Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Interior Castle” as Want to Read:
Interior Castle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Interior Castle (Classics of Western Spirituality)

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  3,764 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
A cornerstone book on mystical theology, Interior Castle describes the seven stages of union with God. Using everyday language to explain difficult theological concepts, Teresa of Avila compares the contemplative life to a castle with seven chambers. Tracing the passage of the soul through each successive chamber, she draws a powerful picture of the path toward spiritual p ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 4th 1972 by Image (first published 1588)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Roy Lotz
It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls

Last week I spend five days walking on the Camino de Santiago. I know, probably that doesn’t sound terribly impressive to anyone who walked all the way from France, but I still had a great time. Every morning we set out before sunrise, when the lush landscape of Galicia was still shrouded in mist and twilight. We walked on and on, guided by the conch shell signs that point the way. We reached the pilgrim's hoste
Karen Locklear
May 16, 2011 Karen Locklear rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Update: I am blogging about this book. Here is the blog address if interested:

First of all, don't read this book straight through and expect to get meaning from it. This is not one of those books.

This is a book that needs to be experienced. There is so much to it, I can't even begin to explain well enough to give it credit. Meditation and pondering are definetely required!

I have 78 pages left. I intend to finish it tonight. Then in the morning I've decide
Feb 27, 2009 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although St. Teresa was a 16th century nun, she was as busy as the rest of us when "encouraged" by her spiritual director to write this book for her nuns. I read it as part of a Sunday school class, and I found myself cracking up at how Mirabai Starr captures her. One minute she is fervently advocating for humility and self-expression and prayer and the next she's literally writing I don't where I was. Between opening and managing some 15 or more Carmelite convents, dodging the suspicious Spanis ...more
In the study of the various aspects of Catholic theology, sometimes we forget that the whole religion thing is really about one thing - loving God and loving each other. In this classic work, St. Theresa of Avila brings us back to these simple truths. In her eyes, the spiritual life, which is the love of God in one's own life, is like a castle with seven "mansions", or levels. In the outer mansions are the things that keep us from God and from love, namely selfishness, self-centeredness, all of ...more
This is a book about prayer written by Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Carmelite nun, mystic and doctor of the Church.

In this book, she presents a model of the human soul as a castle cut from a single diamond. This castle is divided into seven groups of mansions, beginning at the outer gate and moving inward toward the center. We enter the castle whenever we pray, for the gate to the outermost mansion is prayer. (Those who never pray remain in a courtyard outside the gate.)

As we progress
Sep 01, 2012 Stef rated it it was amazing
I've been reading this start-stop skip around fashion since 2012. this time i read it from cover to cover and every reading seemed to be planned by God to come at the right time, just when i needed to read something in particular. Thank You, Lord.
Jun 05, 2015 julieta rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, europa
Llegué a este libro desde una curiosidad puramente literaria.

Y me gusta la figura de Santa Teresa, o más bien, me gusta y me da curiosidad conocer más sobre ella.
Pero este libro me causó más angustia que cualquier otra cosa.
Nunca había leído a una mística, por lo cual no tenía idea de lo que encontraría, pero me causó antes que nada como incomodidad.
Quizás es que fui a una escuela de monjas durante toda la primaria, o que mis papás me forzaban a ir a la iglesia, como algo necesario y obligat
Bogdan Liviu
Sep 27, 2013 Bogdan Liviu rated it did not like it
"I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time." - Friedrich Nietzsche
O călătorie a sufletului prin cele şapte "Locuinţe" ale "Castelului interior". De menţionat că această operă a fost scrisă pentru "surorile" de acolo care aveau dubii cu privire la rugăciune. Eu începusem să citesc cartea sperând că voi găsi aici întâmplări din viaţa sfintei Tereza. Ce-am găsit, în schimb, a fost un agasant îndemn în a îl lăuda pe Dumnezeu de parcă ar fi un dictator. La asta se adaugă, fireşt
Anna O.P.
I don't know which one is more unfair: leaving this book with 5 stars but with no review, or writing a review which can never ever do it justice, however hard I strive to. The Interior Castle is a spiritual classics; it has been read and enjoyed by millions, and in turn I'm sure it has made many saints! So nothing I write can ever truly describe how awesome this book is!

What I can say is this: it's ironic that I only discovered this book very recently, at the order of my spiritual director. Iron
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Jul 22, 2008 ♥ Ibrahim ♥ rated it it was amazing
Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that in the Father's House there are many mansion, and for our be love saint here, Teressa, these mansions could be seven and they represent the mansions of the soul as it seems to grow, develop and be united with its Beloved the Lord. How close are we getting to the Lord? Are we making some progress?

The beautiful thing about Teresa is that she writes as words come to her mind in full spontaneity. So, her words come so genuine, so simple, so real, so much from the
Jul 07, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is an excellent, though a difficult, book and one I feel I will return to in the future.

Saint Teresa wrote The Interior Castle relatively late in her life, after years as a nun, and with a lifetime of spiritual discipline behind her. Therefore, she is easily able to identify common pitfalls which present obstacles to spiritual growth and advancement. Her advice is practical and surprisingly relevant to readers some 400 years after the book was written. However, she may easily surpass the a
Apr 27, 2014 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Teresa of Avila wrote Interior Castle as a way to explain her theory about the soul. I have to admit, the idea of the soul being a castle shaped crystal housing seven mansions inside is pretty cool. The imagery of the soul-crystal darkening after being touched by Lucifer was striking as well. As a person who never fully understood the mystic branches of the Abrahamic faiths, I found the mysticism offered here is fairly accessible. However, the multiple comparisons of disabled individuals to a ...more
Sondra Jones
Oct 27, 2014 Sondra Jones rated it it was amazing
I'm not going to "review" a classic. But I will say wow. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles goes way beyond any spiritual practice or state that I've known existed. It's a whole new world. Again! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And that's a good thing.

This book is available on YouTube, read in its entirety. That's how I "read" it. Now I need a hard copy.

Some new ideas to me were around Jesus' suffering and suffering in general. That is why I need a hard copy; need to go back and read a
May 02, 2009 Emily rated it liked it
The Interior Castles is a very wonderful book on how to get closer to God and how to overcome the trials come upon you. St. Theresa originally wrote this for the sisters in her convent, at the urging of a friend of hers. She says that the way to the "ultimate marriage with God" is through humility and a humble life, and through prayer. She also says that we have to be aware of when God speaks to us, and know when Satan is trying to veer us away from Him.

The reason why I gave it only three stars
Jul 09, 2009 Kellerrenate rated it it was amazing
Anyone wanting to re-connect with Christian thought and learn about a devotional/rational relationship to God, this is an incredibly beautiful book.
Becky Ankeny
Feb 28, 2017 Becky Ankeny rated it liked it
It isn't fair to rate this book until I've read it several times, but a first-time through was difficult. Teresa refers to herself in the third person, presents women as intellectually inferior, and extends a metaphor over 300 pages or so. I trudged. BUT, it will be worth reading again. Teresa says that a touchstone for mystical experience is whether it leaves the person more humble and more committed to the virtues and to loving God. Also, true communion with God, however outré the experience s ...more
Carol Apple
May 27, 2012 Carol Apple rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Few tasks which I have been commanded to undertake by obedience have been so difficult as this present one of writing about matters relating to prayer: for one reason, because I do not feel the Lord has given me either the spirituality or the desire for it….”

So Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) begins The Interior Castle (published 1577), a book which became a lucid and beautifully written spiritual classic. A learned woman who had already written several books, Teresa had been instructed to write
S.D. Johnson
Nov 30, 2013 S.D. Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many years ago I had a dream about falling off the edge of a cliff and hovering then out in a void, and, as though suspended in empty space, there was a shining city of aquamarine crystal below me. I fell over the centre of the "city", (or large building - I had no idea of its size), contracted to a point and then radiated outward in a state of supreme ecstasy and all-knowingness. I could no longer see, but it was as though I was all-seeing. It was so powerful that when I awoke I thought that I ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 27, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Believers
Recommended to Czarny by: Ste, Theresa is the patron of a parish I used to belong to.
Shelves: religion
Why read Chicken Soup for Catholics when this work written by a great saint and doctor of the Church is available. Although it was written almost five hundred years ago, its limpid style makes it as readable as anything that has been published in this the 21st century.

Teresa offers a guide on how to begin and progress through a long life of prayer. She leads the reader through seven phases referred to as mansions of one's interior castle. The first three phases are of active prayer in which one
Feb 01, 2008 Alasse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I made it about 2/3 through and have given up in favor of a "selections from" book my mom loaned me. The style of writing was a bit too dense, tho part of it could be the translation. Every once in awhile a quote would jump out at me, but it was too slow going considering my exploding to read pile.
Olive Chan
Feb 18, 2010 Olive Chan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From what I've heard, this translation of this classic work is one of the more understandable ones. It's difficult material to get through simply because it's so deep. But it's not a classic for no reason! I recommend this for anyone looking to explore more of the mystic's approach to their relationship with God.
Apr 03, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: mystics, prayer warriors, people on their spiritual journey through prayer
Recommended to Kathy by: Mary Clark
You can't read this book quickly. The thoughts are deep. And the translation sometimes makes for slower reading as well. I gave up on the English version, and ordered the original Spanish. It makes so much more sense, but still slow reading. i've had it 3 years and still am not done, but then I don'tread it every day either.
Apr 03, 2012 Sharayah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is probably a better book than I rated it, but I just did not understand it. I have not experienced anything remotely like the raptures St. Teresa talks about, and the run on sentences and rabbit trails leave me lost.
Jul 11, 2007 Colyn rated it really liked it
St. Teresa is painfully 16th century in her writing style but the wisdom imparted is incredible--you just have to not get lost along the way.
Jan 11, 2009 Irene rated it it was amazing
This book has taught me more about the spiritual life than any text apart from the Bible. I continue to return to it whenever the well runs dry.
Ryan Rindels
Mystical, Catholic and pretty novel to me --but it's what I expected.
Not an easy read but worth the effort.
Nov 06, 2009 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am always reading this book. There are so many aspects I learn everytime I pick it up.
Dec 31, 2014 Cecilia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Casi cinco siglos pasaron y son los escritos espirituales más hermosos que he leído.
Mar 16, 2017 Yve rated it liked it
St. Teresa's metaphor reminds me of the Riemann sphere - pulling infinity up into a point. Despite all her claims to lack of education, her imagery and phrasing (as I assume reading a translated version at least) is extremely elegant. I also think it's interesting that her view was quite self-centric. That is, not selfish, but predicated on coming to understand oneself very well as a prerequisite for doing real good, and finding God in the center of an individual. It seems in her view "selfless" ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Seventh Mansions & Epilogue 20 16 May 27, 2016 12:04PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Sixth Mansions 15 15 Mar 19, 2016 08:58AM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Fifth Mansions 10 17 Mar 17, 2016 03:03PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Second Mansions 26 20 Mar 09, 2016 09:00AM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle First Mansions 11 20 Mar 08, 2016 07:35PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Fourth Mansions 19 21 Feb 27, 2016 11:34PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Introduction 25 26 Feb 25, 2016 08:40AM  
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Uniformity with God's Will
  • Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • True Devotion to Mary
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
  • The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text
  • The Soul of The Apostolate
  • The Three Ages Of The Interior Life: Prelude of Eternal Life
  • Life of Christ
  • Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession
Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

Born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, St. Teresa was the
More about Teresa of Ávila...

Other Books in the Series

Classics of Western Spirituality (1 - 10 of 54 books)
  • Scivias (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • The Triads (Classics of Western Spirituality Series)
  • The Discourses (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • John of Avila: Audi, Filia (The Classics of Western Spirituality) (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Quaker Spirituality: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • John Cassian: Conferences (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent (The Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Johann Arndt: True Christianity (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher (Classics of Western Spirituality)

Share This Book

“This Beloved of ours is merciful and good. Besides, he so deeply longs for our love that he keeps calling us to come closer. This voice of his is so sweet that the poor soul falls apart in the face of her own inability to instantly do whatever he asks of her. And so you can see, hearing him hurts much more than not being able to hear him… For now, his voice reaches us through words spoken by good people, through listening to spiritual talks, and reading sacred literature. God calls to us in countless little ways all the time. Through illnesses and suffering and through sorrow he calls to us. Through a truth glimpsed fleetingly in a state of prayer he calls to us. No matter how halfhearted such insights may be, God rejoices whenever we learn what he is trying to teach us.” 45 likes
“The devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so that instead of putting our hands to what work we can do to serve our Lord, we may rest satisfied with wishing to perform impossibilities.” 38 likes
More quotes…