Asherah, Baal, Asherah Poles, Yahweh having a wife?

AsherahPoleBeingChoppedDownI received the following email from an author named Frank Verderber. He read the Asherah material on our website, and I think viewed my God Has a Wife! presentation. He responded as follows (and I wonder how I should respond back to him — he’s obviously not a “believer” in a Feminine God alongside the Masculine God…).

Frank Verderber writes:
Some of what you printed is true concerning Asherah, but most is not.
You quote the Bible as reference concerning her, and that’s fine, except
you make a wholly unfounded statement [ a belief statement, not
corroborated] that she was a consort of Yahweh. The Israeli God Yahweh
had no consort, and was referred to as also as EL, Adoni, Ja or Jah as
general descriptions of Divine character. Yahweh is his personal name
and means “was, is, and always” which in the Greek would be rendered
“Alpha and Omega.” The idea that there was a redaction of the Hebrew
Scriptures around 500 BC is spurious conjecture based on “Documentary
Hypothesis”, and has been refuted eloquently and abundantly. However,
this idea of a consort was conjuncture – that came from a few 19th
Century Epigraphers, that mistakenly confused Baal ceremonies with those
of the Israeli’s ceremonies of Yahweh. IF you are interseted in
understanding the role of Asherah the Sea goddess, you need to read the
a few anthologies Akkadian and Urgaritic myths [See: The Ancient Near
East, Volumes I & II, by James B. Pitchard] In them Baal is furious
that he has no princedom but he has the high honor of serving El.
Puissant Baal makes a great amount of tumult and so enters Asherah as a
“sister” who then requests that a princedom [house] be made for Baal.
El orders a “house” be made for him down by the Sea [Mediterranean] And
so it is the geographic location of Canaan or the Gaza strip that holds
the House of Baal or if you can interpolate: the “House of Lucifer.”
That is why there are so many epics regarding the hyper human-angelic
populous called the Nephilim or the Anakites. That is why there is so
much trouble in that region of the world. However, Asherah is the later
name of the original goddess In-nanna who was the daughter of Nanna at
the time of the River People, Apsu [before the Chaldees, Ur, the Sea
people] Nanna is the Moon god whose symbol is the crescent moon, and a
flame, while In-nanna is the Star. Shamoush was In-nanna’s sibling and
his symbol was the Sun. If you follow the development of Asherah, you
will find that she is no more than one of the following goddesses whose
name changed within geographic regions [ In-nanna = Astarte = Asherah =
Venus = Cybele = Artemus = and today = Fatima. Interestingly, Fatima
from Spain, is the name given to the town in Spain before the Europeans
took it from the Islamic leaders. But note that Mohammad’s sister was
named Fatima. Can you now see the Middle-eastern genesis of the goddess?

I hope this was constructive.

* * * * * *
Frank continues: Concerning Asherah poles:

Asherah is the Hebrew word translated to English as “groves” in the OT. It relates to the Babylonian (Astarte)-Canaanite (Ashtoroth or Ashtoreth depending on which area) goddess of fortune, fertility and happiness, the supposed consort of Baal. It also implies the sacred trees or poles set up near an altar for “her” worship.

When Moses went back up Sinai to receive the replacement tablets–regarding the Canaanites (and others), God told him…

Ex 34:13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:

Baal is always associated with gardens and trees. One can see the later use by the Celts concerning “May Poles” and still in use today. Asherah or Astarte or Venus were understood as Warrior goddesses, who could destroy an enemy encampment by seducing the enemies of her devotes. The idea is sexual in nature and translates to the use of the modern idea of feminine aura or power. This idea has always been around – found esecially in the wiccan cults. But Asherah is more at a cluster or many, such as in the ancient Qualmish gods of the Kaaba in Mecca.

Frank J. Verderber BSGS ASCT
Author
Blandford, Ma
* * * * * * * * *

So. Any ideas what to say to him in response? Don’t think he’s very open to our point of view, but at least he is very polite and not overly condescending.

Here is my (Katia’s) God Has a Wife! presentation which I think the gentleman must have viewed because it’s there I talk about Asherah and Asherah poles.
*

Published by

Katia

Katia is a consecrated independent sacramental bishop. She directs the online Esoteric Mystery School and Interfaith Theological Seminary. Check it out at NorthernWay.org.

15 thoughts on “Asherah, Baal, Asherah Poles, Yahweh having a wife?”

  1. Well, I’m not a nice person, so I’d probably say, “That’s your opinion. Have a nice day and if you don’t want to learn about other points of view, don’t read them.”

    He uses the word “cult” to refer to Wicca and talks to you like you’re a dumb woman. I wouldn’t bother with this guy. I see no evidence of any actual “author” status either. This just seems like another person thinking they’re gonna come in and re-educate us because they’re the “smart man with a book” and we just can’t seem to interpret anything correctly. Poor little us!

    I’m not knocking men, I have a wonderful Asherah lover sitting beside me who used some harsher words to refer to Mr. Frankie.

    “I hope this was constructive.” – I’ll be honest as to how I feel, dude, bite me. I’m done arguing with these people, and I know I don’t write on here very much, but why should we even entertain this type of petty attack? God forbid you post any opinion on a webpage out there! (BTW, I love those slideshows and those pages!)

    But like I said, I’m not a nice person…;)

    Miss Spider Web

  2. ‘El Shaddai’ is a feminine name of power associated with Asherah. The Old
    Testament has numerous references to the Divine Feminine, from the amniotic
    ‘waters’ mentioned in the creation story of Genesis to the mention of making man
    in ‘Our’ image. The more I read the scriptures, the more amazed I am that a
    one-sided, patriarchal theology can even exist.

    I had two Fundies knock on my door today. They tried to convert me, and wanted
    to talk about sin and damnation. I brought up the fact that Protestantism was
    created as a reaction (literally a ‘protest’) against Catholocism, and that
    branches growing on a flawed tree must also themselves be flawed. I had them
    stumbling and back-peddling towards the gate they came in from so fast they
    looked like they were doing the 30 yard dash. =))

    If this person has problems with the theories behind the lessons, perhaps he
    should re-evaluate why he’s taking the classes in the first place? Just an
    idea…

  3. Note to Mr. Frank Verderber:

    Dear Mr. Verderber,
    You have entered a community of like minded people; you have set your polished sword into it, and ultimately have had little real effect.

    Rather than seek out Goddess lovers and attempt to prove them wrong, why not take your energy and your time and bring something positive into the world. Jesus taught his disciples to help, to heal, to be compassionate and not to judge.

    I am sure that there are many who agree with your points, but the world is full of people who don’t agree about religion, wars have been fought over that. I encourage you to instead look toward positive things you can bring into the world, ways to help others who are in need. Loving spiritual action like that is service that heals and helps.

    J Reif

  4. Katia, I would like to make some comments on what Mr. Verderber says that may be helpful to you. First contrary to how he presents himself he is not an expert on Asherah. The primary evidence for this is that he has confused her with Anat the sister of Baal in the Ugarit mythology. Asherah is not the sister of Baal. On the contrary she is the mother of the gods and elderly wife of El the king of the gods.
    Now if you look at the name of Israel, it is Isra -El. The tribal confederacy of that people is named after its most important god El. The people of Israel named themselves initially after the chief god of Canaan. If Israel initial primary god had been Yahweh its name would have been something like Israeyah, etc. What seems to have happened is that Yahweh was a god who initially came from tribes that came from the areas of the Sinai peninsula, Moab, Edom, these areas. It is probable that there was some connection between these tribes and the Moses group. These tribes gradually moved into Palestine and combined with Israel probably 1200 BCE. Gradually a religious syncretism occurred between El and Yahweh. There is a lot of biblical evidence of this.
    Ok, Asherah was the wife of El. El and Yahwah are now seen as one. Is not the historical probability that many Israelites saw Asherah as the wife of El / Yahweh. Mr Verderber is right when he states that there is no absolute proof that Asherah was commonly seen as the spouse of Yahweh. However the historical probability is that many did see her as tghe wife or spouse of Yahweh.
    Now in stating that it is also probable that a minority did not believe that Yahweh had a spouse. This minority of Yahweh only believers of course ultimately triumphed after the exile and finally wrote the Bible.
    One other point. The documentary thesis is still believed by the majority of biblical scholars. I would ask Mr. Verderber to attempt to point out the evidence that the documentary thesis is discredited. Katia I hope this helps.
    Glenn

  5. The first thing I noticed is that Mr. Verderber failed to include any references or sources for his info.
    For many, many years, I’ve wondered why it’s so important to religious institutions and some people to argue about another’s beliefs, especially when they go out of their way to do so. I’ve learned, over time, that consciously, they think they are trying to save souls and are defending their perception of truth, unconsciously, they feel threatened and so pointing out the perceived errors of another’s beliefs makes them feel more secure in their own.
    Here is an article concerning how scholars and archaeologists see the Jewish Goddess taken from The Jewish Daily Forward: http://www.forward.com/articles/1362/
    Here is a theologian on the subject: http://www.asphodel-long.com/
    An article by a female Rabbi: http://www.zeek.net/spirit_0407.shtml
    Dr. William D. Jever, of the University of Arizona wrote a book called: ‘Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel”.
    Many believe that the W in YWHW stood for Asherah. (Sorry.. lost my ref. on that one.)
    I would also refer him to: “Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God’ by Caitlin Matthews (she discusses Asherah in her book) and “The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai.
    There are so many other sources from both archaeology and ancient Judaic studies that are simply too numerous to list here.
    Anyone who has studied early Judaism cannot fail to see that they were originally polytheistic.
    Rev. Mrs. Pamela Lanides

  6. As far as documentation, there are over 1.4 million search results for “Mother of God.”

    “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

    Bernard of Clairvaux and Pope Innocent II were active in this concept in the 1100’s and the Council of Ephesus in 431 addressed some of the issues.

    It seems less confusing to conclude that God has a wife instead of a Mother.

  7. Although I spent the last five years studying for my PhD in Religious Anthropology, I still feel like an infant when it comes to all of the known knowledge that exists in our modern libraries about the existence of a Goddess. She was worshiped as far back in human history as we have artifacts and records from. For more then a hundred thousand years before there is any record or artifact concerning a male god there is continuous records of the Goddess.

    It wasn’t until about the time of the council of Nicaea, which by the way was organized and chaired by Constantine who was high priest of the religion of Mithras not Yeshua/Jesus, that the feminine side of not only religion but humanity was cast aside.

    The concept of a male deity that would eventually mutate and evolve to become the deity being worshiped in the temple of Jerusalem in the time of Yeshua, first came to the West from a invading hordes from the Steppes Region of what is now north and east Russia. Their invasions began to take place around the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. It was thousands of years before the Goddess was replaced and with the male deity of war and destruction. The records show that before this patriarchic religion with its warring male oriented government structures appeared life was like a paradise in many ways. There was no warfare amongst the people of the Goddess for literally a hundred thousand years.

    Contrary to popular beliefs and what is regularly taught in schools, the great civilizations that most of us are familiar with like Sumner and Egypt were originally and for a part of ruled by Women not Men. This is not supposition but facts based on translation of the numerous surviving records that span a period of several thousand years. Throughout the Levant we find numerous records and artifacts of the worship of the Goddess. This worship began to be seriously oppressed one the temple was rebuilt under the authority of the King of Persia.

    The writer also mentions the term baal and indicates that the Goddess is the mate of this fraudulent god named baal. However the word baal literally means lord or master, theologians have turned into a name but it is really a title.

    (Merriam Webster Dictionary – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/baal)
    Main Entry: baal (בּעל)
    Pronunciation: \ˈbā(-ə)l, ˈbäl\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural baals or baa•lim \ˈbā-(ə-)ləm, ˈbā-ə-ˌlim\
    Usage: often capitalized
    Etymology: Hebrew baʽal lord

    The Hebrew word בּעל or baal has been assigned three different Strong’s numbers H1166, – H1168. In H1166 it is phonetically spelled in English as baw-al’, in H1167 and H1168 it is spelled bah’-al. The interesting thing is when the Hebrew is translated in the English bibles it is translated as wife, married, man(‘s), husband, owner, master, lords, men, they, hath, great, person, have, given, babbler, having, captain, Beulah and dominion (H1166 & H1167), as well as Baal or Baalim (H1168).
    In the King James Bible בּעל occurs a total of 164 times and is label; as h1166 15 times in 13 versus, as h1167 85 times in 81 versus, and as h1168 64 times in 54 versus. It is randomly translated as one of the many words we identified above. Of course when it used in association with Asherah it is capitalized and written as Baal or Baalim. Below is an example of the importance of understanding the underlying Hebrew when reading a passage in an English version of the Bible. In the corrected translation we see that the woman (Sarah) is being referred to as the man’s (Abraham) lord rather then wife. By using confusing translations you can get the English text to say what ever you want it to. In many case the text would accurately read the Lord Asherah, rather then Baal and his grove (the King James Bible substitutes grove for Asherah)

    This verse from the King James Bible reads:

    Gen 20:3 But GodH430 cameH935 toH413 AbimelechH40 in a dreamH2472 by night,H3915 and saidH559 to him, Behold,H2009 thou art but a dead man,H4191 forH5921 the womanH802 whichH834 thou hast taken;H3947 for sheH1931 is a man’sH1167 wife.H1166

    If it was translated using the actual meaning of ba’al it would read:

    Gen 20:3 But GodH430 cameH935 toH413 AbimelechH40 in a dreamH2472 by night,H3915 and saidH559 to him, Behold,H2009 thou art but a dead man,H4191 forH5921 the womanH802 whichH834 thou hast taken;H3947 for sheH1931 is a man’sH1167 lord.H1166

    To try to explain some of the simplest paradoxes sometimes requires an extensive study and understanding of languages and cultures, as well as archeological evidence and methods. Many people are so indoctrinated by religious dogma and institutions that they have closed their minds and hearts to the truth that presents itself. If a person doesn’t want to know there is not much you can say. Perhaps this is why Yeshua taught at one level in public and taught the real mysteries to his apostles in private.

    I do agree with Pamela that reading The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai would be beneficial to anyone who wants to better understand who the Goddess is. Patai was a well respected Jewish scholar, who brings the realities of Hebrew worship of the Goddess to light. Another great book is When God Was A Woman by Merlin Stone. It traces the Goddess worship from Prehistoric times up through early Christianity. Patriarchal institutions have a vested interested in denying the Goddess and the Feminine side of humanity as it leads men the unchallenged masters of women. Thus they can deny women the femininity, the sexuality, and their intellectual freedom.

  8. he is a chemist and a member of the tea party movement, he won the bronze star in WWII, he was a processor of prisoners of war in Germany,sorting out nazi party members and SS from regular army prisoners… he has written two works of fiction which havent sold…he has obviously put some thought into what he believes and just as obviously his studies were such as to re-inforce his prior assumptions rather than enlighten his understanding. Thats ok, we all have our own row to hoe, and he seems sincere if conservative. Theres plenty of information out there which if not necessarily refuting him, demonstrates that his view is only one of many and has no more fact than conjecture, just as do all other views upon the subject.

  9. I have spent a great deal of time studying the various religions of he world. I have always believed that if the first religion could be found you would discover that all religions are related. I discovered a book, “The 12TH Planet” by Zecharia Sitchen. I was very impressed with his assessment of Sumerian culture. Read the book and make your own decision.

  10. I read the 12th Planet fifteen years ago and enjoyed it very much. Very intriguing, fascinating, almost surreal theories and research that guy has done. I bought all Sitchen’s other books — and then didn’t read them all. But I was so impressed with Sitchen’s exploration of Sumerian culture that I named my firstborn Tiamat. Tiamat is all over the pages of Sitchen’s book and I suppose when my Tiamat goes off to college in several years I will have to give her a copy of the 12th Planet.
    Smiles, +Katia

  11. The great thing is … because of the Internet, many of the scales of ignorance that humanity at large wears upon its eyes are falling away. Clear sight will be the result of the new age that is being ushered in as we type. The patriarchy with its misguided oppression and outright lies used to rewrite herstory will disintegrate into thin air … once men are exposed for the beasts at the bottom of their instincts. Thank the Goddess for their created religions that keeps their inner monsters at bay, or the world might be a puff of smoke.

  12. Hello you-all
    Have been wondering: Could there be a metaphorical or maybe a metamorphosis connection between El ‘Elyon’s woman/wife Asherah and the woman/wife of the dude that later in Israel’s history replaced El as the MOST HIGH. That is YHWH.
    The later El ‘Elyon’s Asherah being identified as or with the spiritual condition of later Israel?
    Israel was unfaithful to God [EL] many times through out her centuries, so God finally gave her a bill of divorce, according to the law. This is recorded in Jer. 3:8

  13. I want to be truthful as to what I think is is. I think all religion is a crock. The ONE that caused everything to exist does not require sacrificial victims. Does not require any kind of worship, unless being kind to widows and orphens and all those of humankind in need of assistance is construed as a form of worship. Otherwise, all pious and pomp religious rituals only serve mankind’s ignorant ego today, just as in the past it served only mankind’s ignorant superstitions . And that is exactly what religion and worship is all about.

  14. I am at a small crossroads right now, and I would appreciate any and all information regarding Asherah in her respective role as a deity in terms of role and function. Also, it sounds like her P.R. team didn’t do a great job with her–what happened? Who excised her if someone did? Is Ba’al supposed to be the Judeo-Christian’s version of Lucifer? Is it a problem between the P source/J source/redaction? Ahhh. Also, if she is the “first wife,” who is the 2nd?

    Any books would be appreciated. I read all night long, and I’d like to work out these personal issues I am having with this deity; I consider myself fairly sane, and I would like all of this behind me. I am respectful, again, of Wiccan and Pagan cultures, and I mean no offense.

    Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *