Tag Archive: semitic mythology


Goddess Ishara

“Selket” by =DanielPriego

“Ishara’s themes are creativity, sexuality, passion, instinct, fire and energy. Her symbols are the scorpion (or any stinging, hot items). An ancient Mesopotamian Goddess, Ishara is known for her fiery nature. The Syrians specifically worshiped Her in the form of a scorpion when they wished to improve sexual prowess or passion. In other traditions, Ishara judges human affairs fairly bur firmly, and all oaths made in Her name are sacred.

In astrology, people born under the sign of Scorpio are said to be creative, tenacious, sturdy and sensuous, often internalizing Ishara’s fire in their sign for personal energy.

To do likewise, enjoy any hot beverages (such as coffee with a touch of cinnamon for vitality) first thing in the morning. This will give you some of Ishara’s fire to help you face your day, both mentally and physically.

For those wishing to improve interest or performance in the bedroom, today is a good time to focus on foods for passion and fecundity. Look to bananas or avocados in the morning, olives, dill pickles, radishes, or liquorice sticks as a snack, beans as a dinner side dish, and shellfish as a main platter.

Remember to invoke Ishara’s blessing before you eat. And, if you can find one, put the image of a scorpion under your bed so that Ishara’s lusty nature will abide in the region and you can tap into it during lovemaking.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ishtar” by Lisa Iris

Patricia Monaghan says that Ishara was a “Semitic Goddess of promiscuity, originally distinct from Ishtar, but later merged with Her” (p. 164).

“Ishara is the Hittite word for ‘treaty, binding promise’, also personified as a Goddess of the oath.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love Goddess, often identified with Ishtar. Her cult was of considerable importance in Ebla from the mid 3rd millennium, and by the end of the 3rd millennium, She had temples in NippurSipparKishHarbidumLarsa, and Urum.

“Ishtar” by *Scebiqu

As a Goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties to oathbreakers, in particular ascites (see Hittite military oath). In this context, She came to be seen as a ‘Goddess of medicine’ whose pity was invoked in case of illness. There was even a verb, isharis- ‘to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara’.

Ishara was also worshipped within the Hurrian pantheon. She was associated with the underworld.

Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and She is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars) (Seux, 343). Ishara was well known in Syria from the third millennium B.C.E. She became a great Goddess of the Hurrian population. She was worshipped with Teshub and Shimegi at Alakh, and also at Ugarit, Emar and Chagar Bazar. While She was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, She was invoked to heal the sick (Lebrun).

The Hurrian cult of Ishara as a love Goddess also spread to Syria. ‘Ishara first appears in the pre-Sargonic texts from Ebla and then as a Goddess of love in Old Akkadian potency-incantations (Biggs). During the Ur III period She had a temple in Drehem and from the Old Babylonian time onwards, there were sanctuaries in Sippar, Larsa, and Harbidum. In Mari She seems to have been very popular and many women were called after Her, but She is well attested in personal names in Babylonia generally up to the late Kassite period. Her main epithet was belet rame, lady of love, which was also applied to Ishtar. In the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet II, col. v.28) it says: ‘For Ishara the bed is made’ and in Atra-hasis (I 301-304) She is called upon to bless the couple on the honeymoon.'” [1]

Also seen as Isara and Ishkhara; “the Hittites called ‘queen of the mountains'”. [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Lindemans, Micha F. Pantheon.org, “Isara“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Ishara”.

 

 

Wikipedia, “Ishara“.

Suggested Links:

Black, Jeremy & Anthony Green. Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia.

Jordan, Michael. Encyclopedia of Gods, “Isara“.

Mark, Joshua J. Ancient.eu.com, “The Mesopotamian Pantheon“.

McMahon, Gregory; Gary M. Beckman; & Richard Henry Beal. Hittite Studies in Honor of Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.

Murat, Leyla. Turkleronline.net, “Goddess Ishara“.

Stuckey, Johanna. Matrifocus.com, “Ancient Grain Goddesses of the Mediterranean“.

Wikipedia, “Hittite laws“.

Wikipedia, “Hittite mythology“.

Goddess Asherah

(This is one of the several Goddesses that Patricia Telesco makes a second entry on in her book.  She spells Asherah’s name as “Aherah” for today’s entry, but I could find no reference to “Aherah”.  You can view my previous entry on Asherah here.)

 

"Goddess of the Tides" by Jonathon Earl Bowser

“Asherah’s themes are luck, health, blessings, wisdom and divination.  Her symbols are a wooden pole and bricks.  Asherah is the Phoenician/Mesopotamian Mother of all Wisdom and Propriestress of Universal Law. On this day She offers Her perspective on the present and the future to begin settling the first quarter of the year sagaciously.

In Iranian stories, Asherah could walk on water, gave birth to over seventy deities, and taught people the arts of carpentry and brick building.

Sizdah Be-dar is part of the new year festivities in Iran. Follow Iranian tradition and generate Asherah’s fortuitous, healthy energy in your life by going on a picnic (or have one in the living room if the weather doesn’t cooperate, but leave the windows open).  It’s bad luck to stay inside today! Or, to make a spring wish, toss any type of spring water sprouts in water while focusing on your goal. If it is meant to be, the wish will manifest before the next Sizdah Be-dar. The alternative to sprouts is any newly sprouting seed, which should be planted afterwards to encourage the magic to grow.

For wisdom, find a small piece of wood or brick to represent Asherah. Lie down and meditate with the token over your third eye (located in the middle of the forehead and reputed to be a psychic center), visualizing purple light pouring through it. Chant:

‘Asherah abide in me
with your wisdom
let me see!’

Carry the token when you need to act judiciously.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Asherah is the wise, loving, giving, Grandmother of Muslims, Jews and Christians.  Over 4,000 years ago, most Canaanites and Hebrew households had altars dedicated to their beloved household Goddess Asherah; She inspired great devotion.  Many Asherah figures have been found, and many of Her altars have been found in the ruins of ancient kitchens. [1]

Asherah Figurines (9th-7th Centuries BCE)

“Archaeologists have found many statues of Goddess Asherah without finding a matching number of male figurines. By the early 1940s, over 300 terracotta figurines of nude goddesses had been unearthed in digs around Jerusalem supporting Her worship was an integral part of their religion.

As with all Goddess based religions it took a great deal of effort by the male-dominated priesthoods to erase Goddess worship among the common people. As the history of Canaan would change and the Hebrew bible expanded, Goddess Asherah would be mentioned several times as a companion God. Many scholars now weigh the idea of Yehweh actually having a wife? Eventually any mention of Goddess Asherah would be totally discredited from the transcriptions of the ancient writings.

"Morning Star" by Mahmoud Farshchian

As more and more information of Goddess Asherah becomes known, we know Her to be a Goddess of fertility, bringing special blessings to the family, and helping people achieve their goals and dreams. She was the Goddess worshipped by King Solomon, a King that dare worship his choosing rather than bending to the invasion of a War of men in the name of control through God. The many aspects of Goddess Asherah included Ashratum, Atharath, Astoreth, Elath, Eliat, Queen of Heaven, Lady of the Sea and She Who Gives Birth to the Gods. She has been called the mother of the Goddess Anath and Mother of Baʿal. It is well accepted in a time of God dominated worship it was as always the women who kept the Goddess alive.” [2]

“Even though Her name changes, Asherah remains the feminine face of God down through the present day. Her themes are kindness, love, divination and foresight. Her symbols are lions, lilies, a tree or a pole and a triangle on a pole or a cross.” [3]

 

 

“As women and daughters of the Goddess we remember this lost Goddess. Though Her myths are scarce, we know Her well. She is the Maiden, Mother and Crone that has existed since the beginning. She is beautiful, taking on the face of Her people and She is the strength of Her people. She is promise of the future and She is the wisdom of the ancestors. She is the prosperity and peace they know form living tribal in harmony and respect for each other. She is the treasured Mother Earth that sustains them and She is the blood of their life. We only need to turn within to know this Goddess man would try to erase.

"Tree Goddess" by Octavia Cheetham

As women it is through us She lives. In remembering Goddess Asherah we acknowledge our voice of self and the gift we have today to be authentic.  In remembering Goddess Asherah we also acknowledge how easily this can be striped from us by all who would think to program us with their thinking. As in the day of old we must recognize those who would know best for us without giving thought to who we would choose to be and we must not give that of ourselves. It is with open eyes we must take responsibility for ourselves and the magick or chaos we call forth in our life. We must know Goddess to know this truth least we surrender and forget.

As women we must remember or origins back to our primal Goddess of beginnings. In Her there is sanctuary and abundance of self. There is no true sanctuary without Her; there are only repeated patterns of disappointments. As women we gather and celebrate the lost Goddess Asherah that we might be lost as well. Blessed Be to Goddess Asherah and blessed be to the Goddess within.” [4]

 

 

Sources:

Coven of the Goddess, “Goddess Asherah, the Forgotten Goddess“.

Medusa. Order of the White Moon, “Asherah“.

Spiral Goddess Grove, “Asherah Altar“.

Suggested Links:

Carisa. Queen of Heaven, “Asherah, Part I: The Lost Bride of Yahweh” ; “Asherah: Part II: The Serpent’s Bride“; “Asherah” Part III: The Lion Lady“.

Binger, Tilde.  Asherah: Goddesses in Ugarit, Israel and the Old Testament.

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Asherah: Hidden Goddess of the Bible“. (p. 39 – 54).

PaganNews.com, “Asherah“.

Rankine, David. The Cosmic Shekinah, “The Goddess Asherah“.

Stuckey, Johanna H. MatriFocus Web Magazine for Goddess Women,  “Asherah and the God of the Early Israelites“.

Goddess Lilith

“Lilith” by zummerfish

“Lilith’s themes are freedom, courage, playfulness, passion, pleasure and sexuality.  Her symbol is an apple.  In Hebrew legends, Lilith is a dangerously beautiful Goddess who refused to subordinate Herself to Adam, feeling She was created as an equal. This makes Lilith perhaps the first true liberationist, and She resolves to make modern life similarly equal for all people. She also boldly instructs us to stand up for what we believe in, unbridled and courageous, no matter the cost. According to legend, Lilith was turned away from paradise for Her ‘crime’, and She has been depicted in art as a demon.

Leap Year occurs every four years to keep our calendar in sync with the solar year. Customarily, women break loose today, asking men out or proposing marriage. In today’s liberal society, actions like this aren’t overly surprising. Nonetheless, Lilith charges us with the duty of ever seeking after equality, not just for women but for all of earth’s people. If there’s someone you’ve wronged with presupposition or prejudice, make amends today.

To internalize Lilith’s fairness, bravery, or exuberant lustiness, eat an apple today. Quite literally take a bite out of life, and enjoy some daring activity to its fullest without fear or guilt.

 Like Lilith, you are the master of your destiny!”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Lilith is depicted on a Babylonian clay plaque from 2000-1600 BCE as beautiful winged woman with bird’s feet and claws.

“Lilith dates back to the bird-serpent Goddess of antiquity. In Sumeria, She was portrayed as having both the wings and claws of a bird. Some reliefs show Her lower half as being the body of a serpent or She is shown as a serpent with the head and breasts of a woman.

There are many possibilities as to Her early Goddess names: Belil-ili, Belili, Lillake, or Ninlil.

She was a Goddess of agriculture as well as the “hand of Inanna”. She was said to dwell in the trunk of the Huluppu-tree:

‘Then a serpent who could not be charmed
Made its nest in the roots of the huluppu-tree.
The Anzu-bird set his young in the branches of the tree.
And the dark maid Lilith built her home in the trunk.’

Lilith also helped women in childbirth and nursed infants.

Recent translations of Her name are varied and range from ‘screech owl’, lilah which is darkness or night in Hebrew, to Lilitu which is said to be the Babylonian word for ‘evil night-spirit.’

Her symbols are the crossroad, owl, serpent, tree, and dark moon.

The Hebrew Lilith

“Lilith” by Notvitruvian

When Jewish patriarchy overtook the land, they made Lilith evil in order to stop the people from worshipping Her.

In Kabbalistic tradition, Lilith was made the first wife of Adam. Some sources say that Lilith was Adam’s spirit wife. Other sources claim that Lilith was fashioned from the earth at either the same time as Adam or before Adam. This made Lilith Adam’s equal.

As Adam’s equal, Lilith refused to lie on Her back while Adam took the dominant position in sex (missionary style). Lilith believed that they should make love as equals (the beast with two backs). Adam was adamantly against this, wanting his wife to be submissive, and Lilith left the Garden of Eden.

God then supposedly gave Adam Eve, a docile woman of the flesh.

Eventually, Lilith was portrayed as the foe of Eve. It was Lilith in serpent form who seduced Eve to eat the fruit of knowledge. No doubt the first wife wanted the second wife to see what a jerk Adam was and that Lilith also wanted Eve to open her eyes and come into the fulness of herself, her womanhood.

When both Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam endured a period of celibacy as penance. During this time, Lilith was said to have caused nocturnal emissions from Adam (night hag). She collected his semen and impregnated Herself with it, giving birth to demons.  These children of Lilith were called Lilin or Lilim, ‘night-demons.’

The Goddess who once protected mothers and infants was now portrayed as a demoness who caused abortions and murdered infants in their sleep. The Jewish people believed that when a baby laughed or smiled in its sleep, it was being entertained by Lilith, and the parents would quickly bop the infant on the nose to distract the infant from the Goddess. It was also believed that She came to children in the form of an owl and drank their blood.

Despite the Jewish attempts to erradicate this ancient Goddess, She can still be found in Her truer, albeit symbolic, form in their literature:

‘During a protracted and dangerous confinement take earth from the crossroads, write upon it the five first verses of this Psalm, and lay it upon the abdomen of the parturient; allow it to remain until the birth is accomplished, but no longer. . .’ (The Complete Edition of the 6th and 7th Books of Moses: or Moses’ Magical Spirit Art).

Lilith and Sexuality

“Lilith’s Lair” by LourdesLaVeau

Lilith, as ‘hand of Inanna,’ would gather men from the streets and lead them to the temples of the sacred prostitutes. Later, as the first wife of Adam, She refused to lie beneath Adam and be his submissive. Instead She chose to have sex with “evil” spirits and beget more demons. (Who could blame Her?)

Lilith was comfortable with Her sexuality, something that frightened the Jewish patriarch who believed that merely having sex for pleasure was a form of abortion. In recent times, Lilith has morphed into the succubus and incubus or the night hag who sits on the chests of men and causes them to have perverse dreams so that they will ejaculate. She could take the form of either a man or a woman:

‘. . .who appear to mankind, to men in the likeness of women, and to women in the likeness of men, and with men they lie by night and by day.’

Men fear Lilith because She knows the power of Her sexuality and She knows that Her sexuality has power over men. Like Circe, She turns men into beasts or pigs by opening the doorways to their deep and primal sexual desires. Such desires are forbidden by the Jewish and Christian cults.

Women, who are like the submissive Eve, also fear Lilith because of the power She holds. But, as has been shown in the myth of the garden of Eden, Lilith is not an enemy of womankind. She holds the ancient fruit of knowledge, the secrets of our deepest sexual nature, and She is willing to offer this fruit to us.

Lilith as Vampire

“Bewitched” by Picked-Jester

As the mother of all demons, Lilith has recently been linked to either giving birth to the first vampires or being the first vampire.

This fallacy is linked to past Jewish superstitions in that Lilith drank the blood of children while in the form of an owl.

In a Rabbinical frenzy to drive Lilith’s worshippers away from the Goddess, they made up lies such as this which contradicted Her earlier functions as a protectress and helper of birthing mothers and infants.” [1]

“Lilith” by Valerhon

For your listening enjoyment, I had to add this song into this entry that I came across a few days ago.  This song is amazing, written by a talented artist named Zefora, and dedicated to Lilith.

Sources:

Yetter, Eliza. Sacred Spiral, “Lilith As Goddess”  (When you click on the link, it will bring you to her page where she has posted her citations/selected bibliography.)

Suggested Links:

All Things yOni, “Lilith

Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.

Jewish and Christian Literature, “Lilith

Kocharyan, Lilith. Lilith’s World, “Goddess Lilith

Leitch, Aaron. Aaron Leitch Homepage, “Lilith

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Lilith: The Primordial Female“. (55 – 67).

Saradwyn. Order of the White Moon, “Lilith“.

Took, Thalia. A-Musing-Grace Gallery, “Lilith

Wikipedia, “Lilith

Goddess Asherah

“Lioness” by Karl Bang

“Asherah’s themes are kindness, love, divination and foresight.  Her symbols are lions, lilies, a tree or a pole.  Asherah, a Canaanite Goddess of moral strength, offers to lend support and insight when we are faced with inequality or overwhelming odds. In art, She is often depicted simply as an upright post supporting the temple. This is a fitting representation, since Her name means ‘straight’.

Traditionally, Asherah is a mother figure often invoked at planting time, embodying a kind of benevolent, fertile energy that can reinforce just efforts and good intentions. Beyond this She is also an oracular Goddess, specifically for predicting the future.

In Israel, Ta’anit Ester commemorates Esther‘s strength and compassion in pleading with King Ahasuerus to save her people held captive in Persia. It is a time of prayer when one looks to the divine to instill similar positive attributes within us. For help in this quest, we turn to Asherah with this simple prayer:

‘Lady, make me an instrument of kindness and mercy
Let my words be gentle and true
My actions motivated by insight and fairness
Where there is prejudice
Let me share your vision
Where there is uncertainty
Let me share your vision
Where there is disharmony
Let me show love
Amen.’

Plant a tree today to remember Asherah, and tend it often. As you do, you tend attributes in your heart.”
(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Ashera” by Hrana Janto

Asherah was the great Canaanite Mother Goddess since about the 13th century BCE and is arguably the most important Goddess in the Canaanite pantheon.  Like Anat, She is a was well-documented Goddess of the northwest Semitic pantheon.  We have long known Asherah from the immense library of thirteenth-century cuneiform tablets found in Syria at the site of Ugarit.  She is the Shekinah, consort and beloved of Yahweh; God-the-Mother.  Her sacred pillars or poles once stood right beside Yahweh’s altar, embracing it.  Moses and Aaron both carried one of these Asherah “poles” as a sacred staff of power.  The Children of Israel were once dramatically healed simply by gazing at the staff with serpents suspended from it.  This symbol, the snakes* and the staff, has become the modern universal symbol for doctors and healers.

According to the 13th century cuneiform tablets found in Syria at the site of Ugarit, She is the wife of El in Ugaritic mythology, known as Elat (the feminine form of El; compare Allat); a fertility Goddess and the wooden cult symbol that represented Her. As El’s first wife, She was said to have birthed 70 sons. All gods of the myths were born to Asherah and El, with the exception of Baʿal, whose parentage is uncertain. El had 2 wives but it was Asherah alone who nursed the newly born gods. Seeing as She had birthed so many children it is only normal that She was worshipped as the true fertility Goddess, force of life and nature. She manifests in domestic herds and flocks, in groves of trees and in the nurturing waters. Her powers and her presence were invoked not only during planting time but also during childbirth.  She is the Goddess who is also called Athirau-Yammi: “She Who Walks on (or in) the Sea.”  She was the chief Goddess of Tyre in the 15th century BCE, and bore the appellation Qudshu, “holiness.”

“Asherah” by Sandra M. Stanton

“She was often portrayed with a lion or ibex on either side as in the bottom register of the Canaanite ritual stand from Taanach, late 10th century BCE in the tree trunk on the right. A Tree of Life with 3 pairs of branches, an ibex and a lion on either side can be seen two registers above. Later, after patriarchal systems prevailed, Her name came to mean grove or trees. As a Goddess worshipped in Her own right in the ancient Hebrew religion, She was associated with all that was symbolized by the Tree of Life. In making the first Menorah, the ancient Hebrews were instructed to have three branches coming out of either side of a central stand with an almond shaped cup and a flower at the end of each one, resembling an almond tree. Among the trees considered to be the Tree of Life, the almond tree was highly regarded as it was the first to flower in spring, even before leafing out. The progression from Asherah, to the Tree of Life to the Menorah is revealed in the 4th century CE Roman gold glass base in the tree branches depicting a Menorah with a lion on either side. Asherah is wearing a necklace from Deir el-Balah, 14th-13th century BCE with an ibex-headed pendant from Ashod, 4th century BCE.” [1]

Food for Thought – “The Hebrew name used for God in Genesis is Elohim, a derivative of El. Many people find the passage in Genesis that says, “Let us make humankind in our own image” a little confusing. If there is only one true God, then who was he talking to? Some have said he was talking to the Holy Spirit, another aspect of Elohim, which is also seen as a male type or at least, as a non-gender. Others have asserted that he was talking to Eloah, the female aspect of Elohim. The world Elohim is actually plural, so that implies there is more than one “Being” involved in Elohim. Since there were only two kinds of people created, male and female, one could probably assume that man was made in the El’s image while woman was made in Eloah’s image. Thus, we were all, male and female, made in Elohim’s image, encompassing both the male and female aspect of God.” [2]

“Asherah” by Sami Edelstein

“There are more than 40 references to Asherah in the Old Testament.  Asherah appears as a Goddess by the side of Baʿal, whose consort She evidently became, at least among the Canaanites of the south.  We remember that, according to the Bible itself, in the ninth century BCE Asherah was officially worshipped in Israel; Her cult was matronized by Jezebel who, supposedly, imported it from her native Phoenician homeland. However, most biblical references to the name point obviously to some cult object of wood, which might be cut down and burned, possibly the Goddesses’ image (1 Kings 15:13, 2 King 21:7). Her prophets are mentioned (1 Kings 18:19), and the vessels used in Her service referred to (2 Kings 23:4). The existence of numerous symbols, in each of which the Goddess was believed to be immanent, led to the creation of numerous forms of Her person, which were described as Asherim.  In reference to the Tree of Life of which She is associated with, an object called an Asherah was a sacred pole carved out of the terebinth tree and placed next to the altars of Yahweh, thus worshipping both the mother and the father at once. Her own specific places of worship were on hilltops, (called  “High Places” in the Bible), and in forests and groves. Through Her association with trees, She was seen as the part of Elohim who brought fertility, new growth, successful crops and watched over nature. Along with life in nature, She was also seen as the Bread of Life for the Hebrew people. Hebrew women would make special loaves of Asherah bread, which would be blessed, then ritually eaten. Some scholars say this is the precursor of the communion wafer.  These practices and the cult objects themselves were utterly detestible to faithful worshippers of Yahweh (1 Kings 15:13).” [3]

“After Abraham was called by Yahweh and recruited some followers, he had a difficult time cutting out Asherah and the other regional gods. However, as time progressed in the Old Testament, the temptation to worship other gods lessened, while the blatant worship of Asherah along side of Yahweh continued.  It was difficult for the religious leaders in early Judaism to suppress Asherah because of a universally desire to recognize a nurturing, compassionate, Mother Goddess.

“Come with Me” by HandmaidenPhi

Hebrew women had a closer attachment to Her, seeing as how they did not play much of a role in their religion. Of course, there were some great women such as Esther, Deborah, and Rebecca, but women playing a part in early Judaism was definitely the exception instead of the rule. In archaeological sites that date back to Biblical times, small statues of Asherah are found in what would likely be bedrooms and kitchen areas. It is widely accepted that although the religious leaders frowned on the worship of Asherah, the common people, mainly women, would still have small figures of Asherah in their households.  This should not come as a surprise, since women of that time had a considerably lower status than they do today, and since there were no priestesses for them to go to for support, they had to find their own faith. What could Yahweh know about childbirth without epidurals? How could they pray to him for relief of menstrual pain in a time before Ibuprofen? What did Yahweh know about being beaten by a husband or raped by a neighbor?

There were no Battered Women’s Shelters then, or anti depressants for post-partum depression. It would not make sense for them to pray to a male god for female issues. I’m sure that if there was ever a society that had only one Deity and it was a Goddess, the men might feel strange praying to a Goddess to cure him of impotence or premature ejaculation.

It would appear that Hebrew men slightly understood this dilemma that their wives and sisters faced and they were more lenient on Asherah worship than they were of Ba’al worship or other gods. An interesting, but little known fact about the Temple of Jerusalem is that an Asherah statue was housed there for two-thirds of the time that the Temple stood during Biblical times. Apparently, one of the wives of Solomon brought it with her when she married him, and he allowed it to remain in the Temple for quite some time; and he was viewed as the wisest man who ever lived! Also, when Elijah wanted to prove the power of God or Yahweh, he called out the 450 priests of Ba’al and the 400 priestesses of Asherah. Although he was there to disprove both Ba’al and Asherah, he focused on the priests of Ba’al and derided them during their prayers, eventually killing them all, but he does nothing to the priestesses of Asherah.” [4]

“Other traces in the Bible either angrily acknowledge Her worship as Goddess (II Kings 14.13, for instance, where another royal lady is involved), or else demote Her from Goddess to a sacred tree or pole set up near an altar (II Kings 13.6, 17.16; Deuteronomy 16.21 and more). The authors of the biblical text attack Asherah relentlessly. They praise Asa, king of Judah (911-870 BCE), for removing his mother Ma’acah from official duties after “she had an abominable image made for Asherah” (I Kings 15.13, II Chronicles 15.6). They condemn the long-reigning Manas’seh of Judah (698-642) for doing “what was evil in the sight of the Lord” in “making an Asherah” (II Kings 21.7).

And they trumpet the achievements of Josiah (639-609), including the destruction of offerings made to Asherah at the temple in Jerusalem, the abolition of “the Asherah from the house of the Lord,” and demolition of a shrine there in which women “did weaving for Asherah” (II Kings 23).  These passages reflect both the popularity of Asherah’s worship and efforts to stamp out Her cult during in the Iron Age. But it was only in the succeeding Persian period, after the fall of Judah in 586 BCE and the exile in Babylon, that Asherah virtually disappeared.

“Tree of Life” by Willow Arlenea

Ultimately, the campaign to eliminate the Goddess has failed. “Asherah was buried long ago by the Establishment,” declares respected biblical scholar William H. Dever. “Now, archaeology has excavated her.” Dever is quite certain that he knows who the Asherah of ancient Israel and of the biblical texts is–She is the wife or consort of Yahweh, the one god of Israel. Many of his colleagues would agree.” [5]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Canaanite

Element: Fire

Sphere of Influence: Sex and love

Preferred Colors: Green, red

Animals Associated With: Lions, serpents

Best Day to Work With: Friday

Strongest Around: Ostara

Associated Planet: Venus   [6]

*A word about snakes:  The Serpent, though a frightening symbol because of its ability to bring death, stood also for ancient wisdom and immortality.  (Note that it hung out in the Tree of Knowledge and preached a doctrine of immortality, “ye shall NOT surely die.”) Many early societies revered the snake and used it to symbolize different ideas.  In much the same way, today we revere the Lion or other ferocious big-cats even though they’re dangerous.  An early American symbol used the snake as a statement of power, a warning, saying, “Don’t tread on me!”

Sources:

Amenahem, Bathia.The Mother Goddess: As She Appears in Cultures Around the World, Judaism“.

Archeology, The Lost Goddess of Israel.

A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Athirat“.

The Esoteric Seminary, “The Hebrew Goddess“.

The Goddess in World Mythology, “Asherah“.

Order of the White Moon, “Asherah by Medussa“.

PaganNews.com, Asherah“.

Suggested Links:

Monaghan, Patricia. Goddesses in World Culture, “Asherah: Hidden Goddess of the Bible“. (p. 39 – 54).

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