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A gorsedd (, plural ''gorseddau'') is a secret society of modern-day bards. The word is of Welsh origin, meaning "throne". It is often spelled gorsedh in Cornwall and goursez in Brittany, reflecting the spellings in the Cornish and Breton languages, respectively. When the term is used without qualification, it usually refers to the National Gorsedd of Wales, namely ''Gorsedd Cymru.'' However, other gorseddau exist, such as the Cornish Gorsedh Kernow, the Breton Goursez Vreizh and Gorsedd y Wladfa, in the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia.

Purpose

(Penzance)]] Gorseddau exist to promote literary scholarship and the creation of poetry and music. As part of this, their most visible activity can be seen at Eisteddfodau – Welsh language festivals.

History

thumb|250px|Goursez Vreizh (the Gorsedd of Brittany) in 1906 Gorsedd Cymru was originally founded as Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain in 1792 by Edward Williams, commonly known as Iolo Morganwg, who also invented much of its ritual, supposedly based on the activities of the ancient Celtic Druidry. Nowadays, much of its ritual has Christian influence, and were given further embellishment in the 1930s by Cynan (later Archdruid 1950–1954 and 1963–1966). The Gorsedd made its first appearance at an Eisteddfod at the Ivy Bush Inn in Carmarthen in 1819, and its close association with the Festival has remained. It is an association of poets, writers, musicians, artists and individuals who have made a significant and distinguished contribution to Welsh language, literature, and culture. The fictitious origin of these ceremonies was established by Professor G.J. Williams in works touching on Iolo Morganwg.

Symbolism

The symbol commonly used to represent a Gorsedd is a triple line, the middle line upright and the outer two slanted towards the top of the centre, thus: .Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, Vol I – The Sacred Symbol
/ref> This symbol, called "awen", is often explained as representing the sun.Gorseth Kernow – The Gorseth of Cornwall: Ceremonies and Regalia
The word "awen" means "muse" in Welsh.

See also

* Archdruid (includes a chronological list of Archdruids of Wales) * Gorsedd Cymru (Welsh Gorsedd) * Gorsedh Kernow (Cornish Gorsedd) * Goursez Vreizh (Breton Gorsedd) * Gorsedd stones * Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids * Oireachtas na Gaeilge * Mòd

References

{{Celtic nations Category:Eisteddfod Category:Poetry organizations