Witches hats and broomsticks are some of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween, and “witch” remains one of the most popular Halloween costumes. But where did the witch come from? Witches have always been associated with the power of women — for good and for bad.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Kim Stratton at Carleton University takes us on a compelling and fantastical journey through history to look at witches from their origins to the present-day.

And speaking of today's witches, witch-identified folks in the United States are using social media to #WitchTheVote before the Nov. 3 election. As Jessalyn Keller and Alora Paulsen Mulvey from the University of Calgary write, witches use the internet to engage in magical resistance, a “women-led form of mediated, political activism.”

Witches are back, baby, and they’re more powerful than ever.

Also today:

All the best.

Nehal El-Hadi

Science + Technology Editor

Witches have a long history dating back to Ancient Rome. This print from 1815 is by British engraver Edward Orme. (Wellcome Collection)

Sirens, hags and rebels: Halloween witches draw on the history of women’s power

Kim Stratton, Carleton University

The role of witches in society relates directly to the role of women in society. And during times of social upheaval and changes, witches represent access to women's power.

Witch-identified folks are sharing spells online in an act of magical resistance in advance of the U.S. election. (Shutterstock)

This Halloween, witches are casting spells to defeat Trump and #WitchTheVote in the U.S. election

Jessalynn Keller, University of Calgary; Alora Paulsen Mulvey, University of Calgary

As the U.S. election approaches, various groups have mobilized to vote. But witches have taken it a little further, organizing online spellcasting meet-ups to enagage in magical resistance.

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan

Conflict over Mi'kmaw lobster fishery reveals confusion over who makes the rules

Lucia Fanning, Dalhousie University; Shelley Denny, Dalhousie University

The dispute over the Mi'kmaw lobster fishery isn't only about money — it's about who has the authority to govern and define these activities.

Will Donald Trump win again? History suggests it’s possible. The president pumps his fist after speaking at a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport on Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Why voter loyalty to incumbents could spell victory for Trump

Thomas Klassen, York University, Canada

Americans at the ballot box have historically adopted the adage: Better the devil you know than the devil you don't. Does that mean Trump will win a second term?

Are these trusting Americans? People line up at an early voting location near Lincoln Center on Oct. 26, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Whether it’s for Trump or Biden, Americans who trust others are more likely to vote

Cary Wu, York University, Canada

Democracy only works well when citizens participate in the democratic process and participate equally. But in the United States, lack of trust is eroding democracy's promise.

La Conversation Canada

Des gens portent des masques en marchant dans une rue de Montréal, le 24 octobre. La Presse Canadienne/Graham Hughes

Doit-on inquiéter du fait que les anticorps contre la Covid disparaissent avec le temps ? Pas vraiment

Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester

Les niveaux d’anticorps diminuent naturellement – la question clé est de savoir si les personnes infectées maintiennent des niveaux adéquats de cellules T et de cellules B.



Environment + Energy

  • To save threatened plants and animals, restore habitat on farms, ranches and other working lands

    Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi, Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro; Claire Kremen, University of British Columbia; Erle C. Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Sandra Díaz, Universidad de Córdoba (Argentina)

    The Earth is losing plants and animals at rates not seen in millions of years. Ecologists explain how protecting habitat on working lands – farms, forests and ranches – can help conserve species.