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Baalism is a great Near Eastern nature religion, highly developed by the Canaanites or possibly the Phoenicians, who believed that each copulation of Baal and Astarte brought fertility to their land every spring. The divinities included El, the father of the gods; Asherah, the mother goddess; Baal, the god of weather; his consort Astarte, the goddess of fertility; and Mot the god of death. The rituals, ceremonies, and worship were predominately sexual. Baalism had a powerful influence on the Hebrew, Greek, and Roman religions; and also helped develop both Eastern and Western occultism. A.G.H.