Qadshu, "the Holy One" is an epithet of various Canaanite and Syrian Goddesses, which eventually seems to have become an independent Goddess of sexuality, sacred ecstacy and fertility.
Qadshu as the Goddess Anat represents Her in Her form as the consort of Amurru ("the God of the West"), another name for Aleyin or Ba'al. (In Egyptian texts this God is called Reshep and is a God of thunder and battle.) At the request of the Goddess Athirat, these two Deities perform a harvest-ritual involving the sacrifice of an ass, which is meant to keep the animal from eating the leaves and shoots of the vines.
Qadshu is also used as an epithet of Athirat, the great mother Goddess of the Canaanites.
Qadshu's cult involved the ritual of the sacred marriage, in which participants acted out the parts of the Goddess and Her consort, usually as a seasonal rite. The qadashah, (the "holy ones" or "religiously clean or pure ones"), were the women of Her temple, who may have acted as sacred prostitutes, giving themselves sexually to visitors while taking the role of the Goddess as a sacred act. If they did function as prostitutes, then the Canaanites had a very different (and, I would argue as a modern Pagan, far more healthy) attitude towards sex than we do today, as the meaning of the name, "the clean ones" implies. But then, they might have been nothing of the sort—the implication that these temple women functioned as "whores" is from the Bible, hardly an unbiased source when it comes to the competing religion.
Qadshu was adopted into the Egyptian pantheon during the New Kingdom under the spelling Qadesh, and formed part of a triad with Reshep and Min, a God of (very happy) fertility. She was usually shown as a nude woman standing on the back of Her animal, the lion (which was an animal also sacred to both Canaanite Athirat and Babylonian Ishtar). In a break with conventional Egyptian artistic style that is indicative of Her non-Egyptian origins, Qadesh was shown in a frontal pose. As emblems of fertility She usually holds flowers (lotus or papyrus) or snakes in each hand. Her hair falls on Her shoulders in two curls, much like the typical hairstyle of the Goddess of Sensuality Hathor, and indeed the two were equated by the Egyptians.
Alternate spellings: Qudshu, Qodesh, Qadesh, Qadashu, Qadesha, Qetesh, Qedeshet, Kedesh
Epithets: in Egypt She is called "Mistress of All the Gods", "Lady of the Stars of Heaven"