Creatrix Rising is a celebration of the later years of women. Instead of allowing our traditionally male-dominant society to define older women as “crones” or “washed up” and useless, Raffelock suggests a new archetype for ourselves: creatrix. Raffelock defines creatrix as “a woman who makes things.” As the world tries to define us, the creatrix insists on defining herself and refuses to contort to fit into someone else’s box. Creatrix Rising is less a self-help book and more a manual on how to share our personal experiences as women in a historically patriarchal society.
In fact, it is in the creatrix years that we are able to look at where we have been, slow down, and make our own new path where we want to go. It is a time for reflection on what our society and families expected from us and who we want to and should be. It is when we finally learn that we don’t have to constantly please others, but that we can actually serve others better by being true to ourselves. When we are confident and live authentically, we can bring joy to the world. When we let go of societal expectations, possibilities are endless, and we have more to offer ourselves and others. We are also healthier, both physically and mentally. Society itself is healthier too.
Women have a habit of worrying about what others might think. We are taught to fit a certain mold and if we don’t then we are less feminine. But that femininity is defined by others, not us. The more we share our personal experiences and see the commonalities, the more we can shape the world to suit us both individually and as a group.
Raffelock looks at our individual feminist journeys through the lens of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and believes that we should each own our personal stories. Midlife and menopause traditionally have been viewed as a negative experience, as a “crisis,” as women becoming “lesser;” but Raffelock prefers the phrase “midlife awakening.” From my own experience, “midlife awakening” is more accurate. It is a time when we wake up to our full potentials. We finally break from the cocoon and become the butterflies we are meant to be.
Each chapter culminates with journaling activities and questions for reflection. Working through this book and using the Hero’s Journey as a scaffold, we can share our individual experiences, writing our own histories and taking charge of ourselves.
As we share our personal experiences of womanhood, we see just how similar our stories are. We finally see how much we have in common. Raffelock’s personal journey, for example, is quite different from my own on the surface, but look a little deeper and we find common themes such as abandonment, abuse, self-esteem, dependence, and loneliness. To varying degrees, as second-class-citizens, we have all dealt with these issues and we are only recently speaking out about them.
In fact, feminism is personal. When we stop behavior that does not serve us, when we stop devaluing ourselves, when we begin to set boundaries and develop self-respect, we are feminists. When we all do these things, not only will we respect ourselves and each other, but society as a whole will begin to change and know our power.
To quote Virginia Woolf: “A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life.”