Astarte was the ancient goddess of love, sex, and fertility among some of the old Testament tribes, Baalites, Cananites, etc., present day Syria and Palestine.  She was worshiped under other names and forms in other regions -- Ishtar in Babylonia and Assyria, Inanna in Sumeria, and is linked to Aphrodite in Greece.

Another sources reports: 

A Moon goddess worshipped by the Sabaeans (contemporary Yeman, Eritrea) was Astarte, or Ashtart, whom they called Astar, which means "womb." The giver and destroyer of life, Astar was Queen of Heaven and Mother of all Deities. Arriving from heaven as a ball of fire, and accompanied by a lioness, she was pictured with horns, and a disc of the sun above her forehead.

Astarte was an early artistic theme; small statues were made of her so that women could easily pray to her for fertility.  So from Greece to Babylonia, there were various types of statues of Astarte.

Astarte was a wonderful name for our boat, as my mother's name is Esther, and we understand that Esther was the Hebraic form of the goddess's name.  My mother was a marriage and sex counselor, making the name especially appropriate. 

My parents often cruised with their close friends, Dr. Alan Bleich and his wife Vera.  By day, Alan was a medical doctor who specialized in breasts; by night, he was an amateur sculptor.  He felt that Astarte needed a figurehead, so he sculpted one, a new interpretation of the classic Astarte theme, fully reflecting Alan's artistic and professional expertise.  It was cast in bronze, and hung on the mizzen mast, above the helmsman's head.  She is now in a safer place, our living room. 

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