"The Kothians had long since abandoned the worship of Mitra, forgetting the attributes of the universal Hyborian god. (...) Ishtar was much to be feared, and all the gods of Koth. Kothian culture and religion had suffered from a subtle admixture of Shemite and Stygian strains. The simple ways of the Hyborians had become modified to a large extent by the sensual, luxurious, yet despotic habits of the East." -- Robert E. Howard: "Black Colossus"
Ishtar, the ancient Mother Goddess, is worshipped in rich temples and at lavish shrines with rituals of blood sacrifice and orgiastic frenzy performed before sensuously carved idols of ivory.
For those who serve her, Ishtar bestows bountiful harvests and many children in exchange for sacrifice. The voluptous temple prostitutes which are found in Ishtar's temples are well known even outside the lands where the goddess is worshipped.
Ishtar is worshipped in Shem, Ophir, Argos, Koth, Khoraja, Khauran and Zamora, and has small cults elsewhere. She is also known under such diverse names as Ishnigarrab, Shupnikkurat and Shub-Niggurath.
Unlike Mitra worship, which uses the altar only as a focus, Shemites believe that their gods actually inhabit their omnipresent brass idols. These idols are caricatures: the swollen breasts and belly of Ishtar appear repulsive to the more refined worshippers of Mitra.
Status: Lesser Goddess
Spheres of Influence: Fertility, sensuality, earth
Symbol: Ram's head
Ishtar can take any form, male and female, although she is most likely to appear as a young, voluptous woman dressed in white robes, wearing a golden crown. Birth of hideously deformed children, as well as drought, are regarded as bad omens from Ishtar.
Ishtar has both male and female priests. Their ceremonies include the blood sacrifice of animals.