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Perhaps Asherah was near one night since I awoke to hear the name Elat (another name for Asherah), I thought that I must have been dreaming, but then again maybe not. Sometimes I’ll sense presences of spirits nearby although they are not usually in the habit of talking to me and that night I felt as if I wasn’t alone and that a feminine presence was with me. There was a poignant image of an eternally young and beautiful woman with long straight and shiny black hair, laughing happily about something motioning expressively with her hands. With this image in my mind I fell back to sleep with no more dreams of goddesses, the presence was gone in the morning although I felt the same familiar presence with me a few times afterword. I wondered as to why she would be interested in me. Decided I better do a little research and I was a little surprised when I Iearned that she was Yahweh’s wife.

Yes, apparently the great Abrahamic god had a wife at one time before she was excluded from the Bible although she has been mentioned in the Old Testament at least 40 times however many of these texts make her appear villainous  or they make her appear masculine and refer to her in the plural as “the asherahs.” However she isn’t mentioned in the King James Bible since she had been written out by the fundamentalist monotheists. Scholars seem to think that asherahs might be wooden poles or groves or trees. Cuneiform tablets dating from the 13th century B.C.E where found in Ugarit (Syria) telling us that she was the wife of El, known as Elat whose name translates as goddess and it can also mean large shade tree. So Elat was a fertility goddess and these wooden symbols represented her and it also says that El and Elat had 70 sons who were all gods. Since she gave birth to so many gods she is called the main fertility goddess and a true force of nature. Due to her identification with the wooden poles and trees she is also associated with the Tree of Life. These sacred wooden poles were placed in Yahweh’s temples for worship thereby worshiping both the mother and the father at once. However her own places of worship were on hilltops, forests and groves and she brought successful crops and was associated with fertility and new growth; she is also called the mistress of the sea, so it seems that she had many connections to nature and can be considered a Great Mother.

This is a picture of one of the many small figurines of Asherah that could be found inside individual homes, probably used as an object or worship, perhaps by women seeking comfort regarding conception and childbirth judging by the way that she is cupping her breasts. There were many more of these figurines found than her male counterpart leading a person to think that Asherah was very popular among the common people:

asherah

I seems that like Astarte/Inanna, Elat also was honored with cakes and breads made by women in her honor and these cakes were blessed than ritually eaten.

There seems to be some confusion between Astarte and Asherah and the latter is also said to be the wife of Ba’al among the Canaanites but this might have been a tactic used to discredit her by associating her with Ba’al and Astarte whose cult had been rejected by the religious or spiritual authorities at the time. There also seems to be some disagreement among scholars about whether Asherah and Astarte are two individual goddesses or if they are the same being. However, Ba’al can also mean husband so the term Ba’al used in conjunction with Asherah could still be Yahweh. The confusion originates from the similarity of her name, Atharath, in Southern Arabia which is similar to Astarte. Also their names were interchanged in the Amarna tablets which might mean that they weren’t so sure about the differences between these two goddesses.

Despite all evidence of Asherahs presence being wiped out, she is being unearthed by archeology and her worship is being brought back into the light. She is also known as the Shekinah which is a term found in the Talmud and describing God’s presence on Earth and represents the feminine aspect of God, in other words the goddess of monotheistic faiths.

So why would she come to me? Perhaps to remind me that she is there and not to forget her presence even though I left Christianity long ago and that the goddess is still present in my Christian family traditions.

Resources:

http://www.matrifocus.com/LAM04/spotlight.htm

http://books.google.ca/books?id=VfAX_wkMM4IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+hebrew+goddess&hl=en&sa=X&ei=V3_sULuGJ6Pi2gXLw4CADg&sqi=2&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=the%20hebrew%20goddess&f=false

http://journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/goddess-asherah/

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48784.asp

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