Updated: Mar 28, 2022
I spent countless years in therapy healing trauma after trauma. I made tons of progress. With the help of an amazing therapist, I got sober, recovered from self harm, eating disorders, and other self destructive behaviors and coping skills. I did what I needed to do to survive.
After all, Complex-PTSD is just that - complex. Recovery from developmental trauma is hard work and the effects are far reaching. If you are still struggling with any of the aforementioned devastating and dangerous consequences of childhood trauma, please seek help immediately: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Despite my efforts, I still suffered from an underlying terror- a constant torment from unpredictable cycles of ‘fight, flight, freeze and fawn’ and a constant and unrelenting depression. I "talked therapy" my way through every horrible detail of my life for 20 years, yet here I was.... frozen by fear -- a slave to depression and agoraphobia. Again. To be honest, I knew there was more pain buried in my psyche - but I was afraid of the nightmares that might be unearthed. Quite frankly, I truly doubted I could survive facing any more pain. At the same time - I couldn't bare the thought that 'this' was all my life would ever be.
In the summer of 2020 a series of events led me to a pit of despair that had no happy ending. I could not find my way out the darkness. I know now it was Her. The Great Mother, my beautiful Grande Dea, The Great Goddess. She compelled me to order my first tarot deck and gently encouraged me to embark on a journey of Shadow Work.
My desperation made me willing to try anything to find peace of mind and this time, I planned to keep that peace firmly in my grip.
Shortly after I received my tarot deck, I decided to create an altar. I ended up in a witchy store in Nashville. Barely out of the broom closet and just beginning my shadow work, I had no idea what I was doing or what to look for.
Then I saw him on a candle -- St Anthony. In an instant my mind went back to when I was about 9 years old and I lost a 14k gold ID bracelet I received for Christmas. I was heartbroken. I was also terrified of my father’s wrath at losing such an expensive gift. I looked everywhere for it. I searched the house, the driveway, the yard, everywhere. My fear multiplied by the minute as I retraced my steps and my search continued to turn up empty handed.
I don’t recall how my father found out, but I do remember being surprised that he wasn’t angry. We were terrible Catholics so when he suggested I pray to St. Anthony I was all ears. Dad told me about St. Anthony of Padua,, the Patron Saint of lost items and people. My father told me that I could pray to St. Anthony to help me find my bracelet and that it was his job to help me locate it.
Dad left my room and shut the door. I closed my eyes and repeated the prayer he taught me, “St Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around, something that is lost must be found, please help me find my ID bracelet.” I left my room and went straight outside to the driveway and I saw it - right in the middle of the driveway lying in a puddle, a place I searched at least 10 times. I was an instant believer.
I stood in the store holding that candle. I questioned myself, “If St Anthony can help me find lost things and lost people maybe he can help me find lost memories, lost trauma and lost parts of myself?”
I hadn’t thought about St. Anthony in years. I hadn’t been Catholic in decades -- hell, I wasn’t even a Christian - it probably wouldn't work, right? I put the candle back on the shelf and turned away.
I couldn’t shake the thought of praying to him to find my lost memories - it was like something or someone was nagging me. After decades of therapy - I was stuck; I needed a miracle. I thought to myself, "The candle is after all, in a witches store -- so why the hell not?" I purchased that candle as well as St. Michael, the Archangel for protection for my journey inward. As a former Catholic and Pentecostal - protection was something I was well versed in.
St. Anthony of Padua is most notably known as the patron saint of lost items and people, however he was also revered for his giftedness in preaching and teaching. When his body was exhumed 336 years post-mortem, the only part of his body found to be incorrupt was his tongue, this was considered a miracle and testament of his gifts. The Divine gifted him with the ability to preach and teach mysteries to even the most uneducated and simplest of minds. His peers were in awe of hid abilities to break down such complex teaching into simple and practical messages. St. Anthony was canonized 1 year after his death, -- the fastest any person has been sainted in Church history and eventually he made a Doctor of the Church.
With this knowledge of St. Anthony I was confident that he could help me find my lost parts, memories and buried emotions and that he was more than capable of guiding and teaching me and my inner children in a way that all of us would understand. St Anthony is often depicted holding an infant Jesus, so I knew he would be gentle with my wounded inner children. My parts trusted him - we felt safe. (For more on inner child work, please refer to Inner Family System Therapy)
Lost people and items includes old relationships and knowledge of deities, angels, and ancestors, along with innate abilities and gifts "lost" to our conscious awareness. My spirit guides showed me that our abilities, gifts and past life memories are coded into our DNA -t we simply need to locate this "lost" information. St. Anthony of Padua is one pathway to this information.
My spirit guides showed me that our abilities, gifts and past life memories are coded into our DNA - we simply needed to locate this "lost" information. Invocation of St. Anthony provides the activation needed to begin this process.
As a result of my work with this particular Saint, my alchemical knowledge of herbs, crystals, and oils has returned to me. I haven't needed to study much of magick, I have simply remembered how to do it. My capacity to channel ancestors, angels, beings and deities is a part of my daily life, as if I have always communicated with the spirit realm. I did not establish new relationships with them, I have simply built upon existing relationships developed over centuries.
Astral travel, soul fragment retrieval and and much of my ancient healing practices are now part of my "inner knowing". My awakening to all that is in me is far from complete. I continue to build upon my knowledge and abilities, calling on St. Anthony to navigate that which is outside of my conscious reality. I give much credit and many thanks to the Patron Saint of My Lost Parts for continuing to aide me in locating that which is lost to me.
Shadow Work: Where do I start?
I am often asked in regards to shadow work, “Where do I start?” Well, my friend, why not start with St. Anthony? St. Anthony is gentle, wise, and it his job is to find lost things. Isn't that exactly what our shadow is,? Lost? Does not our shadow hold all of our lost memories and various hidden aspects of ourselves, from this incarnation and previous ones?
In his own story, it was in losing himself that St. Anthony found himself and began to walk fully in his life's purpose: using his gifts and co-creating with Spirit. That is, in the end the goal of Shadow Work -- walking in our soul's purpose, fully healed, made whole and connected with something outside of ourselves.
St. Anthony is available to work with anyone -- regardless of your spiritual background. (or if you don't have a spiritual background). Don’t over complicate it! Light a candle -- a brown one to represent the clothes of the Franciscan Monks, but a white one will do, then ask him to help you.
You can speak from your heart or by using the invocation I have written below.
May you find what is lost and be made whole.
The spirit in me reorganizes, loves, values and appreciates the spirit in you. As you work to heal yourself, you work to heal the collective. Keep up the brave work of looking inward, beautiful soul warrior.
Invocation of St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony, gentlest of souls, diviner and teacher of mysteries, protector of children and worker of miracles, please find what is lost to me -- my pain, my trauma, my memories, my soul fragments, my inner children, my shadows -- bring them back to me. Please find lost ancestors, angels, spiritual guides, deities, my gifts and abilities -- any knowledge that is lost to my conscious awareness.
Return to me the fullness of the essences of who I am. As you return these lost things to me, according to your great giftedness as a teacher, teach each part of me divine mysteries, help all of me to understand and process the supernatural and spiritual experiences as I am being healed and made whole. St. Anthony, St Anthony, please come around -- something is lost that must be found. S’mote it be.