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The Interior Castle

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  6,858 ratings  ·  387 reviews
While I was beseeching Our Lord today...I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. — St. Teresa of Avila

A masterpiece of spiritual literature, this sixteenth-century work was inspired by a mystical vision that came upon the revered St. Teres
Paperback, 169 pages
Published December 17th 2007 by Dover Publications (first published 1588)
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Darius Murretti You have jumped to a wild conclusion in saying that the headaches despite which Teresa wrote this book were caused by her meditations. It was 1577 and…moreYou have jumped to a wild conclusion in saying that the headaches despite which Teresa wrote this book were caused by her meditations. It was 1577 and little was known about nutrition, lead poisoning, health standards were much lower and life spans much shorter there may have been many reasons for the headaches she happened to be having when she was writing this.
Regarding the loud sound in her head that she likens to water falls and hosts of bird . She says I don’t har this through my ears but from the top of my head . Since I happen to be a surat shabd yogi . I know exactly what she was hearing .It is what we call the Shabd . In the Bible it is referred to in John 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” In john 3:8 it is likened to wind , but higher up it takes the form of waterfalls , thunder and other forms the higher to God you go. This is also called the holy spirit and part of theholy trinity . It is the WORD mentioned in John 1:1 that Creator the world and was with God and which was God. If Teresa had been properly initiated by a perfect Master into the spiritual science of surat shabd yoga she would have ben instructed how to listen to and enjoy that sound and how to be pulled up by it and merge into it and taken by it up to the supreme God head where it merges in to God from whom it came . But alas Teresa got a far as she did without the benefit of a living human who was the WORD MADE FLESH in 1577 (although there was definitely a LIVING WORD MASTER on earth in 1577 as there is at all times on this earth ) hence she an s she was baffled by the internal sound fr0m the top of her head and did not know how to proceed .

It is/was not psychosis or delusional that she heard the sound . It is God in action Vibrating throughout His universe sustaining it, guiding souls in it and carrying souls of it . This very power incarnates as perfect Master in order to teach the “marked sheep” how to listen to it and return home . Jesus was “THE WORD MADE FLESH “ He initiated his MRAKED SHEEP into surat shabd yoga and took them back to the Father.
I’m very sorry if it offends orthodox Christians but Jesus was NOT the only incarnation of the WORD (aka the Holy Ghost of the trinity) Many came before and many after him and there is at least on in the world today .
In the book of Mirdad Mikail Niamy calls it the “spirit of holy understanding”
In the Buddish scriptures it is called The TAO.

In the hindi scripture is called shabd or nam
You are correct when you say that it is DANGEROUS to do serious meditation intended to realize God without a TRUE PERFECT Master or the highest order You can find one such at . this wrl has b never been without at least one perfect living master who teaches this science. Incidentally Perfect masters NEVER charge money for their services . They always work normal jobs (Jesus was a carpenter , Maharaj Charan Singh Ji was a lawyer , Baba Sawn Singh Ji was an engineer they all made their own living and helped their students in their spare time . So no one is making any money . it all free and always at the master’s expense .

Regarding less ambitious forms of mediation such as loving compassion mediation done by Buddhists
1) 100s of scholarly psychological research articles stating beyond refutation that mediation is extremely beneficial for physical , mental and emotional health
2) extensive brain imaging tests of people mediating showing how during mediation the higher better most evolved parts of the brain which reflect the highest positive emotions associated with inner love peace and bliss light up .
So this appears safe for everyone.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Roy Lotz
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 hos
I really took my time savoring this book. St. Teresa’s explication of “the interior castle” within yourself was definitely described in great detail. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I’m glad I took my time reading it. Five stars!
November 13, 2019: Finished reading. Will never be finished assimilating this book. I am not in the same place, nor am I the same person I was when I started this book almost a year ago. It is definitely worthwhile to read Interior Castle using this STUDY EDITION, even if I did not avail myself of all the material in it. There is just SO much! You could spend a lifetime trying to absorb and then live this book. Teresa lived in a quieter simpler time than we do. This is not a review. I am not sur ...more
Karen Locklear
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that in the Father's House there are many mansions, 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
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
Darius Murretti
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interior caslte review
The vast majority who try fall by the wayside but St Theresa(Terry) succeeded in opening her inner eye and entering the “straight and narrow gate “ to the Father’s house during her life time, entering the wedding chamber and marrying the Kings of the infinite .
Why did Terry succeed where almost all others failed ?
1)Terry had a conviction “Either we are the brides of this great King or we are not.” So what are we waiting for?!
2) Terry relied on God’s grace not on her own e
Feb 27, 2009 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
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...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
second Read 2019 - A group of friends of mine reads theology books together, trying to read stuff outside our own culture and background as well as classics from long ago. Well, a group of straight men have little in common with a celibate nun of five centuries ago!

This one is obviously a challenge. And it is probably good to read her other books first. I had read her three major works a while back and forgot to tell the group we probably shouldn’t start here. She presupposes a lot of beginner
When reading spiritual texts, I try to rate them on two accounts. I attempt to consider whether it is good life advice to a person that believes in the tradition in question (that's rarely me, since I'm far too skeptic to commit myself to anything). Secondly, I'm affected by how much I simply enjoyed the reading experience, regardless of agreeing or disagreeing. For example, I found Bhagavad-Gita a very enjoyable and beautiful read, although I can't say I remember much of its teachings anymore.

Becky Ankeny
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
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
I had read Interior Castle about 15 years ago along with most of her other books. Joining Renovare book club, Interior Castle was assigned as one of four Christian books for this year. I found this peculiar book excellent with additions by Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., with this translation and his commentary. Being raised Catholic but moving over to a Protestant denomination for many years, St Teresa's books has become some of my favorite Christian literature. They are about a deeper walk with Christ ...more
Josh Wilhelm
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Teresa's "Interior Castle" as book six (out of ten) for a class on "Classics of Christian Spirituality" at Regent College. Written by Teresa to her sisters in her Carmelite monastery, the book is a manual on the mystical life, using an image of a giant crystal castle as a metaphor for the life of the soul. The soul for Teresa is not the tiny, shrunken soul of modernity, but is rather a vast castle with innumerous rooms. For the purpose of illustration, this castle is divided into seven "d ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Elizabeth Andrew
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I've spent my adult life appreciating Teresa of Avila's INTERIOR CASTLE second-hand. Her autobiography has long been a favorite but every time I tried INTERIOR CASTLE I got bogged down. I love stories of Teresa's spunky leadership, her bad-mouthing God ("If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!"), and her belief in an indwelling divinity who spurs on our yearning for connection, and all of that personality and wisdom seemed buried in self-effacing doctrine about humility ...more
Apr 27, 2014 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Davis
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading after having read it for the first time at least a decade ago.
Carol Apple
May 27, 2012 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
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it is fitting that I read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations just before reading this because Teresa of Avila espouses many of the things found in Meditations, she brings to it a much needed personal and poetic touch. To have conceived such a work while in a constant state of physical pain (she frequently complains and apologizes about her head hurting) and yet to remain so fixated and devout on this text solely to better her sister nuns is a very strong display of willpower, love, and devotio ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone wanting to re-connect with Christian thought and learn about a devotional/rational relationship to God, this is an incredibly beautiful book.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful self help guide to understanding where you fall in the contemplative life. Interior Castle was a good companion read to A Dark Night of the Soul as many of the same ideas are reflected in both, but with the male and female perspective coming out differently in each.
Katie Fitzgerald
#CathLit2019 challenge: A Classic Spiritual Work

I had such a hard time getting through this book, which was my Catholic moms book club's pick for January 2019. I recognize that St. Teresa is imparting lots of valuable wisdom and insight, but I grew weary of the repetition, and of the saint's constant commentary on how unworthy she is to write this book. Though I think I gained some understanding of the concept of an interior life, I don't feel like this book left me with any specific ideas about
Czarny Pies
Sep 27, 2014 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
John Burns
Oct 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No-one
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm sad to say that I couldn't really understand what she was talking about most of the time. This is partly due to the abstract, abstruse nature of the topic but also due to her totally incoherent style of writing. It reminded me of Anne Frank and Villette, this intelligent and insightful woman rambling on and on, often in a very unfocussed sort of way, often making a point of accusing herself of being too stupid for the task at hand. It's probably also fair to say that I didn't get an especial ...more
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Seventh Mansions & Epilogue 20 18 May 27, 2016 12:04PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Sixth Mansions 15 16 Mar 19, 2016 08:58AM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Fifth Mansions 10 20 Mar 17, 2016 03:03PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Second Mansions 26 24 Mar 09, 2016 09:00AM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle First Mansions 11 25 Mar 08, 2016 07:35PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Fourth Mansions 19 25 Feb 27, 2016 11:34PM  
Catholic Thought: Interior Castle Introduction 25 30 Feb 25, 2016 08:40AM  

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Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesús, 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 Ávila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, St. Teresa was the

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