“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!

“Gifts of Awen”

My latest musical composition, which I now sing as part of my daily devotions:

I have not yet added back up instrumentals, as I typically sing this while walking the land, after morning prayers. With that in mind, this one might forever remain a simple vocal tune. I will consider adding layers at a later date.

If you like the song, and would like to download a copy of the sheet music for your personal, private, non-commercial use, you may do so here:

“Gifts of Awen” by Larisa Ananda White


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.

Druidry in the Face of Climate Change

an invitation to virtual tea, and deep discussion among fellow Druids

(but first, a bit of background)

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume II, recently published by the United States Global Change Research Program (2018), summarizes the findings of the earlier, 2017 Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), Volume I, and then lays out, in great detail,

“…the human welfare, societal, and environmental elements of climate change and variability for 10 regions and 18 national topics, with particular attention paid to observed and projected risks, impacts, consideration of risk reduction, and implications under different mitigation pathways. Where possible, NCA4 Volume II provides examples of actions underway in communities across the United States to reduce the risks associated with climate change, increase resilience, and improve livelihoods.”

Climate change is a topic of great concern to Druids – and for many of us it is also a source of great distress – because our religious beliefs stress the sanctity of Mother Earth and all Living Beings who dwell upon her (and within her various biospheres), and because our spiritual paths and lifestyle choices are driven by an ethic of care toward All Living Beings. So, what is a Druid to do in the face of global climate change?

If we fail to remain focused on our (meaning the specific Druids engaged in the conversation; not a vague referral to “humanity” in general) sphere of influence, rather than the infinite and terrifying and paralyzing sphere of concern, there is a tendency for people to go off on rants about what “people” should have done in back the 70s, when we first should have known about this, or what “people” need to do now. It is a waste of energy, and tends to lead people to despair and inaction.

I am interested in brainstorming on what we, as a small group of scattered Druids, can do concretely, to maximize our utility to ourselves, to our families, and to our wider communities, in the face of the dramatic changes that have already arrived, as well as those which are likely yet to come. But before we can generate plausible, actionable strategies, we must understand the science, the ecology, and the socio-economic contexts that will serve to constrain our viable solution-space.

Therefore, beginning in January 2019, the World Fellowship of Druids will be hosting a series of biweekly discussions (via private Google Hangouts), to discuss the findings presented in The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume II report, a few chapters at at time. Based upon our growing understanding of those findings, and the scientific analyses underlying them, we will discuss what types of concrete, Druid responses would be both feasible and most wise, so that we can as a group offer help and solace, and act as pillars of hope and light, in times that can often seem quite dark.

I hope you will consider adding your voice to this important conversation.

Schedule of Readings (due: first and third Saturdays)

Saturday 5 January 2019
Front Matter
Chapter 1: Overview

Saturday 19 January 2019
Chapter 2: Our Changing Climate (review of climate science)

Saturday 2 February 2019
Chapter 3: Water
Chapter 4: Energy Supply, Delivery & Demand
Chapter 5: Land Cover & Land Use Change

Saturday 16 February 2019
Chapter 6: Forests
Chapter 7: Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity

Saturday 2 March 2019
Chapter 8: Coastal Effects
Chapter 9: Oceans & Marine Resources

Saturday 16 March 2019
Chapter 10: Agriculture & Rural Communities
Chapter 11: Built Environment, Urban Systems, and Cities

Saturday 6 April 2019
Chapter 12: Transportation
Chapter 13: Air Quality
Chapter 14: Human Health

Saturday 20 April 2019
Chapter 15: Tribes and Indigenous Peoples
Chapter 16: Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests
Chapter 17: Sector Interactions, Multiple Stressors, Complex Systems

Saturday 4 May 2019
Read ONE of the ten, lengthy, “Regions” Chapters
(choose the one for the region in which you currently live),
Meditate fully upon what that chapter has to say to you about the climate change effects that hit closest to home, and how they relate to your life.

Saturday 25 May 2019 (NOTE: this final discussion is on a  4th Saturday!)
Chapter 28: Reducing Risks through Adaptation Actions
Chapter 29: Reducing Risks through Emissions Mitigation

Discussion topics and times will be posted to the World Fellowship Members page, two weeks in advance of each scheduled discussion. If you choose to sign up to participate, you will be sent information on how to access that information.

How to Participate

  1. Sign up for the World Fellowship of Druids discussion group. (Please note your time zone in the bit about your home biome, to help with finding a time that works for all participants.)
  2. Note the date and time for our next discussion, mark your calendar, and RSVP so that you are sure to be invited into the private Google Hangout, when the appointed time arrives.
  3. Read the assigned chapters listed for each date BEFORE the scheduled discussion time.
  4. Be at your Google Hangouts enabled device, cup of tea (or something stronger) in hand, and ready to receive your invitation when it comes.

I look forward to having your voice in the discussion!


Yule Triad

The three greatest gifts of a California Yule morning:

a gentle, greening rain;
one perfect orange, plucked from a glistening tree;
the brilliant rays of the returning Sun, illuminating all
of the first rosy blossoms of blueberry.