his is the 4th in a series of blog posts about finding goddesses in the bible who had been hidden away through translation or denigration or other means. In my last blog post I discussed Lilith as a Great Goddess symbolized by both tree and bird. You can see it here.
Today I continue with the topic of trees along with an examination of reversals and how many of beautiful, female pagan symbols were changed or removed from the texts. Perhaps the most obvious and pernicious has been that Eve “caused the fall” of humankind through a sinful act. Thus, the logic goes, it was Her action that has created the “grand curse” that we have labored under ever since. As I wrote in my last blog post, Lilith is another example, being portrayed as a demon in order to denigrate her Great Goddess roots. Lilith originally embodied both bird and tree energies. In my last blog post I showed one image of the Goddess in the tree which was a common theme in ancient Levantine cultures. The image today shows the goddess breast in the tree, which is identified as Isis suckling the future pharaoh Tutmose III. These images show the “Goddess in the Tree” as freely bestowing Her gifts and nurturing (not cursing) humankind.
There is another goddess in the bible with connections to the sacred tree – Asherah. The name of Asherah is often translated into English as a pole or tree and it shows up in the bible in the negative or as a taboo.
The following biblical verse has two examples of reversal. Asa, a descendant of King David, had recently become king of Judah.
Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done.
He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made.
He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley.
1Kings 15:11-13 (New International Version – NIV)
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