Bringing Healing to Prisons

Dear Patrick,

I’ve been teaching qigong at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, the women’s prison in Wilsonville, for 3+ years now. I used to come to the drumming circles at Cedar Mountain a couple of years ago and have a drumming circle here in Sherwood periodically. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been blending the qigong (Chinese self-healing energy practice) with talking circles, drum meditations, drum healing circles (on request), and some shamanic practices. The healing that has happened with the ladies in my classes has been phenomenal and is what keeps me motivated to continue my service there.

One of my “lifers” in Medium security has been attending class most of two years. She has no one on the outside that can send her anything as her family has disowned her for various unfortunate reasons. She has experienced the deep healing of the native style drumming and talking circles. She told me she  very much wanted a medicine bag and did I know of anyone she could contact to send her one. I have made several, but I cannot provide her one. It’s against the rules we card-carrying volunteers must obey. I told her about Cedar Mountain Drums and she has requested that I bring all your contact information to class tomorrow so she can put it through channels. I am providing her that info tomorrow morning.  While looking up your info on the web, I found your article on Creating Sacred Space in Prisons. When she does contact you, it would be wonderful if you could provide her with a reasonably priced medicine bag. Also, I’d like to share your article with the two prison chaplains at Coffee Creek.

Spirit has blessed me beyond description by allowing me to be with these women for the last three years. Other than the ladies who come in every so often to do the sweat lodges, I’m the only one I know of who brings drums, rattles and healing stones every week into Coffee Creek. Every Friday I teach qigong and we drum in Minimum Security. On the second and fourth Sundays, I go to Medium and do the same. They have been blessed with healing, visits from totem animals, and new found hope for those whose sentences will end one day. For those who will be there for life, they’ve learned a skill that can help them endure the rigors and mediocre medicare care they must endure. Several of them are still in touch now that they’re out.


In health & spirit,

Jo Ann