As we drove into Abadiania I did second guess myself for a moment and wondered what I had allowed myself to get into. I had just spent an hour and a half in 95¡ heat, squished in the back of a taxi commandeered by a driver whose understanding of speed bumps is different than mine. Driving at breakneck speeds between them, he would slam on the brakes just in time to make it over a bump without hitting it, only to immediately accelerate to 40 kph over the speed limit until the next bump.
Abadiania itself is in the middle of nowhere in the highlands of central Brazil . Being at the end of the dry season, the area was particularly dusty and extremely hot. The town is very unassuming and is populated by a mix of impoverished Brazilians and people who are associated with The Casa, the healing center of John of God. Pousadas (inns) are conveniently located near The Casa for those on their healing journeys.
The town continued to be a study in contrasts. Our pousada was very welcoming, quiet, and secure with a beautiful walled-in garden. The rooms were very simple and sparse. As with most who visit Abadiania, my friends and I were there for spiritual and/or physical healing. Many who travel from near and far to get there are very ill. The Casa is love, meditation, quiet, and healing on all levels..
Brazilians, however, like noise. Cars, buses, and even garbage trucks, drive up and down the streets with huge speakers perched on the top of their vehicles, blaring music or advertisements. Since we were there right before elections, we were treated to fireworks at any and all times of the day and night. (These were for the noise factor only Ð no "ooh" or "aah" Fourth of July displays.) Violence and crime are also prevalent so common sense and vigilance were required at all times. Somehow none of this interfered with our experience there.
The Casa de Dom Inacio was founded by Jaoa Teixeira da Faria, the medium known simply as John of God. On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays he is at the Casa for two sessions a day. During these sessions he is taken over by one of over thirty healing entities that do their work through him. When Jaoa is at work and speaking to those who have come seeking his help, he is referred to simply as "The Entity."
Just to be there was a humbling experience. Hundreds of people from all walks of life and all corners of the earth were there. Old and young, male and female, Buddhist and Christian, rich and poor -- they were all there. People brought loved ones in wheelchairs and babies in carriages. Some had obvious physical, emotional, or mental ailments while others appeared to be in perfect health. Many simply sought spiritual healing.
At the English orientation we were told by Arturo, one of the translators at The Casa, that three things were asked of us. Patience was first on the list. The second was forgiveness (of others and self) which needed to include forgetting. The third was love, with the emphasis on receiving love. I, for one, knew I could work on all three of these. He explained some of the rules and processes of The Casa, asked us to write down why we were there, and warned us to watch out for "rat snaks" (rattlesnakes), which I did.
Dressed in white, as is recommended, we joined hundreds of others the first Wednesday morning as we waited in line to have our questions translated. Then we joined even more people for over an hour of prayer (mostly in Portuguese), meditation, and explanations in the main reception hall. After that we waited in another line to pass before the Entity. (By this time I knew where the patience requirement came in.) The line went through two "current" (from corrente meaning vital force) rooms filled with people meditating. Mediums of the Casa were in the second room, along with others who had been instructed to go in there. At the end of the room sat Medium Jaoa in Entity.
It was at this point that I began to understand the magic of the Casa - so many people dedicated to healing themselves and others, all creating an energy that is impossible to describe. I stood briefly before the Entity as he wrote down his instructions on a piece of paper that would later be translated by Arturo. I was to get herbs and come back in the afternoon for surgery. I then waited in line for the blessed and satisfying soup that is served Wednesday through Friday each week.
Trusting that whatever was supposed to happen would happen, three of the four of us who were traveling together went back to the Casa after lunch for surgery. Since we are all over 52, visible surgery was not an option (which was OK with me). We were led to a room with all the other English speaking people who were there for "invisible surgery" and we were treated all together. Some of us experienced some sort of twinge, prick, or slight discomfort on one or more body parts, while others of us were not quite sure what was done.
The next 24 hours were spent in our pousada, resting, meditating, and just "being." Many sleep for much of this post-surgery time and some experience discomfort. Although I didn't sleep during the day following surgery, I had no trouble doing nothing. It was a time of reflection and working through much of what I went there to process and release. For me this was a time to focus on the "forgive and forget" part.
We spent Friday morning in the first current room. I was amazed that I meditated for three hours through intense heat, music, prayers in Portuguese, prayers in English that were partially drowned out by the fans (for which I was grateful), and people walking through the room on their way to the Entity. A sense of peace was always present.
That afternoon we went through the line again to ask for permission from the Entity to visit the waterfall. I also took a photo of one of my children, since the Entity does distance healing as well. The second time through I was better able to absorb the experience and felt tremendous gratitude for just being there.
We stayed in Abadiania for the next week. Even though there are no organized activities at the Casa Saturday through Tuesday, the shop is open and the grounds are open for meditation and prayer. The veranda is a wonderful place for meditating and enjoying the view that overlooks the valley.
The Casa offers several other healing opportunities and experiences. We visited the sacred waterfall several times. This magical place was a rainforest oasis in the midst of extreme dryness. The refreshingly cool water, lush greenery and colorful butterflies were a welcome contrast to the heat and dust of the town. The water was cleansing on many levels.
Crystal bed sessions are twenty minutes in length and involve lying on a bed under seven suspended crystals that are aimed at the chakras. Each crystal has a plastic cover in the corresponding chakra color. Designed to open and balance the chakras, the crystal beds are very powerful healing tools.
I did go before Jaoa in Entity one more time before I left. This entity was clearly different from the one I met on the first day. He took more time and reached for my hand. I could both see and feel his serenity, love, and healing energy.
We met some wonderful people in Abadiania. Some had gone there to be healed and never left. Some were there for the first time, while a man staying at our pousada was there for the ninth time. Some worked as volunteers at the Casa, while others were employed there. They all embraced and evoked the spirituality and connectedness that is part of life in and around the Casa.
When we first arrived I couldn't begin to imagine staying there for ten nights. The longer I was there, the more I understood why someone would want to be there and why so many came back or stayed. There is a camaraderie that is shared by all who make the journey to the Casa and there is unconditional love offered by Jaoa, this man who has dedicated his life to healing others. All who make the journey are treated the same. The services, with the exception of the crystal beds, are available to anyone at no cost, although donations are gratefully accepted. All that is required is to bring an open heart and an open mind.
The four of us were there for different reasons, but for all of us it was a spiritual healing experience on a level that transcends all others. It remains to be seen what the outcomes will be. Although there are many stories of miraculous and instantaneous healings (and we did witness some improvements in people), the majority occur over time.
There is a magic to Abadiania and the energy surrounding the Casa of John of God that is difficult to describe. It needs to be experienced to be fully understood. For more information go to johnofgod.com, friendsofthecasa.org, or travelingtothecasa.com. Several books are also available.
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.