Small Gatherings Enhance the Celtic Flame in North America

Dikran Aivazian of the Kingdom of An Tir reports on the creation of a Celtic bardic association in the western United States and Canada.

Dikran Aivazian writes:

The NAGA gorseddau exist to support the Celtic Revival in their regions, areas, and localities, particularly by assisting various Celtic festivals, events, and groups to make announcements, assist with competitions, preside over awards presentation to winners of competitions, and perform such civic ceremonies as may be appropriate. For descriptions of Druids, Bards, and Ovates and their areas of interest and responsibility in Civic Druidry, see the article on Civic Druidry or ask for the latest updated version.

The gorseddau meet their specific areas of responsibility as voluntary networks. They need not be large groups either, but through slow-deliberate growth, small numbers can readily promote Celtic culture and languages in North America and additionally, draw attention to the lasting impact of Celtic tradition on culture in the western hemisphere. In this manner, while the specific focus may be Welsh culture, and more broadly Celtic cultures as a whole, the living flow and influence of those cultures invites all to move beyond ethnicity, to come together and appreciate them, within the diversity of life in North America. Hense, we celebrate not only Welsh and other Celtic presence, but the living spark they have kindled within these lands of the West.

Introducing the North American Gorsedd Association and ITS Member Gorseddau

Regional Gorseddau

The North American Gorsedd Association shall consist of four regional gorseddau

  1. Western North American Gorsedd.
  2. Mid-North American Gorsedd
  3. Northeastern North American Gorsedd.
  4. Southern North American Gorsedd.

    Over time two additional regional gorseddau may be established and invited to join the NAGA. 5. Latin American North American Gorsedd will serve bardic competitions, Welsh, and other Celtic festivals in Mexico and Central America.

  5. The Caribbean and Middle Atlantic Gorsedd will serve Welsh and other Celtic festivals and bardic competitions in the Caribbean, and islands in the Middle Atlantic areas including the Bahamas and possibly Bermuda.

The NAGA plans on developing a system of bardic chairs for North America. There shall be 11 Area Gorseddau within the four Regional Gorseddau serving the United States and Canada. Each Area and Region Gorsedd shall have as a goal establishing a bardic chair for its distinct Region or Area in Canada and the United States and an additional area for the North Atlantic islands for Greenland and Iceland where the vernacular language is Danish or Icelandic.

These 12 Area Gorseddau, then shall be:

  1. Pacific Northwest Gorsedd.
  2. American Southwest Gorsedd.
  3. Rocky Mountains and Western Plains Gorsedd.
  4. Great Plains Gorsedd.
  5. Great Lakes Gorsedd.
  6. Le Gorsedd de Quebec et Nunavut.
  7. Maritime and New England Gorsedd.
  8. Mid-Atlantic States Gorsedd.
  9. Nordic NOrth American Gorsedd.
  10. Mason-Dixon Gorsedd.
  11. Southeast Gorsedd.
  12. Red River and Missippi Gorsedd.

Gorsedd Organization

Each Regional Gorsedd within the North American Gorsedd Association shall consist of two or more Area Gorseddau, and at the local level, when interest and need exist, local subgorseddau for the Area and REgional Gorsedd may be formed. To form a Region, at least two members of each grade need to come together. However, during the first year a regional gorsedd is being founded, the minimum rule and other standards for invitation into a grade may be relaxed. Once formed, a region should move to create its constituent Area Gorseddau. Each member of a grade at the regional level will also be members of their Area Gorseddau and when applicable, of a local gorsedd. Ann Area Gorsedd should have two members of each grade as well, so by the end of the first year, the Western North American Gorsedd, WNAG, with its three areas, should have a minimum of two druids, two bards, and two ovates for each of the three areas equaling at least six druids, six bards, and six ovates at the regional level.

To form a local gorsedd, in contrast, only one member for each grade is required. Membership in a gorsedd is by invitation only and determined by members of a particular grade within a gorsedd at either the Area or Regional level. in Addition, membership, while based on residence, is portable from gorsedd to gorsedd, area to area, region to region, and locality to locality.

Druids are chosen based on having won a bardic or ovate competition or on some other criteria regarding excellence or a significant contribution to contemporary Welsh or Celtic culture, to environmental or ecological responsibility and awareness, or to an area of philosophy or the law as determined by members of the Druid grade at either the Area or Regional level. A local gorsedd may petition to have someone invited to join the druid circle within their local gorsedd.

Current Information and Update

We have, in support of a major Welsh Cultural Festival, the Left Coast Eisteddfod, Portland, Oregon, October 2010, begun the work to organize a new association (Gathering) of Bards in our region of the western United States and Canada. The new Western North American Gorsedd has immediate openings for several people who are willing to assist with organizing the new Gorsedd, including one druid, and two bards from the Pacific Northwest, two of each from the American Southwest (CA, NV, AR,, NM), and two of each from the third area for portions of the Rocky Mountains and western plains (MT, WY, CO, UT). Please review the site below for the latest descriptions of these secular grades in Civic Druidry. They are drawn from the ancient model, but cast into a twenty-first-century mode. These descriptions are also found in earlier renditions in Northwest Druidry in facebook groups and in the North American Gorsedd Association page in americymru.

They do differ from the standard modern versions familiar to the Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain (the Welsh National Gorsedd) and of contemporary sacred organizations in modern Neo-druidry.

We are also particularly interested in inviting new members located in or near Vancouver, British Columbia; Portland, Oregon; the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles in California; and, Denver, Colorado to form local gorseddau, Gatherings, to support major Celtic festivals in these localities key to the WNAG.

See also Left Coast Eisteddfod

The Left Coast Eisteddfod has been moved to coincide with Wordstock, a major book fair in Portland, Oregon, October, 2010. Competitions by submission do not require attendance at the event and may be in either Welsh or English categories for
Poetry
Short Story

There are also competitions for Visual Image (theme is "a sense of place)).

For links and information, see the Left Coast Eisteddfod group in facebook. You need not be a facebook member to use these links.

Information is also available at Northwest Druidry

Some of the Left Coast Eisteddfod Competitions for October 2010 (Deadline 15 Sep 2010)

Left Coast Eisteddfod 2010 Poetry Competition Now Accepting Submissions - Americymru

Left Coast Eisteddfod ( Portland, Oregon 2010 ) Short Story Submission Group - Americymru

Dean Edwards
Organizing Committees
WNAG wnag@earthlink.net
Also, NAGA, Northwest Druidry, Left Coast Eisteddfod