WHO IS JOHN OF GOD?
João Teixera de Farias is an ordinary Brazilian man, with an extraordinary ability as a psychic
medium and healer. He says his mission is “to respect God”. In that mission he allows benevolent
spirits to work through him to assist people in their healing—for hours at a time.
Joao makes no claims that he is enlightened. He makes no claims to be a healer. He says, “I do not
heal, God is the one who heals”. People have given him the name, John of God. He speaks of
himself as a simple, Brazilian man, who comes from
a poor family.
João also does not claim a formal association with
any religion. People gathering at his sanctuary
often recite the “Lord’s Prayer”, and “Hail Mary”,
and thus evoke God, and orient themselves to do
God’s will…but John (English for João) says “I do
not study Catholicism. I was raised in a Catholic
family”. The walls of the sanctuary are hung with
photographs, prayers and graphics representing all
faiths. Prayers are shared out loud from all faiths.
His sanctuary has been built following guidelines
set by benevolent spirit guides. This is his spiritual
Where does he fit in?
Is He a Spiritualist?
We could call him a Spiritualist—part of a tradition in the Western world that began in the United
States in the mid-1800s. Like Spiritualists, he believes that an aspect of us, our spirit, continues life
after life, to grow spiritually. He shows us that disembodied spirits can interact with us in meaningful
ways. He demonstrates this when he incorporates a being who has died, and allows his body to be
used by a surgeon who has extraordinary skills in performing sophisticated surgeries, including brain
surgery. Without the incorporating spirit, John himself has no advanced education, in fact, he is
Surely, the phenomena John exhibits through the healing are a source of inspiration—helping us see
that miraculous things are possible when one communes with God and the benevolent spirits. And,
as one participates at John’s sanctuary one learns to define “wellness” in a new way—more like a
For shamanic cultures and spiritualist societies, the purpose for life itself is spiritual development.
Optimal health springs from the experience that all beings are interwoven in one fabric. Wellness is
optimized by maintaining respectful connection to all of life, including animals, plants, and minerals.
Illness comes when one weakens one’s connection to this state of spiritual connection—through
negative thinking, negative emotions, selfish motivations (eg. greed or lust), or irrational fear. These
internally generated stresses not only weaken the physical well-being of a person, but his/her
emotional stability as well. All these contribute to weakening each individual’s natural protection.
“The so-called primary external causes of major illness—viruses, bacteria,
and the other invisible elements in the environment—are a threat to health
only when a person’s natural protective mantle develops a weakness.”
—Jeanne Achterberg, PhD.
Psychic abilities that allow an individual to contact the consciousness of other beings’ across time
and space obviously enhance one’s feeling of connection. A capacity to be open-hearted, to feel
compassion for others’ suffering and joy in others’ joy, also enhance one’s sense of connection.
Shamanic and spiritualist cultures alike, value these kinds of psychic abilities and personal qualities.
Is He Spiritist?
Although John of God holds the leaders of Spiritism in high regard—I’ve heard him say he aspires to
be as great as Chico Xavier, one of the 20th centuries greatest Spiritists—John claims he is not
Spiritists are a large group in Brazil. It is estimated that sixty million, a third of the population, go to
Spiritist Centers at some point in their lives—for healing and inspiration. Of those sixty, twenty million
are members who follow the writings of a French man, and Spiritist, Allan Kardec.
Spiritists believe one needs to study books written by other Spiritists—many of whom are physicians.
They believe in the necessity of studying the compilations of Kardec, including the Gospels of the
Bible, as interpreted by Spiritism. They take Jesus Christ as the ideal model of ethical and moral
behavior—and they champion the importance of following his lead in finding the right way to live.
Since John of God is illiterate, studying books is not his way. He does not tell people how to live. He
models the wisdom of following the voice of spiritual guidance.
Another difference: Spiritists practice healing in a group format—rarely is healing done by an
individual, working alone. This is also not John of God’s way. His healing mission focuses on his
being the major catalyst for healing and the most important medical intuitive at his center. However,
this does not obstruct the reality that the whole place is filled with healing energy, and visitors often
experience healings in and around the sanctuary—when he is not present.
John of God asks that people coming to him for consultation do not follow the advice of other healers
while they are following his treatment protocols.
Like a conventional physician, he assumes responsibility for those consulting him—and does not
want the treatment protocol diluted or confused by the energies of other healers. He asks people
consulting him to maintain taking prescription medications. He does not attempt to replace
conventional care. He only asks that people consulting him recognize that the energies coming
through him are subtle, and the healing takes time.
Most of us will agree that following the diverse protocols of several health practitioners
simultaneously is not generally a good practice—no matter if one is following conventional medicine
or alternative health practices.
Like the traditional Spiritists, John of God does not charge a fee for his healing work. Like a Spiritist,
John believes, “That which comes freely from God, should be given for free.”
Is He a Shaman?
“Shamans from very different cultures, at different times in history, share many
abilities such as communication with spirits.”
We can think of John of God as a shaman—a highly respected role played in shamanic societies for
the last 20,000 years in every indigenous society on every continent. Shamans were intermediaries
with the spirit realms and could contact the repository of wisdom of the ancestors, and sometimes
divine the future. They, too, believed that life goes on giving us an opportunity to grow spiritually,
lifetime after lifetime. They recognized that each individual gains birth to fulfill a mission—and
fulfilling that mission is the main source of fulfillment we can aspire to.
However, John does not act like any shaman we would easily recognize. He wears regular street
clothes. He does not perform any rituals. He does not dance, or take mind-altering substances to
evoke altered states of consciousness. He simply says prayers, and deliberately chooses the times
his body will incorporate a spirit for the purpose of helping others heal. In this way, he is more like a
priest than a shaman.
Should we look at him as a scientist? John allows health professionals to stand by him to observe
his work, to learn from him, even to study the reports of pathologists who analyze the tissue he takes
from people during physical surgeries he performs. He is very willing to contribute to the practice of
medicine, if he can. He archives peoples’ stories, and their pathology reports, proving the
extraordinary healing experienced at his center.
Spiritual Work and Healing
Like shamans, Spiritists and spiritualists, John knows that avoiding death is not necessarily the
purpose of healing. Healing is a matter of the spirit. Disease originates in the etheric body, the
subtle body which surrounds the physical body. Healing must address the roots of disease, and
clear the etheric body of the seeds of illness. When the seeds of illness are cleared, one is not only
healthy, but is more in alignment with one’s soul, and one’s true mission. Finding this purpose in life,
preserving the integrity of the soul, changing one’s life to fulfill one’s purpose is the true healing.
Anything short of this is just managing symptoms.
How does one attend to the seeds of illness? John of God often tells a person consulting him to “go
do your work”. He points to the current room, a room dedicated to meditation and prayer where
hundreds of people sit quietly together, eyes closed. This is an ideal place to be supported in letting
go of past resentments, forgiving others, opening one’s heart in compassion, strengthening one’s
connection to one’s spiritual guidance. One is asked to sit with palms facing up, in an attitude of
receptivity, to receive the help that one is asking for. Many people coming to the Casa have been
healed here: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Many have let go of all fear of death—as they
come to recognize, like John, that death does not exist. We live in a continuum, our spirits moving
from life to life, eternally changing form.
As a psychic medium with medical intuition, John is skilled in differential diagnosis. He can see into
the depths of what is causing a person’s suffering in an instant—whether it be physical, emotional or
spiritual—by looking at the individual, or seeing his photograph, or even hearing his name and
where he is located. One hears that John can see and attend to the seeds of illness seven years into
the future. Although all mediums have psychic abilities, not all have this ability so well developed.
A Normal Man with Unique Abilities
We might call him a Miracle Man—but John himself says, “Magic does not exist…the treatment is
slow…God and the Benevolent Spirits are the ones who heal.” When observers comment on the lack
of pain, minimal blood loss, and no infections after his surgery, John still does not claim to do magic.
He simply allows God to come through him when he is working. He serves as a model so we can do
the same, ie, be a vehicle for God’s work.
We long to find a niche, a category, for this unique being. We try to figure out what we can expect of
this man, who seemingly creates miracles. Some idealize him, thinking, “He must be like Christ
because of what he can do.” Better, I say, to listen to John himself, and hear how he thinks about
himself, then, allow him to be unique. Let him be a normal human being with unique abilities. He
himself knows that having paranormal abilities does not make him into a Christ.
In the end it may be best to be simple about what we call him, and let go of roles like shaman,
medical intuitive, Spiritist, and Spiritualist. In one sense, he is an ordinary man, working as a farmer
and a miner and fathering a family. In this life he faces the challenges, the joys and sorrows, of
normal living. Like us he is growing and changing every day, and loves to laugh. Like us, he is
fallible. In another sense, he is unique and has been given a great gift to help his fellow human
Unfortunately, John has been persecuted. Physicians have tried to incarcerate him for practicing
medicine without a medical license. The traditional churches have looked down on him for creating a
spiritual sanctuary without a priesthood. Some individuals criticize him for having the traits of an
ordinary man. Weathering the pain of being pushed away for not fitting into others’ expectations,
John continues to do his mission.
What is clear: when he is doing his mission of embodying spirits who help others in their healing, he
is truly and simply a man of God—an extraordinary being, revealing extraordinary phenomena,
sharing a divine compassion with all beings. Also, because he is unique and charismatic, John has
inspired many people from all over the world to come to Brazil. He has thus introduced them to the
richness of the healing traditions there.
When Creator created the world, the only law given was
“You shall be in good relationship to all things and all beings.”
–Brooke Medicine Eagle
My prayer is that John’s mission will continue to inspire others to bring more compassion and
spiritual wisdom into all places dedicated to healing. My prayer is also that we can accept him, and
celebrate him, for who he is—ever compassionate with the struggles he has had just to be himself,
doing his mission.
Spiritism: A Home for Healing and Spiritual Evolution” (about contemporary Spiritist Centers in
Brazil). In 2001, John of God recognized her as a “daughter of the Casa”. She has been leading
working with an award-winning documentary film producer, winner of 6 Cine Golden Eagle awards.
The DVD is available in English with subtitles in Portuguese, German and French.
www.friendsofthecasa.org The general website for John of God’s sanctuary. It publishes a monthly
newsletter, and gives information about how to travel to the Casa and consult with John of God.
Although there are no guides who are officially sanctioned by the Casa, there are a group of guides
from around the world referred to on this site who follow certain standards in helping visitors
understand and follow the important protocols that must be followed for optimal healing. Each of
these guides has been formally invited by John of God to guide people to the Casa.
www.heavenshelp.com Heaven’s Helpers is a trained group of care providers who provide personal
care to people with disabilities traveling to see John of God. They have attempted to keep their fees
affordable, acknowledging that most people limited by physical problems, need this extra support.
Arrangements for Helpers are ideally made prior to coming to the Casa.
Copyright © 2006, Emma Bragdon.
Please contact before reprinting:EBragdon@aol.com