Jezebel: Ancient Queen, Pagan Priestess, and How to Work With Her
Jezebel was an ancient Hebrew queen mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. She was widely misunderstood and even vilified, inspiring the insult of “Jezebel” spat at empowered women. But who was Jezebel from a modern pagan’s perspective and how can we work with her in our practice for strength, leadership, and more? Let’s learn about Jezebel together.
Who Was the Ancient Queen Jezebel?
I’ve never been one to believe the common narrative, particularly when it comes to powerful women in from the pages of history. Growing up, I heard numerous people in my church call seemingly-troubled women “Jezebels”. But I never understood where that insult came from until I learned about Queen Jezebel from the Bible. Unfortunately, the first time I was taught about Jezebel, her vilification was the prominent lesson: a scandalous, sinful woman who sought to destroy the Hebrew nation with the worship of pagan gods. But before we debate her actual character and intentions, let’s look at the facts.
Jezebel: Princess & Priestess Becomes Queen
Today, the name Jezebel actually means pure or virginal in Hebrew. Which we’ll come to find is fairly ironic in this story. Queen Jezebel is mentioned in the Old Testament in the book of Kings and Psalms. She was a Phoenician princess, a beloved daughter of King Ithobaal of Tyre. Jezebel was raised to worship the goddess Asherah and the god Baal (her name originally meaning Where is the Prince? Referring to the god Baal). She married King Ahab of Israel around 860 BCE. In spite of leaving her home country and everything she knew behind, Jezebel’s dedication to her gods grew and inspired her to spread veneration among the Israelites. She set up massive, beautiful altars to Baal and Asherah, named eight hundred or more prophets, and she was bestowed the title Priestess of Asherah.
Kings-1 21:5: “But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?”
Queen Jezebel’s Vilification and Horrific Death
The historical facts of Queen Jezebel’s life don’t sound too terrible, at least not to modern pagans. But to those who fall under the Abrahamic religious umbrella, Jezebel was a historically evil woman who sought to destroy the Israelite nation with sin and false gods. These biased beliefs are actually what caused her widespread vilification and traumatic death. I truly believe it’s because of Queen Jezebel’s power over the people, and she was likely well loved. Her influence was palpable and those who were against her pagan ways were obviously threatened. Which leads us to the biblical “prophet” Elijah.
Elijah Challenges Queen Jezebel’s “False” Prophets
The biblical prophet Elijah, clearly threatened by her power, opposed Queen Jezebel’s religion and decided to challenge her and her prophets on a mountaintop. “Call on your god and have him burn the altars if he is real”, he said. Supposedly, the altars weren’t burnt by the god Baal, but the altars set up by Elijah were immediately set on fire upon his prayers to the god Yahweh. Remember, history is written by the victors.
Queen Jezebel’s Horrific Death
Following this religious spectacle, Elijah commanded the people to kill Jezebel’s prophets, and they were thrown into the river. Eventually, a commander in Elijah’s successor’s army, ordered Jezebel to be thrown from her palace window. Her body splattered on the ground below and was mutilated by trampling horses and wild dogs. Before her death, she was seen waving from her window, adorned in all of her finery. Determined to go out like a queen. They wouldn’t even give her a proper burial and funeral, according to the bible verses in Kings. And, as pure and holy as these men claimed to be, they had no problem murdering a woman and her followers. Holy indeed. Take the Bible verse below as proof of the disgusting violence towards her:
Kings 2 9:37: “And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; [so] that they shall not say, This [is] Jezebel.”
The “Jezebel Spirit” of Christian Belief
To further demonstrate the demonization of Queen Jezebel, the church still uses this term to put females in their place. Any woman who prophesies in the Church (often women who are simply natural-born leaders) are said to have the “Jezebel spirit” in them. And a Jezebel spirit is also the name for a promiscuous or vain woman. Yet, when you research the meaning of the name Jezebel, it says “pure”, “virginal”. I’ll bet the people who throw this slur around wantonly have no idea of its true origins and translations.
To the Church, the Jezebel woman lures unsuspecting Christians to the dark side, by either seduction or false-prophecy. This belief stems from a verse in the book of Revelations that says, “because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” Separate this demonized version of the Jezebel spirit from the original Priestess Queen, so as to honor (and not demonize) her.
Jezebel represents the empowered, confident woman who worships the old gods. She is the goddess incarnate. And because of this, weak men shudder in her wake. They seek only to destroy her and throw her from the throne. They seek only to crown themselves and use religion as their pedestal. Rise up and put that crown on your head. Build your pagan altars and never be deterred by the threatened and weak. Be the Priestess. Be the Goddess awakening inside of you.Nicole Canfield
Queen Jezebel and Modern Pagan Empowerment
To be a Jezebel means to be a scandalous woman who turns men away from god. But from a modern pagan perspective, Queen Jezebel was an empowered woman who clung fiercely to her beliefs, despite rebellion from her people. The fact that she died adorned in jewelry, make-up and wig, further added to her vilification in the Abrahamic religions. They say she’s an idolatrous devil-worshiper, bent on seducing men with her beauty. Yet I see her as a pagan queen and priestess, who went out in a blaze of royal glory. Queen Jezebel is an empowering role model to modern women and pagans alike. Despite what the crowd said and did, she stood strong in her beliefs.
How to Work with Queen Jezebel in Your Practice
In addition to viewing her as a model of pagan empowerment, there are many ways to work with the spirit of Queen Jezebel in your practice. Here are a few to get you started:
1. Dedicate Space to Jezebel
You don’t have to set up a huge altar for Jezebel if you don’t want to, but do designate a space for her in your home. The fancier, the better. And in a windowsill, facing the outside is traditional. For example, a windowsill decorated with crystals and sparkly things. Jezebel loved her jewelry, make up and finery! Then invite Queen Jezebel’s energy to take presence there.
2. Study Baal and Asherah
Because Jezebel was a Priestess of Asherah, studying the gods Baal and Asherah are another way to honor the memory of Jezebel. By studying Jezebel’s gods, you further your connection with her.
3. Work with Jezebel Root
In the American magical tradition Hoodoo, Jezebel root is used in domination spells to get what one wants no matter who or what is in the way. Learn all about Jezebel root and use it in your magic for various purposes, invoking the energy of Queen Jezebel herself.
4. Invoke Queen Jezebel
Call on the priestess Queen Jezebel when you need a boost of strength, courage and to own your personal power. If you find yourself in a situation where your beliefs are being questioned or ridiculed, silently invoke the Queen Jezebel’s aid. She will show up and grant you great power to overcome your persecutors and obstacles. I recommend always calling her Queen Jezebel, High Priestess of Asherah to delineate between her and the Christian and Hoodoo Jezebel spirit.
5. Read About Queen Jezebel
Just acknowledging Queen Jezebel via studying her history is enough to honor her memory. Read the Bible verses in which she’s mentioned, as well as any mythology, literature, etc. Keep in mind, the “Jezebel spirit” is different than the Queen Jezebel. This is a female-demon named after Jezebel by the Church to further demonize her memory.
AnonymousNovember 1, 2022 at 10:53 am
Hi there!!! I make a lot of content on Jezebel. Great article.
M. RichardFebruary 21, 2022 at 12:38 pm
Book of Revelations?
There is no such book.
AstrelleJuly 28, 2020 at 8:44 pm
You should be aware that there is a facebook group called the Alberta Witches Association that is copy and pasting your full articles and not crediting your authors and giving the perception that they wrote it themselves.