A friend recently asked me for a spell to find a lost object, and so that sort of magic has been on my mind. Then, this morning, I couldn't find my keys. They were super-duper lost. My roommate (who is usually a VERY good finder) and I looked for them for at least 20 minutes before work this morning before we gave up and took an uber to school. He looked for at least another hour this afternoon, and then, when I finally got home (which was itself an adventure) I messaged my boyfriend and gave him the third degree... "Ok, so you felt them in my pocket when I was standing where?" "Then where were we?" "WHEN exactly did I stop wearing those pants?"
I looked everywhere. I took the couch apart. I stripped my bed and shook the blankets. Remade the bed. I crawled under the bed and looked there. This was really upsetting, not just in the usual logistical way, but because I have a small pen knife key that I inherited from my father, that he got from his father, and it's important to me.
Last Friday, I bought a St. Anthony candle, because I thought I'd probably need it at some point. So, I lit the candle, said a prayer, promised him fame and donations in his honor, and sat down to eat some dinner, to give St. Anthony some time to work. After dinner, I went back to the bedroom to look, and there were my keys, just sitting on the bed, glinting at me. UPDATE: The candle seems to have gone out sometime within an hour of when I found my keys (I didn't notice for a while, so I can't be sure when) I will save it for the next time I loose something.
As I mentioned above, most people's "go to" for this is Saint Anthony. Saint Anthony of Padua (Italy) was a Franciscan monk who lived near the turn of the 13th century. He is usually pictured holding the baby Jesus and holding lilies (as in the picture at right). He is closely associated with Elegua, the Old Man of the Crossroads. His reputation as a "finder" is quite ubiquitous. Tell any Catholic that you have lost something, and they will tell you to pray to Saint Anthony. While there are many different ways of doing that, one of the most common is to place a photo of the object (if available) under his novena candle (which you can find in any grocery's "Hispanic" aisle) and pray "Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please look around. _____ has been lost and has to be found!" three times, and then describe the object and ask Saint Anthony for his help in finding it. Promise that, when the item is found, you will donate some money to help feed the poor, and "magnify his fame" by telling people that he helped you find your lost object (a facebook post works fine for this, or even a blog post like this one!!). DO NOT donate the money until you have found the object. Saint Anthony can also be petitioned to find larger/more important lost things (like people), in much the same way. When this is the case, the usual "Thank You" offering is "Saint Anthony's Bread" which are loaves of wheat bread, specially blessed, and distributed to the poor after a mass.
In my experience, this magic can manifest in a few different ways, but is, in my experience, both effective and quick. I like to wait at least an hour after invoking St Anthony before looking around again. If the item was lost in my home, I nearly always find it on this pass. Sometimes, I get a call from someone telling me they've found my item very shortly after calling Saint Anthony. If all else fails, I ask Saint Anthony, before going to bed, to send me a dream showing me where the item is, and that almost always works.
A Brazillian friend tells me that, there, they ask St Longinus: "São Longuinho ,São Longuinho ,ache o objeto X ,e eu dou 3 pulinhos " "St Longinus, St Longinus, find the object X, and I give three little hops". When you find the object, jump 3 times .
A third option for finding magic is what we like to call, in my circle "retroactive enchantment". This basically involves choosing an odd location in your home (for some reason, for a while, mine was in the cheese drawer in the fridge) and then remembering that, whenever you can't find something, it's probably there. Sit down and be really, really sure it's there. Every time you loose something, that's where it ends up being, remember?
A friend tells me about a custom she learned from her Egyptian-Jewish parents: When an object is lost, they turn a glass upside down, and name aloud the object that needs to be found. Leave the glass upside down until the object is found.