Astarte, the Greek name for a popular goddess of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to Classical times, is most known as the goddess of fertility, but also as the goddess of sexuality and war. While Astarte may be the name given to her by the Greeks, she is also known as Ashtart by the Phoenicians and Etruscans or Ishtar by the Babylonians or Inanna by the Sumerians, showing her age. Though she goes by many names in the Eastern Mediterranean area, she’s most well known as the Semitic Astarte.
When her presence became known to the separate areas during ancient times, she became known for individual traits based on each culture. The Egyptians saw her as the Goddess of War and Tenacity, the Semites, she was the Goddess of Love and Fertility, in the Bible, she is “The Abomination,” and to the Greeks she became Aphrodite, the goddess of Love. In current times, she embodies all of those traits.
Many who have met Astarte in meditations, journeys, or vision quests will say that she is a strong woman, clad in white, with a powerful, but loving, air. This impression fits perfectly with the symbols for which she stands: the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and the star within a circle, which represents the planet of Venus. She is most often depicted with crescent horns atop her head, adorned as a lunar goddess, as the consort of Ba’al.
Historically, Astarte was originally known as Ba’alat Gebel, or “Mistress of Byblos,” during the Early Bronze Age. The monster Yam, Prince of the Sea, lusted for her, only to be defeated by Ba’al, the hero deity of the Semites. From that point forward, Ba’al became her consort – not the other way around. As time went on, she became known as Astarte, Canaanite worshipers accepted Ba’al as her partner, and when the Canaanites and Phoenicians were absorbed into the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, Astarte was accepted into the Egyptian pantheon. It was there that she became known as one of the daughters of Ra. During wars and further absorptions, Astarte became accepted into Greece as Aphrodite, and later into Rome as Diana.
In Neo-Pagan times, the colors pink, green, red, and silver represent her, and the herbs alder, gum arabic, cypress, juniper, myrtle, and pine are sacred to her being. Friday and the month of April are associated with the Goddess Astarte.