Adventures in pursuit of the magic of life

Called to John of God

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John of God. Doesn’t look too loco to me!

Like many of my previous pilgrimages John of God started with a random thought. Hmmm, maybe I should pop in if I’m in the neighbourhood on my South American travels. Could be an interesting experience to add into my writing I thought to myself. How could it not be when you are visiting a medium & psychic surgeon who works with prominent saints, doctors and nurses no longer in the physical body to perform miraculous healings?

I’ve always believed in other realms and that anything is possible. That we don’t really understand what is going on in this universe and that there are unknown forces at work that effect all of us. I love all things spirit, energy, mystic and magic. The unseen behind all that is unfolding of our daily lives. This sounded right up my alley.

Little did I know, you are ‘called’ to John of God and his Casa de Dom Inácio de Loyala, the spiritual healing hospital in central Brazil. That once it comes into your consciousness the universe conspires to get you there. I heard remarkable stories of amazing synchronicities bringing people to this place, and realised I was no exception.

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Hiking Tayrona National Park, Colombia

My plan was a 4-5 month stint of travel around South America before settling down in Buenos Aires to drink fabulous wine with hot Argentinian men, eat steak and write my book. Before I knew it I had chewed up my allocated travel time and only made it from Lima to Colombia. I could blame this on budget overland travel, but really I was having far too much fun to be on a schedule. Schedules are made for the ‘real world’ and I’d left this, and the dreaded 9-5 far behind me.

Brazil was out of the equation at this point. My friend and I hadn’t even ventured to south of Peru, Bolivia or Argentina yet – needing at least 3 more months. It seemed excessive to even contemplate continuing further, but I was no stranger to most forms of excess and this was certainly the tamer of the bunch. More importantly, the festivities of Manfest 2014, otherwise known as the World Cup Brazil football was part of my dream agenda for the trip. I decided to leave it up to fate. If I managed to get tickets in the ballot then I would go. It was once in a lifetime after all.

So albeit late, I applied for a string of matches in round two of the World Cup ballot ranging from the most boring qualifying games to various semi and final matches hoping I might get lucky. My tardiness was reflected by most games already marked ‘oversubscribed’. When the ballot was drawn I managed to get something from the half a dozen games I applied for. The one and only match I drew was the 3rd vs 4th place final in Brasilia. As it happens, Brasilia is the jumping off point for travel to Abadiania and John of God. I immediately knew I was meant to go there.

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If only the Gym Tonica included a workout

By the time Manfest 2014 came to an end, I was a shadow of my former ‘where’s the next party?’ self. Given New Zealand didn’t qualify we supported every other team, and I mean every team watching more football than I did in seven years in London. Six weeks of relentless boozing and sleep deprived celebration had taken their toll. I could not face another drink. Not even a cheeky wee healthyish ‘Gym Tonica’. This had never happened before.

As far as the ‘manfest’ went, it was like shooting fish in a

Supporting the Yanks in Pipa

Supporting the Yanks in Pipa

barrel. I had created endless jealousy among my girlfriends upon leaving London by describing what I assumed was my embellished, fantastical and probably somewhat delusional version of a delicious man crazed sporting frenzy. Turns out I was bang on. The ratio was about 30:1 with an international smorgasbord of men at every turn. With South American men making up most of the quota it’s safe to say I won’t need another ego boost as long as I live. Why had I not been to more of these global football events sooner?

Those six weeks of World Cup debauchery were like a heavily laced cherry on top of nine months of South American fiesta fuelled cake. I could now feel it in every inch of my body. Thank goodness I had JOG to rescue me with damage control. Next stop healing central.

The next day I booked a ticket in my makeshift ‘Portengol’ (hybrid of Portuguese/Spanish), and got myself on a bus. I kept my eyes peeled en route and thankfully spotted a giant ‘Abadiania’ sign in the middle of the highway about an hour and half in, where I got off. I grabbed my backpack and followed a few others down a side road, hoping I was heading in the right direction and somewhere a little prettier. So far it looked very wild west. Dusty red clay earth streets, a few run

First view down the 'main street'

First glance at the wild west of Abadiania

down old crystal and clothing shops plus a café or two. Nervously thinking I was not quite sure what I had got myself in to I asked directions to my pousada ‘Caminho Encantado’ and set off down a side road. It dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing here nor what to expect. I knew at this point that physical healings and miracles in this place but I soon came to find that this was not really what it was about at all. Physical healing are what John of God is famous for, but is only a small element of what goes on in Abadiania. Really, if you scratch beneath the surface it’s a mind-blowing trip to another dimension.

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