Profile of a Goddess: Aisha Qadisha

By catalyst

Setting the stage and connecting with the Goddess of Sexuality.
by Carol Koleman
goddessName: Aisha Kadisha, Mistress of All Gods, Lady of the Stars
Translation: Holy One
Religion: Pre-Islamic (Morocco)
AKA in other mythologies: Nambi (Masai), Qadesh (Syrian), Kupalo (Slavic), Kurawini (Paiute), Morongo (Zimbabwe), Astarte (Phoenician), Freyja (Norse), Ix Chel (Mayan), Bidhgoe (Celtic), Ichpuchtli (Aztec), Hathor (Egyptian), Xo Chiquetzal (Aztec), Aphrodite (Greek), Annailia Tu Bari (Sudanese)
Form: Aisha Qadisha is depicted standing naked, holding a lotus blossom and a mirror in each outstretched hand. Often the lotus and mirror are replaced with a snake in each hand. At times she stands with a lion or panther and she is often shown as 'goat footed' (goats are a symbol of fertility) and amongst stars.
History, Interpretation and Practice: Aisha Qadisha appears before us as a beautiful and seductive woman. She is born of cosmic fire, which she shares with everyone she possesses. Aisha Qadisha acts in a dual role as hunter and healer by possessing man in order to open each to all energies, positive and negative. An individual possessed by Aisha Qadisha becomes the vessel where all opposing elements meet – deities, demons, light, dark, good, evil. Here healing begins, though submitting to this powerful storm is an immensely difficult challenge. Discomfort and resistance come with possession even when it is for the greater good. Aisha Qadisha is greatly desired and greatly feared, for once she takes possession, she always remains.

In Islamic folklore, when one suffers an illness, a particular Jinn or Jinniya (god or goddess) possesses and heals.  Religious rites help one accept the goddess's possession; some involve trance dance (similar to whirling dervish) with music. You may find an example of music for dance ritual by  the Master Musicians of Jajouka on iTunes and in Gnawa music (Sufi-like trance) on

Other rites involve sexual ritual; Mesopotamian temple service from the early third millennium invoked the union between the goddess (represented by a priestess) and humans. This sexual act celebrated contact with the divine and allowed man to receive the goddess.

Moroccan mythology acknowledges that psychic imbalance causes illness.  The Jinn and Jinniya are associated with seven 'rays,' or colors, similar to the seven chakras where one's physical or psychological ailments correspond with particular psychic issues. Aisha Qadisha's role is to heal through sex. If problems are noticed in the second or sacral chakra, such as impotence, frigidity, problems with the bladder, prostate, womb, sexual organs or lower back, this is the time to allow Aisha Qadisha to enter and open you. It is important to experience this healing with a partner as you can act as both 'human' and 'goddess' for each other. This may initially sound like an easy assignment for uninhibited sex. Remember that the goddess will be opening you during this time and that is not always a simple task. There will be difficult moments of vulnerability; you will be tempted to shut down in order to protect yourself. Be fearless-you need to remain open in order to heal. Unless you are able to locate a holy prostitute knowledgeable of ancient Mesopotamian temple rituals who may lead you in sacred sex, it is crucial that your partner is someone you love and have a deep connection and trust with.

In your practice, create an atmosphere conducive to your intention, a sensual and safe place. Honor all senses through music, scents and light (taste and touch you provide later). Candles may conduct scent while their flame provides a beautiful light that happens to be the color with which Aisha Qadisha is associated. Choose music that will add to your experience and not distract you-world music is often fitting. Make sure there are no time restraints so you may be fully present. Stay focused by looking into your partner's eyes and allowing him or her to see into yours. Wrap your arms and legs around each other to create a circular embrace and follow circular breath (inhale and exhale each other's breath). Meditate on the symbol of infinity while imagining all barriers falling away to reveal the inner sanctum within yourself. Continue with this sexual connection, keeping focus on remaining open to whatever comes to you. You will eventually experience the profound and undeniable moment when you accept the goddess.

Questions for the Goddess? Write

References:, Vincent Crapanzano, In a Chariot Drawn by Lions (Asphodel Long), The Metaphysics of Sex (Julius Evola)

This article was originally published on March 31, 2007.