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Cardinal Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)


A red rose to represent love, a white dove representing peace, and a ladder symbolizing the connection between earth and heaven; these are all examples of symbolism. Throughout generations, symbolism has helped us understand the deeper meaning behind what is apparent.

Nature presents us with infinite opportunities to fathom what it is trying to tell us. We, however, tend to ignore most of these opportunities as we sink deeper into our trance-like state of everyday busy-ness.

Bird symbolism helps us break free of that trance. These creatures, like us, can walk the earth and swim the waters, but they can also fly the skies, unlike us. They are free and represent a link between heaven and earth.

Similarly, Cardinal symbolism teaches us about many mysteries. From finding freedom from the earthly resistance that holds us back to communicating with our loved ones that have passed away – the significance of cardinal symbolism is undeniable. 

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Cardinal Symbolism and Meaning

Cardinal symbolism is mainly due to its bright red color, sharp yet resonant song, and unique characteristics. Cardinal bird meaning pivot or hinge in its Latin translations, indeed, represents a pivotal point in a person’s life.

This member of the finch family symbolizes many things, from passionate romance to fierce leadership. The romantic Cardinal sings to its mate during the challenging weather, a song that most bird watchers describe as a delightfully energetic and life-loving song. 

Cardinal symbolism also holds great value and respect, especially in the Christian tradition. They also symbolize both unity and diversity.

Cardinal Native American Symbolism

Native Americans believe these graceful creatures to have strong ties to their ancestors, so much so, that they believe cardinals to be the messengers of the spirits. Cardinals represent devotion, loving relationships, courtship, and monogamy above everything else in the Native American lore, while some tribes thought cardinals to be the harbinger of rain, other tribes, like the southeastern tribe, associated good fortune and sun with them.

What Do Cardinals Represent In Native American

Cardinals themselves are romantic and devoted lovers to each other. When a cardinal mates, they mate for life. They have a harmonious, musical, and healthy relationship with their spouse. Both the female and male cardinal romantically sing duets to each other in troubling times; they do so by calling similar melodies to each other. 

This is why the native folklore believed that if a single person spotted a cardinal crossing their path, they could expect a romantic relationship soon. If a person in a committed relationship encounters the red bird of wonders, they can expect a renewed spark of romance in their relationship. 

Cardinals also serve as a reminder of monogamy to people who were unfaithful in their relationships. The natives believe the cardinals to be a messenger of romance because of the maiden and the red bird’s legend.

According to the legend, a cardinal once came across a beautiful maiden who had many virtues. It saw how the maiden was lonely and remembered that. As the Cardinal continued to travel along the rest of his journey, it came across a brave Indian. Cardinals quickly befriended the witty boy and tricked him into following him. The redneck led the handsome boy straight to the maiden’s home. The maiden and the boy both found each other and quickly discovered friendship, companionship, and romance. 

The Native American, Cardinal and the Number 12

12 was always a lucky number for the Native Americans. They associated the number 12 with cardinals since there are usually 12 eggs in a cardinal’s nest. Also because cardinals are year-round birds, and you can see them throughout the year, during all 12 months. 

The native American’s closely associate the meaning of cardinalwith good luck, so if one crosses your path, they believe you can expect good luck to strike within the next 12 hours, 12 days, or at midnight or noon.

Cardinal Christianity Symbolism

There are many beliefs about the connection of cardinals with Christianity. This may be because the high officials of the Catholic Church are cardinals that wear bright red robes, quiet a consequence of a resemblance.

According to some people, the cardinals represent the blood of Christ, while others believe them to be a sign sent from our loved ones who have left this world. You can even find many texts, literature, clubs, and even websites solely dedicated to this topic. However, a study about the subject failed to present evidence of direct reference of cardinal in the word of God.  

Regardless of whether the cardinals are a representation of the blood of Jesus or representation of our beloved ancestors remembering us, the little red birds are beautiful creatures of God. Every time we come across a cardinal, it should serve as a reminder of the story from Matthew, in which God told us not to worry about what we shall drink, eat, or wear. The red cardinal biblical meaning should be to us that God knows what we need and want and that everything will be provided to us if we seek the kingdom above.

Cardinal Celtic Symbolism

Unfortunately, the Celts didn’t encounter the red Cardinal in their daily lives, which is why they were unable to ascribe meaning to it. Therefore, the cardinal Celtic symbolism remains unknown to us.

Cardinals in Dreams

When cardinals grace us with their presence in our sleeping minds, we can feel the earth-bound limitation release us. They fly our deeper selves freely to a place where there are no boundaries or limitations. This is why ancient and primitive cultures factored these birds as creatures that were the closest to heaven.

How Will You Know If You Are Dreaming Of A Cardinal?

Many dream experts describe the dream to be a favorable situation that you can’t believe or don’t notice. In other words, when you truly see a cardinal in your dreams, you will be surprised or shocked that something good, which you did not expect, is happening to you.

What Does It Mean When God sends Cardinals in your dreams?

Cardinals are an element of air that is symbolic of our thoughts, spiritual enhancement, higher ideals, and enlightenment. They are a symbol of communication. That is why, when we see a cardinal in our dreams, we see it as a positive message. It usually means something good is on the horizon, and it urges you to follow your passion and dreams. Some dream interpreting experts also suggest cardinals be messages from loved ones who have passed over.

Since cardinals are a sign of compassion, some experts associate seeing one in your dreams with new hope and love. Their bright red color is a symbolic signpost of passion. This means you will dream of a cardinal when a new romance is about to come into your life.

Cardinal Encounters and Omens

By now, you are already aware that cardinals represent positive signs and good news. However, signs are quite different from omens. You should also note that while the red bird symbolizes positivity, how it also appears significantly changes the meaning. For example, some consider cardinals hitting your window a bad omen and usually signifies the death of someone in the house.

Omens, contrary to signs, come to you without warning and without you wishing for them. They guide us almost always by surprise. This is why they are rarer and of great significance. You will notice an omen right away because they would stand out in a bizarre and outlandish way like the bright red color and mysterious song of the Cardinal.

What Does It Mean When You See A Cardinal?

Seeing a cardinal is a mysterious yet important event. You need to pay attention to where the Cardinal is sitting or landing. For example, if you see them near a utility box, power line, or even near firewood, it means it is time for you to start making changes aggressively and take more initiatives than you usually do. 

However, if you see a cardinal land near any body of water like a puddle, for instance, then the spirits might be nudging you to pursue your dreams. Maybe it is time for you to spend more time in your creativity.

Cardinals’ Mythology and Folklore

In various mythology and folklore, red cardinal symbolism is closely related to the phoenix, among other things. The phoenix itself has a wealth of tales and variations; for example, the Egyptian version’s red Cardinal or phoenix is a red bird living in the deserts of Arabia. 

The Greek’s believed that the phoenix or the Cardinal to be the birds of sun. According to them, when the birds would sing their song, even the sun would stop to listen to the beautiful melody. In that sense, we somehow find ourselves relating to the Greeks as we stop to listen to their melodious songs. The Cardinal’s songs carry a certain quality that uplifts us and fills our very souls. Very few natural songs have the power to rejuvenate us in a moment when we need the strength the most.

Apart from the Greeks, the Cherokee also associated the red Cardinal with the sun and considered it a good omen. One Cherokee myth even describes the first red bird as the sun’s daughter. They also believed the cardinal bird symbolism to be parallel with the weather predictions. You can find a wealth of red bird meanings, mythologies, and folklore in the book Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend, and Superstition.

Related: 15 Cardinal Bird Facts You Didn’t Know (2022)

Cardinal Spirit Animal

The red Cardinal is far from an ordinary bird. Cardinal spiritual meaning is that of love. This spirit animal that wings its way into your life when you are on the horizon of a new relationship or other significant event filled with romance. Some references believe the cardinal spirit animal to present itself at the beginning of pregnancy as a guide for the new parent.

The red bird symbolizes lessons of distinctiveness, staying true to ourselves, and recognizing our place and the power we have within ourselves. A cardinal’s spiritual meaning is one of a fight against insecurities. It is a push by a loved one from the “beyond,” so you keep striving towards self-empowerment and reaching your goals.

Cardinals are a blessing for us, especially for people struggling with insecurities.

Cardinal Totem Animal

Animal totem meanings are varied throughout culture, tradition, and generations. However, Red cardinals are an excellent choice for a totem since having one means you love life, energy, and happiness. Unlike most birds, cardinals don’t typically migrate in the winter seasons; they stand tall and proud during difficult times and come out stronger than before. People with cardinal totem call upon these animals during times of seasonal depression or sadness. Their bright colors remind us of all the good things to come and how bright always comes thought the dark and cold conditions.

If you were born with cardinal as your totem animal, you could expect to fail to blend in every time. Cardinal animal totem means uniqueness, i.e., there is no way you can hide in the crowd. Either you love to dress in bright colors, or you have a distinctive voice that stops people, turns heads, and simply cannot be ignored.

Having a cardinal animal totem also means you love your home and have a strong sense of honor. No matter how difficult a setback you face, you will get back up again. You are innovating and determined, so whatever “it” is, you will stick to it until the very end. Your love for your home also makes you very territorial.

Overall, a person with cardinal animal totem is a remarkable person worth knowing.

Related: 12 Tips on How to Attract Cardinals to Your Yard (2022)

Cardinal Power Animal

There are many reasons why people call cardinal as a power animal.
People settling into places like a new home or a new job find cardinals to be an excellent guide for traversing. The protective nature of Cardinal gives strength to people to protect their territory just as effectively.

People that struggle with emotion swings find cardinal to be a year-round helpmate. The cardinal power animal helps people adjust better to the flow in life and assist them in other matters of vitality and health.
People who are hesitating in speaking to their potential partner find cardinals to be a source of confidence.

The devotion and romance of the power animal inspire the right song within their hearts to help them woo their dream partner. A cardinal power animal also lends energy for goals involving uniqueness, clarity, improved communication, responsibility, and preparedness.

Related: 5 Best Cardinal Bird Feeders (+How to Attract Them)

Cardinal Tattoo Meaning

The cardinal tattoo represents many things, all of which are unique depending on the person with the tattoo, the style of the tattoo, and its placement. However, the most significant red cardinal meaning is that of hope, love, passion, renewal, family, grace, and nobility.

Although the most common style of a cardinal tattoo is natural, we also see variations of it in abstract and watercolor style. People opt for the abstract variant because of the vibrant color. These tattoos, when dealt with delicacy, usually come out fierce.

The realism route to the cardinal bird tattoo means pride in your family and your territory. The intrinsic beauty of the vibrant red color makes even the most straightforward design hard to ignore.

Before getting inked, you need to think long and hard about what you want it to represent, how and where you will get it. Poor placement of good design can be equally disastrous as a flawed design itself.  

Also readRobin vs. Cardinal: Songs, Habitat & Identification


The cardinal bird is a magnificent creature. It hosts many traits, including romance, devotion, hope, strength, leadership, pride, determination, and protectiveness of its loved ones, all characteristics that we humans aspire for. 

The cardinal sign meaning is not only of a powerful spirit animal but also of blessings to us humans. It is as if God gave us a personalized source of hope and energy. Whenever you come across this beautiful creature, be attentive grateful.  

Also readBluebird Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

6 thoughts on “Cardinal Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. If you have a moment, what does it mean if a cardinal gets into your house?
    This happened to me on a old and rainy Monday morning before leaving for work, I heard flapping in the dining room. A bright red cardinal was trapped in the window blinds. I’m living with my boyfriend and his parents. His mom grabbed me a clean towel so I could catch and release the bird. My first attempt at catching it was unsuccessful, as he just flew underneath the blinds when I lifted them. He flew the other side of the room, where there was another set of blinds. He got stuck once more. This time, however, I was able to lift the blinds and catch him safely with the towel. I held it close and walked to the back door, where my boyfriend’s mom opened the door and screen door for me. I put my hand(the one supporting his body) down onto the stair railing and lifted the other side from his body. He flew off into the neighbor’s yard and landed on a tree branch. I ended up being late for work by a few minutes to help the little guy.
    I’m just curious if this combination of things means anything, and if so, whether they’re good or bad things.
    I’ve always loved cardinals, and I spot them around me in nature at least three times a year. This was the first time one had been trapped and needed my help. Luckily I was able to help him, and I hope I didn’t hurt him on accident in the process of catching him.

  2. Honestly a great read I am 32yrs old and encountered my first cardinal up close and personal last week flying pass my car in my parking lot. This morning when I pulled up 3 cardinals were playing in my yard. After watching them peacefully play for abt 2 minutes 1 flew pass my window, the 2nd flew on a branch and started flexing its bright red wings and lastly the 3rd flew on my passenger side mirror and sat there for a few seconds flapping it’s wings befor it flew away.

    Well as U could imagine my entire body went numb and I swear a feeling of spiritual something took over for abt 5 minutes. I had to do my research on this bird and what message should I be receiving. Glad I came across ur read. Warms my heart and solidified some of how I felt today

  3. I work for UPS. I told my driver that a few weeks ago hat my favorite bird was a cardinal. So I’ve been going through a time.!!!!!! Keeping it positive or at least trying my best. My granny passed a year ago on the 5th of December. So today while running to a door to deliver a package a bird crossed right in front of me into the tree on my left. I had to see what it was …… IT WAS A CARDINAL 😍🥰. Just a few steps away from me. I knew then everything will be fine!. Better than I could ever expect.

    Thank you for this it. I will be back with updates😉


    Hello. You have done an awesome job here-Putting together a quite complete, accurate, and thereby enlightening, selection of Animal Medicines!
    I would like to ask you if there is an index of your entire collection? I, having come across one, found others…but only by clicking on the other articles that I found listed at the end of the write-up. I read, and enjoyed many, in that manner..I’d love to peruse all that you’ve compiled!
    Thanks, and nice work, again
    God bless you

  5. I have cardinal in my yard all the time .But this morning there was a yellow cardinal feeding at my porch he was beautiful How rare is a yellow cardinal?

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