Modern Matriarchal Studies

Helheta / Gunilla Madegård Website / blog


M  Y   T   H   O   L   O   G   Y    &    W  O  R  L  D - V  I  E W 


Transcending into the matriarchal worlds might induce a breathtaking adventure and bring oneself closer to the great mystery of human existence and somehow strengthens your sense of identity. That´s something I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to experience since I started my subsiding into the vast realm of Modern Matriarchal Studies.

The hardest part of this great re-discovering event is to acquire a grasp of the particular kind of goddess-related mythology tightly linked to the matriarchal kind of society, as it is so totally alien to our patriarchal way of thinking - but perhaps also the most important one; because without it you might not encompass much of the totally different inner world views and values that constitutes the fundamental glue ​​of the relations in these alternative kind of egalitarian societies. Besides, it must be considered as more or less  impossible to get an adequate grasp of the totally different gender roles that goes along with it - or perhaps even constitute the main pillar thereof; The way men and women are supposed to relate to one another and their mutual interrelated positions.



Just as Bourdieu demonstrates in his The Masculine Domination 1998 the patriarchal life world also constitutes a cosmology of the totality, in which all the further phenomena are arranged according to its basic formation of patterns. One would even be prone to compare the process with the unfolding of the self generating and self regulating of the fundamental fractal patterns in the organic processes, if it wouldn´t impossible to follow nature's own type of pattern formation, based on an asymmetrical construction of yin and yan, of non-equal magnitudes. In nature, no such relationship of assymmetric imbalance exists where one part totally dominates the other; without its ending up in the collapse of the latter and therefore consequentially the collapse of the total system as well.

And that´s also the simple reason why the patriarchal system cannot survive without the use of violence of all kinds against those who are meant to feed the others.


It is also obvious that the long-term decline of this negative development spiral of patriarchal assymetry will be; The parasitic colonialism eating the hand that´s feeding it and / or cutting off the branch on which it´s sitting, rather than giving up its patriarchal mandate.

But when it comes to the kind of matriarchal spirituality / social form, I would contrary argue that the analogy is fully relevant, and in this respect, one might even assert that it obeys the inherent laws of nature by unfolding itselves in the same way as fractal patterns according to the fibonacci-series  in long chains of self-generating, self-imitating and self-regulating forms of anarchistic stateless societies that are tightly linked to one another through their common ideological / spiritual values. And because it is precisely this part of the system that makes up its most decisive core or incentive like its fundamental DNA, you cannot abandon it that easily.

It goes without saying that it continuously from the mammals over the the hominids and anthropoids to the first homo sapiens individuals must have been the females who raised the offspring. Among the animals its only the bird males who teach their offspring to fly. And it is thus during the formative first years of childhood that both men and women of the human race are fostered by the mothers to respect both their mothers who gave them life and fed them as well as the surrounding mother nature who also generously donate of her abundance to all her children; the human beings as well as the birds and the bees and all the other animals.

Matriarchal mythology is representing the world view of matriarchal societies. It constitutes the basis to the different concrete myths, which later have been written down and modified several times. Heide Göttner-Abendroth has re-discovered and described the patterns of matriarchal mythology through a comparative procedure. Their analyzes and recollections include the entire area, which was later indo-Europeanized and patriarchalized: India, Persia, Egypt, the entire Mediterranean and Europe.

It revealed the basic pattern of the Great Goddess in her threefold form. As a woman, as a wise old woman, she ruled the three zones of the world: heaven, earth, and underworld.

There, the goddess of the triple-goddess worked as a light-fighter from heaven, as a love and life-bearer on earth, and as the bearer of death and rebirth in the underworld.

Her partner was the "Heros" (Greek) or "Holy King", who represented the mortal men with his powers against the eternal goddess.

These basic patterns of matriarchal mythology had a long after-effect.

They acted further in the international "magic fairy tales," as well as in the literature of the Middle Ages, such as the so-called "fairytale motifs"; the tales of the Grail. They reached the limits of the present in Holle mythology, of which only one "fairy tale" is known, and the Ladin mythology of the fairy folk in the Dolomites. This treasure was now lifted and made accessible to readers in an easily understandable way.

This book provides a reconstruction of the repressed, covert and forgotten matriarchal religions and spirituality. The matriarchal background of the goddess forms, which are found in Indian, Persian, West Asian, Egyptian, Greek, Celtic, and Germanic myths, is recovered by comparative and patriarchy-critical analysis; the figures are explained from their own cultural context. Based on this, we will show how the symbolic and action patterns of matriarchal religions and spirituality continue to live in international fairy tales.

After the initial presentation of the primordial Goddess mythologies it is proved by means of great epics of the European Middle Ages that on the basis of mythology and fairy tale the structure of matriarchal religions becomes the basis of poetic materials of European poetry. The great influence of very old matriarchal forms of thought on our culture becomes visible. Re-discovering this means recovering a substantial part of our buried cultural history

Dr. Göttner-Abendroth has lifted matriarchy out of its mythological cloud by showing that matriarchal-based religions not only existed up to about 3500 years ago throughout the Indo-European world, but that their remnants remained for many centuries among the farmers and country people everywhere until the late Middle Ages, when they were systematically extinguished by the inquisitions and witch burnings. Dr. Göttner-Abendroth points out that Western historians, in upholding patriarchy, have ignored and dismissed these remnants, along with the important matriarchal values that accompany them, such as respect for the earth and nature, and for feeling and emotion, since patriarchy gives value only to intellect, to gain and loss, and to might as right.

As a consequence of this thinking running to its logical extreme, she says, the welfare of the earth upon which we live is threatened. While Dr. Göttner-Abendroth in no way proposes returning to a matriarchal culture, she emphasizes that we desperately need to re-integrate these lost matriarchal values to bring balance and health back to our civilization.


What do we know about the roots to our own religion; Christianity?

Quoting Heide Göttner Abendroth´s Matriarchal Societies, Studies on Indigenous Cultures Across The Globe  2012, p. 84:

Understanding the structure of matriarchal societies

At the cultural level:

Matriarchy mystery festivals reflect the annual cycle and the lifestyle. As ritual drama, they present the relationship humans have with nature and with their own history: the festivals are dedicated to the various manifestations of the Great Goddess.

These manifestations are public folk festivals not secret cults. They demonstrate ancient principles of equality that carachterize matriarchal tribal societies and they tolerate no social hierarchy (or if they are already in a patriarchal society they are critical of it.)

The Great Goddess appears as Maiden, Mother, and Crone, the matriarchal threefold Goddess.

In matriarchal cultures, girls and woman embody, at different stages their lives the manifestation of the Great Goddess and are worshipped as such.

The partner of the Great Goddess is a sacred king. He manages executive orders in her name, and at the end of his reign, he became the designated sacrifice to the Goddess. In matriarchal culture, sacrifice of the sacred king is based on the principles of the free will (assured by many rituals) and of rebirth. Belief in rebirth is not an abstraction but an assumption about reality.

The sacrifice of the sacred king has been replaced by male animals. With the animals also, the principle of free will is respected (as far as possible) and they were believed to be reborn, too.

Matriarchal shrines and sacred grounds usually form a symbolic order in harmony with the landscape (e.g., earth and water features seines the body the goddess) and with four directions (e.g. east as the direction of life, west as the direction of death) These symbolic complexes usually remain intact in the culture, even after a period of patriarchalisation.


M O R E    W I L L   C O M E ! 



The Snake and the Spiral and their Origin in Europe.

"In this stele, dedicated by an Assyrian king is depicted a horned god smiting the horned serpent Marduk. What is of significance is that this god wields a European battle-axe... so, what is the European connection?"

This page by the artist Demetrios Vakras about snakes and spritis is very interesting, although I think his view is very andro - and ethnocentic, claiming a lot of age-old Goddess-related symbols  having their origin in Europe. Even in Issa´s case in West-Africa they also worshipped Goddesses and I haven´t looked for the existence of the spirals in  African mythology, but it would be very strange if they wouldn´t appear even there.

From just a first quick look online I found these two examples however:



On this blog by Rachel I found a long list of Akan symbols whose meanings and functions were destinguished, and not at least so even spirals and snakes.

"As a photographer, an oil painter, and an avid reader, I have a deep love for symbols. Symbols are especially important in Ghana, and because I think they go a step beyond the typical cultural symbols, I thought I would share some of the Akan, or Adinkra Symbols, of West Africa. Language was not written until relatively recently given oral tradition, and these were the main way that people communicated. They are still important today, especially in the making of cloth.

A few, like Gye Nyame, were so frequently found on buildings, houses, and tourist pamphlets that there was no escaping it. Others were more difficult. I got many of these answers from Emma and Eli’s batiking shop on the shores of Cape Coast. I want to incorporate some of these into future art projects and writings, so here they are.

1 GYE NYAME- most common symbol I saw. “Except for God,” or “I fear nobody except God,” and “the supremacy of God.” God is regarded as the creator of the world and humanity, and therefore must be reverenced and worshiped. This symbol reflects that supremacy, power, and domination of God over all situations and creations. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Creator of the universe and all mankind. If you see this symbol with a circle around the outside it means NYAME YE OHENE, or “God is King.”


S P I R A L E N - T I D E N  - M A T E R I E N

När det görs musei- utställningar med gamla artefakter från förhistorisk tid med tex figuriner och keramik av det slag som är rikligt försedda med symbolspråk av olika slag; ytterst förnämligt uttolkade av olika experter på området som tex Marija  Gimbutas och ett flertal andra sakkunniga inom området religionsvetenskap / mytologi; finns dock aldrig dessa tolkningar med. Istället poängteras gång på gång att det utgör ett fullständigt mysterium vad detta symbolspråk kan tänkas ha kommunicerat för budskap. Detta såg jag häromdan också vara fallet i fråga om en symbol så vanligt förekommande under hela den förpatriarkala historien fram tom nutid som denna;



Horus=Jesus, Isis=Mary, Osiris=God, Amun=Amen, Apophis=Devil
A Must Watch!!!

Den här videon var något av det bästa jag sett på länge, för i den framkommer det med all önskvärd tydlighet hur de större patriarkala religionerna grundat sitt idégods på nytologiska föreställningar från den gamla kemitiska kulturen i Egypten, varvid de helt simpelt plagierat sina mytologiska motiv och symboler därifrån, fast med omvända förtecken så klart, så att alla kvinnliga gudar rensats bort. Exakt det som Riane Eisler framhåller i sin bok. "The Chalice and the Blade" och att detta utgör den största idéstöld som nånsin inträffat under historiens gång.


Det finns många bra och informativa hemsidor på nätet där man kan lära sig mycket om förhistorisk mytologi och dess symboler och förslag på hur de skulle kunna tolkas, som tex inte minst den här om Bi-gudinnan »



Och den här med information om vad de huvudbonader och kronor som egyptiernas kungar, drottningar och gudar och gudinnor utrustades med:

The Crowns of Egypt, Part II: Specific Crowns


The most common divine headdresses are cow horns and solar disks for the leading goddesses of the pantheon, such as Hathor and Isis, emphasizing their maternal role. They may also wear tall feather crowns augmented by the same attributes, which appear to relate to their cosmic, luminous nature, like the Isis-Sothis crown.


The oldest and most common headdress of royal women is the vulture cap, which associated the wearer with the goddess Nekhbet(of Upper Egypt) and later Mut, and thus emphasized the maternal role of the queen. The cow horns, usually combined with a solar disk and a uraei-kalathos as well as the tripartite Hathor wig, worn by queens from the late 18th Dynasty onward associated them with Hathor, the goddess who combined maturity and beauty with the dangers of the raging solar eye. The use of uraeus for women may have originated in an association with the Lower Egyptian Wadjet, the solar eye.


From the Middle Kingdom on it designates a royal daughter. The Double uraeus may refer to the two aspects of the solar eye, regenerative and destructive. The Double Feathers headdress, representing the two horizons and thus also the two solar eyes, are attested for queens from the 13th Dynasty and afterwards. Goddesses wear them only beginning in the late 18th Dynasty, when they may be augmented by a solar disk. The platform crown, most commonly forming a base for the feathers, appears in the early 18th Dynasty and may evoke the papyrus thicket of Khemmis. From the time of Amenhotep III and later, the same crown is augmented by a pair of gazelle horns and is known as Isis-Sothis feather crown. Royal women below the rank of queen are often distinguished by gazelle heads on their headdresses.

Divine Crowns

Represented on the walls of temples, tombs and elsewhere are literally hundreds of different crowns associated with the various gods. Every divinity has a particular set of iconographic features that distinguish him or her in various functions. Gods very frequently wore specific symbols on their heads, and this is frequently the only sure means of identifying the represented deity. However, just as the god's identities sometime merged with each other, a certain crown primarily worn by one god might also be depicted crowning another.