Pamela Gaber

Worshippers to the Idalion temenos cut holes into the bedrock (shown here, compare with photo of mortar stones) to serve as tree planters. Gaber thus argues that the site was a sacred grove, dedicated to a male god (the Wanax) and his female consort (the Wanasa). This and other evidence suggest a connection to popular cultic practices in Israel, where the God Yahweh is sometimes said to have a female consort Asherah, who is also associated with wooden poles and trees. In the Hebrew Bible, however, worship of Asherah is vigorously condemned; for instance, idolatrous Israelites are excoriated for erecting images of Asherah “under every green tree” (1 Kings 14:23).