Tuesday, our second day in Abadiania, we made it through the night alive. The first thing on the agenda is that I go to the blessed waterfall with Kelsie. It’s early in the morning and the thought of even a quick dip in a cold running stream doesn’t really sound all that appealing, never the less it couldn’t be any worse than the cold shower I took earlier. So, OK, I’m in!
Bill can’t go with us because Kelsie doesn’t have permission from the Entities of Light for him yet; we would all have to go together—Kelsie, Bill, and me—to help him with the steep path in and out and the rocks at the falls as well. We will ask for permission next week.
We walk to the Casa and hire a taxi to drive us down the dirt road to a turnaround where he will wait for us to transport us back up to the Casa; it’s a good thing because it’s at least a mile back up the steep road. A cement paved path with heavy wire handrails on both sides has now appeared leading further down the valley, there is a large, peeling sign in several languages stating the protocol for the waterfall. It asks for silence, respect, and a meditative attitude while visiting the waterfall. We walk down after a silent prayer to the Entities for serenity and healing. We arrive at a cement bench where there is a woman waiting for more women to continue on to the falls. It is against protocol to proceed alone. The gate across the path is closed indicating there are people already ahead of us. Men and women usually go separately but there are exceptions made by the Entities which is what we are hoping for so we can accompany Bill to the blessed waterfall next week. Bill really wants to be able to experience everything that he possibly can while we are in Brazil.
Two men walk up the path and we are free to continue down the path. After closing the gate the three of us proceed to a wooden bench out of site from the first bench where we change into our bathing suits right out in the open woods. I think, What about the paparazzi waiting to snap our photos? Not something I really have to worry about! Thank God. Barefooted, we resume our walk down an even steeper path to the falls. It’s looking more and more tropical; there’s a bamboo trying to reach the sky, at least fifteen feet tall, threading through trees, too skinny to stand up by itself. No photos or videos are allowed at the waterfall.
And there it is—a small stream cascading over a rock ledge, it falls about ten feet to a rocky shelf with a two by six board angling beside the path lodged in the rock wall behind the falls; this is our railing to help negotiate the slippery rocks to stand under the falling water. We walk over a rather rickety bridge and one by one we gingerly traverse the uneven and mossy rocks. It is breathtaking, cold but not freezing, a stream of water about ten inches in diameter, the force is nearly enough to rip my suit off and wants to push me off my feet. It is dangerous footing and I wonder if Bill could do this but with our help I believe he could, it may take longer but all we got is time.
We stand under the refreshing water, asking that we be cleansed and blessed. Me first, then Kelsie and the other lady is last. We wait for her before we start back up the path to the wood bench where our dry clothes are waiting for us. I do not feel cold. As we change I reflect on the amazing simplicity of this place. There are no over-bearing safety precautions; just a simple two by six to hang on to while in the water, no artificial platform to stand on; just the natural rocks. We are expected to take responsibility for ourselves, to follow protocol and to respect others. Yes, we do have permission from the Entities of Light to visit this sacred place but the rest is up to us as individuals to follow the rules. I don’t believe we would receive much sympathy if we didn’t follow the suggestions and wound up in trouble.
All of this takes no more than forty-five minutes. Bill is surprised when we arrived back at the pousada so soon; he was expecting at least an hour to nap, so we both nap until lunch at noon.
After lunch we have a date at Kelsie’s house to review what we will be doing at the Casa during Casa Days—Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. These are the days that John of God, known here as Medium Joāo (pronounced joe-ow), will be at the Casa incorporating the thirty-seven or so Entities of Light that heal through him. Since we have already sent our photos for distant healing and have started taking the passiflora herb blessed by the Entities for each of us, we will stand in the Second Time line waiting to pass in front of Medium Joāo. We will only have a second or two each because there will be many, many more people behind us. First Kelsie leads us through a focusing meditation, and then we begin to work on condensing our requests. Only three can be presented at a time so we will ask for our most important and pressing requests for healing this first time. They must be short and to the point as they will be translated into Portuguese and read to the Medium as we approach. We decide to meet at Kelsie’s house at 6:00 am the following morning for breakfast so we can eat and get to the Assembly Hall as soon as we can before 7:00 am, to get a seat up front.
In the evening is an orientation given by Diego, a volunteer translator of the Casa, for new visitors. We feel already well prepared but we attend because more information is always welcome. We gather at the tables where the blessed soup is served on Casa days. There are folks from all over the world but the orientation is given mostly in English. The sun is setting and an orange and pink glow infuses the proceedings.
As he talks, I am struck by the number of similarities of the Casa and our 12 Step Fellowship of Recovery that Bill and I have participated in for nearly twenty-one years. First as I have already said—the blue and white, the blue is the color of the fourth edition of our basic text. We painted our Fellowship Club in Colorado the exact same color. And then, many more. The triangle used here at the Casa—the three sides representing Faith, Love and Charity; the Fellowship triangle—Recovery, Unity and Service. Everyone is welcome regardless of religious beliefs, or not; a God of your understanding. We must put in at least 50% participation into this healing—put at least as much time into your sobriety as time spent in your indulgence in your addictions/obsessions. And here are more—We are all one/unity—Forgiveness and acceptance are the keys—It’s not what you think—What can I bring?—Give up victimhood—It’s best to have a guide/sponsor—Pass it on. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. We feel at home in a very good way.
There are many questions for Diego; it seems that the same ones are asked over and over and he patiently tries to answer each one. Not everyone has a guide as we do to personally answer questions, we feel fortunate indeed that we have found such a compassionate and observant person to guide us. Kelsie pays attention and makes every effort to pass on her knowledge of the Casa as well as life in Abadiania. We have both read the Casa guide book, have talked to Kelsie and listened with attention to the orientation. We definitely feel prepared for tomorrows’ experience.