Heide Göttner-Abendroth – Germany

Linked with the International Academy Hagia, with Hannelore Vonier – Germany and USA, and with Matriarchy.Info (will appear on Jan. 6, 2009).

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

… Heide Goettner-Abendroth has been working in this field for 30 years, and is the most well-known matriarchy scholar in the world. She has developed a coherent theoretical basis that combines the different aspects of matriarchy research, convincingly presenting it as a new socio-cultural science. In this way she has become the founding mother of Modern Matriarchal Studies. Her own matriarchy research, and that of many international guest lecturers, is presented dynamically and attractively in her seminars, as well as in international study trips offered by Academy HAGIA … (full text).

… In 1980 she was visiting professor at the University of Montreal, Canada, and in 1992, at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. In 1993 she received a scholarship from the University of Bremen, Germany for her research. Since 1998 she is member of the Institute of Archaeomythology in California (USA). In 2003, she organized and guided the First World Congress on Matriarchal Studies: “Societies in Balance” in Luxembourg, Europe (sponsorship: Marie Josée Jacobs, Minister for Women’s Affairs of Luxembourg), and in 2005, she guided the Second World Congress on Matriarchal Studies: “Societies of Peace” in Texas, USA (sponsorship: Genevieve Vaughan). In 2005, she was elected by the “Initiative 1000 PeaceWomen” as one of these women from all over the world. (full text). (Detailed Biography).

Heide Göttner-Abendroth (b. 1941 in Germany) is a German feminist advocating a branch of feminist anthropology known as Matriarchy Studies (also Modern Matriarchal Studies), focussing on the study of matriarchal or matrilineal societies … (full text).

Find her also on the german wikipedia.


Heide Göttner-Abendroth – Germany

She works for the International Academy Hagia.

Her website: in german; and in english.

She says: “Matriarchy presents us a well balanced, egalitarian and peaceful society without wars of conquest and the rule of dominance. I am convinced that matriarchy is needed for a humane world”. (1000peacewomen).

A Radically Different World View is Possible.

Did matriarchal forms of social organization exist in Catal Hüyük?

The relationship between Modern Matriarchal Studies and the Gift Paradigm.

Find her and her publications on english wikipedia /bibliography); on alibris; on Library Thing; on the german wikipedia; on her page of 1000peacewomen (scroll down); on amazon; on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

She writes: Despite all the hostility directed against modern Matriarchal Studie, it is not possible to disregard it findings. It presents us with a well balanced, egalitarian and basically peaceful society which can exist without life-destroying inventions like wars od conquest and the rule of dominance. This is why I am convinced that matriarchy will be successful in the struggle for a humane world. (on Societies of Peace).

She writes also: … Summary of the criteria of the matriarchal society:

  • Economic criteria: society with self-supporting gardening or agriculture; land, house are property of the clan, no privat property; women have the power of disposition over the source of norishment; constant adjustment of the level of wealth by the circulation of the vital goods in form of gifts at festivals – societies of reciprocity.
  • Social criteria: matriarchal clans, which are held together by matrilinearity and matrilocality; mutual marriage between two clands; visiting marriage with additional sexual freedom for both sexes; social fatherhood – non hierarchical, horizontal societies of kinship.
  • Political criteria: principle of consensus in the clan-house, on the level of the village, and on the regional level; delegates as bearers of communication, not as decision-takers; absence of classes and structures of domination – egalitarian societies of consensus.
  • Cultural criteria: concret belief in rebirth into the same clan, cult of ancestresses and ancestors; worship of Mother Earth and the Goddess of Cosmos; divinity of the entire world; absence of dualistic world view and morality; everything in life is part of the symbolic system – sacral societies as cultures of the Goddess.

… (full 8 pages text, 2004).

Heide Göttner-Abendroth, Jg. 1941, ist Matriarchatsforscherin und wurde bekannt durch ihr Buch Die Göttin und ihr Heros … (full text).

Das Zeitalter, als Ötzi lebte: Als am 19. September 1991 das Ehepaar Simon aus Deutschland am Tisenjoch im Eis eine mumifizierte Leiche fand, begann eine intensive  Suche nach den Spuren dieses Mannes. Warum, weshalb, wie, war er Jäger, Sammler, Hirte, Scharmane, aus welcher Kultur kam er? In den letzten 9 Jahren wurden durch intensive Forschungen, Ötzi hat einen wahren Sturm entfacht, viele neue Erkenntnisse erworben. Wichtig ist festzustellen, daß die Menschen aus der Periode der Jungsteinzeit vielfältiger, intelligenter und klüger waren, als wir dies für möglich hielten. Auch waren sie reich an Mystik, Mythen und mit gutem handwerklichen Geschick ausgestattet. Es sind viele Forschungen und Bücher über den Mann vom Tisenjoch gemacht worden. Ein wichtiger Punkt  im Wandergebiet von Ötzi sind die bis vor kurzem noch achtlos gehaltenen Steine, Steinhaufen, Höhlen und Anhöhen um dem Similaun. Da vor allem die seltsamen Gesteinsformationen im Niedertal südlich von Vent und vom Tisental im Schnalstal … (full text in german, admire also the photos about a primitf shelter).

(1000peacewomen) … Dr. Heide Göttner-Abendroth (born 1941) taught philosophy for ten years at the University of Munich and is the founder of modern matriarchal studies. Her 30 years of research in the field and her books focus on egalitarian and peaceful societies. They have been the basis for further studies in many countries. In 1986, she established the International Academy Hagia, which is primarily attended and supported by women. In 2003, she directed the First World Congress in Matriarchal Studies in Luxembourg, and in 2005, the Second World Congress with the title “Societies of Peace” in the US.

Heide Göttner-Abendroth is a philosopher and researcher in society, culture and civilization, with matriarchal societies her main focus. Born in 1941 in the former East Germany, she developed an interest in the structure of societies early on. Although her early education was indoctrinating, she had a level of understanding of the relationship between economy and culture, social systems and politics, and was not forced to memorize dates of coronations or of the battles of emperors and kings. After her family escaped from East Germany when she was 12 years old, she was confronted with the school system of West Germany and was deeply disappointed by the incoherent patch work she was presented with in class.

As a young woman she started her own family and had three children, two daughters and a son. At the same time she studied philosophy, theory of science, German literature and language, and the history of culture and civilization. She was also paving her own intellectual path, using the university libraries which were now available to her. She arrived at the insight that all the philosophies and cultural theories which she encountered were not at all concerned with her as a woman.

They reflected the world of men but were portrayed as reflecting the world of all humankind. From this time forward Heide Göttner-Abendroth studied philosophy with a critical distance because she wanted to gain a “glance behind the scenes.” The insights she gained from her critical approach and her investigations upset her in the truest sense of the word, for it upset the complete world view and historical understanding which had been passed onto her through her schooling.

In 1973 she took her doctorate at the University of Munich in philosophy and theory of science with her thesis: The Logic of Interpretation. She taught philosophy for ten years at the same university and published a number of research papers, but did not find any support from the university as a young philosopher.

In 1976, she joined the part of the women’s movement that dealt with the gender politics of science, in protest to institutionalized science and the discrimination against women within the university. She was able to communicate her insights into matriarchal societies in this movement and she became one of the pioneers of women’s studies in West Germany. Her publications were widely distributed, and she was regarded as a profound and discerning critic of patriarchy and a researcher in matriarchal societies and cultures. She became the founding mother of modern matriarchal studies through her research work spanning more than thirty years.

In her widely read books she debunks the prejudices against this misjudged and unrecognized type of society. Matriarchal research supports women’s studies, but goes far beyond it. Modern matriarchal studies refers not only to women, but to both genders: it has always been gender research. It refers to the different generations and gives attention to the relationship between humankind and the natural world, and has taken history into account. In short: it is a far reaching social and cultural theory. No patriarchal social theory has accomplished this, for they all equate being human with being male and therefore feature a number of blind spots.

In her research on matriarchy, Heide Göttner-Abendroth points out that every society consists of both men and women, and brings to light the independent cultural contributions of women in human history. Women created a society which is need-oriented and integral. They did not rule over others, as the prevalent prejudice maintains.

Matriarchies created by women on the basis of motherliness are in sharp contrast to societies with patriarchal hierarchical structures based on ruling over others and social exclusion. Matriarchies follow the principle of balance between the genders, the generations and between humanity and the natural world.

They are the only true egalitarian societies and feature intelligent conventions for the prevention of violence and the maintenance of peace. Their political structures are based on communication and on finding consent between all members of the community. Their world view and spirituality is supported by respect for all life forms on earth. From these insights she gained her concrete vision for a peaceful society free of oppression.

Given that Heide Göttner-Abendroth was prevented from continuing to lecture at the University, she works as an independent scholar in a precarious and difficult financial situation. In 1986 she became the founding mother of the autonomous International Academy Hagia for Modern Matriarchal Studies in Germany. It is the only academy of its kind, solely supported by private initiatives and donations, mainly by women, receiving no support from the Government.

Since its foundation she has been its director. For decades she has been doing lecture tours in Germany and abroad, before very varied audiences: women’s centers, adult education centers, church based as well as independent academies, universities and political parties. Women are the ones who are most interested in the subject matter and her lectures were well attended. She conveys solid facts, but she also paints a vision of a new society based on matriarchal values. Her discoveries and interdisciplinary research results are widely used as the basis for publications and projects in many countries.

Organized by the Academy Hagia, she has guided many study tours in Europe and abroad, including Ireland, Malta, Crete, South England, Scotland, Brittany, Sardinia, the Pyrenees, Syria, Egypt, Mexico, and South China. Since 1983 she has been designing the new Matriarchal Mystery Festivals based on her studies and research. They have been held at various locations and since 1986 at the Academy Hagia. Participants receive not only a theoretical introduction to matriarchal cultural history, mythology and spirituality, but also are able to experience love and respect for every living being through the actual celebration of the cycle of the seasons and the cycle of life.

Many women have gained a deep identity, far beyond the clichés of suppressed femininity within patriarchy, by celebrating these festivals. These festivals present an artistic expression and a symbolic anticipation of a potential future matriarchal society. This is not merely an intellectual process but a holistic one: an authentic new creation of a part of matriarchal culture in this present day, and Heide Göttner-Abendroth regards this spiritual part of her work as complementary to and on par with the scientific part. Through her work and its impact she has been able to strengthen innumerable women and a many men, and at the same time has mustered much strength herself.

Both the spiritual and the scientific aspects of her work have been severely attacked and distorted. She never used evasive terms for her research, but called the matter by its real name: Matriarchy, in the sense of “at the beginning the mothers,” (Greek: arché = beginning). When she started to make her work public, she was still under the naïve misconception that most people would appreciate an expansion of their intellectual horizons, as she had done. But instead she experienced attacks from the scientific, psychological and Christian communities, from both the political right and left, from men and women.

This shows the degree to which her insights and wide-ranging work have been perceived as a threat by the different patriarchal schools of thought and institutions, by both men and women alike. She was finally excluded from the University because of her challenging subject matter, despite being invited to work as a lecturer at the German universities of Hamburg, Bremen, Kassel and as a guest professor at different universities abroad: University of Montreal, Canada in 1980, and Innsbruck, Austria in 1992.

She was ignored by the general media and even denigrated, while the subject of matriarchy was misappropriated in a sexist and sensationalist manner. She experienced increasing hostility directed against her personally, culminating in threats of violence, which was all the more painful as the last surviving, traditional matriarchal societies were also being threatened with complete destruction (see: Die Diskriminierung der Matriarchatsforschung. Eine moderne Hexenjagd, Amalia Verlag, Bern 2003, The Discrimination of Matriarchal Studies, a Modern Witch-Hunt. Not yet published in English).

Despite this, in 1992 the University of Bremen granted her a scholarship for her research on matriarchy. The international character of her work was reflected in her lecture tour in the USA in 1998 and her contributions to international conferences: Istanbul in 1998 on Women and Earth (about the importance of Chatal Hüyük for feminist research); Madouri, Greece in 1998, founding conference of the Institute of Archaeomythology (IAM); Las Vegas, USA in 2004, on The Gift Economy Outside and Inside of Patriarchal Capitalism. She was invited to become a professional associate of the IAM in California, USA, which promotes the work of the famous archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. In 2003 she organized and led the first World Congress on Matriarchal Studies in Luxembourg, with generous support from the Ministry for Women’s Affairs of Luxembourg. (see the documentary film, Society in Balance, by Uschi Madeisky and Gudrun Frank-Wissmann).

She was invited by the Center for the Study of the Gift Economy in Austin, Texas, USA to guide the Second World Congress on Matriarchal Studies in the autumn of 2005, sponsored by Genevieve Vaughan of the Center for the Study of the Gift Economy (www.gift-economy.com). For this second congress, many indigenous women and men from presentday matriarchal societies have been invited to speak and report about their societies, for they can supply first hand authentic insights. Heide Göttner-Abendroth hopes to support these people from a societal structure that has been misjudged and whose existence is severely threatened and to build greater awareness of modern matriarchal studies internationally.

She is carrying forward her vision for a peaceable world, one based on a higher social intelligence than that presently in use, and is disseminating it globally for a more peaceful future. She is passionate, courageous and persevering, and no longer alone, for women have grown stronger in recent decades and are acting in concert to create a matriarchal network that covers the whole world. Her work presents contemporary matriarchal societies from around the globe, and she has gained rich insights from their community patterns for a vision of a more humane social structure for our Western society. (on 1000peacewomen).


Second wave feminism;

Patriarchy in feminism;

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory;


Matriarchal Studies;

Categories on wikipedia: Gender Studies; Feminism and Socities; Feminist Theory; Feminists; Feminism and History; Matriarchy; German Feminists; German women rights Activists.

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