Issue 52: On Intuition, Taboos and a Really Cool Podcast

Cindy Rodriguez and Nathalie Farfan are two childhood friends who started Morado Lens. As they describe it, it’s “a feminist podcast hosted by two childhood friends who discuss embracing your #innerbruja, sex, & culture — always funny, always real.”

Bruja is Spanish for witch, and what they mean by embracing your inner bruja is embracing your intuition. Cindy, a multimedia journalist, says she was partly inspired by her mom, who taught her about embracing the flow of positive energy and vibes.

When Cindy moved back in with her mom in 2014 after a breakup and losing a job, her mom prepared a bath with flowers and perfume and told Cindy to take a bath and say her deepest desires for what she wanted in life.

“And I was like, this is really weird,” Cindy said. “But I didn’t want to push back. I was living in her home. I was trying to comply.”

She ended up saying a lot of things she didn’t know what she wanted and even things she feared.

“I realized there’s so much power in saying what you really want out now,” Cindy said. “They all have this one thing in common, either truly visualizing or speaking what you really want out of life. That’s an essential theme when it comes to embracing your inner bruja. I’ve been denying this part of myself for a long time, and I’m ready to embrace it.”

Photo by Julius July

Anyway, it’s an absolutely awesome feminist podcast and you can check it out here. Read more below on how the podcast started and what it’s about.

How did you come up with an idea for this podcast?

When we get together, we’re constantly talking about this stuff anyway, like spirituality, our identity and being a woman. Someone made a joke saying, ‘You guys are so entertaining and you guys should have your own show, like a web series or something.’ We were like, nothing like this exists for Latinas.

I really like the emphasis on covering topics that are considered taboo like sex, dating and more. Can you speak more about why you decided to focus the podcast on these topics?

There’s a lot of shame tied to these topics. We think in order to move forward as a society, as a culture, as women, we need to talk more openly about these things, in an open way, in a podcast. It’s like, what better way than that? Especially when it comes to culture and identity. We want to turn the negative connotation to a positive one. We honor it in intimate conversations, but when it’s a larger conversation, it’s shameful, and in order to empower ourselves as women, as we need to start within ourselves and our own inner circles.

What does embrace your inner bruja mean?

Bruja is Spanish for witch. We mean it as intuition. We want all women, especially Latinas, to embrace that spiritual part of themselves, mostly because a lot of people don’t listen to their intuition. We’ve spoken to so many women about this, but it’s almost always right. It’s not something that can be measured. It’s not an excel chart or pie chart. It’s something in you. It’s something that gets brushed off. We always know what’s right for us. If you embrace that part of yourself, you’re going to open this beautiful and spiritual and badass part of yourself as a woman.

So is there an example of a time you did that?

I think the first time I really listened to my intuition was when I was 16 or 17 years old. My family is very spiritual. They’re the first ones to give me home remedies and have certain home rituals to do to ward off bad remedy. I grew up with it but I didn’t embrace it for real until I moved in with my mother three years ago. But the first real time, I was at my cousin’s house for a party. It was my dad and my stepmother. Out of nowhere, we’re having a great time, and I just got this terrible feeling, like, you need to leave this party right now. I told my dad, ‘We need to go, we need to go right now.’ And then we left. And we never leave a party early, especially with Latino families, we party all night long, good times. We went home. I thought nothing of it. I went to sleep. The next morning, my mom wakes me up, and she said there was this huge fight after I left. A rumble took place outside the house. It was 10 to 20 men. Someone got a bat and hit my cousin on the head. I knew if I stayed there with my dad, he would’ve tried to intervene. God only knows what would’ve happened with my dad. Ever since then, if I have some kind of feeling about something, my dad listens to me. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like if something is telling you to say no, it’s probably a good idea to listen to it, whether it’s a job decision or relationship or when I meet someone. Months later, I’ll be like, thank God I sped away from that person.

Do you know any podcasts that are similar to what you’re doing?

I haven’t found a podcast that’s really focused on a distinct perspective talking about spirituality, empowerment and feminism. There are a lot of podcasts that talk about Latino food and culture. We started this podcast out of frustration of not being in the podcast world in the first place. The more podcasts there are, the more successful we’re all going to be. If we collaborate, it’s going to prove to the market this is going to be a thing, and we can contribute to a conversation about women and empowerment and spirituality.

I read about how you wrote that there’s a lot of content that’s targeted at the “millennial Latina” that seems kind of fake. Can you explain what you mean by this?

I’ve been in journalism now for over 10 years. The general market wants to reap from the benefits of the Latino market, but they don’t want to put a lot of effort into the genuine identity pieces. It felt like people were trying to feed content to the Latino market, and they were trying to sugar coat a lot of stuff, but we were like, let’s get into real stuff, and get into immigration, and how tensions within the family are awkward when it comes to language. These are important conversations to have.

Any future plans or future cool podcasts you plan to do?

We are doing something with Annie Vazquez. She’s our advice columnist. We teamed up three months ago. She’s Cuban and from Miami and she’s dope. She brings this new air to things. We have a good vibe with things.

We have this episode out called Embracing Your Inner Darkness (you can listen here). We talk a lot about positivity and spirituality. Everyone is two things, the light and the dark. We talk about how we embrace our darkness and it makes us whole. Everyone has dark thoughts and habits and things we’re working on, so we’re excited about that.

We’re also planning a trip to New Orleans, and people are like you need to talk about voodoo and things like that, so we’re looking forward to that.

Once again, learn more about Morado Lens and listen here. Here are five stories to read this week:

  • Gwendolyn Woods Blames San Francisco For Her Son’s Death by Jamilah King. “Days after San Francisco police shot and killed 26-year-old Mario Woods on Dec. 2, 2015, his mother, Gwendolyn Woods, began building a memorial on the patch of sidewalk in Bayview-Hunters Point where he died. It was an effort to, as she put it, ‘transition the idea of it.’”
  • Flight of the Ruler by Gabrielle Bellot. “What was on my mind that night were other politics, a very different rise and fall: my own. My head began to throb. The girl I had suppressed for over twenty years wanted out.”
  • I Wanted To Be His Prized Possession by Sarah Francois. “After a strict religious upbringing, escaping into the world of BDSM felt like my version of finding god. Then it got to be way too much.”
  • When You Are Waiting to be Healed by June Eric-Udorie. “I felt like I was a piece of clockwork waiting to be fixed.”
  • Where Did Drake’s “Jamaican” Accent Come From? By Sajae Elder. To understand Drake’s proximity to reggae, and all tings Caribbean, it’s important to acknowledge who shapes the culture of Toronto. But is that enough?

Also I’m still thinking about Alex Tizon’s piece on Eudocia Tomas Pulido. I highly recommend this NPR Code Switch podcast about it. Listen here.

Make a friend’s day and forward this email! Send me story submissions/comments/questions/concerns, and if you’re down to do a Q&A, let me know! Have a great rest of the week!