Creatrix Rising: Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women by Stephanie Raffelock
Part memoir, part self-help, completely inspiring!
In Creatrix Rising, author Stephanie Raffelock introduces and discusses society’s, including women’s, beliefs about a woman’s place in the world once reaching menopause. Early women’s studies have classified a woman’s life into three ordered stages or archetypes: maiden, mother, and crone. It seems that we as a society have an ingrained sense that a woman’s entire worth culminates during the mother phase, on one’s ability to produce children. Once that is no longer an option, a woman moves into the crone phase, one of less or no value.
As I’ve aged, and as my friends and family have also done so, I have heard that wistfulness in the tone of voice when we talked about entering menopause. It is a change to one’s identity, much like when one retires. (But as I liked to think when I retired, I’m just retiring from HERE (that job), I’m not retiring from life. Frankly, I’ve got stuff to do, places to go, and people to see.) But even before retiring from a job, menopause happens, and the insidious labeling of irrelevance can start to invade. Raffelock proposes we jettison the image of the crone as no longer relevant and replace it with the more accurate archetype of Creatrix: a woman who is comfortable and free to be true to herself and embrace the creativity she has within. The book fleshes out the nature of the Creatrix and how it manifests under current circumstances much better than I can.
The author narrates the audiobook edition of the book herself, and she is captivating. I can absolutely understand why she would be in demand as a speaker (which makes one of her life vignettes regarding her speaking to groups particularly poignant.) Raffelock puts her life on view for the reader, warts and all, describing her personal experiences and revelations on her way to where she is today. Like everyone, she made some mistakes in her life, and she is very candid about hers. This book is inspirational and illustrative rather than simply biographical, but I imagine her complete life story would make for fascinating reading. This book was absorbing, and found it difficult to pause my listening to the audiobook.
Each chapter concludes with a set of outstanding questions for personal reflection and journaling to assist the reader in recognizing the Creatrix in themselves and promote thoughtful consideration. Sometimes the questions were difficult for me to find a starting point to form a response to; others served as an open door. Many made me wish I was listening to the audiobook with friends and family because I wanted the discussion that was sure to follow after.
I will recommend CREATRIX RISING to those friends and family and women approaching this pivotal point in their physical life and psyche.