About Natib Qadish

The words natib and qadish come from the Ugaritic language, a language from the ancient Canaanite city-state of Ugarit. Natib means “path,” and qadish means “sacred.” Joined together, Natib Qadish means “sacred path.” I generated the name because throughout my research I have yet to find any word that means “religion” in any of the ancient texts. Religion, belief, and practices were so integrated into daily life that there was no word to differentiate them from any other facet of day-to-day routine.

Natib Qadish is a modern polytheistic religion that venerates the ancient deities of Canaan and strives to understand the ancient cultural context and religious practices in which these deities were honored. Within Natib Qadish, there are various views, beliefs, approaches, and practices because much of the research is incomplete and scholarly theories differ widely. How we understand history changes with the sciences available to us through ethnobotany, epigraphy, dating methods, sonar imaging, linguistics, and so on. Most of our information is based on texts written by the Canaanites' own hands, found in the city of Ugarit from the Bronze Age (about 1500-1200 BCE). Over one thousand five hundred texts have been already translated and published. Although less material than what is available for Greek, Roman, and Egyptian studies, it is still a wealth of material when compared to Celtic religious studies.

The word "Canaan" refers to an area of the Levant--modern-day southern Syria through Lebanon, the western tip of Jordan, into Israel and Gaza. The word indicates not a common nation of unified people, but several independent city-states speaking different languages from the same language family, and sharing many common cultural traits. 

Practitioners of Natib Qadish focus more upon Bronze Age culture and practices and underscore the importance of the city-state of Ugarit, from where much of the literature and ritual texts originate. Not all Canaanite polytheists consider themselves practitioners of Natib Qadish.

It is important to note that Canaanite religion as described by the Bible is not what ancient Canaanites nor modern adherents of Canaanite religion practice. If you want to know what Canaanite religion was like, a recently written scholarly history book is your best help--see Resources for ideas, or even Links. Also, we must remember that Canaanite religion is not the same as ancient Israelite religion with the addition of more gods, and it is also not "ancient Judaism" or pagan Judaism: we must resist the temptation to treat these similar cultures as the same when they are not.


Natib Qadish = A Canaanite Polytheist Religion
Qadish = A person who practices Natib Qadish
Qadishu = Another word for a male practitioner of Natib Qadish
Qadishtu = Another word for a female practitioner of Natib Qadish
Qadishuma = Several practitioners of Natib Qadish

The History of Natib Qadish in the Modern Era

Modern Canaanite revival probably begins with Am Ha’Aretz, "People of the Land." This movement is also called Amcha. Amcha incorporates Canaanite and Israelite themes into their philosophies and is a church registered in Israel under "Primitive Hebrew Assembly." This group has its roots in Ohavei Falcha, "Lovers of the Soil," a movement which began in the late 1800's. (For more information on Amcha and Ohavei Falcha, see Jennifer Hunter's interview with Elisheva in Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan-Wiccan and Jewish Practice. Citadel Press Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, New York, 2006, pgs. 18-19.)

In Pasadena, California, another group, the Ordo Templi Astartes (OTA) in the 1970's began to practice Hermetic rites adding Canaanite, Phoenician, and Israelite themes in Golden Dawn-style rituals. (For more information about OTA rites, see Carroll "Poke" Runyon, Seasonal Rites of Baal and Astarte, The Church of Hermetic Sciences, 1999.)

During the mid-1990’s a small group met on the U.S. West Coast to practice Canaanite-Phoenician style rituals. In 1997, Lilinah Biti-Anat, a key figure in the West Coast rituals, formed an online LevantPagan group and created her extensive site Qadash Kinahnu.

Independently, Tess Dawson began coffee socials, “Coffee in Canaan,” in Chicago, Illinois, US, during 2002-2003, and formed the online Natib Qadish Discussion Group. It was in 2003 that the term Natib Qadish was first used and in 2006 PanGaia Magazine published the first article on Natib Qadish. The first book on modern Canaanite religion was published in 2009 by O-Books--Whisper of Stone: Natib Qadish, Modern Canaanite Religion. Coffee in Canaan continues in Massachusetts. A new book, The Horned Altar: Rediscovering and Rekindling Canaanite Magic is slated for publication in 2013.

Natib Qadish was born out of a desire to focus more strictly on Bronze Age polytheist Canaanite material than previous views, and incorporate current research; Natib Qadish is a religion developed independently from OTA, Amcha, and Ohavei Falcha, and does not incorporate their practices.

The above comes from my own website, Natib Qadish, Canaanite Religion, which I had published from 2007-2016, and includes a little bit of editing.

© Tess Dawson, 2007-2016 unless otherwise attributed. Don't repost text or pics without attribution.