The Jebus cult in Jerusalem

"Jeru" is derived from the name Jebus, the leader of the Jebusites (an Amorite tribe) that occupied the area around Mount Zion before the Israelites conquered it. Most scholars believe Jerusalem was once called Jebus.*

"Salem" is then a variation of the Amorite deity Shalim. The Assyrians called it Ursalimmu, meaning "Foundation of Shalim" likely referring to the Foundation Stone which was anciently used as a fire alter on top of Mount Zion. The name Salimmu or Shalim is described in the Ugariitic myth entitled 'The Gracious and Most Beautiful Gods' as one of two sons of "The Lady", referring to Anat (Anahit) or Asherah, the goddess of Venus. Scholars identify Shalim as the Evening Star and his brother Shahar as the Morning Star.

In this way, Jerusalem is a direct reference to the planet Venus and the Hebrew mother goddess Asherah. One might also wonder if the name Jesus descended from Jebus, becoming a substitute name for Shalem - the son of Asherah. In this context, the story of the Three Wise Men would refer to the east-to-west path of Venus and birth of Shalim (the Evening Star) from his mother Asherah in the city of Jerusalem, the Foundation of Shalim.**

* Ironically, in an episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson said "Save me, Jebus!", which has since become a slang term for Jesus.

** The Foundation Stone, now covered by the Islamic Dome of the Rock, was originally in the Holy of Holies chamber of Solomon's Temple. The Bible story of Jacob describes this rock being used as the "Pillow of Jacob" where he had a dream within which he saw angels climbing a ladder to heaven and received his new name Israel. Since burning sacrifices and communions on fire altars is a very old practice, this story may refer to a variation of the Vedic YajnaSoma Vejapeya ascension ceremony where an entheogenic Soma communion is "won" after climbing a ladder up a yupa pole (a wooden cross) and sacrificing the Soma ingredients by fire and ingestion.