stick with the other fingers, and letting the stick bounce on the drums.

Here is a picture of my drumming practice pads, with a “Loose Hands” note stuck on top, to remind me to do loose hands:

And this is a video clip of me trying to do it…

Loose Hands Practice

At the end of the video, Rob asked if people would share it with any other drummers they know. So, here’s a link to it. Please subscribe!

Home – The Movie

A beautifully rendered history of Planet Earth, what humankind has done to it, and the choices that we now have before us, as a species. By Yann Arthus-Bertrand, :

A superb (and free!) resource for Quercus Academy nature studies.

The Long Road of Exploration

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

I just finished a history book, “Westward Expansion and Migration.”  The book talked about Lewis and Clark, pioneer wagon trains, and the gold rush. I want to talk to you about the way people interacted with nature, and other people as they traveled west.

Lewis and Clark were two young men who were once both military soldiers. They were skilled at: hunting, fishing, map making, zoology, botany, and language. Their job was to learn about the land west of the Mississippi River. The two men learned about the plants, animals, and traditions of the natives and their environment. They even made friends with a native girl from the Shoshone tribe. She joined them and acted as a translator. Her name was Sacajawea.

The pioneer wagon trains were long “trains” of wagons crossing the prairies of Colorado and Kansas. People lived on roots and berries. But there were hardships too. Stampeding buffalo herds, disease, fierce Native Americans, and blizzards met the settlers on the trail. The pioneers were vicious toward nature and natives: killing bison, cutting down trees, and killing natives. Horrid people!

The men who went west with the gold rush got gold fever. Gold, gold, GOLD!!! Gold fever spread like wildfire! They were mean by stealing cattle, robbing stagecoaches, and murdering. Mean!

I think that the best people were Lewis and Clark because they treated natives and the land carefully.

Dances from Ireland

by Estifanos (age 7), of California, U.S.A.

The first time I saw Irish dancing, it was watching a video of the very first performance of Riverdance, on the Eurovision Song Contest:

I thought that it was a mind-blowing performance because the dancers did the footwork super good, so that it sounded like every one of the dancers were hitting the floor together. To me, it sounded like their feet were making a kind of percussion music along with the drums and the synthesizer music. That made me want to know more about Irish dancing.

Next, I took Irish dance classes, to find out how people did the footwork, to make the different noises with their feet.

The classes were okay, but I didn’t like that it was so loud in the dance studio.

After that, I watched a documentary about kids who were learning Irish dance. The youngest kid was probably about ten years old. The oldest was probably about twenty-one. The documentary was called, “Jig.” Here is the trailer:

I think that Irish dance is interesting because I like the costumes, and the hard-shoe rhythms.