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The Kothirat, Phoenician Birth and Bird Goddesses

By Thalia Took

The Kothirat, or Kathirat, are a group of Phoenician Marriage and Childbirth Goddesses, Who bring auspicious beginnings. Their usual number is seven, and the name means “the Wise Goddesses”, or “the Skillful Ones”. They preside over and help to plan weddings and the proper rituals of marriage, oversee conception and good sex, and protect the mother and child during birth. They can grant children to childless couples through prayer and offerings, and were invoked to bless weddings.

The Kothirat are associated with the new or crescent moon, likely as a symbol of lucky beginnings and entering into a new stage of life, such as a wedding or the birth of a child, and with birds, especially swallows. They are also named as the daughters of the Morning Star, which would link them to Anat or Ashtart, both Goddesses of the planet Venus. According to a late Greek text, the seven daughters of El and Ashtart are called the Artemides. As Artemis is strongly associated with childbirth, it is likely that these seven sisters are the Kothirat, and therefore the daughters of Ashtart and the God El.

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