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Awakened by Death: Life-Giving Lessons from the Mystics

Awakened by Death: Life-Giving Lessons from the Mystics

Fear of death is nearly as inevitable as death itself, so we have used modern medicine and the funeral industry to create an ever-increasing distance between us and our mortality. But these interventions have stripped death of its mystery and mysticism.

Taking readers on a journey through history, guided by the mystics, Awakened by Death shows us how our psychological and spiritual relationship to death has changed over time, and helps us to reclaim a healthy engagement with our own mortality. Ultimately, readers will gain a deeper understanding of how facing the fear of death, and embracing rather than eschewing its mysteries, can help us live richer, fuller lives.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506461168
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 280
  • Publication Date October 27, 2020


"In Awakened by Death, Christiana N. Peterson offers a profound and enlightening meditation on how God may be found even in dying, loss, and grief. This thought-provoking book promises meaningful insight for anyone willing to take heart and explore."
—Carl McColman, author of Unteachable Lessons and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism
"Through her rich prose and her understanding of history and the Christian mystics, Peterson allows the reader to spend time immersed in a holy awareness of our mortality. The end result is that we emerge more awakened and attuned to be able to love God and our neighbors during our one brief and wondrous life. It truly is a timely, and timeless, read."
—D. L. Mayfield, author of The Myth of the American Dream: Reflections on Affluence, Autonomy, Safety, and Power
"This is an important book. In a culture that desperately tries to deny mortality, Christiana N. Peterson offers us a gift and an invitation. She presents an ambitious journey through history to follow the path of an impressive array of ancient and modern mystics who knew that death could be a sister or a friend. These stories, paired with her own personal ones, bring the reader on a pilgrimage of the heart and, ultimately, toward a deeper cherishing of life."
—Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, online Abbess at Abbey of the Arts, poet, and author of 14 books including Earth, Our Original Monastery and The Artist's Rule
"Beginning with a walk in a cemetery, Peterson takes us on a tour of the cultural history of death tested against the wisdom of the Christian mystics who are her spiritual teachers. Far from morbid, she writes with wit and heart about her personal grief and how engaging with our greatest fear can be an act of determined hope."
—Jessica Mesman, associate editor, The Christian Century; author of Love and Salt: A Spiritual Memoir in Letters
"Awakened by Death is a beautiful meandering through history, religion, and everyday life. The journey Peterson takes us on is an eye-opening one, her voice whispering a kind, insistent message: 'Do not be afraid.' It's a message all of us mortals need to hear."
—Shawn Smucker, author of These Nameless Things and Light from Distant Stars
"You will be better prepared to walk through the valleys and vistas of life after reading Awakened by Death. Christiana N. Peterson is a gracious guide through graveyards and dark places, ultimately moving us toward the light where we can live with less fear and more resurrection goodness on this side of eternity."
—Kelley Nikondeha, author of Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom
"For as long as I can remember, I have felt more unsettled by our modern culture's discomfort with death than by death itself. That's why I'm grateful for this book, which is less of a cold, hard look at the specter that haunts us all, and more of a gently guided walk through a lovely old cemetery. Peterson's done her homework and has a lot to teach us about the way Christians through the ages have reckoned with the ticking clock of our own lives. Yes, Christ conquered death-all the more reason to look it fearlessly in the eye and ask what it has to teach us about life."
—Andrew Peterson, author, songwriter, and founder of The Rabbit Room