Ashtart

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  • Titles: The Celestial Palm, The Celestial Gardener, Plantmother, The Green One, The Bee Queen.
  • Aspects: Plants, herbs, crops, shade, fertility, birth, marriage, children.
  • Symbol: A palm tree.
  • Priesthood: Roots of Ashtart (priests); Stings of Ashtart (paladins).
  • Herald : Ashtart’s heralds appear as a tangle of humanoid vines, but with a bee’s stinger.
  • Holy Days: Every Yaus al-Kemi is a holy day. The first day of Amt Alak Paret is a high holy day.
  • Duties: To bless and protect crops and children, conduct marriage ceremonies, act as midwives.
  • Sins: (Minor) eating meat, burning wood, drinking anything except water or nekta, allowing a child to be harmed (except chastisement), not assisting a childbirth; (Major) willfully hurting a child (except chastisement), allowing plants to be destroyed (except during harvest), breaking up a marriage; (Mortal) willfully destroying plants (harvesting does not count), killing a child.
  • Signature Power: Feast.
  • Powers: Altered senses, armor, aura, barrier, beast friend (bees only), blast, bolt, champion of the faith, deflection, detect/conceal, elemental manipulation (air and earth only), entangle, feast (no meat), fly, glyph, healing, obscure, prolonged blast, smite, refuge, sanctuary, sentry, sphere of might, succor, summon herald, voice on the wind, wilderness step (in vegetation only).
  • Trappings: Clergy must use plant or bee trappings whenever possible. For instance, sphere of might could be a swarm of bees, voice on the wind may send a bee messenger, and elemental manipulation (air) may create a spectral palm leaf when cooling someone.

Ashtart rules over all manner of plants, as well as the bees which pollinate them. She is also patron of marriage, birth, and children. She has no interest in love, as many marriages are made for political reasons, even among the lower classes. When depicted, she appears as a young maiden with wheat sheaves for hair and a bee’s stinger. In her right hand she carries palm leaf and in her left a small beehive.

Shrines to her can be found at any oasis where plants grow, as well as in cultivated fields. Her temples can be found in agricultural settlements, and comprise a sacred grove of palm trees. One palm is always painted white, and serves as the center of worship. Temples also maintain beehives, and swarms of bees are constantly present. Devout followers have little to fear, but those who enter a temple with evil in their hearts are likely to be attacked by angry swarms.

Her priests usually focus on blessing crops and children, acting as midwives and marriage councilors, and even as marriage arrangers. In large cities, they even run orphanages. Meanwhile, her paladins protect the crops and children. Those who beat or abuse children or their spouses may find themselves on the end of a severe beating by a paladin. Running to the authorities to report the paladin usually has little effect. Priests of Ashtart brew a mildly alcoholic drink made of honey, known as “nekta.” It is intensely sweet and drinkable only in small quantities unless diluted with water or wine.

Ceremonies involve burning fragrant plants and incense to please the deity. A feast of fruit and vegetables is common after all major ceremonies. Worshippers believe that queen bees have a direct link to Ashtart. Whispering a prayer to a bee which lands on you is a sure way Ashtart will hear it. Being stung by a bee indicates the worshipper is out of favor and must make amends.

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Ashtart

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