Making magick at Ritual

Unassumingly tucked away in a small commercial plaza off Rt. 6A lies in wait for a hidden gem- unlikely to be found by accident, and likely just what you didn’t know what you are looking for until you find it. That was true even for owner Holly Lemieux, when she established Ritual in May of 2021 after selling her popular boutique in Hyannis in pursuit of new endeavors. Having planned to take some time off to regroup in between projects, the universe- as it sometimes does- delivered just the right set of circumstances, and within a month Ritual found its home in Yarmouth Port.

Natural wooden shelving displays a wide variety of USDA, FDA-certified organic, and ethically wildcrafted dried herbs.

A string of bells jingle as two women enter the shop, and Holly is summoned from the firepit out back where she had been chatting with Meghan Hamilton, a Tarot reader and medium who does readings and Spell Consultations by appointment and walk-in on Fridays. Holly greets and invites her guests to browse to their spirit’s content through the ethereal collection of pewter and ceramic bowls brimming with skeleton keys and polished rings of hematite. Books of spellcasting and potions, meditations, and prayers span the rooms, intermingled with a wide array of oracle cards and idols, incense cones, and bottled bones. A full corner of the shop hosts shelves upon shelves of glass bottles of various dried resins and dried herbs, including some that are harder to source, and used for magical purposes- like Blue, White, Red, and Sacred Lotus.

“We are open to all practices and paths. We try to have material, books or ephemera to everybody who walks through our door.” -Holly, Owner of Ritual

Perhaps surprisingly, is Holly’s down to Earth approach to the otherworldy. “I like being able to change people’s conception of things,” describing how people unfamiliar with metaphysical things can perceive them as scary. “Either way we are all making meatloaf. Just using a different recipe,” she explains, and as such, she advises her patrons to let their individual intuition be the guide for which crystal, deck, or talisman to select. One woman approaches the counter with a handblown glass wand, an opaline bracelet, and a shiny piece of black tourmaline. Her friend, unable to choose between her narrowed-down selection of beaded gemstone bracelets, decides to go with all four; black onyx, rainbow fluorite, clear and rose quartz, and a bag of loose white sage. They talk amongst each other about scheduling a card reading as they exit the way they came in, past the one item in the store that is not for sale. A huge amethyst geode made to resemble a shark with its large googly eyes, aptly named Bruce.

Ritual proudly offers handmade and artisan products crafted by local artists and practitioners on Cape Cod and nearby communities and is hosting its 2nd annual Salty Witches Samhain Market on October 30th.

Other upcoming events can be found on the website, including Psychic Readings with Kris on Tuesdays, Tarot, and Oracle on Wednesdays, and Energy Healing on Thursdays with Molly. Register for Conscious Creation, a 4 Week Intuitive Writing Workshop beginning November 4th. Jerry Marchand will share his knowledge of rare crystal and mineral specimens on November 12th, with 5% of the proceeds of his sales to benefit the Dakin Humane Society. Be sure to check the website and Facebook for updates and new events, including big news at the end of December!

Ritual is located at 939 Rt. 6A, Unit B
Yarmouth Port, MA 02675.
(774) 994-8358
ritualcapecod@gmail.com
ritualcapecod.com

This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.

Photo credit: Britt Skinner

(Britt Skinner is a freelance writer.)

Thacher Hall, A Hidden Gem in Plain Sight

Thacher Hall

On Old King’s Highway among centennial Yarmouthport buildings such as the Edward Gorey House and Benjamin Thacher Gorham House, sits what architect Sarah Jane Porter calls “the most significant historic public structure of its period on Cape Cod.” Boston architect Samuel Thayer designed the building formerly known as the Church of the New Jerusalem in 1870, constructed by John Hinckley, with towering gothic arches, and stained glass windows. The church was originally the spiritual home to Swedenborgian Christians, (a popular denomination of its time), and was congregated for about a hundred years until the number of parishioners dwindled too low to maintain the edifice, and it fell into devastating disrepair.

In 1998 when Cape Cod community members, who wanted to see the property reinvented as a community center, organized The Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation, a local board of volunteer directors purchased the former church building for $1 and began the mission to breathe new life into the old bones of the building and utilize it as a community center. Sorely needed renovations continue to be primarily funded by donations, ticket sales, and the yearly contributions of the Friends of the Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation. Since then, the foundation has brought the building up to current fire codes and handicapped accessibility, improved water, and electrical services, and updated the sound and lighting systems.

The carefully renovated belltower and belfry preserve the ethereal beauty and soul of the place, and the restored original stained-glass windows and frescoed walls overlook the original tracker pipe organ. Adding to its attention-drawing uniquely exquisite character are pews crafted of American Chestnut, a hardwood that became functionally extinct after a catastrophic blight in the early 20th century. 

However, even with all the restorations, a new roof, and a fresh coat of paint to broadcast its readiness to be a part of the community as a whole, the building is still frequently mistaken for a church. A common misconception that was perpetuated by the old name, The New Church. On June 26, 2022, after plans were temporarily halted by the COVID19 pandemic, the building was rebranded as Thacher Hall at a dedication ceremony by the foundation and members of the Cape Cod community.

Live music with Blu Central & Greg Hischak

Yarmouth resident and foundation Event Manager, Victoria Krukowski, explains that while the beautiful building’s allure contains the staples, and ambiance of a gorgeous old church, it no longer holds any religious affiliations, and is the perfect venue for local artists to display galleries of their work in a place that according to her feels like taking a step back in time. Having a career background as a musician with the symphony orchestra, she appreciates how the rustic space carries soulful acoustics, and she deeply admires the historical artifacts and quirky intricacies that Thacher Hall offers a remarkable choice for private and community events.

Previous events have included Open Mic Nights, weddings, memorial services, the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra, Haunted Octobers, and Christmas Strolls. Since 2020 it has been used as a community art center. Planned Events and availability can be found on the website, and they can be reached by phone at 508-744-7368, and by Email at events@yarmouthportcommon.org.

Thacher Hall invites you to attend a Historic 1870 Organ Demonstration and Concert at 2 pm on Sunday, August 7th, 2022, where you can learn the history of the organ, see how the organ is built, and hear it played by Dr. Mark Lawlor, of the American Guild of Organists of Cape Cod and the islands. This family-friendly event is free to attend.

Thacher Hall is located at 266 Route 6A (Main Street), in Yarmouthport. 

This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.

Photo credits: Britt Skinner and William DeSousa-Mauk

(Britt Skinner is a freelance writer.)