UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Travelling to the ’spirit world’ — Part 2

Meet Wade Prpich: hockey dad and shamanic practitioner

By Carolyn Pogue

Recently, I asked shamanic practitioner Wade Prpich for an interview in order to learn more about shamanism. He countered with an invitation to experience a session first and asked me to think of an issue I wanted healed. I thought for days. Sometimes, I had 50 issues; other times not one.

Wade is the father of three, a hockey dad and coach. In addition to holding an honours degree in psychology, he has a masters in environmental science. Personable and smart, he’s also a passionate organic farmer on his family’s land near High Prairie, Alta. And his office is calm and inviting. There, he asked questions about my issue — those that I might expect of a minister or psychologist. But that’s when the expected stopped.

While I remained in my chair, he used a rattle to invoke the change of consciousness desired for this work and to invite in compassionate spirit helpers. I was relaxed, yet alert. Wade then explained that as babies, our souls are whole and beautiful. As life progresses, we sustain soul wounds: some small; others deep. That seemed logical to me, of course. And shamans can help to heal these wounds.

Next, by candlelight, I lay on a mattress on the floor, covered with a soft blanket. He instructed me to remain open and observe images or thoughts that arose as he chanted and rattled. When that part of the session ended, we talked about what had arisen for each of us. Finally, he thanked the spirit helpers.

Later, I went home with a feeling of wellbeing and of wonder, and I’ve recalled some of the images that arose several times since.

During our interview two weeks later, Wade spoke of how "our wounds can hold us back from greater spiritual development." Our — and Earth's — physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing are connected to our spiritual wellbeing."

Interestingly, his interest in shamanism first came from research for his science degree. "Inherently, it doesn't make sense for humans to degrade their environment," he explained to me. "I wanted to understand this. I concluded that many of us are spiritually unhealthy or have arrested spiritual development. Environmental ‘dis-ease’ is a reflection of our own. Degradation of the planet is a spiritual issue."

Wade's psychology background led to a similar conclusion: "Psychologists and psychiatrists can help us deal with the mind, but psychotherapy cannot heal everything. Some wounds go deeper than the mind into the spirit. Spiritual healing can be the next logical step toward overall health."

I asked if people expect him to be a "ghostbuster" or exorcist. He laughed, saying: “Occasionally. Some expect me to dress differently, have long hair or use drugs." I'd wondered about drugs.

"Only about 10 per cent of traditional shamanic cultures use plant medicines, such as ayahuasca or peyote, to alter consciousness," he said. "The rest use percussion — a drum or a rattle. The object is letting go of the ego so that we might have spiritual experience or even union with the divine. Plant medicines potentially move people quickly and dramatically into a state where the ego is left behind. Once started, there's no stopping until the plant medicine runs its course. That is different from percussion, where the individual is in control."

For my United Church heart, learning through a science-based hockey dad about the wisdom of the ancestors provides the right balance of traditional healing in our modern world.

Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a Calgary author and longtime Observer contributor. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!


The author is baptized at Central United in Calgary. (Photo courtesy of Al Coe)

Why I got baptized in a United Church at the age of 42

by Jacqueline Mercer-Livesey

"I told myself that I didn’t need to go to church to believe in God. I found peace and the Holy Spirit in the things that surrounded me. But still, there was a nagging sense of something missing."

Promotional Image


Editor/Publisher of The Observer, Jocelyn Bell.

Observations: The rewards of letting go

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the upcoming changes for The United Church of Canada, the magazine and in her own life.

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image


June 2018

The moment the Pope asked me to pray for him

by Miriam Spies

A United Church minister on the impact of a simple gesture from a powerful man.


July 2018

Best self-care tips for caregivers

by Kate Spencer

Counsellors, teachers and ministers share what it looks like for them.


July 2018

Meet your 2018 moderator nominees

by Mike Milne

Later this month, General Council commissioners will choose the United Church’s next moderator. As of press time, 10 leadership hopefuls had been announced. We asked each of them to sum up their pitch in a tweet.


July 2018

A fond farewell to presbyteries

by Steven Chambers

They will likely be eliminated this year as the United Church restructures. Steven Chambers celebrates the end of an era.


July 2018

Instead of retirement, these two nurses are battling Vancouver's opioid crisis

by Roberta Staley

At age 71 and 65 respectively, Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles embrace their unconventional work in the Downtown Eastside.


June 2018

I hate you, Canada, for teaching people to treat me like this under your name

by Zach Running Coyote

A Cree actor says he blames our country for the racist comments recently directed at him in a McDonald's restaurant.

Promotional Image