Margot Adler and the Atheist Brujita

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 27, 2007 — 6 Comments

New York public radio station WNYC has a program called “Radio Rookies” that trains teens from a variety of backgrounds on how to use the radio to tell their stories, and the stories of others. Yesterday’s “Radio Rookie” broadcast was by Sonia Ponce, a child of Mexican immigrants who has bucked her family’s religious traditions and now considers herself a “witchcraft-practicing atheist”.

“We are from Mexico, and we were all raised as Catholics-mom, dad and all 13 kids. I’m the only witchcraft-practicing atheist … So I’m the weirdo’ in my family-all 14 of them are like geese together flying in a V. I’m the only one going my own way, and I’ve flown on a lot of different paths: vegetarian, agnostic, atheist, witch, wizard, anorexic, bisexual, lesbian, vegan, activist, honors student and head banger! But my parents refuse to hear about it. Maybe they would understand me better if we had the same education and culture.”

Ponce, in addition to telling her story and interviewing her family, also talks to NPR reporter and Pagan author Margot Adler about practicing Witchcraft.

“One problem as someone involved in Wicca or paganism is that there are a number of people who think you are involved in Satanism. You got a real problem when you meet people and you got to do the whole anti-satanic rap.”

Ponce talks about how she returned to her family after running away due to their disagreements about lifestyle and religion, and how they are all learning to respect each other.

“While my mom was cleaning up she said everything has been going well … But don’t get me wrong, I still believe there is no God, and that evolution made us who we are. But more and more, my parents and I are agreeing to disagree. My mom doesn’t call me a devil worshiper any more, instead she calls me Brujita, little witch. And I’m thinking about getting a tattoo of my mother’s name-Isidra — with a cross and rosary beads in the background. Just to show everybody that I love her, and respect her religion and beliefs.”

You can listen to the entire program at the page, or download an Mp3 of the segment. I think it is an interesting look into how different cultures mesh and combine. Specifically how two ideas of “witchcraft” morph into something new and different. Good on WNYC for allowing teens the opportunity to this training, and to let their voices be heard.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Amos Keppler

    This is very much what I see as wrong with many people calling themselves pagans. They accept christians and christianity, and I don’t think we should do that at all.

  • TigerYogi

    I have more of an issue with her calling herself an Atheist. How can you be a witch and not believe in the Gods?

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    For many cultures, witchcraft isn’t a belief system, it’s a technology. Atheism isn’t necessarily a deal-killer from that perspective.

  • Inanna

    And I’m most concerned about her identifying as an “anorexic,” as if that’s a positive identity in the same way “witch” and “lesbian” are. But maybe that’s not what she meant.What would it mean for Pagans not to accept Christianity? What should we do, speak out in opposition to it? It’s part of our ethos not to be dogmatic, and as long as someone else’s religious beliefs aren’t infringing on my political freedom, I don’t see what concern of mine it is what they believe.

  • Paloma

    For many cultures, witchcraft isn’t a belief system, it’s a technology. Atheism isn’t necessarily a deal-killer from that perspective.Oh I absolutely agree. In my experience, for those coming from predominately Catholic countries that are very rural, or less “developed,” witchcraft as a science/technology is not too difficult to accept even in the 21st century. Also, for those countries that have established Virgin Mary cults, the emphasis in popular worship does not lay with Jesus and God the Father. In my experience, life outside church worship can seem almost like a Church of Mary, not Jesus. It’s not that difficult to then introduce a dialogue about Goddess worship, espeically when Mary’s own official titles include Queen of Heaven…

  • Robin Edgar

    Don’t get me Astarte’d. . . 😉