A traveling healer in Chiclana: “I am not a shaman, this not only has to do with the esoteric world”

Journey into the interior and shamanic rebirth. In recent years, interest in spirituality has grown in society. Hard times, stress for the heart and a wave of disturbing worries. To deal with problems, shamanism is at the service. An ancient tradition that dates back to the Paleolithic takes place in Andalusia, where more and more people want to get closer to self-knowledge.

“I have noticed it, I have seen the change in Spain with respect to knowing oneself, it is abysmal”, comments Leonardo Ortiz, 42, a native of Argentina. He is dedicated precisely to accompanying these people in that “spiritual emergence” visible in recent times. He does it from Chiclana, where he has lived since the summer of 2020, through a project he calls El curandero viajero. Although he is the visible face of the project, it is sustained thanks to a team of professionals who accompany him such as Sol Ortiz Cejas, copywriterwho has also participated in this interview.

Leonardo Ortiz on the Jerez campus.  DORIS MULLER
Leonardo Ortiz on the Jerez campus. DORIS MULLER

The community that this team has generated means that they are invited and travel to all corners of Spain, the country where Leonardo landed 22 years ago. “I came because there was an economic crisis in Argentina, it caused many of us to migrate,” he tells lavozdelsur.es. Since he set foot on Spanish soil, he dedicated himself to earning a living as he could, in a carpentry shop, painting houses, in bars, cleaning cars, in a real estate agency or in a supermarket. “Imagine how much an immigrant can work in a new country,” says the Argentine, who, in parallel to his work, carried out numerous volunteer projects while traveling through Europe or Southeast Asia.

“The only opportunity I had to accompany people was voluntarily,” he says. Until in 2017, she started this project in which she is currently developing. A way of life “like any other” that he considers “a family delivery” with tasks of organizing events and conversations, social networks, marketing or web.

Leonardo did not start in this world five years ago. As he explains, “I don’t know when I started, because I’ve always had it in my heart.” From his point of view, accompaniment is not his profession. “I have never studied it or decided on it, this was born with me and I surrendered to it”, Leonardo explains that, far from any stereotype, he does not call himself a shaman, although he does practice shamanic techniques.

Accompaniments at the University of Cádiz.  DORIS MULLER
Accompaniments at the University of Cádiz. DORIS MULLER

According to RAE, a shaman is a “person who is supposed to be endowed with supernatural powers to heal the sick, divine, invoke spirits, etc.” For him, it is someone who “observes nature and is able to read the environment to get the most out of it with a minimum of internal energy exchange.” As an example, “if I look at a politician, I can’t ask him to have Buddhist monk shares, that’s saving energy.”

Leonardo denies being a shaman, he is just a companion in a spiritual process. “I don’t think there is someone who can self-proclaim as such. They are labels. There are people who are born in specific areas and have to fulfill that role, but I don’t, nor do I want it. It does not correspond to the area where we live. It’s like if you want to be a bullfighter on a boat, it doesn’t make sense, ”he explains.

In his way of proceeding, he uses shamanic techniques that he has learned since he was little in the family, “by culture”, which he refines over time. However, he clarifies that these “have nothing to do with the feathers or with the songs.” Feathers, songs, clothing are tools of shamanic techniques. These energy saving techniques are a language that forms the basis of shamanism.

The traveling healer uses instruments whose purpose is not musical.
The traveling healer uses instruments whose purpose is not musical. DORIS MULLER

He focuses on breathing and uses a series of instruments such as shamanic drums, rattles, the didgeridoo, the harmonica, or the kalimba, whose purpose, in this context, is not musical. “Through introspective questions, sounds and interactions, the person manages herself, I accompany her from a completely neutral place so that she has the opportunity to see herself without anything getting in the way”, Leonardo maintains.

From El curandero viajero, he offers “accompaniment” to those who are in a moment of “spiritual awakening”, that is, who feel that they are missing something and who do not know how to start the search and why take that path. For this reason, they turn to companions like him, who is by his side with the aim that “they can smile again in life and become children again without looking at things from a labeled place. For a child, the world has infinite possibilities.

According to his experience, those who approach these practices often “believe that doing various rituals is, in itself, the step that will lead us to happiness. However, these rituals are only a part, which we usually follow.” to enter, especially at first, believing that they will lead us to fullness. Over time and with the accompaniment we realize that the only thing necessary is to let ourselves be felt, that there are no levels, only a process of development of the being”, says laughing.

Group of people during the accompaniment.
Group of people during the accompaniment. DORIS MULLER

In Spain it is common to associate certain practices with shamanism, partly because, most of the time, it appears in the media linked to them. It is common to hear news in which the Police dismantle a gang of shamans who offered a mystical life with drugs or arrest a shaman for supplying psychotropic drugs in spiritual retreats.

These substances, for better or for worse, in the collective imagination are usually related to shamanism. Consuming the famous ayahuasca is not subject to legal problems because in Spain it is not considered a drug. “We do not go into that because it is not our field,” clarifies the Argentine, who then launches his reflections.

Shamanic techniques.
Leonardo uses shamanic techniques. DORIS MULLER

“I understand that the press has to eat something and has to put sensational or easy-selling nuances on it. I also understand that there will be people who want to connect with people and sometimes they get to places where they collide with social structures”, he maintains on this complex issue. The Argentine warns that “no one knows the world of substances and if one does not become educated he is not capable of self-management and it is a double-edged sword.” He also adds that the objective of the team is to inform, that is, “to make available to those who approach all possible material and answer questions that may arise from fear and ignorance. From there, the person decides that we accompany their process or not. It is normal, at first, that they want to take some time to reflect. The important thing, at that moment, is that, whatever they decide, they have already started a path of self-discovery”.

After sharing a few sentences, Leonardo, who has also transmitted his techniques at the VI health and wellness meeting World Wellness Weekend driven by the Cadiz University and the Jerez City Council this year, expresses with words what it feels. From Chiclana he makes it clear that the important thing beyond healers, witches or substances, is to achieve a vital balance. “In general, we have preconceived ideas that lead us to create certain expectations or judgments. With accompaniment, both the one who accompanies and the one who is accompanied develop a neutral space for conversation, reflection and self-management that manifests itself in their environment and their relationships ”, concludes.

A traveling healer in Chiclana: “I am not a shaman, this not only has to do with the esoteric world”