Qadesh was Middle-Eastern goddess of sacred ecstasy and sexual pleasure, adopted in the New Kingdom by the Egyptians into a triad with the gods Min and Reshep. Her name, probably meaning the "holy", gives no clue to her origins but she seems to be a manifestation of the sensuousness inherent in the goddesses Astarte and Anat.
Qadesh rides naked on the back of a lion and holds out symbols of eroticism and fertility to her companions; lotuses for Min and snakes or papyrus plants for Reshep. In the Levant the cult of Qadesh, like that of Astarte, involved her acolytes simulating the sacred marriage of the goddess with Reshep. This sexuality displayed by Qadesh naturally led to an identification between her and Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love.
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