The wife of the creator god El in the legends of certain ancient Semitic peoples. The Queen of Heaven; the goddess of sex and fertility; and the protector of women. Her symbol was the snake.

Later kicked out of the pantheon by the Levite priestly caste; Ashtoreth went underground as Shekinah (or Shekhinah).

She got a bum rap in "Snow Crash", possibly because Neal Stephenson is just a touch of a sexist.