Official Guides to the Casa - featuring Lynn Debenham; Emma Bragdon & Johann Grobler MD
Increasingly, people from all parts of the world travel to Abadiânia to experience the healing energy at the Casa de Dom Inácio. Whether you travel independently or as part of a facilitated group is entirely a personal decision - in either case you are guaranteed a profound life changing experience.
Those who opt to travel with a group undoubtedly benefit to some degree or another from the group leader's experience and knowledge of the Casa 'journey'. Over the coming months we will be featuring articles from Official Guides to the Casa.
The tour leaders listed on this website in the Travel with a Guide section are guides who are dedicated to serving the Casa and their groups with the highest respect for the rules and protocols of the Casa. A code of ethics was created to establish a set of standards for all tour leaders to follow. The intent of these standards is to provide guidelines for all tour leaders to follow and to ensure the maximum protection for Joao and the Casa in regards to legal liability. The tour leaders currently listed on this website are highly experienced and recognized guides who have provided considerable service to Joao, the Casa and the Entities.
This month we bring you contributions from Guides, Lynn Debenham and Emma Bragdon & Johann Grobler
Being a Casa group leader I hear many different stories of how people came to hear about Joao de Deus (John of God). I also hear of how some of them feel "prompted" by some unseen force to make the long journey out to Abadiânia looking for a cure or help to further their spiritual growth. This unseen force can come in different guises - a dream, an opening of a magazine to find an article about Joao, or of someone who has been healed by Joao. Some say they keep bumping into Brazilians, whilst others say they "see" Joao standing by them or sometimes just "see" his face.
One lady on one of my groups said she looked on the web for details, and was then trying to decide how to go out to Brazil. The next day she went to her local newsagent to pick up her pre-ordered magazines and as she got in her car one of the magazines fell open to the page where the story of my own amazing operation" was printed. Needless to say she felt she had been guided to get in touch with me. Some of these stories never cease to amaze me.
For a lot of people it is simply a gut feeling, they just "know" they have to go. Whilst others say they go out of curiosity. However, there is no doubt in my mind that each and every one is meant to go. Often they don't know how they are going to afford it. But if someone is meant to go, then the money will come. It may not be immediate, but it will come when the time is right and when a person is ready to undertake what probably is one of the most important journeys of their life.
I have also over the years, heard stories from people who having booked to go to see João and the entities, start to "feel things happening" before they even get on the plane. I believe the entities are getting these people prepared, ready for their operation or healing.
My own story began in 1998 when I read an article about João and the work he does in Abadiânia. I immediately "knew" I would go and see him - one day. So, I put the magazine article to the back of my mind and carried on with my life. Until one day, two years later I was given a bit of a kick up the backside, which made me realise I really had to go to Brazil - and soon. So, I made enquiries as to where to go and where to stay. Within two weeks I was on a plane heading out to Brazil not knowing that I was embarking on a journey that was going to change my life in so many ways. Already a healer myself for many years, I was used to the idea of spirits or entities, so I already had a knowledge and a good understanding of how things worked. I had also read books on psychic surgeons and even been to see a couple of them in the UK. But nothing could have prepared me for what was going to happen to me when I arrived in Abadiânia and went to the Casa de Dom Inácio.
I remember the first day when I met João, I was more intent on "checking him out," than I was of getting healed. So I went up to him and simply asked for permission to go to the entities waterfall. Of course it was an entity I was seeing not João the medium, but I was satisfied he was genuine. The entity gave me permission to go to the waterfall as long as I went with Carrie who was an American group leader there at the time.
The following day I went again to the entity, but this time to ask if he could give me healing for a very large tumour that was close to my spine. He told me to "come back this afternoon, to see a different entity". So, in the afternoon I went back, and this time the entity had me turn around so that he could look at the tumour. He squeezed it, and then said "operation tomorrow morning". As I walked away Martin the translator said he thought the entity wanted to do a visible, physical operation. I myself had had an invisible in mind, feeling it would be nice not to have a scar. However, once I put vanity aside, I realised somewhere inside me I knew all along it would be a visible operation, and I felt fine about it.
The following morning on Friday May 5th 2000, after having had a good night's sleep, I walked to the Casa with Jennifer an American medical doctor, who was staying in the same Pousada as me. I was very lucky because I was getting to know a few people, and they were really supportive. In those earlier days there were not many English-speaking visitors. Jennifer asked me if I was nervous, and I had to say I was not. I thought I should be, but I felt very calm. When the operations line went through I was taken into the third current room. Then into the second current room where I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity, until João came and took me by the hand and led me out on to the small stage in the main meeting hall. I was told to close my eyes. João then incorporated the entity Dr Oswaldo Cruz, (one of Brazils most eminent doctors in his lifetime.) He is now one of the Casa's main entities working through João.
He turned me to face the wall and led me in front of the triangle. He then made a small incision where the tumour was in my back, using a sterile scalpel. I felt a sharp sting, a bit like a sting, when you get a cut from the edge of paper. I gritted my teeth thinking I was going to feel a whole lot more - remember I had had no anaesthetic. The entity then proceeded to cut away at the tumour. First he removed two small pieces, then he really got to work on the main big section. I could feel everything he was doing, cutting, pulling, twisting and poking but no pain whatsoever. The whole thing took about twenty minutes, I was standing for about ten minutes and sitting on a stool for the following ten minutes. There was very little bleeding. He then put four sutures in. When he had finished he showed me the tumour - it was almost the size of a tennis ball. Much bigger than I thought it would be - (I thought it would be about egg size). He then told me that if I hadn't been spiritually ready, he couldn't have done it. Then he said: " It is a miracle, if Western doctors had removed it you would be a paraplegic, because it had gone under the spinal column and was beginning to wrap itself around the nerves"
A lot of people who were watching were crying. He instructed me to walk off the stage and go to the recovery room to rest. In the recovery room I wept also. I felt that a huge weight had been removed from me. Some people later asked me if I had been scared or worried to go over to a country where I knew no one, and let a complete stranger cut me open, wearing no gloves, with rings on his fingers, no mask, no scrubbing up and no anaesthetic. Others said I either had a lot of faith or was I just mad! I said my faith was 100% and yes I was also mad. But I have no regrets.
The wound healed incredibly quickly, with no swelling, bruising or soreness.
Six days after the operation the entity took the stitches out, and all I have is a very small, neat scar that is hardly noticeable. So small that its hard to believe that such a large tumour could come out of it, but I have the whole thing on video, if proof is ever needed. During my stay in Abadiânia I had many more wonderful experiences. The entities as well as João told me I would be going back there many, many times.
So I started to take groups to see João and the entities, and was given a certificate of authorisation to do so. I realise now, that it was not just me having a miraculous operation, it was about a much bigger picture, and that picture is still unfolding.
Lots of people have been helped, and for many it has opened up doors in their lives they never thought possible. Not everyone has a physical, visible operation, the majority receives invisible operations, and even if you are offered visible, you can choose to say no and have invisible if you prefer. You can request a visible, but it is up to the entity, for they know what is best. Not everyone goes away healed physically, but on some other level they are. It is a unique experience for each individual. Lots of people I have taken out want to return to Abadiânia, and many of them do. It's a place that grows on you.
It is now almost five years on since I had my operation and I have never had any more problems with my back. I have to say that I am glad I listened to my intuition to go to Abadiânia. The thought of being a paraplegic had never occurred to me, I am so grateful to João and the entities for helping me. I feel truly blessed. I always say to people who are trying to decide whether to go and see João and the entities "What have you got to lose, and what might you have to gain?"
And just to finish off, if you are thinking of going to see João, do think seriously about going with a group if it is your first visit, particularly if you have medical problems, are not well travelled and do not speak the language. Going in a group has many advantages, firstly you are with others and so get group support. Secondly your group leader is there to save you getting stressed, either on the journey or when you are in Abadiânia. (Please note not all group leaders accompany their groups out, so check first if you do not want to travel alone). Also once the Casa days begin, having a group leader makes sure you are in the right place and understand what is happening. It can be quite confusing, especially the first week. The main thing is to get optimum benefit after having travelled all that way. Our aim is that you are stress free, happy, satisfied and healthy!
Emma Bragdon, PhD. and Johann Grobler, MD.
Emma first came to visit the Casa from Vermont, USA, in March, 2001. Having been dedicated to disciplines of shamanic traditions and Buddhist meditation since 1964, and formally trained as a transpersonal psychologist, her professional work was oriented to helping others toward spiritual evolution both in private practice and week long intensive workshops, given around the world. Within hours of her arrival at the Casa she was invited to become a guide— and Casa mediums told her she had a mission to bring the activities of the Casa to a wider international audience.
“When I was introduced to John of God a very powerful energy flowed through me. He said just three words: “I know you.” I trembled with the recognition that my life would be taking a new course, that I had a very strong connection to the Casa. In the meditation rooms of the Casa, I felt like a book, fully-formed, poured into my head from above…not only the ideas, but the energy and dedication to manifest it. I asked John of God—“Is this truly my work to do?” He said, “Yes” and gave me his blessing and support.
Summer and Fall 2001, I spent months at the Casa, getting to know the community and understanding more of the healing that transpires there. I had “invisible” surgeries, meditated long hours, rested deeply, and came to know the Casa through the eyes of the staff as well as visitors. I did many formal interviews, which became the heart of the book.
By early Spring, 2002, “Spiritual Alliances: Discovering the Roots of Health at the Casa de Dom Inacio” was in its first print. It reflects on the activities of the Casa vis a vis our ailing health care system in the USA—suggesting we can learn many things from the Casa that may make our modern system more effective. I interviewed five physicians at the Casa who all agree that visiting the community enriches one’s spiritual evolution, and can promote physical healing. Dramatic stories of healings for individuals with AIDS, hepatitis-C, cancer and degenerative arthritis portray the power of John’s work.”
Johann Grobler, MD. met Emma at the Casa in March, 2002. Johann came from a background of supervisory roles in Medicine in his country, South Africa. He has also been deeply dedicated to metaphysics, specifically the Ancient Wisdom traditions, since 1970. Johann and Emma recognized the alignment of their missions and began to work together—writing, researching Brazilian Spiritist Centers, producing films, and being guides for people coming to the Casa. Johann’s medical training is a great comfort to those coming to the Casa for physical healing and he is often asked for medical advice—as well as jokes and humorous stories. In 2004, “Kardec’s Spiritism: A Home for Healing and Spiritual Evolution” was published. It portrays contemporary Spiritist Centers, and the philosophy underlying the work of the Casa.
“Our strength is helping people understand the protocol for healing available at the Casa, and catering to our guests, so each one can take full advantage of the resources there. We do this in a professional and loving atmosphere of goodwill and friendship.
Introducing our guests to mediums at the Casa, and inviting our group to dialogue with those who have been healed at the Casa, amplifies the sense of community and mutual support that develops in our groups. We find that our group members often enjoy eating together at a long table—to share experiences and deepen friendships.
We offer some formal dialogues about the dynamics of etheric healing (also know as psychic surgery or spiritual healing) to increase understanding and deepen openness to the manifestation of full health.
We stay at a comfortable Inn which provides excellent food, and a swimming pool, all within a three minute walk to the Casa grounds.”
Schedules and more information can be found at www.emmabragdon.com. Or, call 802-457-4915 in Vermont, or 011-27-13-256-9107 in South Africa. Email EBragdon@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Books are for sale at the Casa, on Amazon.com, and by ordering through your local bookstore.