Yes, there are Goddesses in the Bible, Part 5 by Janet Maika’i Rudolph



As I wrote my last blog post, the Great Goddess of the Canaanites, Ashera was honored and worshipped (according to the bible) within and through groves of trees. Ashera and El, the “great bull god” were deeply connected. In fact, in Canaanite mythology, El and Ashera were married.

But before delving into their relationship, I would like to start in a different (but connected) direction – the lovely archetype of the morning star and the evening star. The planet Venus, named for her namesake Goddess (or vice versa), is both the planetary vision of the morning star and the evening star. Whether She be Goddess, planet or evening/morning star, when She appears in one form, She embodies them all.

The planet Venus, as viewed from Earth runs through a cycle of 584 days. In Her morning star phase, She can be seen before the sun rises and in Her evening star phase She can be seen just after the sun sets.

Here is Her cycle:

  • Venus as morning star – 263 days
  • Not visible – 50 days
  • Venus as evening star – 263 days
  • Not visible – 8 days. 

Because of this cycle, Venus was known as the twin who could transverse the heavens, earth and the underworld. She was associated with analogous goddesses and gods (both female and male) throughout the world. One of Her kindred deities is Quetzalcóatl from the Americas.

Quetzalcóatl’s connection to Venus as evening star and morning star is brought out in this quote from the Mexican archaeological magazine, Anales de Quauhtitlán: “At the time when the planet was visible in the sky (as evening star) Quetzalcóatl died. And when Quetzalcóatl was dead he was not seen for 4 days; they say that he dwelt in the underworld, and for 4 more days he was bone (that is, he was emaciated, he was weak); not until 8 days had passed did the great star appear; that is, as the morning star. They said that then Quetzalcóatl ascended the throne as god.”[1]

Like Venus, Quetzalcóatl is a twin or one deity in twin aspects. You may not be surprised to learn that this same pattern is found in Canaan. According to the myths, Ashera and El have twin children named Šahar and Šalim[2] who were considered to be the morning star and the evening star or more colloquially, dawn and dusk. William Albright refers to a composition that celebrates “the birth of the ‘beautiful and gracious’ gods Sahar and Salim, Dawn and Dusk, respectively.”[3] This is not only a poetic expression, but it illuminates the meaning of their names; dawn and dusk.

Ariel Golan also discusses the meaning of the names by using their three letter roots. He writes, “Šĥr and Šlm, as deities, are connected with Venus, one goddess with her own twin aspects. Šĥr and Šlm, as gods of the dawn and dusk, represent the morning star and evening star.”[4]

The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Biblealso makes the same point. The dictionary refers to an Ugaritic god list where there is a reference to “Šĥr w Šlm (Shahru wa Shalimu,” that are “Dawn and Dusk” or “Morning Star and Evening Star.)”[5]   

How incredible is it that from the MesoAmerican Quetzalcóatl to the Roman Venus to the Canaanite Šahar/Šalim, we find this same theme of twins as the evening star and the morning star? They each grew from their own distinctive cultures, but they also maintained their foundational connection. They are in their substance, the same energies, the same guardians of the thresholds of light and dark. The modern-day equivalent of the twin named Šalim is the Hebrew shalom or Arabic salaam which have come to mean “peace.”

There is a city in Israel named after Šalim. The biblical verse below describes the time when Abraham met with King Melchizedek.

And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine;
He was a priest of God Most High.[6]

Genesis 14:18

Remember that ancient Hebrew often used 3 letter roots without vowels, so Salim and Salem are virtually identical. Historian, John Day confirms the connection of the two names Šalim and Salem (he uses “sh”). He wrote, “It is generally accepted that in origin this denoted ‘the foundation of [the god] Shalem,’ Shalem being the god of dusk. . .”[7]

Freemason authors, Knight and Lomas take this to its next logical step. They show how “uru” meaning “founded by” was added to the Canaanite god name Šalim to become Urushalim. And then finally the name evolved to one we are all familiar with – Jerusalem. Knight and Lomas continue with this stunning point, “So the very name of Jerusalem effectively means the place dedicated to Venus in its evening setting.”[8]

To put this into perspective, Jerusalem the city central to the three great patriarchal religions of our world was named in honor of a goddess – the Evening Star, Venus. Or to put it in the parlance of the area, Jerusalem was named in honor of Šalim, the twin child of the Great Goddess Ashera, Goddess of the Seas and of the Trees.

Note: This is the final blog post of this series. Number 4 is linked above. You can read the previous blogposts here: Part 1Part 2,  and  Part 3.


[1] Anales de Quauhtitlán (Seler, 1904, pp. 364-365). Arqueología Mexicana, Jan/Feb 2002 issue “Cumulo de Simbolos La Serpiente Emplumada,” Blas Castellon Huerta; 32.
[2] Š is pronounced “sh.” Note in Isaiah 14:12, the term Šahar is translated to “dawn.” (Strong’s 7837)
[3] William Foxwell Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, Doubleday, 1969; 187. 
[4] Ariel Golan Prehistoric Religion; Mythology, Symbolism, Printed in Jerusalem, 2003, 82.
[5] Van de Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst, editors. Dictionary of Dieties and Demons in the Bible, article by HB Huffmon William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 1999; 754.
[6] Ibid, King Melchizedek was a priest of El Elyon, – the most high also known as El, the father of Šĥr and Šlm.; 756.
[7] Day, John, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, Continuum Books, 2002; 180.
[8] Christopher Knight and Robert   Lomas, The Book of Hiram, 2003; 84.



Categories: Bible, Divine Feminine, Earth-based spirituality, Ecofeminism, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, Feminist Theology, Foremothers, General, Goddess, Goddess feminism, Goddess Spirituality, Paganism, Shamanism

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9 replies

  1. I’ struck by the archetypal dimensions expressed in this essay – how this figures stretch so easily from one culture to another. TheMorning/Evening star is found in virtually every mythology. I know that Asherah was a goddess of trees – I did not know she was a goddess of the sea.

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  2. yikes too many errors – I’m struck….. figure not figures…

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    • Love your phrasing, Sara – “how this figure stretches so easily from one culture to another.” And I know, I love “the archetypal dimensions” of these studies.

      I didn’t know either that Asherah has ties to the seas. I don’t know of many goddesses that do have that connection. Tiamat comes to mind. But goddesses and the ocean are a natural fit. I think of Cerridwen and her cauldron where the cauldron is a substitute for the watery depths. This definitely merits a deeper dive (pun intended).

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  3. Thanks for your scholarship. I guess it should be obvious that the same goddesses and gods appear, if with different names, all over the world, but not everyone has noticed this. Thanks for showing us. The goddesses and gods aren’t quite the same, of course, because they live in different cultures.

    I know people who insist that there is nothing remotely pagan in the Bible or any other standard-brand religion holy book. Maybe such believers are blind? Thanks for this series of posts. Bright blessings. I hope you’ll continue the series and find more old gods and goddesses to tell us about. Bright blessings on scholarship.

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    • Oh yes Barbara, and ah ho! nothing remotely pagan in the Bible, indeed – little do they know! Those pagan threads are just awaiting the opportunity to spring to life and let us know they still exist. They might be showing up as forest fires in the west and hurricanes in the southeast. This much I know, they will not be denied.

      Thanks for your words. I will be delighted to continue delving into these threads.

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  4. Beautiful post, Janet. Thank you for elucidating Venus in the sky and in story. Thank you for sharing the meaning of the name Jerusalem. I had not known. How wonderful!

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    • Thanks Elizabeth. I happen to think that is really important about the founding of Jerusalem and its connection to the evening star. Although, I must admit, I am not sure I can even articulate why I think its so crucial. Maybe just another clue in the roadmap that will lead us back to ancient knowledge.

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  5. Thank you for another wonderful illuminating post! I learned so much, especially about Venus, and the many traditions of the morning and evening stars. Please continue your scholarship and your posts!

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