The Allure of the Swamp Witch

The Allure of the Swamp Witch July 5, 2020

A few years ago, I started calling myself a swamp witch when a certain mood swept over me.  It could only be described as complete and utter disdain for modern society and its expectations.

allure of the swamp witch bog copyright cody rowlands patheos pagan blog
Bog Witch. Copyrighted photo by Cody Rowlands of Rhiannon Lori, used with permission, recolored and cropped.

A lot of people have been feeling this energy recently.  Memes featuring swamp witches and bog witches have popped up on social media forums more than ever lately.

I decided to figure out more about the allure of the iconic swamp witch/bog witch.  I dug deep and came up with a few of their characteristics.

allure of the swamp witch bog copyright cody rowlands patheos pagan blog
Bog Witch — copyrighted photo of Rhiannon Lori by Cody Rowlands, used with permission. 

Feeling Out of Place in Society

The presence of the swamp witch awakens within us when we feel dissonance with our places and roles in the world.  Maybe we’re tired of staring at the same blank walls, or maybe we have a moment of frustration and think, “this isn’t me–this isn’t the kind of world I want to live in.”

When we feel that we don’t fit in, we’re sensing the shadow of the swamp witch.  It can be uncomfortable for some, but others relish the feeling because it reinforces what they know deep inside…

 

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Disdain For Social Norms

There’s so much pressure to fit in and conform, and it’s all BS.  You’re likely well-versed in the expectations upon you and how you may or may not be failing them.  Our culture wants people to look a certain way, behave “the right way,” and do “the right things.”  If (or when) we don’t succeed at these “social norms,” we may be punished by the people who uphold them.

Swamp witches see the inherent lies in these societal expectations.  They see the repression of individuality and the great cost of buying into a system who only wants you to make more money and spend it on junk.  The swamp witch is aware of the hidden contracts people sign when they try to fit in, and they reject those deals.

The Joy Of Non-Conformance

Swamp witches not only have a disdain for social norms–they also take great pleasure in breaking them.

Caked mud on the shoes?  Great!

Leaves tangled in the hair?  Check.

Eyes wild, like an animal?  Oh yeah.

When someone tells me to cheer up and I feel swamp witch energy, I growl and pace away as fast as I can.  I simply can’t fit into their mold one second longer.

And the guy who tells me to smile?  When the swamp witch rides high within me, he might just see fangs when I bare my teeth.

That’s right, the swamp witch doesn’t care about how well-put together they look.  They don’t care what’s expected of them.  They know what’s really important…

 

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A Wild Connection

I know one thing for certain–swamp witches have felt the wind in their hair.   Their eyes have gazed at the moon on clear nights, and when it rained, they drummed along with the pitter-patters falling from the branches.  They’ve danced with gators and conversed with owls.  They know the night, and they also know the day.  Wilderness sings in their blood.

Swamps and bogs are rich with life, natural light, and air.  Their ecosystems have all kinds of critters, all of whom rely upon each other for food, protection, or survival.  This kind of connection is often missing in the human world.  The swamp witch knows this and seeks it out.

The Modern Allure of the Swamp Witch

When the politics changed in 2016, I saw far more swamp witch memes pop up.  Telling people they aren’t in charge of their own bodies often brings out a massive rebellion.

But the swamp witch is more than that–they’re also about seeking outsider culture, a more spiritual connection with the earth and its creatures, and creating intuitive spiritual practices that resonate with them at the moment.

 

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It’d be easy for some to think of this energy as bad, but I don’t think it is.  It’s hard to say if the swamp witch is a new deity; the lwa Gran Ibo, who helps people break free from chains; or a primordial deity from humanity’s past.

The swamp witch could also be a “black-water hattie” — a spirit of the swamps, so to speak.  If that’s the case, they may just have the medicine we need to heal our society.  In fact, one black-water hattie is credited with curing a town of the plague.

In our modern era, the swamp witch may be a reactionary energy, but in my opinion, it’s the right reaction.  It’s about being strong and liberated in the face of a world that sometimes seems to be going in the wrong direction.  In any case, the world might as well get used to more swamp witch energy–by all marks, it seems to be growing in power.

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About Astrea
Astrea is the author of Intuitive Witchcraft: How To Use Intuition To Elevate Your Craft (Llewellyn Worldwide). She also leads the fire dancing group Aurora Fire and stirs up magic for the Blessed Be Box, the service that ships a "ritual in a box" for new moons and sabbats. You can read more about the author here.
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