Halloween season is prime time at this unique Washington Street gift and book shop, where the occult is everyday fare.

EASTON - October is a month that inspires thoughts of ghouls, ghosts, goblins and, yes, witches.

And while the women at Women of Wisdom aren’t witches, they aren’t exactly traditionalists, either.

Women of Wisdom was founded in 1995 by owner Katie Malloy Ramaci after she spent what felt like a lifetime in the corporate world. Despite its name, the shop is an unassuming place, located along a wooded stretch of Washington Street in Easton. A card in the window reads, “Protected by Angels.”

Step inside and, because of the season, one is greeted by a table displaying items that would make the Sanderson sisters feel right at home (well, except for the spellbook-made-of-human-skin thing). But the rest of the shop is largely as it is during much of the rest of the year. There are various stones and crystals toward the back, next to a small, draped-off room in which different kinds of psychic readings are given. Another room holds books ranging from spellwork tomes to herbal guides to anecdotal tales of spirituality. Buddha figures keep company with Tibetan singing bowls and oracle cards.

The women who work at Women of Wisdom have a variety of beliefs, and they don’t follow conventional trains of thought when it comes to spirits and spirituality.

Guided by deities, owner left corporate world

Katie Malloy Ramaci considers herself “a recovering Catholic.”

“I was brought up Catholic, followed all the rules, and discovered probably in my late teens that I didn’t really have a good connection there,” Ramaci said.

Ramaci owns Women of Wisdom. She doesn’t give readings, but she works with clients in the areas of reiki healing, crystal healing and kinesiology, among others.

Opening Women of Wisdom 22 years ago was a sharp left turn away from Ramaci’s past life in the corporate world. The former manager of Jordan’s Furniture in Avon said she “really didn’t like” having to choose between spending time with her children and working. The perk of being her own boss? She could bring her kids to work and not have work get in the way of being a mom.

While she isn’t Catholic, some of the deities Ramaci calls her guides are still informed by the religion in which she grew up. She’s glad that she broke with her childhood religion, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

“I really had to wrestle with it ... and it took a while. I had to come to peace with a real relationship with God, instead of the one I thought I was supposed to have, which was with an intermediary, through the church,” Ramaci said. “To have a direct line was a very different concept.” Ramaci came to realize that “this guilt thing” associated with Catholicism and other more organized religions wasn’t what she wanted – at all. After that realization, she discovered her guides. Among them are the Buddhist bodhisattva Guanyin, the Christian Jesus, and the Theosophist ascended master Djwal Khul.

“A lot of my guides are a pretty eclectic variety ... and they are fine with it,” Ramaci said. “They don’t really look at the religions the same way we do. They look at them as a potential path that opens the door for some people.”

Ramaci said she sees downsides to every organized religion, so she tries to take the good parts of various religions and “let go of all the other things.”

“To me, Christianity is one aspect of me, and there’s a broader spectrum,” Ramaci said.

One of her main connections is to Guanyin, whose likeness can be found throughout the Women of Wisdom shop. She said Guanyin has two primary roles in religious texts: patron of women and children, and bodhisattva of compassion and wisdom.

“She’s really about empowering women ... and women – we often forget who we are,” Ramaci said. “We tend to hand our power over to people.”

But it’s not just others who found empowerment. Ramaci credits her guides and her decision to open the store for her personal growth and empowerment she has experienced over the two-plus decades. She said that in a class she was taking, Guanyin told her that “I would be so much more than I could imagine.”

“I kind of chuckled about it, but I was shown a little bit about who I am today,” Ramaci said. “I remember being terrified, thinking, ‘That can’t possibly be. I can’t be that person.’ And here I am, being that person.”

Owner’s daughter likes collaborating with ’the holiest energy’

Katelyn Rose Ramaci didn’t get to meet her grandfather before he died. But that didn’t stop her from talking with him.

“I remember sitting on a couch reading a book – it was probably dusk – and I looked over, and I’ve never met my grandfather, I’ve only seen pictures, and I see an outline of him sitting in the chair,” Ramaci said. “I kept hearing words in a phrasing I would never speak. And it felt like I was having a dialogue, but I was the only one sitting in the room.”

That was years ago, but the 32-year-old Ramaci hasn’t stopped talking with the dead. She currently works as a reader and a shopkeeper in her mother’s store, Women of Wisdom.

The younger Ramaci was raised Catholic until age 7, and then Unitarian Universalist until age 18. Although she believes in a higher power, she classifies herself as agnostic, and “more spiritual than religious.”

“I kept aggravating my (Catholic school) teachers, because I kept asking, ‘Why?’” Ramaci said, laughing.

But while she “talks to Jesus all the time” and chats with Mary on a regular basis, she also acknowledges that her pantheon is ever-evolving.

“I also call in Pele, or Quan Yin,” Ramaci said. “I’m open to whatever highest and holiest energy there is out there. If they are willing to help me, so I can help others, I want to work with (them).”

Ramaci started exploring less mainstream forms of religion when she was a teenager, starting with Wicca. Her practice led her to study Buddhism and other religions, and she minored in philosophy in college.

While she said she is strongest in clairaudience – the ability to hear what spirits are saying to her – Ramaci has cultivated all of what she calls her “clairs” over the years.

“Clairs” are like the normal five senses, but they refer to a psychic’s sensitivity corresponding to those senses. Ramaci’s strongest psychic sense is sound, but she said she uses all her psychic senses to give readings.

“I’m a channel, so that means I get completely out of the way and allow the information and energy to ... flow right through to the client,” she said.

Ramaci said she finds it important to classify herself this way, because while she gives tarot readings, she doesn’t just look at the cards to decipher what they mean for a client. Because she uses her other skills, the cards don’t just mean the same thing each time.

“For me, pertaining to each client, each reading is definitely different. Sometimes I don’t even reference the cards – I’m just channeling straight through – and other times, I’m going to talk more about this card in this position turned this way means this, and sometimes, it’s a blending of the two,” Ramaci said.

And it’s in her readings that she finds the most evidential experiences of her beliefs and practice. She sometimes finds herself fighting the urge to say something to a client, because, to her, it sounds crazy. She has to remind herself to get out of her own way.

“But as soon as I say it, the client will be like, ‘Oh, my God, you have no idea what that means to me, and I never told you anything about that, but that is how I know that that is my loved one,’” Ramaci said.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what people believe, Ramaci said, because “it all leads to the same place.”

“We’re the only ones that are making it separate. We’re the only ones that are pouring fear into it, and not making it about love,” she said. “It’s very tolerant here, and it’s very all-inclusive.”

Store manager says she chats regularly with angels

Andrea K. remembers driving down the road one night, questioning whether she was making the right choice in getting a divorce.

“And all of a sudden, I literally heard this voice talking back to me, and I had this conversation, going back and forth in my head, and then hearing the answer,” Andrea said. “It was almost like someone was in my head, and I knew it wasn’t me ... because it was very distinct difference. I thought that was pretty cool.”

At that point, she said, she didn’t know who it was who had come to help her. She now believes it was one of the angels she said she speaks with on a regular basis. She didn’t come to this realization until after she started working at Women of Wisdom a couple years ago.

Andrea was laid off from her job in the corporate world in 2014. She had been a frequent visitor to Women of Wisdom over the years, and she initially came in to become a certified reiki practitioner. The stars aligned at just the right moment, she said, and she started working at the shop in May of 2015. Now she’s the store’s manager.

Unlike her younger co-workers, Andrea didn’t start developing as a psychic until she was well into her 30s. She said her childhood home had ghosts in it, however, and she remembers awakening in the middle of the night to find a woman leaning over her.

Andrea described the woman as very pale, with darkish hair and slightly reddened lips. Other than that, though, the woman’s features were colorless, as she bent over 15-year-old Andrea. Most people would have been frightened, but Andrea just ... wasn’t. She did find it a bit surprising, though.

“I closed my eyes and opened them, and she was still there. I was just looking at her, and she was looking at me – I can still see it! I can still feel it! – and I closed my eyes again and said, very firmly, ‘Go away.’ And she was gone. And to this day, I don’t know who she was.”

Andrea’s pantheon consists of a mix of deities. She calls them her “peeps.”

Andrea identifies with Guanyin, the East Asian bodhisattva. She said Guanyin, the multi-faith angel Michael and the Hindu god Ganesha are the three most prominent deities in her life. Although the three deities belong to different faiths, Andrea doesn’t see her personal pantheon as contradictory.

“It’s ... not just about an organized religion, it’s about spirituality, which is where I come from,” she said. “I practice when I wake up. I practice by showing compassion, showing love, really talking to people and listening to what’s going on in their lives.”

Andrea doesn’t give readings at the shop, but she does acknowledge that she “just knows” things and has a bit of clairaudience – the ability to hear spirits. She has found that she has an uncanny habit of saying things aloud that her coworkers were just thinking. She said this and her empathic abilities are helpful if a coworker is having a rough day and needs to talk.

“I know when things are not right with people. I get that whole uneasy, gut feeling. It’s right in here,” Andrea said, pointing to her abdomen. “Oftentimes, I feel when something is not going right with my dad, who is in a nursing home. ...I know things are off with my kids, before they know they’re off.”

Of course, this ability also has a lighter side.

“Today, I walked in here, put my stuff down, and said, ‘Do you want to go get a coffee?’ And Katelyn looked at me and said, ‘Did you just hear me ... say in my head, ‘I would love a coffee?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah,’” Andrea said. “Things like that happen to me quite often.”