by Annelinde Metzner

In Hrana’s painting, you are brown, smiling, zaftig,
a sheaf of wheat for the goats in each hand.
My sister from ancient times. Queen of Heaven!
Mother of the Sea!
She who moves across the waters.
Beside Your altars we planted the sycamore fig,
the asherim, sacred to the Goddess,
and its sweet fruit was our communion.
Asherah! Holy consort to Yahweh,
beloved Mother of Canaan, fountain of milk and honey.
Asherah, Astarte, Anath, Ishtar, Isis;
all these names refer to You.
But the Levites of Judah, knowing only their jealous male God,
refused even to refer to You as female.
No woman has ever been priestess among the Levite clan.
In the tomb, the husband above the wife,
superior even in death.

Jehovah, don’t you yearn for Her,
don’t you reach for Her in your darkest nights,
to console your broken heart in Her warm body?
You walked together then, Goddess and God,
before the time of jealousy and fear.
“Destroy their altars, break their images,
and cut down their asherim!” (Exodus 34:10)
cried Moses, trying to please you.
The Promised Land was in fact a bloody siege.
“We put to death every man, woman and child.
We left no survivors.” (Deuteronomy 3: 3-7)

In Jerusalem they destroyed Solomon’s temple
and burned the asherim in the hills.
“Beat the Asherah to dust and cast the dust
upon the graves of the common people!”
the king commanded his high priest, Hilkiah.
“Destroy all those who burn incense to the sun, the moon and the stars,
and all the hosts of the Heavens.
The Lord can no longer bear your abominations.” (II Kings 23:4-10)

Oh Israel! Still your women and men, we the common people
Cry out for our Asherah, Mother Goddess, our solace.
The women and men caught in the crosshairs cry out for You, Asherah.
“We vow to burn incense to Her, the Queen of Heaven,
and pour out our libations.
For then we had plenty of food, and prospered,
and saw no evil.
Since we left off, we have been consumed by the sword
and by famine.” (Jeremiah 44:15-20)

God’s Wife! Our Mother!
Our Asherah of the greenwood,
fruit purple as mulberries.
Woman who makes choices, Woman who connects us,
Woman who knows.
Even Yahweh cries out for You now,
Mother of All,
lonely, lonely
in a vast wasteland
of his own making.