Wednesday – The town was full – there wasn’t an extra room at a hotel to be found. Over 200 people were at the Casa all dressed in white, the suggested clothing color. They had come from everywhere on earth for every type of health reason imaginable.
Before John of God came on the low stage in front of the packed audience, another gentleman addressed the crowd for over 30 minutes, all in Portuguese. Comprehending only a few words, I understood him to be explaining how the healing works. The person receiving the healing must be strong in their faith and prayers to help facilitate the change they need. Without much introduction, John of God was suddenly standing before us onstage, only 10 feet from me. The first speaker stepped to the back, and John of God began talking, in Portuguese, of course.
His voice was deep and mesmerizing, even and peaceful. He was already in a trance state – his eyes were in another world. I was very near the front of the audience – I figured if I came this far to see what it was all about I wasn’t going to stand way in the back. A number of people around me and in front of me were videoing him with their small point and shoot digital cameras. I considered doing that, too, but thought it seemed disrespectful to be filming, considering the spiritual nature of the whole event.
John of God spoke for about 20 minutes, then turned and conducted a quick eye surgery onstage – the young man had been patiently waiting onstage for almost an hour, and I’d been watching him having difficulty standing in the position they had put him in. The eye surgery consisted of an assistant coming onstage with a tray of instruments, John of God picking out a scraping tool that looked like a knife, holding the young man’s eyeball open and scraping the inside of the eyeball closest to the nose. I didn’t see any blood, but it looked like it must have been painful.
When the patient was guided offstage by assistants, a young woman came onstage and John of God performed a nose surgery. This was gruesome to watch. She was holding her belly and I thought she must have colon cancer or some other abdominal issue, but when he approached her he stuck the 4 ½” long tweezers directly up her right nostril, twisted it around and pulled it back out. Blood spurted down the front of her white blouse and skirt. Aidan and I exchanged cringing glances, while everyone else was capturing it on photos and video. Not me. Too gross.
She was escorted off-stage to a private room. John of God called for all those who were having Spiritual Operations to form a line and go through the Current Room first. This is a room where people sit together in prayer and meditation, and you must walk through them to stand before him to receive your “reading.” The line was long but moved fast, and during the short 2 seconds I stood before him he gave his pronouncement to my “handler” to have me come back at 2 p.m. for my operation.
I was terrified at first – an operation! Not after what I’d seen earlier…but then I realized it was a Spiritual Operation he was talking about, not a Physical Operation, as you have to ask for one of those, and no way was I doing that!
I suddenly learned, after speaking to one of the volunteers, that I would not be able to go to the waterfall until Friday, because after you have an operation you must sleep for an entire day – 24 hours! Even then, on my return to the Casa on Friday, I must ask permission from John of God directly to be able to visit the waterfall, which is a very sacred area.
Before the 2 p.m. operation, I had to figure out where I would be in a week, as the spirits visit you a week after your operation to take out the “stitches”, and they need an address that you must provide on a slip of paper into a collection basket. I determined I would be in the gold mining town of Mariana, and provided the address of a Hostel.
I got in line for the 2 p.m. operation, and witnessed a wedding ceremony that was held on stage before the line started moving. Once the line moved forward, we filed through four Current Rooms until we were silently requested to sit in the last Current Room with our eyes closed, our right hand over our heart, and left hand resting on our left leg with palm up. We sat in that position for about 25 minutes, receiving the healing operation from the spirits. Interesting lights and visions played behind my eyelids, and finally we were requested to stand up and file quietly out into the bright daylight. We had had our Spiritual Operation.
Our “prescription” that John of God had given each of us that morning – a scribbled handwriting on a slip of paper – was now necessary to fill over at the Pharmacy, which carried the healing herb capsules. The Pharmacy was just an open window you stood before, showed your slip of paper to, they transcribed it and set out the appropriate amount of bottles, and you paid. My prescription called for 5 bottles. all the bottles are the same – everyone receives the same herbs, it’s just a matter of how many bottles are prescribed to you to purchase. From there I went to the Bookstore to buy some more Blessed Water, and from there back to my hotel room to try sleeping for the required 24 hours.
I slept all night and until noon the next day, but after that I simply wasn’t tired. In fact, I was downright antsy. The 24 hour resting requirement after the surgery specifically and strictly called for no reading, no internet use, no writing and no TV. The TV ban didn’t bother me, but the reading, writing and Internet did. I decided to go for a gentle walk, and over to Frutti’s for a delicious sandwich and coffee.
On Friday I stood in line before John of God to ask permission to go to the waterfall, and it was granted. The walk down to the waterfall is on a peaceful dirt road descending on a moderate grade for about ¾ mile to a large dirt parking lot. A paved trail strikes out from there, and curves back and forth down the canyon to a gate, where a single person of either sex must wait for another of the same sex before going through the gate on down to the waterfall and pool. It’s a matter of protection and safety. I waited for about 5 minutes, and three women showed up. They waited at the gate while I walked down the last 100 feet to the waterfall, ducked my head quickly under the spray – it wasn’t too cold – splashed water over my body and then headed back up to the gate so they could go on down and enjoy it.
Back up at the Casa I witnessed John of God performing another nose surgery on a woman. This time he had a gauze tip on the end of the tweezers, and he didn’t twist them once they were rammed up her nostril. There was no blood this time, either…made me wonder what had happened to the other woman. At lunch I overheard the eye surgery recipient talking about how the pain in his eye had disappeared in only one day, right after he had prayed to Mary Magdalene. Now he planned to have the same surgery done to his other eye! I also talked with the woman who had the bloody nose surgery, and she said it hadn’t really hurt, and that she was all healed up a day later. Amazing!
The rest of my stay in Abadiania focused around hearing people’s stories – why they were there and how they had heard of John of God, eating good food with new friends, lots of laughter, more visits to the waterfall, and watching the incredible night sky studded with stars as big and bright as diamonds. It was an amazing week, and I would highly recommend it as a place to visit while in Brazil. For me, it was a time of spiritual reverence and respect of dimensions and energies most of us know so little about. I am sure there are dozens of spirits at John of God’s Casa – even the night photographs I took showed hundreds of orbs!!