Qetesh (Semitic QDŠ "holy" (Kodesh, Qodesh); also Kadesh) was a Sumerian goddess adopted into Egyptian mythology from the Canaanite religion, popular during New Kingdom. She was a nature goddess, and a goddess of sacred ecstasy and sexual pleasure.
Her Semitic essence was adopted into the Egyptian pantheon as an aspect of both the Egyptian BA and the KA. In the sense of the BA she represented the more physical aspects of fertility such as an eros for Love and Beauty. At a higher level she represented a platonic eros for wisdom in the form of the KA.
In the Qetesh stele, and many other similar stelae , she is represented as a frontal nude standing on lions between Min of Egypt and Resheph of Syria, offering them medicinal gifts of herbs and snakes.
Associated with both Hathor and Asherah, she combines Asherah's symbol of the pubic triangle with Hathor's frontal pose and Asherah's wisdom with Hathor's competence.
Standing on a lion, which represents Canaan or in some cases on a horse (Egyptian ibr) representing Israel, she is generally posed with the symbols of physical and mental intensity ; sex, drugs and the brinksmanship of diplomacy. Similar frontal poses have Biblical Lilith standing on owls or on lions flanked by owls. In the Greek religion she becomes Athena and in Plato's Philosophy Diotoma. She also has elements associated with the goddesses of Myceneae, the Minoans of Crete, and certain Kassite goddesses of the metals trade in Tin, Copper and Bronze between Lothal and Dilmun.
On some versions of the Qetesh stele her register with Min and Resheph is placed over another register showing gifts being presented to Anat the goddess of War and below a register listing the lands belonging to Min and Resheph.
Full article ▸