JoJean the Healer

We hear stories all the time about the mysterious wicked witch who lives in the rickety house on the corner. JoJean Jodlowski exemplifies the modern “witch,” though she is not wicked and her house isn’t rickety.

In rural Northeast Ohio lives an exuberant, 57-year-old woman who is considered a healer, an artist, a spiritualist and, to some, crazy.

Jodlowski does not belong to any belief system, religion or dogma. She doesn’t consider herself to be a witch, either, but she believes the term connotates a wise woman, which she may certainly be. Jodlowski has traveled throughout the United States developing her healing abilities, studying with a Puerto Rican healer named Reinaldo and with the spiritual organization The Emissaries of Divine Light.

Since a car crash in 2007, Jodlowski has collected disability, but she remains active as a healer and a caregiver to her elderly mother. She believes in the importance of seeing doctors, too, but to Jodlowski, energy healing is the future of medicine.

I spent time with Jodlowski and took photographs that show her in various moments of her life: as an outcast, a healer, a caregiver and a person.

Among the many spiritual items in the backyard of Jodlowski’s home, a prominent piece is the hanging pyramid. She visits the pyramid daily, taking in the energy it provides.

Jodlowski enjoys shuffling a deck of tarot cards and interpreting their meanings to pass the time. In addition to reading messages she receives, she gives readings to friends and family.

Reiki healing is just one of Jodlowski’s many healing capabilities. Here she performs the Japanese ritual for her best friend, Nadine Olsteen, who suffers from physical and mental pain.

A hand-painted red door boldly signifies the entrance of the 1,200-square-foot home of Jodlowski and her mother.

Betty Jean Jodlowski lives on the first floor. Her daughter, JoJean, is her caretaker.

Painting is a hobby and a form of spiritual expression for Jodlowski. This painting is called “The Trinity.”

The magical presence that Jodlowski carries is also reflected throughout her home. She is off to gather her thoughts and smoke a cigarette.

Many of Jodlowski’s friends believe smoking is not a “spiritual thing” to do. Doctors tell her she has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, but Jodlowski ignores their advice and her friends’ criticism.

Ohio is muddy this time of year. Jodlowski boots up in her basement.

Jodlowski and friends visit the Serpent Mound, built by ancient Native Americans, in southern Ohio on the spring equinox. Some scholars believe it may be a comet, not a snake.

Bryan Langsdale and Leela Willow perform sessions of crystal singing bowls to random passersby. Crystal singing bowls create sounds at frequencies considered to have healing properties.

Chief Blue Star Eagle conducts an evening spring equinox ceremony. Mound visitors circle up to listen.

Tired from the drive home from a weekend at the Serpent Mount, Jodlowski lugs her bags home, ready to unpack and settle in.

Seven in the morning is considered sleeping in for Jodlowski. Her usual day consists of waking up early to work in the yard, to clean or to catch up on paper work.