197: Healing & Traversing the Fabric of the Matrix with Ayahuasca


“I found myself at the outer reaches of the universe.”

Hey, guys, welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio). In this podcast, we explore the body, mind, and soul of the creative entrepreneur. It’s my goal to help you take your creativity, business, and life to the next level. I’m so glad you’re joining me on this journey!

I just had a huge week, and I’m thrilled to tell you all about it! If you’ve been listening along, you’ll already know that I’ve been doing plant medicine for a couple of years now, but this past week was something completely new. 

I visited the Arkana Spiritual Center in Peru, where I was welcome as a part of the family to experience some of the most potent and profound plant medicines on the planet. Over a week, I was able to enjoy the effects of peyote, DMT, and ayahuasca under the watchful care of the fantastic team at Arkana. My own journey of consciousness is deeply linked to my creativity, and the more I learn, the more I want to share with you.

Read on as I talk in more detail about my recent excursion to the Arkana Spiritual Center, an Ayahuasca Retreat Center in Peru. I share how a sweat lodge works and why people join peyote ceremonies. I’ll also share my insights on how ayahuasca and other plant medicines can heal you and make your life better.  

If you’re excited to know more, let’s get started!

Death and Healing

Have you ever seen or used a sweat lodge? During the first night at Arkana, I tried using a sweat lodge. For those who don’t know, a sweat lodge is a dome with one little door. The one that I used was made up of whole cement. It was super hot, they had a giant fire going outside, and they were heating up these rocks, which I think were similar to lava rocks.

Each of us piled into the lodge, and we sat around in a circle around the outsides. Some people started bringing in the rocks and putting them in the fire pit and the rock pit in the center. Once they’d get enough, they’d dump buckets of water into them, and the whole lodge just started to heat up with steam. 

As we sweat, I noticed that they moved through a few different processes, kind of like a three or four-step ceremony throughout the whole thing. They started with water and air, water and earth, and then moved into fire and air. 

And all this time, the one thing in my mind was my grandmother passing. Before leaving, I literally gave my goodbye to her while she was on her deathbed. 

Amidst the ember and perspiration on my skin, I had this strange experience where I saw her wanting to go to eternal bliss but not wanting to leave home, too. So I reached out to her and guided her home. Once we arrived on earth, I led her to a fire. I put my hand on her lying body on the hospital bed in an almost astral projected consciousness. Then I lifted her up to the ether.  

I think that this has been my attitude towards death for a while now — I believe that we can communicate with our ancestors. Their spirit is everywhere, and all we need is to invite them in. Death isn’t the end, and we can always find ways to transcend death and extend our relationship with them. Having this kind of approach to death can allow us to heal better and more fully

What a Peyote Ceremony Taught Me

Another transcending experience I had was participating in a peyote ceremony. On the first night, we partook in some cactus and tea. Afterward, I laid back down and just had this crazy psychedelic journey of visuals. It was a little intense, but the second day was a much lighter experience. 

Throughout these moments, I was reminded of the importance of one thing — being present.

The first night I partook in the peyote ceremony, I saw cactus textures, elves, and all kinds of crazy things. At a certain point, I just couldn’t formulate any thoughts or words. I couldn’t really do anything with what I was experiencing. 

However, this medicine ended up taking me into the present. I woke up in the middle of the night, and I felt like I was a newborn child. I witnessed the world for the first time, without labels, and just absorbed what I saw without over-analyzing it. 

Many of us always have the habit of analyzing everything. Our minds are so stimulated constantly — there’s a bazillion things we can think about at one given time. Sometimes, that can be good, but other times, our inner voice is typically dramatic, pessimistic, and catastrophic. We let our brains take control and conjure up these different experiences, thoughts, worries, and fears.

If we have a tendency to be harsh on ourselves, we can find that our inner voice takes over in some circumstances. We may be worried about volunteering for a task because we listen to our “inner voice” telling us that we won’t do well and that people would laugh at us. All of these situations are often influenced by overthinking.

So that’s what I learned from my peyote ceremony experience — I learned how to practice presence, witnessing the world for what it is, and not reading too far into it. 

Ayahuasca, Other Plant Medicines, And Your Higher Self

The day after the peyote ceremony, we did the first night of the ayahuasca ceremony. Before I continue, I want to remind everyone that you need to do your journey with the right shamans. You need to do with the right people in the correct container. 

You gotta be careful of this commercialized ayahuasca. They’re not true to the soul and the actual healing of the medicine. To do this, you have to find the shaman that you can trust and who can lead you through the process.

We all want to heal. We want to fully express joy and experience it. In fact, that was my intention going into this last ceremony. I wanted to encode and embed enjoyment into my body, into my DNA, into my cells, which would allow me to live an expressed life.

The more we uncover, the more we discover that there are more layers to heal. There are more spaces to go and places to learn and all in the name of intention and growth and living a more vibrant and fully expressed life. That is a gift you can give to yourself and share with other people to help other people.

With ayahuasca and other plant medicines, you can be able to tap into your higher self. You can tap into your subconscious and move through your psyche. This is where you can really become a tool that’ll allow you to tap into the source and the higher power that exists. But two things might put you off from plant medicine.

The first thing is it leaves a burning and unsettling taste. The bigger picture, though, is there’s the healing. The truth is, when we want to live our lives to the fullest, we need to live the uncomfortable. We’ve got to go through the pain. But the beautiful thing is, through the bitter taste and pain, we get transformed. We become better. And that’s what Creative Alchemy is. It’s creating our lives in full color.

With ayahuasca and other plant medicines, you’ll most likely experience purging on some level. You might throw up, probably on the first or even the fourth night, and that’s understandably not an appealing fact to everyone. But, on a mental and emotional level, purging is an incredible experience. The idea is that trauma gets stuck in your body, and you want to get it out. You want to uproot it. 

So that’s energy purging, and it was powerful for me. Then, I started moving into a really different space. I felt like I upgraded my consciousness to this a whole other level.

You Are Your Life’s Alchemist

I hope that you found this something valuable in today’s episode! As long as you’re trying, everything is going to be okay. Whether it’s through personal development work or plant medicine, remember that the key to improving or healing your life is you!

Alchemy is defined as taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.

With that being said, I define Creative Alchemy as using the process of creativity to create a lens through which to perform alchemy. These principles not only apply to artists and creatives in their creative processes but to anyone who wants to make an extraordinary life in color for themselves. I’ve found that 80% of creating alchemizes the thoughts, emotions, and other inner blocks that keep you from putting pen to paper. Navigating to the act of creation takes alchemical processes. These processes are necessary to live the best life possible.

The best thing is there are many processes and tools that’ll allow you to heal from life’s pains and traumas. There’s a lot of research and facilities teaching or learning about the use of plant medicines so you can begin alchemizing your best life today.

If you’re wanting to go dive in, you can use the code “nicko” at check out at arkanainternational.com for $50 off and a free healing session or massage at any of the facilities.

By the way, don’t forget to check out my website for more of the exciting insights I’ll be sharing with everyone. Also, if you find this episode valuable, please screenshot it and post it to Instagram and tag me, @nickonken. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts and don’t forget to leave a rating and feedback!

I’ve also been doing many hat commissions as they’ve been a fantastic help for me as they serve as my creative outlets. If you’re interested, make sure to check them out at onkenhat.com or @onkenhat on Instagram. 

Thanks again for joining me today, everyone. I’ll catch you next time —

Nick Onken


You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!


“The idea is to set back to the eternal now.”

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • How does a sweat lodge work [6:00]
  • What is peyote [9:45]
  • How to make sure you have a positive ayahuasca experience [18:00]
  • Why do you take ayahuasca [25:00]
  • What is it like to take DMT [27:00]

Links Mentioned:

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  • .. PLUS! You’ll get access my brand building book recs and favorite resources

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