Asherah, known as the "Lady of the Sea"
Asherah, 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.* Asherah was also widely
known in the Middle Eastern ancient world as a Goddess of Healing. Then
She was removed forcibly from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures around
400 or 500 B.C. Her priestesses & priests, known by the headbands
they wore, worshiped
on hill-tops, such as Zion, Mount of Olives, Har Megiddo
and countless others. Daughter of Zion, a term found numerous times in the
Old Testament, was perhaps a term for a priestess of Asherah. It later came
to mean the "City of God," or Jerusalem herself. As the "official"
state worship became increasingly male oriented, and the establishment became
hostile toward all forms of Asherah worship, a time of conflict and bloodshed
lasting over a hundred years began. Those that still clung to Her worship
paid the price with their lives at the hands of King Josiah and other rabid
Yahwists. (Story in the 2nd Kings ). But She could not be torn from
the hearts and souls of Her people.
Here is an excerpt from one of our
Mystery School lessons:
Exercise 5: (Extra Credit) If you're
really brave, not worried about being called a "heretic Jezebel," try making
some Asherah cakes. Add raisins if you can! "Even as the LORD
loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and are fond of
for that verse says: "Raisin cakes: offerings to the fertility goddess
Ashera, the female counterpart of Baal; cf Jer 7:18; 44:19." The name
Baal means simply Lord or husband. In modern hebrew, the word for husband
is baal, used by millions of Israel wives to refer to their hubbies.
*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!"
Asherah from the
of the Canaanites
She was the wife of El in Ugaritic mythology, and 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 BC, and bore the appellation qudshu,
"holiness." In the OT Asherah appears as a goddess by the side of Baal, whose
consort she evidently became, at least among the Canaanites of the south.
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. The cult object itself, whatever it was, was utterly detestible
to faithful worshippers of Yahweh (1 Kings 15:13), and was set up on the
high places beside the "altars of incense" (hammanim) and the "stone pillars"
(masseboth). The translation of asherah by "grove" in some translations follows
a singular tradition preserved in the LXX and the Vulgate which apparently
connects the goddess' image with the usual place of its adoration.
A Hebrew inscription on a broken storage jar, found in Kuntillet 'Ajrud in
north-eastern Sinai and dated from the beginning of the eighth century BCE
has three primitive figures: a standing male figure in the foreground; a
female figure just behind him; and a seated musician in the background. The
Hebrew inscription above the drawing reads: 'I bless you by Yhwh of Samaria
and his Asherah' (Dever, 1984; King, 1989). Furthermore, a tomb inscription
from el-Qom in Judea, dated to the eighth century BCE too, concludes with
the words: 'to Yhwh and his Asherah' (Margalit, 1989, 1990 and further references
Asherah, like Anat, is a well-documented goddess of the northwest Semitic
pantheon. 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.
Other traces in the Bible either angrily acknowledge her worship as goddess
(2 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 (2
Kings 13.6, 17.16; Deuteronomy 16.21 and more). The apparent need for the
hostile and widely distributed polemics against her worship constitutes evidence
for its continued popularity. Linguistically, Margalit claims (1989), 'Asherah'
signifies '[she] who walks behind', displaying a prototypic if divine attitude
that befits a wife (and is reflected in the Kuntillet Ajrud drawing). Thus
both the partially suppressed and distorted biblical evidence and the
archaeological evidence combine to suggest one conclusion. The cult of a
goddess, considered the spouse of Yhwh, was celebrated throughout the First
Temple era in the land, and beyond this period at the Jewish settlement in
Elephantine (in Egypt).
Above two paragraphs are an excerpt from longer
Article by a Hebrew professor. NOTE: "She who walks behind" is not
considered the usual way to translate Asherah. Encyclopedia Mythica's
entry states: Etymology: She who walks in the Sea.
If you are researching Her, searching for Her in
the Bible, in the Torah, in Kabbala, there is one book you gotta
The Hebrew Goddess, by Raphael
Was the Hebrew God also a Woman?
The Bible gives the impression that all ancient Jews shared a common belief
system ... with only an occasional group straying from the fold. But the
evidence paints a different picture. As Dr. Patai states, "... it would be
strange if the Hebrew-Jewish religion, which flourished for centuries in
a region of intensive goddess cults, had remained immune to them." Archaeologists
have uncovered Hebrew settlements where the goddesses Asherah and Astarte-Anath
were routinely worshipped. And in fact, we find that for about 3,000 years,
the Hebrews worshipped female deities which were later eradicated only by
extreme pressure of the male-dominated priesthood.
And then there's the matter of the Cherubim that sat atop the Ark of the
Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Fashioned by Phoenician craftsmen for Solomon
and Ahab, an ivory tablet shows two winged females facing each other. And
one tablet shows male and female members of the Cherubim embracing in an
explicitly sexual position that embarrassed later Jewish historians ... and
even the pagans were shocked when they saw it for the first time. [The
Star of David, two triangles "embracing" became the coded symbol for God
& Goddess locked in a "creating" posture....!]
This cult of the feminine goddess, though often repressed,
remained a part of the faith of the Jewish people. Goddesses answered the
need for mother, lover, queen, intercessor ... and even today, lingers
cryptically in the traditional Hebrew Sabbath invocation. [Written for Amazon.com
by "Utnapishtim": May 18, 1998, St. Mary's County, Maryland]
Click here to read more about the book
The Hebrew Goddess
Also see this website that sings the Hail Mary in Hebrew to different melodies.
If you made it this far after reading the whole page, you will enjoy sitting back and watching our God Has a Wife! audio slideshow
Here is a translation of the Hail Mary into Hebrew.
Update: The document 'Mysteries of the Rosary - Razay Ha Moshiach' has been deleted from Scribd.com. If you find it, send us the link and we will add it back here -- and you will get one month's free Mystery School dues!
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