March is women’s history month, so to celebrate the Divine Feminine I have been taking a looksey at a Goddess long forgotten about named Asherah.
This four-tiered cult stand found at Tanaach is thought to represent Yahweh and Asherah, with each deity being depicted on alternating tiers. Note that on tier two, which is dedicated to Asherah, is the image of a living tree, often thought to be how the asherim as a cult symbol was expressed. Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem/Israel Antiquities Authority (photograph by Avraham Hay).
Warning …. this is a super long post. So before I begin, I will state this.
The problem is we simply do not know enough about the goddesses of antiquity. We know there were many. And we know there were women who didn’t claim divinity as well. Basically, we just don’t know!
According to theologian and historian Francesca Stavrakopoulou, God had a wife and her name was Asherah.
Phoenician figure, probably of the Canaanite goddess Astarte (also known as Ashera), 7th century B.C.E.
So who was Asherah or more importantly what is Asherah?
Well, she crops up in many ancient sources, and crosses ancients civilisations.
- Ancient Semitic Religion – a mother goddesss. Consort to the God Anu.
- Akkadian (3000 BC) writings by the name of Ashratum/Ashratu
- Hittite (16th -13th c BC) as Asherdu(s) or Ashertu(s) or Aserdu(s) or Asertu(s).
- Asherah, along with Astarte and Anath, was one of the three great goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon. In Canaanite religion her primary role was that of mother goddess
- Asherah is generally considered identical with the Ugaritic (6000 -1200 BC) goddess ʼAṯirat.- A consort of the god El
- Consort to the God Yahweh the god of Israel and Judah during the Iron Age 930-586 BC. אשרה Hebrew. In the Bible Asherah is mostly associated with sacred trees or poles (Exodus 34:13, Judges 6:25).
- According to the Oxford Companion to the Bible, Asherah was associated with lions, serpents and sacred trees.
- Asherah – is Hecate.
Ancient texts contain many epithets for the Goddess Asherah. To mention a few:-
“Great Mother Goddess”
“Creator of Vegetation and Life”
“Queen of Heaven”
“Lady who Treads on the Sea”
“Mother of the Gods”
“Vital Force of Nature”
“the One of the Serpent.”
Transpositions of graffiti done on a pitcher found at Kuntillet Ajrud (Sinai).
Was the phallus on the figure with breasts on the right (N) engraved on purpose by the ancient sculptor, or is it a wear scratch? In this case, it could be a representation of Asherah alongside Yahweh, especially as the lion represented on the same object is often associated with it. (© left picture: from “Dieux, déesses et figures divines”, by Othmar Keel and Christoph Uehlinger, Paris: Editions Cerf; © right picture: from “L’invention de Dieu” by Thomas Römer, Paris: Seuil.
If there was a “Mrs God” before Yahweh became the only God, archaeologists should logically have found traces of this goddess. But it was a sensitive subject, as any proof of the union between Yahweh and his Asherah was heavily disputed. As happened with the inscribed jars, found at Kuntillet Ajrud. Because this pottery does not just evoke “Yahweh and his Asherah”, but is richly illustrated too.
On the jar, two cows can be seen, a seated lady musician and two humanoid figures, one with a phallus and the other with breasts. There are a lot of animal drawings on the other side of the jar, particularly lions, which are often associated with Asherah, around a stylised tree.
The remains excited intense debate. Was the goddess depicted on this jar? If she was, which one was she? One of the cows? The lady musician or the humanoid figure with breasts? Or the stylised tree?
The name Asherah translates as “she who moves across the water.” Pure and timeless, Asherah is the Spirit of God who was there in the beginning, moving upon the face of the deep and rejoicing over God’s handiwork (Genesis 1:1; Proverbs 8:30). She is the Queen of Heaven mentioned in Revelation 12:1. She is represented in Scripture by her namesake Sarah— her name being a variation and archetype of Asherah. However, by the time we get to the prophets, we see a whole new pattern emerging— that of a people committing spiritual harlotry, characterised by the prostitute Gomer being pursued by her faithful husband Hosea. This image is further perpetuated by the Cannanite belief that Asherah was constantly cheating on her husband El with his arch-nemesis Baal, the god of the storms; this story mirroring the strange and erratic behavior of the gods in the ancient world. However, whatever this is, it is my firm conviction that this is not behavior that is becoming of an Israelite goddess! Something about this scenario just does not sit quite right with me. It almost seems as if Asherah has had her dignity stripped of her by the very people she represents, not the fertility rituals that have come to characterise and mar Her image.
Okay, she’s a goddess – what rituals were performed ?
Here is the thing about studying about Asherah worship. When I started studying this and looking into this goddess worship, I couldn’t find a thing. I wanted to know how it was that they served her. I wanted to know the rituals and the ways of Asherah. But, as I studied, I found out that it was a ‘secret’ female religion. They didn’t write much about it because of the secrecy of it. Therefore, for us, who live in the NOW, we struggle to find out what Asherah worship entailed. We struggle to find out what really happened during ceremonies and rituals that belonged to the ‘the secret sect of female goddess worship’. Therefore, scholars can’t agree on what was what. They can’t agree on her rituals or what she required of her worshipers.
Even in Ancient Rome, they had a celebration that only women could attend and was kept a secret. The only reason that we know about it, is because lawsuits were recorded.
The Iron Age occupants of Israel have a reputation as the creators of monotheism, but objective biblical scholars (the ones without a religious motive behind their research) believe that archaeological and religious records indicate this development was slow in coming. To be blunt: most of the Israelites through most of their history were probably, as it turns out, polytheists. And this was not simply a matter of falling into the habit of taking on foreign religion. Rather, the Israelites were probably themselves Canaanites and their original gods appear to have been Canaanite gods. The Hebrew means “happy” or “upright” and some suggest “(sacred) place.” The term appears 40 times in the Hebrew Bible. Asherah appears as a Goddess by the side of Baʿal, whose consort She evidently became, at least among the Canaanites of the south.
It is also believed that The Book of Jeremiah, written around 628 BC, possibly refers to Asherah when it uses the title “Queen of Heaven”. This is also a title given to a number of ancient sky goddesses worshipped throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Near East during ancient times.
If there was a doctrine of rebirth in early Israelite religion, then perhaps the closest one may come to such a teaching would be within the cult precinct of the goddess or the grove. There is strong evidence that in first temple Judaism fertility was venerated, not under the auspices of Yahweh, but with his consort Asherah, the goddess of rebirth.
Let’s just pause here and reflect. Agriculture, the first and most important invention of humans, was strongly influenced by such things as a fertility goddess. Because crops were a life or death issue to everyone, Asherah was pictured as being equal to Yahweh and, in fact, his loving bride. An Oxford scholar has argued that the Book of Kings reveals the Hebrews worshiped Asherah and Yahweh in Yahweh’s Israelite temple.
Although during the past decades many religious scholars, historians and some theologians have discussed Asherah and her relationship to the Hebrew God Yahweh, it’s generally recognised that the first to discover that the ancient Hebrews worshiped both deities equally was historian Raphael Patai. It was in 1967 when Raphael Patai was the first historian to mention that the ancient Israelites worshiped both Yahweh and Asherah.
By the time of the Babylonian exile she had been exiled from the religion and dropped from all the texts. Egyptian Jews, however, maintained a temple to the Queen of Heaven, and early Christian Jews, according to Margaret Barker, may have imported this tradition into the new faith, flowering in the cult of the Virgin Mary. This was about the time 586BC. Eventually only one male God—without a wife—was accepted and preached and believed by people of all the countries of the world.
~ Queen of Heaven, Asherah ~
Biblical texts reveal how Asherah was worshipped as the Queen of Heaven in
Judah and Jerusalem:
“We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven
and will pour out drink offerings to her
just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials
did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.
At that time we had plenty of food
and were well off and suffered no harm.
But ever since we stopped burning incense to the
Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her,
we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”
Gaza Coin of Asherah & Yahweh 538-328BC
Despite continual denials, the Bible clearly states that Asherah/Lady Wisdom was there from the very beginning.
Asherah / Lady Wisdom declares:-
“The Lord possessed me
in the beginning of his way…
I was set up from everlasting,
from the beginning…”
“Then I was by him,
as one brought up with him:
and I was daily his delight… ”
(Prov. 8:22,30 KJV)
So, The Lord God, through Moses, forbade the worship of Asherah.
Typical! The day that women were recognised for her wisdom, beauty and guile was now to be wiped. History HIS-STORY now written mainly by men and about men’s activities in the public sphere—war, politics, diplomacy and administration. Women to be demonised and excluded and, when mentioned, are usually portrayed in sex-stereotypical roles such as wives, mothers, daughters and mistresses. Okay little rant over and back to narrative, so The Law (made by men) specified that a grove of trees was not to be near the altar of the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:21). Despite God’s clear instructions, Asherah-worship was a perennial problem in Israel. They still worshiped Her under every green tree, according to the Hebrew Bible (what Christians call the Old Testament).
So Asherah didn’t completely disappear, however. When Moses is instructed by God to make a menorah to light the temple, it is described as a stylised almond tree (Exodus 25.31-39). The biblical historian Margaret Barker suspects that this sacred tree figure was one of the symbols of Asherah. So the menorah may be one last lingering trace of the bible’s first couple.
The Bible also tells us Her image was to be found for years in the temple of Solomon, where the women wove hangings for Her. In temple and forest grove, Her image was apparently made of wood, since monotheistic reformers demanded it be chopped down and burned. It appears to have been a manmade object, but one carved of a tree and perhaps the image was a stylised tree of some kind.
So … Asherah or God-the-Mother was considered God’s equal and his spouse for centuries up until around 500 years before Christ.
For several reasons at that time, among which was all the perversions surrounding Her worship, it was deemed “safer” to go to all-male-god religion. People just could not separate sex from Goddess worship, and her temples and places of worship (groves of trees on hilltops) sadly had become glorified brothels. These groves were date palms.
So … why does Moses carry an Asherah stick / staff)
It was a secret staff of power.
The Divine Feminine.
Asherah, tree goddess, mother of life, was lost. Truly, WOMEN were cast out of the Garden of Eden by Yahweh, or at least, his supporters. Separated from the Tree of Life, our mother, we flounder like orphans. We are surrounded by Mother Nature and she seeps into our traditions – Goddess is lost, officially, but remembered deep within. perhaps without noticing.
We could say the same about Mary Magdalene whom was kept hidden (veiled) and edited out of mainstream Christianity. She remained in Gnostic scriptures and in underground Christianity.
Symbology and Representations
Asherah was represented by a limbless tree trunk planted in the ground. The trunk was usually carved into a symbolic representation of the goddess. Because of the association with carved trees, the places of Asherah worship were commonly called “groves,” and the Hebrew word “asherah” (plural, “asherim”) could refer either to the goddess or to a grove of trees.
Themes are kindness, love, divination and foresight.
However, this sounds delightful we have then in the His-Story written record that these groves were used as places of debaunchery, whoring and glorified brothels (as mentioned above).
So in the bible written by men she was largely excluded. Her name appears as ha asherah, meaning “the” asherah. In such instances the reference is not to the goddess but to a symbol of her, as discussed above, an object (in the plural asherim) that was apparently a sacred pole, tree, or group of trees, which got me thinking about the Tree and Pole.
“Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a WIFE”
Evidence? Dr Stavrakopoulou with a reconstruction of a biblical inscription mentioning Asherah and Yahweh
The inscription was photographed and recorded by archaeologists and scholars of ancient Israelite religion, so we know what it looked like – and importantly – what it said.
Dating to about the 8th Century BC, it was found at a remote site called Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, and was written on a large piece of a broken pottery. The inscription is a petition for a blessing. Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah’. Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair.
Female figurines and inscribed prayers to a “divine couple” found in temples in Israel suggest that the “one God” of the Bible may not have been entirely alone.
A find by Jerusalem at Tel Motza, “suggests that Iron Age religion in the area around Jerusalem may not have been monotheistic just before the time the Hebrew Bible – the basis of the Old Testament – started to be written.”
Garden of Eden
“Yahweh’s Divorce from the Goddess Asherah in the Garden of Eden” or Was the Garden of Eden story created to dishonour and defame Asherah?
The Garden of Eden story is a recycling of standard Mesopotamian myths. It is no accident that the narrative includes a sacred Tree of Life (one of Asherah’s attributes) and a serpent (another one of Asherah’s attributes). By deliberately interweaving Asherah representations into the Garden of Eden story, the authors were able to successfully defame Eve/Asherah – the Feminine component of religious worship.
Author Arthur George presents addresses this further in “Yahweh’s Divorce from the Goddess Asherah in the Garden of Eden.”
Jesus’ Wife Expunged from Bible Also
Asherah may not be the only female expunged from biblical texts!!
“My wife” – declares Jesus on a coptic papyrus fragment translated by Karen King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School and validated by two other experts from Princeton and NYU.
Do we secretly, without knowing, acknowledge Asherah’s presence ?
The churches here in England are often sited on the grounds where Yew Trees grow. They used to be placed within a circle of Yews which is more than likely s legacy of the Druids. The Yew being associated with immortality, renewal, regeneration, everlasting life, rebirth and transformation – Does this sound familiar as these qualities are all associated with the Mother Goddess Asherah. Many of the sacred yew groves were destroyed by The Romans as too the Druids when Christianity and her Legions marched through our sacred lands.
What’s with these Poles?
Ha! they are Phalic Symbols ! Well they have to be don’t they. Asherah was a fertility goddess for Pete’s sake.
The first mention of the Asherah pole is in Exodus 34:13 (NIV): “Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.” The Israelites were commanded to destroy any Asherah pole they found among the other people in the land. Again, what’s with all the anger from this monotheistic God !
We see them daily, of course they are the steeples on our Churches and of course let’s not forget Obelisks ! One most famous Obelisk is featured at the Vatican City – that being 4000 years old and in actual fact, many are located in Rome, I was actually stunned by the amount of Obelisks I encountered. In fact, 13 of them!
It was the largest non-inscribed obelisk to leave Egypt, at 25.31 m high on a base of 8.25m wide and weighing an estimated 326 tonnes.
One could also say, that the Statue of Liberty could well be an Asherah Pole!
“Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the LORD your God” – Deuteronomy 16:21 NIV
If you look at the Statue of Liberty you will notice that near her feet the robe resembles a tree trunk. The statue appears such that she totally *could* be carved out of a single (yet giant) tree. Even the angle at which she holds the torch is extraordinarily parallel – much like a pole. From torch to toe the Statue of Liberty resembles a pole.
Asherah Poles are located as Obelisks in Capital Cities (for an indepth gallery of these, visit wiki), the following gives a flavour.
- Cleopatra’s Needle – London
- Carlton Hill, Edinburgh,
- Place de la Concorde, Paris
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Washington, USA
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Delhi, India
- Manila, Phillipines
- Sydney, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
Asherah Pole – Jewish Gematria = 328 English Gematria = 648 Simple Gematria = 108 which also is the gematria for The Lord God, Born of Fire, Dark Messiah, Lord of Death, I am not Here etc etc..
But what is celebrated here in England every 1st May.
The maypole – which originally was a huge phallus. A huge wooden phallus, and people would dance around it, wrapping it in colorful ribbons as they worshipped their sex deity, Asherah.
This was later simplified into a pole, and it’s previous meanings have been veiled in ignorance through tradition and denial. Look carefully, and you’ll see there is a boy and a girl closely aligned to the pole, being told to stand there, yet being completely unaware of the significance of the setting they are at the center of. This is why Pagan worship is called occult — the true meaning of things is “hidden” from view, yet in plain sight to those who are initiated to the secrets!
Oh and let’s not forget that time of year when we erect a TREE in our house and pop presents around it (offerings). This solstice tree is drawn directly from the Pagan worship, transformed for public consumption. The Asherim were considered altars in themselves also, where animals and humans were ritually sacrificed. This altar could take the form of a tree stump, with the trunk snapped-off, leaving jagged spike-like splinters.
Obviously, this can be broken down further, totem poles, the cross but yes …. YES YES she is hidden, but open your eyes and she is still rather hip today.
Asherah – Simple Gematria = 60
Asherah – Jewish Gematria = 193
The Mormon church began in a sacred grove where Joseph Smith had his first vision. From the beginning the Goddess was there. She may not have been there in physical form, but She was there symbolically.
Freemasonry / Masonic
The sun associated with Ba’al and the Moon associated with Asherah. The all seeing eye (Lucifer). This video breaks it down further and is well worth watching.
Asherah/Cybele in Chariot Drawn by Lions – Masonic Image
Vestiges of submerged, historical traditions are reflected in this Masonic depiction,
including an image of a goddess in a chariot drawn by lions with a reference to Asherah or Cybele. -History’s Vanquished Goddess Asherah
When you really think about it “Asherah” has morphed from goddess to wooden pole to obscurity, Father God, Creator of the universe, has never changed.
Whether Asherah was worshiped as God’s wife, remains a matter of debate. Although folk religion accepted the worship of the Mother Goddess, it remains a fact that no Hebrew word for “goddess” appears in the Hebrew Bible, that Yahweh is never called “mother” in the Old Testament, and that he was never worshiped as a female deity.
To call God “mother” and to worship him as a female God is to return to Canaanite religion and to the pagan practices of the religions of the ancient Near East. In the Hebrew Bible God is presented as the father and husband of Israel. The Bible never refers to God as mother or wife.
To address God as a “she” or as “mother” is to return to the worldview prevalent in Canaanite religion. The prophets of the Old Testament struggled against the syncretistic tendencies of the people of Israel. To return to the practices of the folk religion of Israel is to abandon the prophetic struggle to desacralise sexuality in Israel.
- Asherah http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/asherah/
- Asherah in Biblical Hebrew http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Asherah.html#.WMR5KIbfXYU
- 2. For a detailed study of Asherah outside of the Biblical texts, see Walter A. Maier, Asherah: Extrabiblical Evidence, Harvard Semitic Monographs
- Yew Trees https://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/yew.htm
- Asherah https://thequeenofheaven.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/asherah-part-ii-the-serpents-bride/
- Why the BBC’s new face of religion believes God had a wife http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363113/Why-BBCs-new-face-religion-believes-God-WIFE.html
- Finds in Israel add weight to God having a wife https://uk.news.yahoo.com/finds-in-israel-add-weight-to-the…
- Tests Reveal “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” Not Fake at http://www.history.com/…/tests-reveal-gospel-of-jesuss-wife…
- The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Judah and Israel http://www.lessonfromthepast.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/The-cult-of-Asherah-in-ancient-Isreal-and-Judah.pdf
- Where are the women in the Bible? https://wp.unil.ch/discoverunil/2015/05/where-are-women-in-the-bible/