Symbolic Meaning of Red Cardinals

 

A spark of intense red flutters across the window in your peripheral vision clamoring for attention. Turning, your eyes widen as they perceive a luminous red male Cardinal preening its feathers on a branch, energetically greeting the morning forest dew with its two-part whistling, “Chirp-chirp.” The stark red contrasts brightly against the hazy muted greens and browns of the earth. Fluttering from branch to branch, he hovers closer, as if he has a magical secret he wants to sing to you.

Is there more to this encounter of friends? Is it a fated meeting, possibly instigated by the love of someone on the other side?

Many people believe yes. In fact, many cultures understand cardinals to be messengers from heaven – either an angel, a comforting appearance of your loved one, or an affectionate reminder from God about your departed loved one.

Cardinals are also said to represent good luck, devotion, loyalty, manifestation, and the importance of setting boundaries and expressing yourself emotionally.

These birds, with their passionate red plumage and Mohawk-like heads, give an impression of importance and strength. Cardinals are powerful birds that know their place in life and will aggressively defend their territory. While this might seem negative, this bird teaches a powerful life lesson – the importance of setting boundaries and taking ownership over your energetic space, responsibilities, time, and actions. 

It’s important to pay attention to your emotions and thoughts that you are experiencing when this mystical bird arrives, for you to decipher the unique message he brings to you.

Here are several different interpretations of meeting these chipper feathery friends.

Cardinals Can Be a Sign From Heaven

When Cardinals Appear After the Loss of a Loved One

When Cardinals Appear at Specific Times

When Cardinals Show Up During Difficult Times in Your Life

When You See a Cardinal at Your Window

When You See Two Cardinals 



Cardinals Can Be a Sign From Heaven

Since birds fly closest to heaven, they are seen as having a connection to heaven or the spirit realm and can deliver messages or signs from heaven. 

The word cardinal comes from the Latin root “cardo,” which means a hinge. Just like the hinge on a door, the cardinal is seen as an opening point to heaven and earth, allowing messages to flow between. As a hinge is an item that allows the door to open, cardo also means something on which a development turns or something very important.

The Catholic Church believes red cardinals to represent cosmic law, order, and tradition. They can show up as messengers to trust, have faith, and encourage you to keep moving forward even when things appear to be challenging. 

When Cardinals Appear After the Loss of a Loved One 

They represent deep devotion to your spiritual beliefs and let you know that there is a great purpose for everything happening in your life. Specifically, during times of grief, they can appear as messages from your soul group or lost loved ones from the heavenly realm to let you know that you are not alone.  Cardinals represent the number 12, the direction North, and the root chakra, which all symbolically represent wholeness, completion, and finally being “home.” The message is to give you comfort, to let you know that they finally made it home and are happy. This is especially true if you have recently had someone close to you pass away. They give you strength, letting you know that there is no need to worry, as they will be there waiting for you to be reunited once again. 

Some Native Americans believe cardinals are messengers from the dead, ancestors who appear to remind you of the importance of staying connected with family.

When Cardinals Appear at Specific Times

If a red cardinal appears just as the time reaches 12:12, 11:11, 2:22, 3:33, etc., this is usually a sign that your guides/angels/God is sending you a message. The message here is to let you know that you are protected and being watched over. Pay attention to the synchronicities – feelings and thoughts - happening at the time of the sighting. If you were feeling alone, scared, or anything negative, the message is usually the positive opposite of what you were feeling so – the truth that you are not alone, the importance that there is no need to be scared, etc. If you were thinking something positive, then this is a message that reinforces that positive thought. It tells you that you are moving in the right direction.

When Cardinals Show Up During Difficult Times in Your Life

The Cardinals can represent “death,” showing up at funerals, in cemeteries, and during the winter when we are in the phase of “endings.”  Rather than migrating, they are year-round creatures, seen to celebrate the entire cycle of life from birth to death. The message here is to allow yourself to evolve and don’t fear death or your struggles. What you are going through is just another stage in the cycle of life that should be honored and celebrated, as it will not last. Everything – life lessons, friendships, loved ones, hardships – must end and recycle so you can be reborn and evolve into a higher state of being. Do not give up hope. Persist!

When You See a Cardinal at Your Window

If a red cardinal stands next to your window, it’s a clear sign that there is no need to worry. Either a stroke of good luck will come your way or someone who has passed on wants you to know that they are thinking of you and watching out for you.

When You See Two Cardinals at One Time

Two cardinals remind you to pay more attention to the world around you and to remember the world is a magical place, full of wonder. Plan something fun, an outing, a vacation, or a time to just be with yourself in the present moment.

Check out this article on cardinals for more info and cardinal-themed gifts.