Characters

 
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Asherah

Asherah is the Israelite Mother Goddess, the Earth Mother, the wife of God. She is regal and respected and was the head goddess. She is the mother of all living.

Asherah has groves of sacred trees and was represented with a carved totem pole. Her symbols include lions, a sacred spindle for weaving, plants like lilies, and snakes (presented vertically, not slithering), often coiling up the Tree of Life. 

The Mother of the Gods, Asherah has been worshipped in various forms since the Ice Age. She was Rhea to the Greeks, and also Cybele, worshipped in Catal Huyuk at 6000 BCE. She can be presented as fat and pregnant, or she can be slim. 

Asherah appears in the Bible 40 times, usually as a totem pole that stood next to the altar to God. She was the goddess of Jezebel, the pagan Queen of Israel (a real historical figure).

 
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Astarte (Ishtar)

Astarte is the Queen of Heaven, the goddess of love and war. She was the most popular deity in the ancient Near East and has many names; Ishtar, Inanna, Aphrodite Urania, Mylitta, Venus, and more. She was the patron goddess of the most important cities like Uruk, Nineveh, and Babylon.

The goddess of beauty, sex, and fertility, but also warfare, divination, and the arts of civilization. She is both a war goddess and patron of sacred prostitution. She is extremely sexual but was also politically important, her sacred marriage ceremonies confirmed the king's right to rule.

Vain and ambitious, yet universally beloved, Astarte wants power and glory for herself. She challenges the other gods and is not subordinate to any males, neither her father nor her husband. She is notoriously promiscuous and can be cruel to her lovers.

King Solomon worshipped Astarte and she appears in the Bible around a dozen times with various insulting names, usually Ashtoreth which means, "shameful Astarte." The Biblical writers call her vile and abominable, yet the women defended their worship of the Queen of Heaven, and the Song of Songs remains from her sacred love poetry.

Astarte/Ishtar was often presented nude with battle armor.  The real-life Amazon warriors, the nomadic Scythians followed her, and Wonder Woman is drawn from her traditions. The imagery is a warrior maiden with a bow and arrow, lasso, riding a lion. She can sprout wings and fly like a sparrow. She is also trans and can grow a beard.

Astarte's symbols are the planet Venus, the eight-pointed star, lions, serpents, doves, sacred flowers, and her main weapon is a bow and arrow (with quiver). She is called the "Virgin" and she is not a mother goddess because she has no children.

 

Anat

Anat is the terrifying goddess of death and slaughter. Astarte's sister and best friend, they ride into battle together on lions. But where Astarte leads the kings in war strategy, Anat dives into carnage with joyous abandon.

 

Anat is undefeatable. She cuts the god of death in half with a sword, grinds him up, and feeds him to the birds. She goes to her father El, the Creator of the Universe (God), and threatens to smash his skull in and make his gray beard run red with gore, while Asherah quakes with fear. Anat resurrects Baal and makes him king of the gods. Someday she will devour the entire universe before it is reborn.

Anat is drop-dead gorgeous, a goth queen, she looks like Morticia Addams crossed with Kali. Dressed to kill in all black, with black hair, pale alabaster skin, ruby red lips, emerald green eyes, she is drenched in blood and wears a garland skull necklace with a belt of human hands. She delights in slaughter and laughs as she wades through the piles of corpses. Like her sister, she is a master of the bow, but she enjoys an oversized sword, and a club is terribly fun.

Anat does not directly appear in the Bible, but not because the Biblical writers did not know who she was. She was too powerful and terrifying to identify, she could not even be insulted.

 

Anat is she who must not be named.

 

Qedesha Priestesses

The "holy ones," the "virgins," the "set-apart," hidden behind colorful veils and anonymous, these mystical women were among the most revered and mysterious women in ancient societies. They played many roles; midwives, nurses, healers, potion-makers, weavers, and also led ritual sex practices. Their children were "virgin-born" and were the heroes in legends.

 

These cultures believed that sex makes the flowers grow and women's sexuality was celebrated. All women were obligated to participate and there was no shame. Prostitution was not only the first profession, it was the first organized religion, women were in charge and gained wealth and power from it. 

The qedesha were a class of priestesses common across the Near East and were in King Solomon's temple. In the Bible, they are insulted and dismissed as "temple-prostitutes."

 

But the word, "qadesh" means "holy," meaning these priestesses were far more important and special than we have been taught.

 

Qadesh Priests

The trans/eunuch counterparts to the qedesha.

 

Gender-bending was celebrated in the goddess temples and trans/eunuch priests were common. The qadesh are only mentioned in the Bible when they are being thrown out, they are called "temple-sodomites," but they were in King Solomon's temple. 

These trans priests were in many cultures and they had great names. In Rome, the Galli served the mother goddess Cybele. The Megabyzi served Artemis at Ephesus. The Enaree roamed with the Scythian Amazons.

 

Cannabis

Cannabis is sacred to the Goddess. Cannabis has been grown since the Neolithic throughout the Fertile Crescent, and in Lebanon for both hemp fibers and drugs and continues today.

 

Cannabis is in the Bible, it was sacred to Moses and was burned as an offering in King Solomon's temple. It was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and its ritual use was condemned by the monotheists because it puts one in touch with the Earth Mother and the Feminine Divine.

Hemp fibers wrapped the newborn and the dead, and hemp was a backbone of shipbuilding and civilization. Cannabis was burned as intoxicating incense in temples, used as an aphrodisiac in sex rituals, and as a midwifery medicine to aid both births and abortions.  Its seeds are highly nutritious and are favored by sweet-singing birds and animals, especially horses.

 

El (Elohim)

El (Elohim) is the ancient Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe, the Earth Mother is his mate. El stands above the Divine Council as the father of all.

El is kind and compassionate, with an abiding love for all of his creation.

El is the God of Israel. (Gen 33:20)

El was the God of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. El had a family, his wife was Asherah and their children were the Divine Council of the gods, all of whom were worshipped by the pagan Israelites. 

Elohim presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the gods. (Psalm 82:1)

In the council of the holy ones, El is greatly feared, and awesome above all who surround Him. (Psalm 89:7)

El has many titles in the Bible like El Elyon, "God Most High", and El Shaddai, "God Almighty". The town name Bethel means "House of El," and Israel means "Wrestles with El."

El was called the "Bull of Heaven" and was worshipped with the Golden Calf.

El was known as An (Anu) in Mesopotamia, and by many other names around the world. El was worshipped across the Near East for thousands of years in the Bronze Age.

 

Yahweh

Yahweh was introduced by Moses during the Bronze Age Collapse, centuries after the Patriarchs. "The Rider on the Clouds," initially, Yahweh was one of the many sons of El, just another pagan god competing for followers, and the patron god of the House of David.

 

Yahweh's first appearance in history is in the Song of Deborah, c. 1100 BCE,

 

"When Israel chose new gods." 

(Judges 5:8)

The Bible tells the story of Yahweh's rise. He was a new god and a reformer who defeated the bad old god Baal and ended the practices of idolatry and human sacrifice. Yahweh divorced the Goddess and put the qedesha with their ritual prostitution out of business.

Yahweh is the mysterious warrior arriving from the desert with no friends or family. He appears out of nowhere to clean up the town, eliminate the corrupt, bloodthirsty old rulers and take power for himself. Yahweh is a heroic loner, fighting the demons and beasts, and emerging victorious.

 

Yahweh has his flaws, he is jealous and a wife-beater (though she is a whore), and he is a bit genocidal, but what god is perfect?

Sometime after the exile to Babylon, Yahweh was fused together with El to form the monotheistic God of the Bible, completing Yahweh's ascension above the Divine Council, his Divine Coup.

Visual aesthetic: imagine John Wayne playing a young Zeus. Yahweh is the ultimate patriarch and alpha-male. He takes action, punching first and asking questions later, and he keeps his women in line. 

 

Abraham

Abraham was the first Patriarch of the Israelites. He was from the city of Ur in Mesopotamia, and he received the call from the High God himself to revive his forgotten worship.

El (An) had once been the center of worship alongside the Mother Goddess. The first major temple was built to An in the city of Uruk (not far from Ur), the world's first great city. But An's worship was surpassed by his daughter Inanna (Ishtar), who was given a bigger and more prominent temple, and the people told stories about she invaded the heavens ruled by her father and stole some of his authority for herself. The worship of An faded to the background.

El promised Abraham that he would be given the land of Canaan as his reward for restoring the high god to prominence. So Abraham led his shepherding tribe to the Promised Land.

 

The patriarchal nomadic shepherds did not approve of life in the cities, where the matriarchal farmers celebrated the goddesses and the growth of vegetation through rituals filled with sex, drugs, music, and ecstatic dance.

Abraham's most dramatic story was the near-sacrifice of his beloved son Isaac. The old Canaanite gods demanded human sacrifice and it was a common tradition. Yahweh's reforms thankfully brought an end to the practice.

 

The stories in the Torah were written a thousand years after Abraham would have lived, and the writers have Abraham talking to Yahweh even though the historical Abraham never would have known the name Yahweh, which was introduced centuries later by Moses.

 

Moses

Moses is the Law-Giver, he first met Yahweh at the burning bush in the land of Midian and introduced this new god to the world. By tradition, Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt in the Exodus, and into 40 years of wandering in the Sinai desert before they were able to enter Canaan. 

The historical backdrop for these events was the Bronze Age Collapse, a 200 year-long Dark Age caused by a series of natural disasters and wars that led to all the leading powers in the ancient Near East falling apart and even disappearing. Egypt had ruled Canaan with an iron fist for centuries, but after devastating attacks by the Sea Peoples, Egypt was forced to withdraw from Canaan which allowed the Israelites to move in around the 12th century BCE.

Yahweh was a new god and represented major cultural and religious reforms. Moses introduced new laws and practices, though they were fought over and the Israelites remained pagan for centuries. The Yahwists (followers of Yahweh) worked to end idolatry, child sacrifice, and public sex rituals led by the qedesha.

One of the first reforms of Moses was to order the destruction of the Golden Calf, the traditional idol used to worship El. Centuries later when the united kingdom split into Israel and Judah, the northern kingdom of Israel erected two Golden Calves to break free from the worship of Yahweh (1 Kings 12:26-30).

Moses is so old that many things he did were changed by later reformers. Moses had a staff that turned into a snake, but snakes were later seen as bad. Moses ordered the curtains of the tabernacle and the priests' vestments be made from a blend of wool and linen, but a later rule called Shatnez specifically bans the practice because it was a blending of animal and vegetable, shepherd and farmer.

Moses was also a user of cannabis, the recipe for the Holy Anointing Oil contains cannabis, mistranslated as calamus in most texts (Exodus 30:23). Yahweh always appears to Moses in a cloud of smoke, and they first met at the Burning Bush. Modern archaeology has confirmed the ritual use of cannabis incense by the Israelites. The menorah, the seven-branched candle represents the burning bush and its flower motif looks a lot like a field of ripe cannabis.

 

King Solomon

King Solomon was the wisest, wealthiest, and most successful of all the Israelite kings, he was also a pagan goddess worshipper which the Biblical writers attempt to obscure and explain away by blaming his wives. Solomon was a great lover of women and had hundreds of wives and concubines.

King Solomon built the first Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem which was a pagan temple containing an Asherah pole, qedesha, and qadesh. An Asherah pole stood in King Solomon's temple for 2/3's of its history, according to noted Jewish scholar Raphael Patai

King Solomon is credited with authoring the Song of Songs, the only romantic and sensual book in the entire Bible. It was from a genre of love poetry read aloud in the Sacred Marriage ceremonies of Astarte.

King Solomon is the father of the Wisdom traditions and is credited as the author of the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, where he presents Wisdom as feminine. Solomon transmuted the immanent notions of the pagan goddesses into the transcendent notion of Sophia (the name given to Wisdom) that was acceptable in monotheistic traditions.

 

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her gain is better than fine gold. (Proverbs 3:13-14)

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? (Proverbs 8:1)

King Solomon sat on a throne decorated with lions that was fit for a goddess. He also burned cannabis in the temple and mentions it in the Song of Songs (mistranslated as calamus).

 

Queen Jezebel

Jezebel was a Phoenician princess from Sidon when she married King Ahab and became the Queen of Israel, after his death, she remained Queen Mother. She is a real historical figure and died around 842 BCE. She is the most reviled woman in the Bible and her name has become synonymous with the seductive, manipulative woman who tempts men to their doom.

Queen Jezebel sponsored the temple to Asherah that was built in the new capital city of Samaria. Jezebel was a defender of the traditional religion and went to war with the prophets of Yahweh, whom she saw as dangerous insurgents with radical ideas, and they hated her in return.

The prophet Elijah challenged Ahab and Jezebel to a Battle of the Prophets on Mt. Carmel with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. In this famous story, Baal failed to appear and Elijah had all his prophets killed, but the prophets of Asherah went untouched because the women were still considered holy.

Jezebel is one of three Queen Mothers that were deposed by the Yahwists for following Asherah. King Asa deposed Queen Mother Maacah. Queen Mother Jezebel was assassinated by being defenestrated (thrown from a window), and her daughter Athalia, who was the only woman to ever rule from Jerusalem as a solo Queen, was also assassinated.

 

Baal 

Baal was the King of the Canaanite/Phoenician gods and the chief rival of Yahweh in the Bible. He was a warrior storm god who controlled the rain, dew, and storms. Baal was old and widely worshipped in the Levant, his name meant "Lord" in casual conversation. With Baal's defeat, Yahweh became the Lord.

Baal was a dying and rising god, One of many pagan deities whose death and resurrection symbolize the turning of the seasons and the cycle of life. His story is told in the Baal Cycle, which was found in the ruins of the city of Ugarit.

Baal was the son of El and Asherah, and his lover was his fierce and undefeatable sister Anat, who was his greatest defender. When Baal was killed, Anat found Mot, the god of death, and cleaved him in half with a sword, ground him in a sieve, and fed him to the birds, restoring Baal to life and majesty.

Baal's religion involved the sacrifice of infants, cutting their throats and putting them into a roaring fire. This bloodthirsty tradition was reviled by the Yahwists in the Bible, and also by the Greeks and Romans who were great rivals to the Phoenicians. One can understand why a reform movement following Yahweh would have emerged that was opposed to these tragic and barbarous traditions.

Baal is a nasty old god, bloodthirsty and cruel. With Anat by his side he was unstoppable in battle. In the Christian era, Baal was turned into a demon/devil named Beelzebub, which means, "Lord of the Flies."

 

Other Characters

Queen of Sheba

Prophetess Miriam

Zipporah

King Hezekiah

King Josiah

Prophet Ezekiel

Prophet Hosea

Ezra the Scribe

Artemis (Diana)

Yaam 

Mot

Chemosh

Prophet Jeremiah

Prophet Elijah

King Nebuchadnezzar

Cyrus the Great

and many more...

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