Cardinal Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing A Cardinal

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cardinal symbolism

Cardinals are very special songbirds native to North America, Canada, and Mexico in the Southern borders. Their bright colors and physical appearance catch attention immediately; in fact, it's hard not to be amazed at their vibrant coloring.

The cardinal presence is believed to symbolize something in your life. Seeing a cardinal might cause you to wonder how this bird can be significant to you. But to do this, you must first be able to identify them from other birds.

Cardinals are birds of the finch species, which means they are romantic yet fierce leaders. A cardinal shows its love for its mate by singing songs that are very beautiful and charming to the ear. Cardinals have an arsenal of almost 30 songs that they sing!

Cardinal Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Cardinals

Cardinals are symbols of devotion, friendship, hopefulness, support, pride, good luck, music, home life, and messages from angels.

This monogamous bird mates for life, just like eagles, geese, and swans; love and devotion are strongly associated with this bird, and shows the power of a long-lasting bond. In fact, in the wild, both female cardinals and male cardinals care for the young.

Along with mating for life, these birds don't migrate like other species do, making them a strong symbol for domestic life. They build nests as a team to prepare for their young, and show the value of a comfortable home.

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Cardinal Encounters and Omens

Cardinals are a sign of good luck, but another recurring interpretation of cardinal is a strong sense of external awakening.

The meaning of a cardinal appearing is related to something or someone in your life you haven’t given enough attention to, as they are spirit guides who send you this awakening. You are reminded of this when you see certain symbols or sequences.

The direct spiritual connection you feel when you see a cardinal comes from the natural instincts they exhibit. For example, cardinals wake up early in the morning to start their day. They look for food, find items to nest with and look for partners during mating season.

These activities take a lot of energy, and the bird must be diligent and hardworking to live long enough to reproduce. We can take a page out of this bird's book by learning how to be diligent in everything we do.

A cardinal crossing your path is also said to be the spirit of a loved one visiting you. Seeing a cardinal can mean that an angel is near, or it can symbolize that your recently passed loved one is an angel now.

Another interpretation is that someone in your life who is deceased, or someone you want to get back in touch with, is trying to contact you. This bird is a sign that your loved one is sending you a message through nature.

What Different Color Cardinals Symbolize

While cardinals are easily identifiable due to their red feathers, cardinals actually come in all sorts of colors, including yellow, brown, gray, and white.

Red Cardinal Meaning

The most well-known cardinal is red in color, but only male cardinals are brilliant red. Whether you see one in person or dream of one, a red bird like this represents loyalty, true love, harmony in the home life, and devotion to a loved one.

Blue Cardinal Meaning

Blue cardinals don't actually exist, but blue cardinals in dreams represent creativity, self-expression, finding your passion, intuition and psychic abilities, and receiving messages from the metaphysical world.

Yellow Cardinal Meaning

Yellow cardinals are extremely rare, with roughly only 1,000-2,000 in the wild. If you see a yellow cardinal in a dream or as a figure, they are associated with success and abundance, confidence, self-expression, and power.

Brown Cardinal Meaning

Female cardinals are brown in color but may have accents of red on their tail or feathers. Brown cardinals represent feminine energy, earthly connections, healing, and family.

Black Cardinal Meaning

Though black cardinals look like this songbird, they actually aren't cardinals at all; rather, they are silky-flycatchers, a type of passerine bird. Seeing a symbol of a black cardinal or dreaming of one is associated with seeking the truth, intuition and wisdom, and being honest with yourself.

Cardinal Symbolism in Dreams

Dreams represent something we may not consciously know, or can be a message of what is to come. If a cardinal appears in your dream, pay attention to the subject matter and how the dream makes you feel, as this can determine its meaning.

Dreaming of a dead cardinal

While dreaming of the death of any creature may seem like a bad thing, dreaming of a dead cardinal actually symbolizes entering a new phase of life. It's a reminder to remain positive as you navigate these new changes.

Dreaming of a cardinal flying

If you dream of a flying cardinal, it means you're happy with where you currently are in life. Another interpretation is that you should think about how you communicate with others, to make sure you're expressing yourself properly.

Dreaming of a pair of cardinals

To dream of two cardinals means you need to focus on working together with someone in your life, whether it's in work or parenting. Remember: teamwork makes the dream work.

Dreaming of a cardinal hitting the window

Unfortunately, a cardinal flying into the window isn't a positive sign. If you have this dream, it's a sign that you may be facing financial loss, an impending crisis, or even death.

Dreaming of killing a cardinal

When you dream of killing a cardinal, it's a message that you need to work on how you talk to others and not hold back your true feelings. Killing a cardinal also represents your inability to accept your responsibilities.

Dreaming of a cardinal laying eggs

Dreaming of a cardinal laying eggs symbolizes that something is holding you back in your desire to accomplish your goals. Be patient and you'll find that your hard work will pay off.

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Cardinal Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals are our spiritual guides who teach us lessons while they guide us down the correct path; totem animals are another form of spirit guide, but we call upon them when we need help or guidance.

You can't choose your spirit animal; however, you'll know if you have a cardinal as a spirit animal if you've had a profound experience with this songbird, or resonate with them in some way.

Having a cardinal spirit animal means this creature is imparting its wisdom on you. A cardinal spirit animal is teaching you to trust your gut when it comes to making life choices, harnessing your inner confidence, and reaching your goals without ever giving up.

A cardinal totem means you are an effervescent person who stands out, but you also have a never ending supply of ambition, meaning you stick it out through difficult times. This animal totem provides help when you feel like quitting.

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Spiritual Meaning of Cardinals in Christianity and the Bible

In the Catholic Church, Cardinals are high-ranking clergymen who wear bright red robes to resemble the bright-colored red feathers of the cardinal.

Cardinals are also said to represent the blood of Christ and possibly past ancestors. A cardinal is a sign from God that shows what we need and want. And if you should seek the kingdom above, all of that you want will be provided to you.

Cardinals are also associated with the Christmas holiday, where their red feathers contrast with the white show. Since cardinals don't migrate during colder winters, they've come to be known as a Christmas bird

Cardinal Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Cardinals have played an important role in folklore and mythology, and even literature, over the years, and have symbolism generally related to spirituality. But each culture is different.

Native American Cardinal Symbolism

According to Native American culture and legends, the red cardinal has very strong ties to native ancestors and are known as the messengers of the spirits. In Native American folklore, cardinals represent loving relationships, courtship, friendship, loyalty, and devotion.

Native Americans believed cardinals played a role in nature, but in a divided way. Some thought they were signals that rain would come, while others thought they were signs that the sun and good fortune would come.

If a single Native saw a cardinal, that meant love was in their future; if a married Native saw one, there would be a new spark of romance in their relationship.

The number 12 is also significant to Native American culture and has a close relationship to the red cardinal.

The cardinal almost always lays 12 eggs, and the Native Americans associate the cardinals with the number 12 because of that, as well as the fact that they are seen throughout the 12 months of a year. If you see a cardinal, it means good luck will come to you in a matter of 12 hours, days, months, or at either noon or midnight.

Ancient Greek Cardinal Symbolism

In Greek mythology, cardinals and phoenixes were considered birds of the sun. Ancient Greeks believed that the cardinals' song was so beautiful that even the sun would stop in place to listen.

Eastern Cardinal Symbolism

Both in China and Japan, the red cardinal has a spiritual and magical presence. A red cardinal is seen as a red bird related to the mythical phoenix, which represents fidelity, rebirth, transformation, and integrity.

The red bird represents good fortune, new horizons, and that an end is coming, which could mean an end to war, the end of an era, or the reign of a new ruler or emperor. China considers this red bird as a guard who defends and protects, bird watchers who warn of any evil on the horizon.

Cardinal Tattoo Meaning

While red cardinal tattoos are very popular, it's important to remember that red isn't the only color these birds come in. Getting a cardinal tattoo, of any color, can represent hope, nobility, renewal, grace, and devotion to a romantic partner or friends.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who has written hundreds of articles about relationships, trending news and entertainment, and astrology. Follow her on Twitter for more.