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166 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating St. Teresa from the Inquisitors, and Much More
Before commenting on Caroline's "Entering the Castle", it is important to note how her book is based on sixteenth-century mystic St. Teresa de Avila (Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda). When St. Teresa wrote her theological treatises, the Church did not consider women competent to be authors in general, nor to write about theology, in particular. Although in her book "The Interior...
Published on March 26, 2007 by Dr. Mario E. Martinez

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220 of 243 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ecumenical Reader's Guide to St. Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle
Let me begin by noting that I enjoyed Sacred Contracts and its multicultural perspective on understanding your soul very much. It was my enthusiasm for that work that led me to Entering the Castle.

I was taken aback to find that Entering the Castle is an ecumenical reader's guide to St. Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle. If I had known that, I would have...
Published on March 10, 2007 by Donald Mitchell


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166 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating St. Teresa from the Inquisitors, and Much More, March 26, 2007
Before commenting on Caroline's "Entering the Castle", it is important to note how her book is based on sixteenth-century mystic St. Teresa de Avila (Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda). When St. Teresa wrote her theological treatises, the Church did not consider women competent to be authors in general, nor to write about theology, in particular. Although in her book "The Interior Castle" (Las Moradas), St. Teresa proved theologians of the time wrong on both counts, she had to write in a circumspect and self-deprecating style in order to pass the scrutiny of the Inquisitors. These limitations made her writings cumbersome and somewhat fragmented.

In her book "Entering the Castle", Caroline Myss has liberated St. Teresa from the suffocating Inquisition, and has brought sixteenth-century psychology of the spirit to the twenty-first century. Caroline's book offers courage, methodology and hope about how, independent of religious affiliation, we can enter our own "castle" to navigate our spiritual journey. More importantly however, Caroline very wisely suggests, we must be "mystics out of the monastery" so that we can reach others with the wealth of spirit required to advance global consciousness. As a clinical psychologist who teaches mystics wellness on their arduous journey to find union with the divine, I strongly recommend "Entering the Castle", for anyone who is seeking spiritual guidance that goes beyond New Age "quick fix".
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220 of 243 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ecumenical Reader's Guide to St. Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle, March 10, 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Let me begin by noting that I enjoyed Sacred Contracts and its multicultural perspective on understanding your soul very much. It was my enthusiasm for that work that led me to Entering the Castle.

I was taken aback to find that Entering the Castle is an ecumenical reader's guide to St. Teresa of Avila's The Interior Castle. If I had known that, I would have read The Interior Castle instead for a deeper Christian reading on St. Teresa's mystical experiences and guidance for the rest of us.

If you aren't a Christian, you may like Entering the Castle because the book is careful not to take a Christian perspective while referencing figures from the faith. Jesus, for instance, is typically described as a spiritual figure rather than the son of God. Although Caroline Myss describes herself as a Catholic, her personal beliefs seem to be that all religions are essentially identical. It's more of a Unitarian view than a Catholic description of religion.

If you are a Christian, why wouldn't you want a purely Christian perspective?

The book is very slow to begin. It takes around a hundred pages before you reach the first part of what St. Teresa of Avila described. I didn't find the writing to be tight and engaging like the writing is in Sacred Contracts.

St. Teresa wrote about her mystical experiences as a kind of roadmap that someone can follow who wants more a more direct relationship with God. As described in Entering the Castle there are seven metaphorical mansions in the castle. Within each mansion, there are rooms that represent stages of mystical experience and development. These rooms are described as exercises for you to do. There's a caution that St. Teresa reported that some nuns couldn't get past the first few mansions, and that progress will take years. Think of this book as describing a life journey rather than a quick fix to improve your life.

Here are the mansions and their main subjects:

1. Prayer, humility, chaos, and Divine seduction

2. Inner vision, spiritual companions, and commitment to God

3. Moving past reason into faith, and surrendering to God

4. Receiving God fully

5. Being led by your soul

6. Channeling grace to dissolve self

7. Carrying your fully developed soul back into the world

The author adds prayers, examples, and directions to make these steps easier to grasp. I found that her personal examples were the most helpful as she pursues a quest that began when St. Teresa spoke to her.

A disappointing aspect of the book is that the three early mansions receive most of the attention, even though where most people want to be is in one of the latter mansions. Perhaps that's because St. Teresa indicated that it was up to God for you to make progress through those last four mansions.

I have been interested in these same subjects for many years, and I used this book to help me get a sense of where I was in my journey. What surprised me was that my roadmap seems to be a lot different than this one. From that I conclude that there's more than one path to mystical connection to God. Now that I realize that lesson, I intend to read more of what Christian mystics have had to say so that I can learn from each of them.

I was particularly surprised to see the emphasis on healing of others in this book. I hadn't thought such an activity would be part of a path to mystical experience. That lesson indicates to me that I have much to learn.

May God bless you, your family, and all you do!
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter...discover yourself, March 14, 2007
Entering the Castle has showed me where my treasure is... within. I experienced entering my own castle and it continues to be quite a journey. Caroline's passion is so embedded into this work, that it is hard for me to read accusations of her being too "preachy" or "condescending". Rather, I see a woman who has experienced the Divine and who demands of herself and the listener the utmost reverence and gratitute for the journey itself. She has judgments like we all do, but please realize that this journey is not about what you can create or get, but instead, it is about going into yourself and dialoguing with the GOD presence within to find out how you can be of service to yourself, the people around you and the world, by becoming a channel for grace!!! Manifestation is awesome, but this work's purpose is not to teach you or help you manifest. If that's what you're looking for then watch "The Secret" or read " The Science of Getting Rich" . If you are aching for a deeper communion with your soul and God, then look no further. A direct connection with your soul is beyond words! Blessings to all.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a rare gift - thank you, March 14, 2007
By 
There is such a great need for a deep connection into the soul, especially when we live in such a chaotic world. This book seems to take you into that mystical experience with great care, compassion and love, as does the CD. Caroline tells us there is work to be done and I think that is SUCH a welcoming concept - especially when the "quick fix" is in vogue and so transient.

REAL personal growth requires a dedication, devotion and discipline. Caroline, through Teresa, is able to show the way. Cleverly the text provides a sacred journey for anyone, of any creed.

There may be many spiritual texts but there are few written in the common language for the lay person. There are many teachers - there are few willing to take us into our depths and carry us through to an experience with God.

There are many books we could chose - Here is one that offers a gift of grace for anyone and everyone willing to pick it up - how extra-ordinary is that?

There are millions of people in the world - there is only one extra-ordinary Caroline Myss

I hope and pray the world is ready for such a rich text as this....Thank you Caroline
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary gift, March 13, 2007
By 
J. Flaherty (East coast,USA) - See all my reviews
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Entering The Castle is an amazing guide into understanding the soul.

This book re-introduced me to the Sacred--and created in me a deep yearning for The Divine. Each chapter describes an aspect of the soul and how to approach this interior world with reverence and humility. Caroline draws deeply upon the teachings of Teresa of Avila and weaves into the text- a rich and wonderous journey. I advise purchaasing the audio Entering The Castle CD'S as well--they contain beautiful prayers and a guided experience into the rooms in the mansions of the soul--this is a book that helps sooth the psyche and soul,it de mystifies mysticism--A Masterpiece !!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a deeper approach, March 10, 2007
By 
Cascading (hood river oregon) - See all my reviews
I must admit to not having read the entire book yet, but I'm well on my way. I was drawn to just opening the book and reading "randomly" (is anything truly random?)and within a few scans I was hooked at a deeper place than Caroline Myss' earlier books which have mostly felt intellectual (not a bad thing and very good works), but not "soulful".

In this work she touched my personal experience in a way that quite surpringly brought me to tears...I felt oddly "heard". Someone is finally speeking to The Divine Experience that makes both spiritual and "practical" sense . Bless you Caroline for listening and responding to the voice of Teresa of Avila and giving us this fine book.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation, July 29, 2007
It takes 100 pages before you enter the first mansion. Some of the material in the beginning is important, but I'm sorry, I just could not connect with the author's own personal experiences. Some of them just sounded to "new age" to me. Superficial is the word that comes to mind although I do not want to to discredit the author's experiences.

The author brings up a good point about the need for deeply spiritual people in the world. The author uses the term "monks without monasteries". It is a catchy phrase, but it confuses the purposes of different vocations. Both vocations call for personal sacrifices (a word not much used in this book), but they are directed toward different goals. The author belittles, or does not recognize the secondary function of monasteries as a conveyor belt to drive and supplement, to support and re-energize the spirituality of those working in the world. (The primary function of monasteries is beyond the book and this book review.)

It seems like the author is specifically looking for some kind of extraordinary experience of God. We all are. But St. John of the Cross and even St. Teresa of Avila herself, along with many other genuine mystics, urge not to seek, or even hope for, these kinds of *extraordinary* experiences. Although they can and do reinforce faith, they become distractions and obstacles for "the one thing necessary"--to love God for God, not for God's consolations and gifts.

There was also an alarming tone of lack of poverty of spirit throughout the book. The author waits too late to address humility in the book, and then it was a bit shallow. The author treats it almost as a drawback or turnoff to reading any further in the book. In too many places I wrote in the margin, "What about grace?" (One definition of grace, avoiding much Christian connotation, is the gift to see old things in a new way. It is a gift and not something that can be self-manufactured.) The author makes it sound like *you* yourself are responsible for working your way through all the mansions of the castle. Yes, the first couple mansions require *work* on your part, but even through these, God is still doing the *real work*. You have to show up and choose to cooperate. Yes, you have to do your homework, but only grace (energy, power, or whatever term one uses) from God will empower you to do so, not your own volition. Without sincere, deep, and total humility, St. Teresa said that it is impossible to progress through the mansions regardless of how much one wants. (Read Johannes Baptist Metz's small book, Poverty of Spirit if you really want to understand humility and realize/live true poverty of spirit.)

In a spirit of ecumenical/all-faiths dialog, the author has sacrificed the beauty and depth of St. Teresa's original, albeit Christian, metaphors and symbols. The author decides to use the word "reptiles" instead of St. Teresa's word "snakes" for evils and worldly temptations. The word "love", although loaded with connotations, seems to be used very sparingly by the author. St. Teresa's word for God, the object of her total desire and commitment, was her "Beloved". This one missing word makes entering the Interior Castle more of an abstraction or exercise of improving ones self-esteem instead of the infinitely more personal and real seeking union with God.

The questions the author asks within each mansions do assist one along the proper path as outlined by St. Teresa. One should be aware that there are many other questions (and rooms) within each mansion that have not *yet* been explored by the book. It is also important to remember that it is not a sequential, linear progression as the author notes.

The detailed imagery the author uses to describe each room and mansion may help many people, but remember the whole idea of the Interior Castle was to be a metaphor/symbol for the *real* journey. Each room and mansion is just a signpost to where you are suppose to go, to some place to visit within. Do not get attached to the signposts, to the imagery of symbols and metaphors. Since St. Teresa was an apophatic mystic, all of the words and imagery themselves will eventually have to be left behind any way in order to seek union with the God above all concepts.

If this book gives you some insight, great. But I recommend reading the original from St. Teresa. Although this author adds much helpful psychology (which is different in many ways than spirituality), too much is lost and sacrificed in the translation.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for a Study Group, March 14, 2007
By 
Angela B (Pacific Northwest) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent guide to take you deeper within yourself, Your Soul and to God. It can guide you deeper into your own gifts and a deeper sense of awe and appreciation for the sacredness and mystery all around us. It's like having an mystic sitting across the room guiding you deeper to your own Truth.

Each chapter takes you to a differnt place within you that is a continually deepening and awe-inspiring journey. I too recommend the audio version together with the book - they are very different and very good compliments to each other.

The journey to Your Soul and God is a Deep and Profound experience - one that you may choose to embark upon with friends. It is the perfect book to study together with group of soul companions to support each other along the path.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In defense of St Teresa, August 16, 2010
By 
Stephen D. Meier (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Entering the Castle: Finding the Inner Path to God and Your Soul's Purpose (Paperback)
This book won't have much foundational reference if you haven't first read St. Teresa's "The Interior Castle" and perhaps more importantly "The Way of Perfection." The metaphors of the seven mansions are beautiful and inspirational. But Caroline Myss's New Age take on the writings of St. Teresa was not what the holy saint had in mind. Some have argued that Teresa's writings were constrained by the fact that she lived during the Inquisition. But Teresa was not only a Catholic Christian and a cloistered nun, but a female during the Inquisition and one who challenged the Church when reforming the Carmelite order and wrote publicly of those beliefs. This is hardly the behavior of a woman fearing the Inquisition. No, Teresa was a true Catholic Christian woman to to the core, through beliefs, actions and written testimony.

It is perplexing therefore when this Catholic-raised author reads the same St. Teresa and then subsequently takes a New Age path. To be clear, it is perfectly acceptable for the author to do this; I'm not judging, but I strongly disagree. Just consider the Teresan foundation of humility... "we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God: let us think of His greatness and then come back to our baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble." But Myss says "humility is the ability to appreciate the many people who devote their lives to helping you make your dreams come true, whether in a corporate setting in which you earn millions of dollars or in a small business or in a family." It seems this author missed the virtues from a heavenly aspect and totally ignores Teresa's never-ending theme of poverty and self-sacrifice? Even arguendo that the book is intended for those of us leading daily active lives (i.e. not in a monastery), it seems to have lost these key elements of Teresan thought. These are just a few examples of the contradictions and why I feel the book misses the mark.

I understand this book should appeal to "seekers" that believe in many paths to human spirituality. I get that. But I can't accept that "The Interior Castle" was the inspiration when the author diverts from the very foundation Teresan thought. Myss cites exhaustive quotes from limitless sources such as her favorite Muslim Sufi, comparisons to the seven Chakras, etc. leading one to choose their own path with an encyclopedia of all the world religions to pick and choose from. This is presumably the ecumenical purpose, but by doing so fails to do justice to St. Teresa's passion.

No, Myss changed the meditative focus from God to the castle or to ourselves, removed the Teresa from Teresa and sent her into exile from her own sacred castle! It's hardly a work inspired by the original. Compare this to the popular "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert discusses Yogic meditation and the often reasonably cites Teresa for her knowledge of mystic practice but never alleges Teresa to be the entire inspiration for her book. To be fair, Myss does list many insightful truths faithful to the Teresan message that I have taken to heart, leaving me to wonder if it was by happenstance or by providence, but again so many contradictions to her as well. If you absolutely must read this book, please read the saint's writings first with her focus on humility, love for God and love of mankind; the castle is just a metaphor for the soul, not the meditative focus. Even if you disagree with me on all other points, at least get St. Teresa's perspective first.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding meaning in today's world, March 25, 2007
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An excellent book. This is Ms. Myss most heartfelt and directly personal work. It takes you step-by-step from the choas and vapidness of our ordinary,modern life to a more meaningful and transcendent experience of this life. She answers the question: "Is this all there is?" in a way that anyone can understand.
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Entering the Castle: Finding the Inner Path to God and Your Soul's Purpose
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