She was 62 (1577) when wrote in less than 6 months, her book called ‘The Mansions‘ or ‘The Inner Castle‘ in obedience to an assignment given by her spiritual leaders. The first paragraph is her complaining about that. Later she saidd got the vision of a crystal globe with 7 mansions (& even more mansions) with God in the center.
The book is a guide to spiritual purification, describing the soul as a castle with 7 mansions, on the path to a mystical union/marriage with the divine ‘Majesty’ in the center or innermost mansion. She wrote that by emptying oneself of all attachments to creatures, God then comes and fills the soul with Himself, but this is Catholic doctrine about sin & purgatory, CCC #1472. At the end of the journey the soul would reach Spiritual Marriage in the 7th Mansion, the souls is free from sin & have union with God.
Catholic doctrine teaches nuns are the ‘Brides of Christ’ (1) many even wear a wedding ring, but the problem with all this Spiritual Marriage is that according with the Bible His ‘Church‘ is still in the betrothal period & not married until the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven (Rev. 19:7-10), after Christ Himself comes for His (one) bride, which is His faithful Church, not separate individuals or many brides.
To seek ‘divine union‘ with god through meditation is a pagan doctrine, & even if someone imitating heathens want to apply this to Christianity to seek union/marriage with Christ now before the wedding off the Lamb, still would be a form of spiritual fornication not pleasing to God. For this reason (& others) the ‘god/majesty’ encountered in the center of their labyrinth (1) is not the God of the Bible. Revelation 17 & 18 mentions a counterfeit church (religious system) or bride. ‘Babylon the Great’ that corrupted the earth with her spiritual fornication & killed the saints of God (Rev.17:6). This world wide religious system have its headquarters located in a city built on 7 hills (Rev.17:9). “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Rev.18: 4. (Only Rome & Jerusalem are the 2 cities built on 7 hills).
It’s very important to note that in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) & in the Talmud, there has been a constant theme referring to the ‘mystic’ who journeys to the divine realm of the 7 Palaces of Paradise to the throne of God. These ecstatic journeys to the other-world appeared first in Babylonian sources. Merkabah teachings (early Kabbalah) describe 7 divisions/layers in heaven circled by fire, guarded by angels, & the higher (7th) heaven contained seven palaces (hekhalot).
“Merkava/Hekhalot mysticism began after the end of the Second Temple period following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., when the physical cult ceased to function. The idea of making a journey to the heavenly “hekhal” seems to be a kind of spiritualization of the pilgrimages to the earthly “hekhal” that were now no longer possible. . . .
Hekhalot” (palaces), derives from the divine abodes seen by the practitioner following a long period of ritual purification, self-mortification, and ecstatic prayer and meditation. In their visions, these mystics would enter into the celestial realms and journey through the seven stages of mystical ascent: the Seven Heavens and seven throne rooms“. -religion.wikia.org.
And same as Teresa of Avila’s vision, in their innermost palace resides their divine King (an androgynous god of forces) or an angelic image called Metatron, king of angels whom they say helps them & gives them knowledge, Rabbi Michael Laitman teaches that, “The Serpent is the Angel of Help. We should be grateful to the Serpent.”
The Merkabah writings give great emphasis on prayer, meditation, mystical contemplation, magical names, magical talismans and the development of ethical & moral qualities, which are referred to as prerequisites for understanding the secrets of the seven palaces. These Kabbalistic Jews also teach that the prayers of the ‘righteous & sincere’ person (unsaved ones) are carried from one palace or mansion to the next by a seraphim, the same angel encountered by Teresa.
Many Kabbalists of today recognize the fact that what they read on Teresa of Avila work, is very much alike of what they learn in Kabbalah. One example:
‘As in the Zoharic text quoted earlier, here we have an ‘exalted King’ (Lord of the Castle) who decides who will or will not enter his domain.
A probable reason for this similarity between Teresa’s Interior Castle and the earlier Zohar lies in the Jewish ancestry of Teresa. Whilst Teresa attempted to keep her past secret, she had been brought up in a Jewish converso family whose ancestors had in earlier times felt it prudent to convert to Christianity. Additionally we need to note that both Teresa and her confidant, Juan de la Cruz, were living in Avila, the Spanish town where Moses de Leon had compiled the Zohar less than three hundred years earlier. The American academic Sujan Jane Burgeson has noted the similarity of Teresa’s seven mansions not only to the ten sefirot of the Zohar, but also to the seven stages of meditation in Abraham Abulafia’s ectastic Kabbalah, and to the seven palaces of the earlier Merkabah tradition.
. . . As a modern historian has noted, “the world of Merkabah mysticism is one of the most dazzling of the mystical worlds. It is a realm of fantastic heavenly beings, of bizarre magical names, and of occult interactions between spirit and matter. In it, closed gates to celestial palaces are opened by long, incomprehensible incantations, . . ‘ -Comparative perspectives on the Zohar by John Noyce, 2004.
Moses de Leon (1250-1305) was a Jewish Kabbalist born in Spain who lived in Avila, modern scholars consider him the author of the Zohar (the main Kabbala book) or at least author part of it. Moses de Leon claimed that he worked from ancient manuscripts by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai dating back to the 2nd century, but after Moses died his widow even she was offered good sums of money, denied those manuscripts ever existed. He also had writings in the traditions of Merkabah. He had a close relationship with Joseph Gikatilla, a disciple of the famed Abraham Abulafia. Moses de Leon was greatly influenced by the Neo-Platonism (By Greek philosopher of 3rd century Plotinus taught that the supreme being, called The One, could only be encountered (have union) in an irrational state of ecstasy (trance) achieved through certain progressive steps of mystical contemplation) & was also influenced by his friend rabbi Joseph Gikatilla.
Abraham Abulafia (considered a prophet & messiah by the Kabbalists) was born in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1240. He studied Kabbalah in Barcelona. Abulafia’s work also formed the major inspiration in Giovanni Pico della Mirandola work on Kabbala, that the Catholic mystic (a converso) presented in a ‘Christian’ manner. Abufalia wrote 7 stages of Meditation Techniques (including breathing exercises) for mystical union with god & Prophetic Kabbalah. Pico after being excommunicated (excomulgated) was fully rehabilitated in 1493 by corrupt pope Alexander VI [Rodrigo Borgia ], & at the end of his life Pico became a mystic Dominican monk.
Another example from a Spanish Kabbalist blogger:
The Zohar in particular contains images extremely similar to the concepts of Saint Teresa such as: “The Palaces of the Lord”, “The Interior Mansions”, “The Diamond Palace”, “The Silk Worm”, “The Mirror”, ” The Nut ” & “The Dove “. Her way of using these images is similar to the Zohar style in which the mixture of metaphors and symbols that are related is considered an Art.
. . . St. Teresa speaks of a celestial palace as “of a crystal clear diamond“. The palaces of which the Kabbalists speak are made of precious stones, usually hard as diamond or sapphires (from the Hebrew Sappir “radiation of the Divine Light”).
Kabbalah is an occult mystical teaching aimed at achieving union with god (their god), in order to obtain godhood ( Same lie that the serpent offered in the garden). This isn’t real Judaism, they consider the stories of the Old Testament just myths, they use them but have their own twisted & perverted interpretations. Kabbalah teaches Adonay the God of the Bible is the bad God & Lucifer the good one, for that Kabbalah is a prerequisite for all Luciferian practitioners. They also teach that knowledge (gnosis) of the mysteries of the divine realm are essential for this union with god. Central to their practice is the ‘Tree of Life’ which the mystic ascended symbolically trough meditation. They have 7 lower paths or gates, (that also correspond to the chakras taught in yoga), & 3 higher paths or mystical steps to achieve unity with the divine. Kabbalah is divided in 4 worlds or stages.
Teresa also wrote about 4 stages of mystical prayer in her autobiography ‘The Life’, in chapter 4 & 23 she acknowledges her debt to two mystic authors: Francisco de Osuna, author of The Third Spiritual Alphabet, and Bernardino de Laredo, also a converso, the author of The Ascent of Mount Sion. This treatise by Laredo describes the same prayer of union that Teresa used.
Commentary by a Catholic (Kabbalistic) Friar:
Toledo was known as a centre of Kabbalah and the Church, encouraged by Popes, for over a hundred years had been advocating the study of Jewish Kabbalah as a way to explain more fully the Catholic mysteries. In fact some writers believe that it was the Catholic Church that helped spread the wisdom of the Kabbalah especially the Zohar. Sixtus IV ordered the translation into Latin of seventy works of Kabbalah and Pope Paul IV encouraged and supported the first printing of the Zohar. Both St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila used the writings of Bernardino de Laredo (especially the Ascent of Mount Sion) who was a known converso (as well as a doctor and a Franciscan) drawing on Jewish mystical traditions.
Bernardino de Laredo’s writings were able to be passed by the Inquisition only when he rewrote them emphasizing Scriptural quotes and Catholic sources. St John of the Cross followed his example by explaining his ideas with frequent scriptural references. Even then certain sections of his writings seem to have been removed. One who is familiar with the Jewish Kabbalah and mystical books can’t help but notice that St John of the Cross refers to the same Scriptural sources as the mystical writings of the Jewish rabbis and mystics. The Bahir seems to be one source, whether used directly or indirectly, for some of St John’s teachings.. . .
-Brother Gilbert Bloomer, Catholic Theologian, member of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, & founder of Bnei Miriam Kollel, institute to teach the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith.
St. John of the Cross also wrote about the journey of the soul to ‘union with god‘ using steps of a ladder. The Bahir (brilliant or illumination) mentioned above is another book of Kabbalah teachings. Both Teresa of Avila & John of the Cross were proclaimed Doctors of the Church, this title is given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made significant contribution to their theology or doctrine. There are other Catholic Doctors that were influenced by Kabbalah, e.g mystic Thomas of Aquinas, or by Gnosticism, e.g Augustine of Hippo (Min.21:00).