Brazil was capturing public imagination long before the Rio games with stories of fantastic healings and spiritual phenomena.
Its healing tradition made famous by philanthropist, writer and healer Chico Javier, who was posthumously awarded the title of “The Greatest Brazilian of all time,” continues today with the renowned and often controversial figure of John of God and the mediums who work with him at his Casa in a remote region of Central Brazil.
For the last 40 years, millions of people have made the trip to John of God to see him go into a trance and channel spirits for healing. Two of those people, Tania and Greg Stewart, got more then they bargained for when they independently made the journey in search of healing. Not only did they fall in love and eventually marry, their visits opened up their own mediumistic faculties and inspired them to devote their lives to the study of complementary healing modalities and the practice of trance healing, particularly in the U.S., where this form of healing is rare.
With Tania hailing from Brazil and Greg from the U.S., they opted to set up a center in Northern California, where, over the last few years, thousands of people have gathered to receive healing and sit together to help generate energy called a “current,” which the Stewarts say is a combination of cosmic energy, human vital energy and energy from nature.
Their upcoming demonstration of spiritual healing at Open Center in New York City gave me an opportunity to talk to Greg about their work, its effectiveness and the skeptics.
KFM: What is Brazilian spiritual healing?
GS: Brazilian spiritual healing is based upon the belief that spiritual entities can have contact with and even effect our material world via mediums. We are both sensitive mediums who channel spiritual healing, but we are merely instruments. Our gifts rely solely on the spirits who are able to use the current to energize, harmonize and balance various emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of individuals who are open to receiving this type of energy-based healing.
During our healing events, we work in a healing circle. After an opening prayer and short spiritual talk, participants are given a meditation and asked to concentrate and sit with their eyes closed in order to help raise the current. We then channel various spiritual guides, and many of the participants are offered the opportunity to come forward and lie down on a massage table to receive a laying on of hands as directed by the spirits.
KFM: How did John of God influence your healing practice?
GS: Tania is a natural medium. When she first began her career at a Brazilian hospital in the 90s, her spiritual mentor began directing her to help some of the patients. She would visit patients with both emotional and physical ailments in their rooms and even in intensive care during her lunch break and after work. On occasion, she would also receive messages from her spiritual mentor when someone was passing over, and she would promptly go to their room and assist them.
Then in 2005, her back was broken in three places after a near-fatal car accident and family members took her to John of God’s Casa. After two months of “sitting in the current” at the Casa, Tania was pain free and walking normally. She was even asked to touch her toes in front of the crowd as a testimonial. She was asked to volunteer at the Casa and worked there for nearly one year helping John of God with his work.
When I first visited John of God in 2003, it was only to accompany a friend who had been diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer. At that time, I didn’t believe in healers and was highly skeptical of spiritual phenomena. On my first day, I was chosen to sit in the current room and help with the healings. Later that same day, members of the Casa told me that I had mediumistic healing energy.
KFM: Does it work?
GS: The strong faith I have now has been developed over time from personal experience, the study of spirituality and religion as well as the phenomena I’ve witnessed. Healing phenomena are cases of healings that are extraordinary and even unexplainable. However, some people experience more measureable results than others; why this is the case is not fully known or understood.
We have seen many people healed. I remember a woman who came to our healing circle for the first time because she had a small tumor behind one of her eyes and the doctors were not sure what to do. Two weeks later, she came back to the healing circle and announced that her doctor had ordered another MRI and was shocked to find that the tumor had disappeared. She was so happy and excited. Later that evening when she got on the table, she asked if the spirit could cure her diabetes. She very overweight, and the spirit recommended a strict diet, but she didn’t like hearing this and left and never came back.
Tania remembers a woman from France who came to the Casa with a photo of a friend who had AIDS. The doctors had given her only one month to live. The spirit working with John of God looked at the photo and told her to tell her friend to come to the Casa right away. She arrived at the Casa in an emaciated condition with an IV and was bound to a wheelchair. The spirit told her to stay at the Casa for one month. After one month, she was easily walking and gained weight. Three months later, she came back to the Casa looking normal with medical reports that proved she was HIV free.
KFM: Do you need to believe to be healed?
GS: Experience has also shown us that faith is not always a determining factor in the success of an attendee’s healing. For example, there are cases were people of great faith did not receive healing and also instances where folks with no faith came with a friend and then received a miraculous healing. Some suggest that the faith of the healer is more important than the faith of the person receiving the healing.
Our events are focused on healing and are non-denominational and open to all religious faiths and beliefs, including atheism. But it might be challenging for an atheist to participate in one of our events because from their point of view, our work would not seem credible. For example, we both channel spirits who once lived on the earth, which offers proof of life after death. Most atheists do not believe in life after death; therefore, from their point of view, it would not be possible for a spirit to exist.
KFM: What do you say to skeptics?
GS: Arthur Conan Doyle said, “Healthy skepticism is the basis of all accurate observation.”
We ask that everyone who attends our events keep an open mind and an open heart. If an attendee wishes to judge our event in a negative light, it would be better if they reserved their judgments until the event is over. Why? Because of our work with current, we believe the mental energy and magnetism from all our attendees has an influence over the success of our work.
Our healing circle offers an experience that is true to our beliefs and we hope it’s as beneficial and inspirational to as many as possible. However, our focus is healing and we do this work to be of service to God as an instrument for healing and also to have the opportunity to communicate with and learn from the higher spirits.
Greg and Tania Stewart will be demonstrating Brazilian Spiritual Healing at the Open Center in New York City on Sept 10. For advanced tickets, visit the Open Center or click here.