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Matriarchal Politics

Translation by Karen Smith


Matriarchies are not just a reversal of patriarchy, with women ruling over men – as the usual misinterpretation would have it. Matriarchies are mother-centered societies, they are based on maternal values: care-taking, nurturing, motherliness, mutual support, peace building by negociation etc., which holds for everybody: for mothers and those who are not mothers, for women and men alike. Matriarchal societies are consciously built upon the maternal values and motherly work, and this is why they are much more realistic than patriarchies. They are, on principle, need-oriented and not power-oriented. Their precepts aim to meet everyone’s needs with the greatest benefit. So, in matriarchies, motherhood – which originates as a biological fact – is transformed into a cultural model.


           This is the subject of Modern Matriarchal Studies, which investigates and presents  matriarchal societies in past and present found all over the world. Contrary to common belief, none of these is a mere reversal of patriarchy. Rather, they are all gender-egalitarian societies, and most of them are fully egalitarian. This means they have no hierarchies, classes nor domination of one gender by the other. With matriarchal cultures, equality means more than just a levelling of differences. Natural differences between the genders and the generations are respected and honoured, but they never serve to create hierarchies, as is common in patriarchy. The different genders and generations have their own dignity, and through complementary areas of activity, they function in concert to one another. This can be observed on all levels of society: the social level, the economic level, the political level and the areas of their worldviews and faiths.


It is becoming increasingly clear that this radically different cultural model of matriarchy will have great significance for the future of women and mothers, and of humankind in general. Therefore, I would like to make suggestions for new mother-centered and egalitarian societies to explain what new matriarchal societies could look like. Of course, we cannot imitate traditional matriarchal societies, but we can gain much stimulation and insights from them, which – unlike abstract utopias – have been lived over millennia. For all, who are looking to implement new matriarchal patterns, my suggestions can be the starting point. It needs a clear vision which can give a clear guidance to make the subsequent practice lasting and powerful.


At the social level, the model of matriarchy means escaping the increasing fragmentation of society, which drags human beings down into a state of separation and loneliness, and renders them sick and destructive. Rather, it means developing structures that foster various types of affinity, or intentional, communities, such as communes, alliances of neighboring communities, and networks. Affinity communities, however, are not created from mere communities of interest – entities that rapidly come together and quickly fall apart. Rather, affinity communities arise from a spiritual-intellectual common ground, through which a symbolic clan develops, resulting in a group that is more deeply connected than a mere community of interest.

The matriarchal principle here is that such affinity groups are generally initiated, supported and led by women. The determining criteria are the needs of women and children, who are the future of humanity, rather than the power-and-virility aspirations of men. In the new matri-clans men will be fully integrated, but according to a different value system, that is, one based on reciprocal care and love, rather than on power.


At the economic level, further increase in large-scale industry, in expanding military, and in so-called “standard of living” would not be possible, considering the danger of complete destruction of the biosphere, of the life on earth. Here the perspective of alternative, local and regional subsistence economy arises, for the subsistence perspective means economic independence of the people. Subsistence entities engage in self-sufficient and independent activities in which quality of life takes precedence over quantity.

This does not only mean doing local gardening and agriculture, but also fostering regional communication, trade, technology and arts. Even producing high technology is possible on the regional level, if the monopolizing by the transnational corporations will be finished. These corporations try to make the peoples of the world dependent not only on their technologies, but also on the very basis of life, which is water and food. This must definitely come to an end!

Regionalization of agriculture, trade, etc. for the benefit of women and their families or clans is a matriarchal principle, because they are the basis of human life on earth.


At the level of political decision-making, the matriarchal consensus principle is basic for a truly egalitarian society. It can be practiced here and now, immediately and everywhere. It is the inspiring stimulus for creating any matriarchal community. It establishes a balance between women and men, and also between generations, as the elderly as well as the youth are able to have their say. In addition, it is really the basis of democracy, as it manifests what formal democracies promise but fail to deliver.

According to this principle, the small units of the new matri-clans are the actual decision makers. All the alternative movements mentioned above try to practice this principle more or less, and they have gained lots of experience in this way. To implement the consensus principle in future means to develop a system of councils, smaller and broader, which are all interconnected to make decisions on the communal, local and regional levels. The consensus principle cannot be practiced beyond the region, but in this vision independent, flourishing regions remain the political goal.


At the spiritual-cultural level, it is mandatory that all hierarchical religions with belief in transcendent divinities and claims of absolute thruth – which have deeply debased the earth, humanity, and especially women – must be rejected. Rather, we are looking at a new sacralization of the world, consonant with the matriarchal perspective that the entire world and all what it includes is divine. This leads to freely and creatively honoring and celebrating life and the visible world. In this way, matriarchal spirituality pervades everyday life and becomes a normal part of it.

Matriarchales Manifesta See also the broschure MATRIARCHAL MANIFESTA, available at the Academy HAGIA:



Read more in:


Heide Goettner-Abendroth:

The Way to an Egalitarian Society. Principles and Practice of Matriarchal Politics

Edition Hagia 2007,  it can be ordered at Academy HAGIA.


See PDF: The Way to an Egalitarian Society. Principles and Practice of Matriarchal Politics