It is not well known that Welsh Lore contains names which are clearly taken from Norse Mythology. Many already recognise the Welsh god, (G)Wydion, as being Woden, probably brought here before the Romans came through the Belgae who were at least partly of Germanic origin. This seems an obvious ‘intrusion’ into Welsh Lore because the other deities all have their counterparts in the Irish Tuatha de Danaan. Wydion is the god who does not. And, bringing this Germanic God into the pantheon meant having his ‘son’ (Lleu) become the ‘Hanged God’, the one who hung upon the Sacred Oak Tree, as did Woden.
Two names that I am going to look at here are found in the History of the Kings of Britain of Geoffrey of Monmouth – Hudibras and Baldadus. These two are clearly Blind Hod and Balder of Norse Mythology. The alternative spelling of ‘Baldadus’ – Bladud – is just as interesting, since it could mean ‘Light-Darkness’ which is the same as ‘Robin Hood’. Baldadus, according to this history, founded Bath, and his tale as told by Geoffrey of Monmouth is clearly related to ‘Apollo’ who is the counterpart to Balder in Greek Mythology.
Bladud is the eldest son of Lud-Hudibras, the King of Britain and eighth from Brute, and he spent eleven years in Athens, and the tale goes on….Nothing of this makes any real sense, I feel, and it would seem that Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘history’ may not have been such ‘fact’ as many scholars have taken it to be. Yes, there is evidence that Wydion is Woden and the Myth of Lleu has been taken from Teutonic Mythology, but there seems to be some confusion over the figures of Hudibras and Baldadus/Bladud.
The story of Bladud is certainly a myth and is thus relevant to our work in that way; it is very similar to that of Mabon and Merlin. However, a coin of Belgic origin bears the name Vlatos which could be Bladud, although this is far from certain since the two names are not exactly alike. Yet, again, there is a connection between Bladud and Balder because the German name for Balder is Fol or Pol, also known here in England. Pol, Fol or Fal is associated with springs and wells, and Bladud is said to be the guardian of springs and wells.
The following is the lineage of King Bladud and the Guardians of Britain – Rhud Hudibras, Bladud (Baldadus), Llyr, Bran – Llyr is a sea-god, and Bran a raven-god associated with the Alder-Tree. In the Battle of the Trees Bran is defeated by Wydion whose sacred tree is the Ash-Tree (Woden). The name Bladud can be broken into –
Bel/Bal/Bla – ‘bright’.
Dud/Dydd – ‘dark’.
‘Bal’, of course, is the base of Balder and Baldadus is merely a Latinised version of Balder. Since ‘Hudibras’ contains the sound ‘hood’ this itself refers to ‘darkness’. In the name ‘Bladud’ the two – ‘Light and Darkness’ – are combined into one name. Geoffrey of Monmouth puts together names of Welsh, Latin and Greek origin, and his ‘history’ is a complete mixup of different cultures. Balder and Blind Hod are from Norse Mythology which he may well have known of, although this is not certain. We cannot be sure that he did not put these into his ‘British History’, but if he did not then there was an early Teutonic influence in Welsh Mythology that has never been recognised – apart from the figure of Wydion who is most certainly Woden.
The god-name Pol was widespread around England, proven by the many names that start with ‘Pol’ or sometimes ‘Pole’. There is little difference between the Root Bal and the Root Fal/Fol/Pol – indeed A-pol-lo is merely another version of the same name. There may also be a connection to our word ‘apple’ and Avalon – the ‘Island of Apples’. The Belgic Vlatos was depicted as a winged sun-god and since Balder is the Sun-God the names tally with the image of this god – Bladud would not tally since this is a fusion of Light-Dark as Balder-Hod. Teutonic Lore tells of Pol ‘flying’ across the sky, as the Sun appears to do daily.
In Norse Mythology there are in fact two versions of the Myth of Balder, one where he is the ‘good guy’ and the other where he is the ‘bad guy’, one by Snorri and one by Saxo. I am going to suggest here that in this case Balder may be the Golden Sun and Blind Hod the Black Sun; since the sword used by Blind Hod was named Miming (‘Memory of Ing’) then this is the Black Sun that dwells in the Blood-Memory. The Welsh name Rhud Hudibras could stem from ‘Rhod’ meaning ‘Wheel’ and thus the Sun-Wheel. If this is the Black Sun then this gives birth to the White Sun/Golden Sun. We have here the Eternal Battle between the White Sun and the Black Sun – between the Lion and the Unicorn (?).
The theme of Bladud and Mabon is that of a Divine Child who is displaced, taken from his rightful place; the theme ends with his being restored to this rightful place. There is a very interesting piece from Welsh Mythology, in the Tale of Culhwch and Olwen how the hunt for the Divine Child, Mabon, is done through a number of totem animals. Here these totem animals state the theme of great age, each creature representing an older race than the one before. Only the oldest of them all, the Salmon of Llyn LLyw, knows where the Divine Child is imprisoned. This may suggest the Myth of the Black Sun which is the old sun of the Golden Age, long, long ago; if this is indeed related to the Black Sun and to the Divine Child, then all of this also relates to Ingus since he has the same name and legend as that of Mabon. Bran, significantly, seems to be associated with Saturn who has been associated with the Black Sun Mythos. Saturn, of course, is ‘imprisoned’ by the Rings of Ice, and as a prisoner of the Dark he is the ‘Lord of the Rings’. Perhaps the ‘Divine Child’ is imprisoned within Saturn?
One underlying theme here is that of a ‘Sun’ that falls from its place in the heavens – this seems to be a case of either a ‘Sun’ or by a play-on-words, a ‘Son’. The name ‘Mabon’ means ‘son of’ as does Ingus or Ing. These ideas would explain the apparent contradictions in the accounts of Balder (Snorri) and Hodr (Saxo) where both are the ‘heroes’ of the tales. If there is a link between Saturn and Surtur (‘The Black One’) then this planet will have something to do with the ‘fire’ sent down upon the worlds at Ragnarok.