Malintzin Society presentation. 2010 ICC Conference. May 21 – 23, Ojai, CA PDF Imprimir E-mail


Once upon a time on a rainy day the first child of a noble family came into the world. From the moment she was born, she fought for hours in a battle between life and death.  She was beautiful and smart; she was her father’s pride and joy and the absolute heir of his domains.  One day the tyrant-emperor ordered the death of her father as he was refusing to pay higher tributes.  At only six years old the little girl learned about death.

Her mother remarried soon after her father’s execution, and gave birth to a baby boy.  In this moment the girl represented an obstacle in this new family, so they decided to give her to the slave dealers who took her far from those lands and sold her to the chief of a rival tribe. She quickly discovered that by learning the language of this new place she could defend herself from mistreatments and humiliations.

Ten years had passed when the tribe lost a battle against some foreigners, who came from a very very far land, and were very different culturally and even physically.  She was given away together with 19 other women as a tribute. Once again she knew that by learning this new language she could get her new masters to be gentle with her.

When the outsiders realized she could speak three languages, her status changed radically and she became an essential character of a new story.  She played a major role in the events that took place the next two years as she learned other new languages; that of the new religion, that of the politics, that of the war…  and that of love.  Hence, she was the only one who they trusted to translate the message of the conquerors to the dominated citizens. Due to her mastery in languages she was present in many battles and thanks to her negotiations she helped to avoid many more.

She felt in love with her master, the conqueror, and had a son with him. A few years later she was given into marriage to another foreigner with whom she had a daughter.  Her children were a combination of two very different races giving birth to a new one.

This is the story of the archetypal image of the great mother of Mexicans.  This happened in the first half of the 16th century. She was named Malinalli in her original language; she was also called Malintzin, since the suffix TZIN was added to a name as a sign of respect for nobility. Then she was baptized Marina in the language of her new master. As the interpreter of the conqueror of Mexico she became a powerful woman and was given the title Doña, which is also a sign of respect. Malintzin was completely opposed to the way in which the Indians governed. She did not agree with the practice of human sacrifice in her religion. She did not agree with a system that determined what a woman’s worth was. She was convinced that a political, social and spiritual change was urgently needed.  So when the Spanish conquerors arrived she had the openness to learn about the Catholic religion but at the same time, she continued to respect and honor her Indian origin and values.  She was opened to “the new” at every moment of her life. She wanted to be free. She moved, walked, learned, discovered, transformed and was transformed.


Inspired in the powerful image of this woman, we launched Malintzin Society, a Non-profit organization aimed towards the community.  Our main objective is tending bridges between individuals, groups, peoples and cultures, and that looks forward the developing of a paradigm shift so that, with empathy and cultural understanding, we can fruitfully meet difference.

We want to participate in the coming together of these different forces that will cross-fertilize through interaction, and to be a participant in the development of all that this encounter among individuals and communities will bring.

We seek for the procreation of creative ideas, images and actions to re-generate and re-vision, the social, psychological, spiritual and psycho-ecological, dimensions of Anima Mundi, the soul of the world.

With the perspective of depth psychology and with an archetypal vision, we seek to link interdisciplinary education to community and social action in order to mirror and bring about different ways of respecting and honoring diversity.

To reach such objectives, Malintzin will work in three different areas: Theoria, Praxis, and Communitas. The projects include the translation of pivotal texts into Spanish and/or English, as well as the creation of an internet platform in which to publish articles, essays and texts by anyone interested in depth psychology and inter-cultural studies (authors, professors, students, and general public). It is our hope that this will help strengthen the bonds between English and Spanish speaking authors, readers and practitioners, and that will build a rich and dynamic body of knowledge.

Malintzin is concerned with participation.  In addition to bringing depth psychological ideas, we wish to implement practices into the daily life of individuals, groups and communities, promoting participation in a psychological exchange that eventually would create multidimensional modalities of being in the world.

Malintzin will organize lectures, workshops, and seminars relevant to our fields of interest. Our goal is to present them in the language and cultural perspective of those we are reaching to, and offering, whenever possible, bi-lingual / bi-cultural events that will promote the coming together of groups that would usually remain apart due lack of knowledge of the language or cosmogony of the other.  The commitment is to keep alive the tradition of embodied dialogue through the sharing of the work done or the ideas reflected.

This, on the one hand, will bring a depth psychological approach into communities that would otherwise have no access to it (such as the Spanish speaking populations in the United States, or some clinicians and practitioners living in Mexico who do not speak English); on the other hand, it will bridge the cultures and worldviews of the Latinamerican and the English speaking communities.

This Organization will address some of the needs that are emerging into our consciousness as a result of the evolution of the relationship between Latinamericans and the English speaking communities in the United States, Canada and Latinamerica.  Those needs, evidenced in several social, psychological and academic issues must not be ignored.

For this purpose, we will be holding a conference that will take place on October 8-10 at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara.   The main theme of this conference is “The Other” as we listen and honor what Lori invited us to reflect upon this weekend, How can we welcome the complexities of change as beautiful and life-giving rather than fear and resist?  This relationship with the Other is pivotal, for we are our relationships and, as James Hollis says, our relationships matter, “for without them we could never find the dialectical challenge of “the otherness of the other” that causes us to grow.”

Few images have received more attention in the past decades than that of the Other.  But how do we understand the Other nowadays, in times when globalization and technological progress allow for a myriad of perspectives to converge in one same place? And even more important: how do we experience the Other? What exactly happens when we face what is different from us?

In times of increasing political, social and psychological tension, Malintzin Society is organizing this conference with the objective of finding new ways of understanding and experiencing the Other through as many perspectives as possible: philosophical, psychological, literary, political, artistic.

This conference is meant to be a space of encounter, a place in which different world perspectives come across and nurture each other.  This is an event that wants not only to talk about the Other, but also to foster a deep and engaged experience of Otherness.

We are really looking forward to seeing you at the Old Mission, on October for an Other experience.