|Symbol||Lion, snake, a bouquet of papyrus or Egyptian lotus, Hathor wig|
|Parents||Ptah or Ra|
Qetesh (also Qadesh, Qedesh, Qetesh, Kadesh, Kedesh, Kade? or Qades ) was a goddess who was incorporated into the ancient Egyptian religion in the late Bronze Age. Her name was likely developed by the Egyptians based on the Semitic root Q-D-? meaning 'holy' or 'blessed,' attested as a title of El and possibly Athirat and a further independent deity in texts from Ugarit.
Due to lack of clear references to Qetesh as a distinct deity in Ugaritic and other Syro-Palestinian sources, she is considered an Egyptian deity influenced by religion and iconography of Canaan by many modern researchers, rather than merely a Canaanite deity adopted by the Egyptians (examples of which include Reshef and Anat).
The functions of Qetesh in Egyptian religion are hard to determine due to lack of direct references, but her epithets (especially the default one, "lady of heaven") might point at an astral character, and lack of presence in royal cult might mean that she was regarded as a protective goddess mostly by commoners. Known sources do not associate her with fertility or sex, and theories presenting her as a "sacred harlot" are regarded as obsolete in modern scholarship due to lack of evidence.
Her epithets include "Mistress of All the Gods", "Lady of the Stars of Heaven", "Beloved of Ptah", "Great of magic, mistress of the stars", and "Eye of Ra, without her equal". A connection with Ptah or Ra evident in her epithets is also known from Egyptian texts about Anat and Astarte.
On astele representing the deity, Qetesh is depicted as a frontal nude (an uncommon, though not exclusively associated with her, motif in Egyptian art), wearing a Hathor wig and standing on a lion, between Min and the Canaanite warrior god Resheph. She holds a snake in one hand and a bouquet of lotus or papyrus flowers in the other.
Early researchers attempted to prove Qetesh was simply a form of a known Canaanite deity, rather than a fully independent goddess. William F. Albright proposed in 1939 that she was a form of the "lady of Byblos" (Baalat Gebal), while René Dussard suggested a connection to "Asherat" (eg. the biblical Asherah) in 1941. Subsequent studies tried to find further evidence for equivalence of Qetesh and Asherah, despite dissimilar functions and symbols.
The arguments presenting Qetesh and Asherah as the same goddess rely on the erroneous notion that Asherah, Astarte and Anat were the only three prominent goddesses in the religion of ancient Levant, and formed a trinity. However, while Ashtart (Astarte) and Anat were closely associated with each other in Ugarit, in Egyptian sources, and elsewhere, there is no evidence for conflation of Athirat and Ashtart, nor is Athirat associated closely with Ashtart and Anat in Ugaritic texts. The concept of Athirat, Anat and Ashtart as a trinity and the only prominent goddesses in the entire region (popularized by authors like Tikva Frymer-Kensky) is modern and ignores the large role of other female deities, for example Shapash, in known texts, as well as the fact El appears to be the deity most closely linked to Athirat in primary sources. One of the authors relying on the Anat-Ashtart-Athirat trinity theory is Saul M. Olyan (author of Asherah and the Cult of Yahweh in Israel) who calls the Qudshu-Astarte-Anat plaque "a triple-fusion hypostasis", and considers Qudshu to be an epithet of Athirat by a process of elimination, for Astarte and Anat appear after Qudshu in the inscription.
Modern egyptologists, such as Christiane Zivie-Coche, do not consider Qetesh to be a hyposthasis of Anat or Astarte, but a goddess developed in Egypt possibly without a clear forerunner among Canaanite or Syrian goddesses, though given a Semitic name and associated mostly with foreign deities.
Qetesh is the name given to the Goa'uld that once possessed Vala Mal Doran, a recurring and then regular character in Seasons 9 and 10, respectively of the science fiction television series Stargate SG-1.