Arts and Cultures
Dr Archana Verma
Asherah or Athirat was worshipped in ancient Mesopotamia, in Hittite and Akkadian regions, in Israel and in Sumer. She was a mother goddess associate with children, household and women.
Interestingly, she was regarded as a consort of most of the high gods in ancient Mesopotamia and Canaan. Thus, she was a consort of El and Anu. In pre-Abrahamic Israel, it is believed that she was also regarded as a consort of Yahweh. Later, as the worship pf Yahweh grew in exclusivity of other deities, Asherah had to be divorced from Yahweh and marginalised in order to raise Yahweh to sole prominence.
As a mother goddess, her altars were mostly established in homes and the women of the household worshipped her.
As the consort of El she is said to have 70 sons.
Many feminine formed pillar bases have been unearthed from Mesopotamia and Israel. These are believed to be of goddess Asherah.
Gradually, mother goddess worship disappeared from Israel as first El and later Yahweh became prominent.