Ashera

by Tova Beck-Freidman

Asherah is probably one of the most ancient of mother goddess symbols, recorded in the pantheons of several civilizations from the tenth century BCE. This cine-poem draws on Ashera’s manifestation as sacred trees worshiped in groves. It resurrects the ancient goddess who was entrusted with protecting the environment. In personifying her role as a protectress of nature we observe her pain while she laments its destruction.


here I stand among the trees
at the top of the mountain
tall – wrapped in foliage
I see soft undulations of green
emerald green – sage green
green turning to gold and reds
with the seasons
I see the curvatures of hills
a landscape that bulges and swells
I see the beauty of it all

they call me Ashera queen of the forest
queen of the forest indeed I am
commanding respect for
the hills and forests
respect for the rivers and creeks
for all that is green
for all that lives and grows

One day not long ago
I heard rotating blades
tractors and bulldozers
encroaching on my forest
my beautiful green woods

they moved closer and closer
leaving marks of burnt earth
truncated trees lying wounded
the river below muddied
its clear water murky

the bulldozers kept moving
gaping holes opened up
the forest shrunk

where would the birds come to nest
who would sing me a song at dawn
from where would clean water come
what air would we breath

with grieving heart
I weep at the distraction
tears roll down my face
cascading down
converging into a river
I’m fading away

Credit:

Film, Poem & Production — Tova Beck-Friedman
Narration – Duvall O’Steen
Music — Kamila Kostur

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