Today’s blog is a sequel to: “Matriarchies Are Not Just a Reversal of Patriarchies: A Structural Analysis.”
On the basis of modern Matriarchal Studies, we can develop the vision of a new matriarchal, egalitarian form of society. This is called “Matriarchal Politics.”
The path to such a society has to combine matriarchal spirituality with politics, to create another kind of economy and another society. How this can be achieved is clearly portrayed by traditional matriarchal societies. Their economy, politics, social life and spirituality are inseparably connected: their goal is to provide a good life for all and this is assured through their structure and conventions.
Of course, we cannot go back and simply transfer historical patterns to the present. It is unlikely that we will return to societies based on the blood-relatedness of clans or sole dependence on agriculture. History and its social development cannot be turned backwards. But for our own path into new matriarchal, egalitarian societies, we can gain much stimulation and great insights from patterns which have been tried and tested for millennia.
Economically, we have arrived at a place where it is no longer possible to further increase large scale industrial production and western living standards, without running the risk of totally annihilating the biosphere of the earth. A way out of this is the subsistence perspective, a style of economy for local and regional units that work independently and are self-sufficient. The resulting quality of life is more important than producing a great quantity of goods.
It is important to support existing subsistence economies the world over. Women are the main carriers of these economies. They need to be supported and helped to expand, rather sacrificed to the global market and development (or maldevelopment) models. Bio-regionalism, and the recognition of the value of women’s work, is a matriarchal principle.
On the social level, it is important to rid ourselves of the increasing “atomisation” of society, which drives people deeper and deeper into desperation and loneliness, making them ill and destructive, providing fertile ground for violence and war. What is necessary is the creation of affinity groups or “siblings by choice,” intentional communities of different kinds, neighbourhood associations, and regional networks. These affinity groups are not mere interest groups, which are quickly created, but also quickly disbanded. They must be formed on the basis of a spiritual-philosophical rapport of the members which allows the creation of a symbolic clan. Here, far more commitment is present than in a simple interest group.
Following matriarchal principles, such symbolic clans are generally initiated, borne by and directed by women. Right now women can instigate them, and many have already done so. Their guiding principle must be the needs of women and children, which are the future of humanity. This is in contrast to patriarchal extended families and political men’s clubs and associations based on men’s desires for power and control which have contributed to oppression and exclusion of women and others. The new matri-clans, however, must integrate men fully, but according to a matriarchal set of values, which are based on mutual care and love rather than power. Men will have a better life in this kind of society than in patriarchy. It should be a political aim to support the creation of such communities in every possible way.
On the level of political decision-making, the matriarchal consensus principle is of utmost importance to reach a truly egalitarian society. This can be practiced in the here and now and everywhere. The consensus principle is the primary impulse for building matriarchal communities. At the same time, it prevents factions, sub-groups or individuals from dominating the group. It brings about a balance between the genders and also the generations, for adolescents and older people have the same standing as everybody else. Furthermore, consensus is the genuine democratic principle, for it provides what formal democracy promises, but never delivers.
Following this principle, the small units of these new matri-clans are the true decision-makers, but this can only be practiced on a relatively small scale, with the largest units being size of regions. According to the subsistence perspective, flourishing and self-sufficient regions are the political aim – not big nation states, state unions, and super power groups which are merely serving to increase the power of the powerful and reduce individuals to “human resources.”
On the spiritual-cultural level, we are bound to bid farewell to all hierarchical religions with a transcendent view of the divine and a claim to the absolute truth. This has led to the vilification of creation, the environment, humankind, and especially, of women. The aim is a re-enchantment and sanctification of the world as a whole. For according to matriarchal values, everything in the world is divine. This leads to everything being honoured and celebrated in a free and creative way: nature in her manifold appearances and various beings in their diversity, and the organisation of the human communities in different ways. Women would be celebrated at one time, at another men, another young people, and another older people: honouring their special skills and abilities and their “dignities.”
Every step we take towards this aim of creating a new matriarchal, egalitarian society is worthy of a celebration. For each one of these steps is an act in the creation of a new her-story, which could provide an example of how all of humanity could live a happier life.
In this way, matriarchal spirituality can once again pervade everything and thus become a normal part of everyday life. At the same time, what again becomes apparent is matriarchal tolerance, for nobody has to “believe” anything. There is no dogma and no teaching, but instead the continuous celebration of manifold, multi-faceted life in the visible world.
Dr. Heide Goettner-Abendroth is a mother and a grandmother. She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy of science at the University of Munich where she taught for ten years (1973-1983). She has published extensively on philosophy of science, in addition to various books on matriarchal society and culture, and is a founder of Modern Matriarchal Studies. Her magnum opus: Matriarchal Societies. Studies on Indigenous Cultures across the Globe, (Lang 2012, New York) defines the topic and provides a world tour of examples of contemporary matriarchal cultures. She has been visiting professor at the University of Montreal in Canada, and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. In 1986, she founded the International ACADEMY HAGIA for Matriarchal Studies and Matriarchal Spirituality in Germany is its director. In 2003, 2005 and 2011 she organized three World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies in Europe and the U.S.A. In 2005, she was elected by the international initiative “1000 Peace Women Across the Globe” as a nominee for the Nobel Peace.