Exploring the John of God experience in Brazil.
I [Robert] heard about John of God (Joao de Deus, or Medium Joao, as he is known in Brazil), from a homeopathic colleague who had several times been to the Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola, located in the small town of Abadiania (pronounced Ah-bah-jah-nia), in central Brazil, 71 miles south of the capital, Brasilia. (Dom Inacio, or St. Ignatius, founded the Jesuit order in Spain in the 16th century and was noted for his healing miracles.)
I learned that John of God, whose given name is Joao Teixeira de Faria, is a powerful medium and healer, with a second-grade education and no medical training. Though he claims that God, not he, does the healing, he and the spiritual Entities whom he incorporates have been healing the sick, the lame, and the nearly dead, free of charge, for more than 50 years. He has had success in healing many kinds of cancer; AIDS; paralysis; polio; blindness; deafness; hepatitis B; migraine headaches; multiple sclerosis; heart disease; and many kinds of emotional, physical, and spiritual imbalances. There are countless testimonials, and some scientific analyses of his healing abilities.
One day, Joao, a poor, hungry 14-year-old walking the countryside looking for food or work, met an angelic-looking woman sitting by the riverside, whom he later recognized as the spirit of Rita de Cascia, a 13th-century Italian saint. They spent the day together, talking about spiritual matters. She directed him to attend a Spiritist meeting at a nearby center the next day. (Spiritists believe that one can contact the departed for help and healing, and also believe in reincarnation, selflessness, and service.) The next day, when he tried to find the captivating woman again by the river before going, there only remained a column of light where she had been sitting.
Continuing on to the Spiritist center with some trepidation, he found himself warmly welcomed by name, and expected by the center's director. During the Spiritist meeting, Joao spontaneously went into trance, losing outer consciousness. When he awoke hours later, he was told that he had healed more than 40 people while incorporating the spirit of the biblical King Solomon, without any memory of it whatsoever. Surprised and uncertain of what had happened, he nevertheless enjoyed the food, the warmth of the center's people, and the bed that they provided. While in trance he had directed people to return to the hall the next day at 2 p.m. for more treatment. Joao returned the next day on time, and the same trance and miraculous healings occurred.
Since that time, John of God has incorporated a number of highly evolved spiritual beings, known collectively as the Entities, who wish to perform healings through him. Only one of these beings incorporates at any one time. They may include, most commonly, Dom Inacio, King Solomon, St. Francis Xavier, St. Rita, and Drs. Augusto de Almeida, Bezerra de Menezes, Oswaldo Cruz, and Jose Valdivino-who all had at least one lifetime as a doctor or healer. Cruz, for example, was a Brazilian physician and bacteriologist in the early 20th century, famous for his work in developing vaccines and combating malaria, smallpox, bubonic plague, and yellow fever.
Observers who are psychically sensitive can see the form or face of the spirit healer superimposed on Medium Joao, as has been captured in at least one photograph. Others may simply see his expression and manner change to match the typical demeanor of the incorporated Entity. Observers report that even his eye color may change while incorporating certain Entities.
Inacio is often recognized by a prominent limp, from an injury to his leg from a cannonball during the Battle of Pamplona in 1521. De Almeida has a very stern and efficient but extremely kind demeanor. Valdivino is known for his love and compassion, and for his ability to have paraplegics move their limbs or throw away their crutches and walk.
Joao himself once suffered a stroke, which left him paralyzed on one side. When he incorporated an Entity though, his paralysis disappeared, returning only when the Entity departed. The Entity also could perform surgery on Medium Joao's own body while incorporated, which eventually resulted in cure of the disability.
John of God's destiny was to be a healer, and he endured many trials for years, including being criticized by medical and religious authorities, abused, and even jailed a number of times, as he traveled through Brazil healing the sick and troubled. Eventually, he received guidance from the spirit of Bezerra de Menezes, through the renowned Brazilian medium Francisco "Chico" Xavier, to build a center in the virtually unknown town of Abadiania. The town sits on a huge bed of subterranean quartz crystal and is graced by a small, beautiful waterfall, where patients are sent for healing and cleansing.
Each week, from Wednesday through Friday, many hundreds of people come for healing, in addition to those who volunteer as translators, helpers, guides, and mediums to augment the spiritual healing energy there through their meditation and service.
The main hall, two "current rooms," and a surgery room make up the central part of the Casa de Dom Inacia. A small herbal pharmacy, a blessed soup kitchen, crystal bed treatment rooms, a snack bar, and a store selling books and local crystals are also there for the benefit of patients and guests. The grounds are a little bit of heaven, with tropical foliage, flower beds, large donated wooden benches for meditation and prayer overlooking a captivating, magically verdant valley, and a central statue of Dom Inacio where the faithful make prayers and requests for healing.
Inside the main hall, one finds a profusion of photos and paintings, including moving but nontraditional images of Jesus and Mary, paintings of Dom Inacio and other saints, John of God at various ages, videos and photos of healings, a poster of Hindu gurus, and a special message of praise in Tibetan from the Dalai Lama. This is more than enough to keep one busy while waiting for the day's healing sessions to begin, at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. sharp. Healings may take place in the main hall, the Entities' current room, or the surgery room. In the main hall, one finds a small stage with a large wooden triangle on the wall where people place photos and messages about loved ones in need of healing, and also touch their foreheads in prayer to a central groove in the middle of the triangle, left by the multitude of people who have prayed there before for themselves and others.
I traveled by taxi from the airport, a journey of 1 1/2. hours through the beautiful countryside from the strikingly modern capital of Brasilia. When I arrived at Abadiania I was struck by its simplicity and pastoral quality. You could blink and miss this tiny town, devoted almost entirely to housing and feeding those who come to see John of God. The whitewashed or paste! adobe houses, pousadas (guesthouses), snack bars, restaurants, and a cybercafe are arranged along a single thoroughfare and a few side streets. The town is surrounded by green pastures and rolling open spaces, with horses, cows, and goats. The Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola is situated at the very end of the main street. Its white buildings with bright blue roofs are set off from the street by a blue metal fence and gate, and parking areas within and across the street, large enough for the tour buses who bring people from all over Brazil and other parts of South America.
Many people from North America and Europe come to see John of God for the first time as part of a tour group. Tours to visit John of God are easily found on the Internet. I came on my own, and had the good fortune to find the Pousada Luz Divina, run by Catherine Tucker, an American woman with Southern charm and hospitality. She provided a thorough orientation, three nutritious, tasty meals a day, and a pleasant room with nice grounds overlooking the countryside. Most of the people there were North American or European. Numerous other pousadas are available as well, some more oriented to Brazilians or a mixed clientele of Brazilians and foreigners.
I arrived on a Tuesday to attend the English-language orientation that evening at the Casa. Our host was Arturo, a short, stocky Brazilian man in his late 40s, with snappy patter, a direct manner, and a great sense of humor. He claimed to have come to the Casa in a wheelchair, and now he was standing and walking in front of us without any trace of his former affliction. Out of gratitude to John of God and the Entities, he came to the Casa most days to translate for English-speakers, and organized tours for other Brazilians.
Arturo explained the various recommendations and rules of the Casa in order to optimize our stay and treatment, warning us that if we were not obedient, our illnesses might not be healed, or even become worse. He invited us to come to the translators' window before the morning session to have our three questions, concerns, or illnesses translated into Portuguese to be reviewed by the Entity incorporated in Medium Joao that day.
Most visitors try to spend at least two weeks in Abadiania, but I, unfortunately only had three days available. I was instructed to go the first day on Wednesday to present my concerns, and that afternoon I would have visible or invisible surgery. Then I would have a day of recuperation on Thursday, and I could come back to the Casa on Friday with any final questions.
I arrived by 7:30 the next morning, dressed all in white, to have my questions translated by Arturo. The Entities are said to prefer white clothes so they can see a person's aura more clearly. I entered the main hall, which was rapidly filling up, and spent some time sensing the energy and looking at the pictures on the wall and the videos of John of God performing surgery.
The videos were quite interesting--and a little shocking. In case after case, the Entity performed one of three types of surgery. In the first type, a superficial incision was made with a scalpel dipped in holy water, near the problem area. There was only a small amount of blood, and the patient appeared to feel no pain. Sometimes Medium Joao poked his fingers in the incision and moved them around, occasionally removing something, perhaps a tumor or other diseased tissue. Then he stitched up the incision with a surgical needle and thread, again with no apparent discomfort to the patient. What was actually happening during the surgery was difficult to discern, but the minimal bleeding and anesthetic effect were consistent. It was not what you might see during a conventional appendectomy or cancer surgery; it seemed more symbolic, somehow, but the stitches were real, and by report and testimonial, patients often were healed, either right then or after repeated treatments. What was apparent was that this was not the Mayo Clinic, and that something altogether different was occurring here.
In the second kind of surgery, Medium Joao took a hemostat with a small piece of cotton at the end, dipped it in holy water and, while tilting the patient's head back, thrust it suddenly up the patient's nostril and twirled it vigorously, then removed it with a kind of triumphant flair, exhibiting it around the around the room. A bit of blood might also flow from the nose during this procedure, and the patient looked a little shocked, needing support from the attendants, but in no apparent pain.
If that didn't make one squeamish enough, the third technique was to scrape the outer covering of both eyeballs with a small kitchen paring knife from the surgical tray, dipped first in holy water and afterward wiped with a cloth. Again the patients were calm and seemed to be anaesthetized without any anesthetic being administered. This procedure was said to be a treatment for 28 different ailments, which I have not seen enumerated.
Only about 10% of the patients of John of God receive physical surgeries, and no one over age 53. In fact, those whom the Entities believe need the tangible proof of surgery are more likely to have the visible procedures. The rest receive surgery done invisibly by other nonincorporated Entities under the direction of the main Entity that day.
These invisible surgeries are real nonetheless, and can entail internal stitches visible on CT scan or MRI. In fact, if you will not be at the Casa one week after your surgery, you must give the address where you will be, and wear white on that night, so that the Entities can psychically remove any stitches or give any other necessary postoperative treatment while you sleep.
I arrived open to whatever I could learn and benefit from experiencing, for myself and my work with patients, but 1 was reluctant, not surprisingly, about the prospect of such surgeries. (At the time I didn't know that I was too old to receive a visible surgery and so had nothing to worry about.)
After the introductory talk in Portuguese, the people who were scheduled to receive surgery that morning lined up and filed into the first current room, filled with volunteer mediums who helped create and maintain the spiritual energy needed by the Entities for the session to come. I waited.
Next came the people who had been seen at least once before, who had questions or needed their treatment reviewed by the Entity. They also formed a line and filed into the current room.
Finally the time came for us first-timers, and we also entered the first or mediums' current room, not really knowing what we would find. On our left was a group of about 30 people in white, meditating in pews. As we filed along, waiting our brief turn with the Entity, we entered the entities' current room, a more churchlike room with even more pews, also filled with meditators and mediums, the walls bearing striking paintings of some of the main Entities, and a banner saying "Ad Gloriam Deus," the slogan of Dom Inacio and the Jesuits.
At the front of the room sat Medium Joao in Entity, as it is called when he is incorporating one of the healing spirits. He was flanked by a huge, lighted rose quartz crystal, with a painting of Dom Inacio behind his chair. One by one, he patiently heard the questions, pleas for healing, and concerns of those who had come so far, and sometimes sacrificed a great deal, to see him. He had already finished the morning's surgeries and follow-ups, and was now dealing with us newbies. The energy in the room could only be described as holy or sacred. There was a genuine presence of love, healing energy, and focused attention.
The line moved quickly, with John of God only spending a few moments with each of us. When it was my turn, I handed my three questions to Arturo, who read them to the Entity. He looked at me and spoke only three words in Portuguese, which Arturo faithfully translated as "Surgery, 2 o'clock!" and that was that.
I left the room somewhat disappointed at the brevity of my contact with Medium Joao, passing through an adjoining room with other huge quart crystals and a pile of discarded crutches, braces, and wheelchairs. In the surgery room were some people on gurneys and in pews recovering from their recent surgeries, with attendants making sure that they were comfortable.
I made my way to the "blessed soup" line, where vegetable soup is lovingly offered free to the patients and their families, and is also transported to the pousadas and across town for the local poor people to enjoy as well. Then I took in the vista, visited the bookstore, and walked back to my pousada for more lunch and conversation about the morning's events.
When I returned at 2 p.m., I went straight to the surgery line. We filed in again past the mediums and also past Medium Joao, filling another set of pews off to the side, outside the surgery room. Apparently, no one in our group was selected for visible surgery, and we were told to close our eyes and place our right hands over the places that needed healing, or over our hearts if we only wanted emotional healing. Each of us received a small paper with what appeared to be a scribble on it. It turned out afterward to be an individualized prescription for blessed herbs.
Prayers were said and we received our healings. I felt a strong sense of energy coming into me, and a visualization of an incision being made, below my ribs, on the right side, where I had placed my hand. There was no blood or external indication of surgery. Afterward, we turned our prescriptions in to the pharmacy and bought several bottles of blessed passionflower herbal capsules to take during the next 40 days or so.
We were instructed to return to our pousadas by cab to avoid exertion in the heat of the midday sun, and to just rest in our rooms for 24 hours, without returning to the Casa. I was totally wiped out, and could do little more than sleep, rest more, and read a little, which is typical after both visible or invisible surgeries. Meals were lovingly brought to me by others at the pousada, who checked on me to make sure that I was OK. We were not supposed to engage in conversation except to get our needs met. Other instructions were to drink plenty of blessed water; avoid eating spicy food, black pepper, and pork products; and abstain from sexual activity, physical exercise, and dancing for at least 40 days, or until the herbs were gone. My plans were to go with Judyth to Carnaval and the Amazon the day after I left. I could tell that she wasn't going to like these instructions: passionflower, but no dancing, drinking, or sex during Carnaval in Brazil. What was I thinking? It turned out, though, that Judyth was a trouper and didn't give me a hard time, as she could tell it was important to me, even if she didn't understand it all fully.
I returned to the Casa for the morning session on Friday, just before leaving for the airport to meet Judyth for the rest of our trip. 1 went before Medium Joao again briefly and asked for emotional healing on a personal issue. He said, "Surgery room, I will help you there." Over the next 10 minutes I received a download and analysis of the whole issue explained to me, its roots and what I should do about it. I was moved to tears and was still crying when it was time to leave.
Afterwards, still reeling from the impact of the session, and prior to departing, I decided to have a crystal bed treatment. The device uses music and colored flashing lights transmitted through crystals to energize and cleanse the chakras. During my time on the crystal bed, the Entities just picked up where they left off in the recovery room, and left me with no doubt that I was receiving information that was not coming from my imagination.
My time with John of God and the Entities at the Casa came to an end, but not their influence. Over the last two months I have been moved to learn a lot about John of God and the Casa. The excellent book John of God, The Brazilian Healer Who's Touched the lives of Millions, by Heather Cumming and Karen Leffler, provided much of the background information for this article, and went far beyond what I could learn myself in my short time at the Casa.
My spiritual life has been expanded, and some cherished concepts dissolved. I don't know yet if there has been much physical healing. Some back pain got better, then worse again. A metabolic problem shows signs of improving, but I haven't yet had a confirmatory blood test. I can only say that there has a spiritual shift to open me up to new possibilities and unexpected realities. I know from my own experience that John of God is genuine, and I believe that he and the Entities are a true gift for helping and healing those of us still confined to planet Earth.
For more information about John of God, books, and tours, see the following websites:
* HealingQuests.com: http://www.healingquests.com
* Karen Leffler's website: http://www.spiritfotos.com
* Dr. Emma Bragdon (trip leader): http://www.emmabragdon.com
* Healing Journeys: http://www.healingjourneys.net
* John of God: http://www.john-of-god.com
* John of God Healing Journeys: http://www.johnofgodhealing.com
* Pousada Luz Divina: http://www.pousadaluzdivina.com
* video of a healing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePxtylJN7MM
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians, board certified in homeopathy. Their books include Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment, A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism, Ritalin-Free Kids, Rage-Free Kids, Prozac Free, Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family, Whole Woman Homeopathy, and The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine. They teach and lecture internationally and practice at the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds and Langley, Washington. They treat patients by phone and videoconference as well as in person, and can be reached by telephone at 425-774-5599 or by fax at 425-670-0319. Their website is http://www.healthyhomeopathy.com.
by Robert Ullman, ND, and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, LCSW