Asherah - Mother Goddess
In many Semitic stories and mythologies, Asherah is a mother goddess. She is known as Ashratum/Ashratu in Akkadian writings, as Asherdu(s) or Ashertu(s) or
Aserdu(s) or Asertu(s) in Hittite writings and as Athirat in Ugaritic writings. There is also archeological evidence which proves that Asherah is the
female consort the Hebrew God Yahweh and she is worshiped by the Israelites. She is also known as the consort of Sumerian god Anu or El in Ugaritic myths,
so she has very high rank in Ugaritic pantheon. She was one of the three goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon along with Astarte and Anath. In the Book of
Jeremiah there is a reference to Asherah as the “Queen of Heaven”: “…to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven …”. In the Phoenician History of Sanchuniathon,
the name Dione is associated with goddess Asherah.
Asherah is always named in her full title rbt ʼaṯrt ym, rabat ʼAṯirat yammi which means “Lady Athirat of the Sea” in Ugaritic stories. In these stories and
myths, she is the mother of 70 gods. She is also known as Elat (which is he feminine of El) and Qodesh which means holiness. In Akkadian texts, she has a
name Ashrtum, and she is the wife of Anu who is the God of Heaven. In Mesopotamian myths, Asherah is known as Ashtart, and she is connected to goddess
Ishtar. Abdi-Ashirta, a king of the Amorites, is named Servant of Asherah. That information can be found in Amarna letters.
Asherah appears in Egypt as a Semitic goddess Qudshu (which means holiness) as an equivalent to the Egyptian goddess Hathor. Later, in other periods of
Egyptian history (Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman), name Asherah disappeared because of syncretism of goddesses.
In Israel, there are many stories and myths Asherah. Before Judaism as a monotheistic religion, there was much polytheistic religion throughout Israel.
Asherah was believed to be the consort of Yahweh, who is God of Israel. Josiah's grandfather Manasseh had built a statue of Asherah in the temple that
Solomon built. There is the discovery of inscriptions in Kuntillet Ajrud site in the northern Sinai desert which refers to "Yahweh ... and his Asherah".
Deuteronomistic History suggested that Israelites probably consider Asherah as a consort of Baal at the later periods of Monarhy. There is some evidence in
William Dever's book “Did God Have a Wife?” that people of Israel indeed worshiped Asherah and that she was the consort of Yahwe. In the Hebrew Bible,
there are many references to Asherah poles or sacred trees.
Asherah is also mentioned in Arabic stories. Charles Huber discovered a stele in the oasis of Tema which has text in Aramaic mentioning Ṣalm of Maḥram,
Shingala, and Ashira as the gods of Tema. It is possible that this Ashira could be Asherah because of differences in writings.
There is also a chance that Asherah does not represent a personal name but rather a category of being, as a type of goddess, a class of goddess or a cult