"Called to the Casa" by Claire Eckman, September 2003
During my first visit to Abadiânia, I heard many stories about how others found their way to the Casa, but I rarely told my own story regarding this - because it was just too complicated to drop easily into most casual conversations. If fact, while I was going through this process, there were only a few people in the world that I felt I could share this with - and still, I wasn't sure that some of them understood the gravity of what was happening to me. Within a period of just a few months, I began experiencing vivid dreams, and unusual synchronicities which sometimes fell upon me so quickly, that I often felt like my world was spinning. At the time, I felt rather alone in these experiences - and I got the feeling that most people really didn't understand me, when I described the "synchronicities" happening in my life. However, when I arrived at the Casa - I found that I truly, was not alone - and that there were indeed others who also found themselves swept up in the currents and the
whirlpools of this magical journey which ultimately led them to the Casa.
Recently, I have been asked the question, "How did you happen to find out about the Casa?" My usual reply to this question is, "It's a complicated story - but mostly, I was led to the Casa through a series of circumstances." But before any of the really "cool" stuff started happening, I was pushed to seek this course by an extended period of intense suffering, as is true for many others who come to the Casa. I have heard it said by someone from India, that the Westerner's doorway to spirituality is often found through illness - and I believe this is frequently true. Some of us get so caught up in this material world, that we forget that we are spiritual beings at our core - and we need a very strong push in order to rediscover this truth. Maybe there are others who are going through a similar experience right now, or still others, who recognize the sound of my story, because they have also been led to the Casa by similar means. This story is for you.
My big "push", happened about five years ago. At that time, spiritual issues were the last thing on my mind - and most of my energy was spent on establishing a new career, at the expense of both my family, and my health. I had been working as a speech pathologist, with adults who had various brain injuries and diseases - when suddenly, I came down with a very nasty case of viral meningitis. There were complications involving brain surgery, and also immune dysfunctions which complicated the picture greatly. I spent the first two years after the meningitis, laying in various dark and quiet rooms, and taking Demerol injections around the clock - because the pain was so unrelenting. My turning point finally came, when I decided to get off of the Demerol, and try to find another way to control the pain. This led to a torturous period of hospital procedures - which lasted for weeks, until I felt I could no longer bear it. Finally, one night, I sat myself on the floor of the shower in my hospital room - because it was the darkest place that I could find (I actually could open my eyes in this darkness without severe pain). I was not able to lay my head down on a pillow, and my neck was too stiff and tired to support it any longer. However, I found that sitting with my back up against the wall of the cool dark shower, offered me a solution because I could gently wedge my head into the corner, and this would support my neck beautifully, without putting too much pressure on the back of my head. I sat this way for untold hours, with my arm extended to allow my IV line to flow - and I was really quite lucky that the nurses didn't call for a psych consult at this point. So this was my "dark night" - and it lasted a very long time. During the first years of my illness, I thought that I could just "will" this situation away - by fighting it. But this approach only seemed to intensify my frustration, and it created a state of tension which seemed to make my pain even worse. Finally, after many hours on the floor of that dark shower, it occurred to me that this approach might be all wrong. It was as though someone was whispering into my ear, "Don't fight it - let go of it - just let it go." There weren't any miracles - but there was a turning point, a point at which I surrendered - and I finally acknowledged that there were definite limits to my abilities to control things. I finally turned my attention to a higher power.
I decided that for now, Demerol was the only relief available to me - and I began oral doses under the care of a pain specialist. But early one morning, before I was released from the hospital, a janitor tiptoed quietly into my dark hospital room. He must have noticed my pain, because he made the courageous decision to approach me - to offer me a few kind words. He was a rather small African man, from Ethiopia - and he told me a story about how he was healed by a miracle from God, while suffering from kidney disease. He described himself as an atheist at the time, but said that when he found himself face-to-face with death, he had a change of heart - and he finally opened up to God, falling to his knees on the floor of his little apartment, and praying until the tears soaked his shirt. I never saw him again after that, but he prayed with me before he left - and he promised to pray for me at his church.
I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me to pray for help, after all, I had been taught to pray as a child - but somehow during adulthood, my ambition and drive to develop my intellect and pursue a career, drove my attention away from matters of the heart. But now, in my desperation, I found myself open to any and all suggestions, and prayer seemed a reasonable avenue to investigate. My interest in Eastern religion, led me to dabble in all sorts of meditation and prayer practices, and I found that most loved-based practices seemed to offer some slight comforts and improvements in my condition. I appreciated every minuscule improvement I could manage, so I kept right on praying and searching. I still spent most of my days in bed, and I had a plastic intravenous tube in my arm that seemed to have become a permanent bodily fixture now - but my veins were weak, and they soon became inflamed and my blood began clotting spontaneously. I knew how dangerous this situation was - and I speculated that eventually I would probably stroke out, or experience a blockage in my heart. The only treatment offered to me for this condition, was IVIg treatments at the hospital. I was not happy about this at all, because my own father was involved in the first clinical trials for this treatment, and it caused him to experience a severe allergic reaction which nearly killed him. Since I had inherited his unusual immune system, I was very frightened - and thought that now, I might also be facing death - whether I agreed to the treatments or not. I finally agreed to the treatments, and then went about preparing myself for death - just in case things took a turn for the worst. This is when I discovered the Archangel Raphael novenas - and I began praying these daily. The treatments did indeed cause allergic symptoms in me, so they had to be discontinued - however, my condition began to improve, nevertheless. Within a month, my veins had stopped inflaming and clotting all on their own, and my condition improved greatly. The picc lines were finally pulled out of my veins, and I was now free of needles and tubes. My doctors asked me what I was doing that might account for this improvement, and I replied, "I am praying." I expected to be met with awkward responses or cynicism, but instead, they asked me to tell them about my prayer practice. I was relieved that my doctors were so supportive and encouraging, and as I continued to pray the Saint Raphael novenas, my condition continued to improve.
But still, I was very sick - useless as a mother, and burdensome as a wife (whether or not this was completely true, this was the way I felt). In a desperate search for healing, I began trying all sorts of healers and methods. I met some wonderful people and had some very meaningful experiences, however, none of this was very successful in improving my health situation - and the "treatments" usually made my pain a lot worse. At this point, I was still in bed, 5 out of 7 days each week, and sometimes - I'd even have a few weeks, or even several months in a row, when I couldn't even bathe or dress myself regularly. I was in and out of the hospital all of the time - and often, I felt as though I was being helplessly swept away by a land slide, falling even farther away from any chance of recovery. If the pain was not too bad - I could at least still read books while in bed - and I read many - mostly on healing and spiritual practices.
One of the books that I read was "The Reconnection" by Eric Pearl. Something "clicked" when I read this book - and when I began experimenting with the simple exercises in the book, my daughter noticed - and joined me. That's when I discovered that she had been playing with subtle energy, for her own entertainment, since she was a very young child - and that she had even taught her best friend to do it with her on the playground at school. This simple practice was to feel the energy around us, that we cannot see, by simply using our attention. By turning our attention to our hands, or feet, we can pick up the "buzz" in the air, and play with it like a ball of Silly Putty - even stretching it. In Eric Pearl's book, he mentioned that it is possible to use this practice for self-healing - and this greatly interested me. I called Eric Pearl's office, and I was given the name of a local woman named Alice, who was trained to use this technique for healing. I immediately made an appointment with her.
My fist session with Alice was quite interesting - with lots of visual symbols and colors dancing around in my head - and I actually felt someone caressing my lower legs in a very loving manner - even though I was well aware that Alice was at the other end of the table. There seemed to be an invisible "crowd" around the table, as if they had all come to assist in my healing process, and I began to smell flowers. (My eyes remained closed during the entire session, so all of this was "felt", or "seen" with my eyes closed.) I slept exceptionally well that evening, but my dreams were intense. I seemed to travel all night long - as though I was being led by some kind of guide, to many different places as part of a learning experience. During the second
"Reconnection Healing" session, I did not experience the same sensation of someone
caressing or touching me, and the pain in my head increased to an intolerable level - but I could still feel that "crowd" in the room and smell the flowers, and I began seeing very significant images - of people and places - and I was so intrigued by this, that I decided to continue the sessions in spite of the increase in my pain.
About this time, I began having more vivid and meaningful dreams - that seemed to take place in real time - with amazing detail. I dreamt of a place in a foreign country, where there was some sort of low-budget clinic. I was there as a patient, and there were many rooms to stay in - but the rooms were private and simple, and somewhat comfortable - not at all like hospital rooms. (I felt almost as if I was visiting some kind of low-budget health spa or something.) There was a man with dark hair and tan skin, and heavy facial features - who seemed to be running the office, and he appeared to be speaking to my husband, Peter, in some kind of Latin language. Although I was the one coming to this place for treatment, people at this clinic seemed to be even more interested in Peter - because of his position as a doctor - and they paid him quite a bit of attention. Just before I awoke, I remember crossing a tiled pathway, and observing a tree which had flowers on it. Peter was still talking with the people at the clinic when the dream ended. When I awoke and got out of bed, I went straight into the kitchen to tell Peter about this strange dream. The thing that struck me as unusual, was that in this dream, the people at the clinic spoke a Latin language. I have traveled to many foreign countries with Peter - but when this travel involved his work, or visiting clinics - it was usually an Asian country, because Peter is also an acupuncturist. So, this whole Latin language thing in an underdeveloped country, didn't make a lot of sense to me.
Then, I received an email from Alice, the woman who had performed the "Reconnection Healing" on me - and she told me about a woman who practices some form of spiritual healing - and who goes to Brazil to "study" this. I made an appointment with this woman, and she came to my home to apply her healing hands to my body. She told me that she would be going to Brazil soon, and she asked me if I would like her to bring my photo to Brazil, to ask for healing on my behalf. I had no idea what she was talking about - or what this place in Brazil was - but I gave her my photo. (I was open to trying almost anything at this point.)
I was still very sick - in fact, my pain was getting worse - but I still felt drawn to "Reconnection Healing", because I had begun having such unusual experiences while engaged in it. I decided to take the seminar offered by Eric Pearl - not because I intended to practice as a healer, but because I wanted to understand what was happening to me. I signed up for the beginning and advanced classes - and the prerequisite for taking the advance class, was to have something called the "Reconnection" performed on me - which differed from "Reconnection Healing". I set up an appointment with Alice, for a "Reconnection" session, and waited. The healer who was traveling to Brazil, had mentioned a book to me - about this place in Brazil where she was traveling to, just before she left for her trip - so, I ordered this book from amazon.com. I received the book ("The Miracle Man", by Robert Pellegrino-Estrich) just before I was to see Alice for my Reconnection appointment - and I read it in the car, on the way to my appointment. I stopped reading, just after the part in the book about the spirit of King Solomon incorporating in Joao's body, and I folded the page to mark my place - then I went to Alice's apartment for my "Reconnection" session. While I laid on the table, I could feel the invisible "crowd" gathering around me - but no sensations of being touched. I could also feel Alice moving around in ways that were different from when she performed the "healing" method. Suddenly, a large an intense image filled my mind - and remained there for a very long time - as though someone were holding a picture up for me to study. The image was of my father's Mason's ring (he was a Freemason) and the ring was the only thing that I had left to remember him by (he died some years ago). I had no idea what the symbol on the ring meant, but I knew that this image was significant for me, in some way that I did not yet understand. When the Reconnection session was over, I told Alice about the image of the ring, and I asked her about what she had been doing at the time that I saw the image. She said that she was performing something called "Solomon's Seal". Hmmm.... That's interesting - I had just folded the page in my book where I had read about King Solomon in "The Miracle Man". This was a very interesting coincidence. Alice didn't know much about King Solomon, or why the ritual of "Solomon's Seal" was used for the Reconnection - so I went home and asked my daughter if she remembered anything about King Solomon from her Judaic Studies classes at school. She told me about his relationship to King David - and that's about all that she knew. (During this same time, in Brazil, my photo was being shown to Joao-in-Entity for the first time.) The "coincidence" between reading King Solomon's name in that book, then having a ritual performed in his name - and with each situation coming from completely different sources, was really intriguing - and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I also couldn't stop thinking about that image of my father's Mason's ring - and decided to try to find out what the symbol on that ring meant. I went to my bookshelf and found a book on esoteric mystery schools, by Manley P. Hall - and turned to the section on "Freemasonry" - hoping to find some information about the symbol on the ring. As I turned to the first page in the "Freemason" section, I was shocked to see a full page illustration of KING SOLOMON! The synchronicity of this moment was so powerful, that I felt like I was spinning. I tried to relate what was happening to me to Peter, but he didn't seem to understand. I now felt strongly, that I was being pulled in the direction of what was happening in Brazil - and it had something to do with the energy of King Solomon - and the "Reconnection" rituals, seem to have been a powerful catalyst for me to make this connection.
Later that evening, I was copying down a favorite Sufi poem, and adding an illustration to the bottom of the page, when the illustration caught my attention. The illustration was of a multiple arched entryway, with many successive arches - leading to a door - and there was a man in a turban opening the door, in an inviting way - and there was bright golden light spilling forth from the opened door (this poem and illustration is from "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a Spiritual Interpretation by Paramahansa Yogananda"). As I looked at the small illustration, and concentrated on the light spilling out from the doorway - my recent dream suddenly came flooding back to my memory - and I realized that the clinic in my dream was the Casa de Dom Inácio, in Brazil (and that the man that I saw probably was Sebastian, the secretary of the Casa) - and the Latin language that was being spoken was probably Portuguese. If somebody was trying to make a point, they were doing a very good job of it.
Soon, the woman who took my photo to Brazil, returned with my herbs - and when she arrived at my home, she showed me that the Entity had written an "X" on my photo - indicating that I was "being called to the Casa". At this point, I could only reply, "Yes, I know." At that time, I was still in bed most of the week - and was still in a great deal of pain - and I had no idea how I could possibly endure a trip to Brazil. After our talk, the woman who brought me my herbs spent time applying her healing energy to my body - and in the process, she said that she had picked up some psychic messages from the Entities. She told me that their message was that I should travel to the Casa - within a 6 month period, but not before three months - because I would need three months on the herbs to prepare me for the journey. I had already begun researching trips to the Casa de Dom Inácio on the Internet, and I remembered that Josie RavenWing had a trip scheduled for October - and this fell right into the period suggested by the psychic healer. I had no idea how I was going to manage this trip, and I really felt that I was not strong enough to make this trip alone - so I would need the support of my husband, Peter. Now, all that was left for me to do - was to break the news to Peter, that he was taking me to Brazil to see a spiritual healer. Not an easy task (but if you have read Claire & Peter's "Big Brazil Report", from the May issue of the Friends Of The Casa online newsletter, then you know the rest of the story).
When we arrived on the grounds of the Casa, I recognized everything from my dream - and the feeling was quite overwhelming. I also recognized the same tree from my dream - but it wasn't in bloom - as it was in my dream. When I finally met Sebastian, I recognized the similarities in his features, and I recognized the pousada rooms as the "hospital" rooms of the clinic in my dream. Also, as it turns out - Peter was indeed given special attention at the Casa - because he was a doctor. The messages were all very clear and strong, even months before I learned about the Casa. I guess signs and messages are all around us - if we would only pay attention.
When I really think about it, the "signs" may have even begun many years previous to my illness. About one year before I became ill, I was looking for a language school in a Spanish speaking country - and I chose one in a place called San Sebastian, Spain. I knew nothing about this area of Spain, except that there was a good Spanish school there, and that the locals did not speak much English - which would force me to use Spanish to communicate. As it turns out, I quickly made friends with some Brazilian travelers - as well as with some Basque locals - and I spent my entire time in Spain listening to Brazilian Portuguese and the Basque language - and I rarely had a chance to speak Spanish at all. The synchronicities here - are apparent in that this city was named for "Sebastian", and the friends I made there just happened to be Brazilian and Basque - and also, Saint Ignatius (Dom Inácio) was Basque himself, and was born in that same general area of northern Spain - referred to as the Basque Country. Who knows what kinds of sign are all around us everyday, guiding us on to our spiritual paths. If only we understood this, life might be much easier.
I am sending this, because it occurs to me that others may be experiencing similar synchronicities and unusual dreams right now, in relation to their connection with the Casa de Dom Inácio. I would like these people to know that they are not alone. I subsequently finished the course with Eric Pearl, and although I found it useful - he never answered my questions about King Solomon. However, during my first trip to the Casa, I ran into two other people who also had similar King Solomon stories to tell, with regard to their calling to the Casa. I sure would like to hear from others who experienced this - and I really would like to know more about King Solomon, since he seems to be my host on this journey.
Of course, there are many more amazing details regarding this journey as a whole - but the "synchronicities" always seem to be my biggest clue, that I'm on the right path. I have now been to the Casa in Abadiânia, Brazil - three times - and plan to return in December. Every time I return home from Brazil, my health has improved a little more. It is very clear to me now, that as long as I work on my spiritual progress, my health will continue to improve - and it does continue to improve. The service that I perform by providing the Casa's Crystal Light Baths in San Francisco, has also become a very large part of my own healing. During my last visit in August, the Entities told me that they are sending energy to our Crystal Light Bed now, and that I should continue to do my work, and I will be taken care of. I have no doubts that this is true.
Much love, Claire
(For information about the Crystal Baths in San Francisco, contact me at: