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Witchcraft, dueling and fortune-telling now legal in Canada

Meet you at dawn, bring your crystals

Not too long ago, witches – including Lana Del Rey – were hexing Trump, and creating a mass binding spell to stop the U.S president from doing harm. Anyone looking for a more welcome space for their spells and rituals can wander up north to Canada now, where they’re updating criminal code to remove laws surrounding witchcraft, fortune-telling and dueling.

Section 365 details that it’s illegal to “tell fortunes”, fake skills of knowing where or how something lost or stolen could be found, and to “pretend to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration”. Basically, no fun, spooky or otherwise. As the National Post reports, Section 365 is a “distant descendant of Medieval English laws that sentenced accused witches to burn at the stake.”

Omar Ha-Redeye, a Toronto-based lawyer, told Broadly: “The witchcraft provisions in the Criminal Code reflect a culture, perspective and legal system of an entirely different era.

“They are reminiscent of a time when women who did not conform to societal norms were not only shunned, but penalized… these provisions also reflect a primarily Christian mindset, where non-Christian traditions, including what we now may refer to as Wicca, totemism, or animism or other traditions were demonised as being evil.” 

As Broadly reports, Canadian pagan groups have long been campaigning for repeal – the laws make working as a professional psychic, tarot card reader and astrologer pretty precarious.

Ha-Redeye added: “It's perhaps no surprise then that even today these provisions are used primarily against women or against people who follow non-mainstream religious traditions."

People have been charged under the anachronistic law, mostly relating to fraud. A woman in 2009, claiming to be possessed by the spirit of a lawyer’s deceased sister, swindled him out of $27,000. The witchcraft charge was dropped when she pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud. Another man was charged after convincing a woman he needed to remove a curse from her for $14,000 in 2012.

The updates by the Canadian lawmakers will also see the criminal code include more protections for sexual assault victims in court.

Shuffle that deck.