10 Cardinal Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal

The male Cardinal is well-known for its fiery-red color, which only looks more extreme due to its generally pointed shape. Seeing a Cardinal fly about is like seeing a tongue of fire — red is the perpetual color of inspiration — the spirit of the most forward expression of the self. Even the sharp voice of the Cardinal speaks nothing but life!

Cardinal Symbolism Facts & Meaning: A Totem, Spirit & Power Animal

The Cardinal is also notable for its name, which is similar to the leaders of the clergy in the Christian faith. The name “Cardinal” has an interesting etymology — it means “hinge”, an unusual name for people so steadfast in their faith. History has it, however, that these leaders of faith gained their names from the bright red color of their clothes — no better color for their zeal!

Cardinal Symbolism & Meaning

In nature, much like the condor and a few other bird species, Cardinals mate for life. This makes them a great symbol for romantic or familial love. They also stay close to home, allowing us to extend their symbolism to that of entire households.

Cardinals are perennial birds, meaning one can see them throughout the year. Hence, for some people, Cardinals are fortunate because they symbolize being with one’s family or loved ones for the whole year round.

Earlier we mentioned that it is only the male Cardinal has the fiery red color the species is famous for (females have the regular color of finches). This coloration makes the Cardinal stand out, allowing it to court and capture his lady’s heart better than another. The redder, the better! This also makes the Cardinal a good choice of symbolism for those still looking for their Valentine.

Cardinal Spirit Animal

When the Cardinal comes in as your spirit animal, it usually bodes joy in partnership. And by that, we mean everything from the emotional to the sensual. This is not a joy to be taken for granted, though — as with anything, letting it pass could mean losing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Cardinals also tend to show themselves as a guardian for people who are just starting a family. Pregnancies can be delicate, and there are lots of things to consider. Hence, the Cardinal appears to offer inspiration to assure you that everything will be alright.

Cardinal Power Animal

As a power animal, the Cardinal enables us to find our place and our calling. This requires a lot of inspiration and confidence, two things that the Cardinal has in spades.

Call on the Cardinal during those moments when you think strength is waning and you are sinking into a rut. There is no human on earth who can keep his hopes and energies up for 24/7/365, but with the help of the Cardinal you can get pretty close!

Cardinal Totem Animal

People born under the Cardinal totem animal have a passion for uniqueness. They stand out so much, in fact that it is almost impossible for them to hide even in the middle of many people! Even if it is not their clothes that betray them, their distinctive voice is sure to stand out.

The Cardinal person is also the type to not be affected by setbacks. Sure, they can suffer losses just like the best of us but they always know how to stand back up. Such is their fervor that you would see them bouncing back without breaking a sweat — it is a momentous effort, and the Cardinal plays it like it is nothing.

Cardinal Native American Symbolism

To the Native Americans, the Cardinal is a messenger from another world. They come bearing words from the spirit plane, either from gods or ancestors. They are also the ones called upon to help maintain a loving relationship, as well as fidelity. To the southeastern Indian tribes, the Cardinal’s color associates it to the sun and therefore to good luck.

Cardinal Celtic Symbolism

The Celts did not encounter the Cardinal in their daily lives, and they were not able to ascribe any meaning to it.

Cardinal Far Eastern Symbolism

To those in the Far East, the Cardinal is just one of the avatars of the mythical phoenix. Hence, it is also a symbol of rebirth and rejuvenation. Furthermore, the Cardinal is a herald of new and better things to come, whether it is the end of an era or the change of social ideas.

In China, the Cardinal is one of the earth’s guardians against evil in the world. Specifically, it stands over the southern section of the world.

Cardinal in Dreams

When you see a Cardinal in your dreams, it is a reminder that you should keep on the lookout for the positive things in life. The rains and snow may come, but you will always be able to see that speck of bright red hovering near. That is when you know everything will eventually be alright.

Cardinal Encounters / Cardinal Omens

When you see Cardinals around you, then you are sure to receive good news! Obstacles may come, but if you follow your dreams and your passions then it is impossible for progress not to come.

Also, when you see Cardinals, it may be time to remember a loved one or a family member who passed away. They might be sending you messages of encouragement from beyond. Remember that from their vantage point, they have an awareness of things you have probably missed.

Cardinal Mythology and Folklore

The Cardinal is related to the phoenix, which in itself has a wealth of myths and tales. The Egyptian version, for example, has this bright red bird living in the deserts of Arabia. Here the phoenix takes multiple forms. It is also depicted as a heron, with red and gold feathers.

To the Greeks, the phoenix (and therefore the Cardinal) is a bird of the sun. It is believed that the bird sings such a beautiful song that the sun itself would stop to listen! We know the Cardinal has such a beautiful song, too, that we must stop and consider how its melodies affect our lives. Let it uplift us, and rejuvenate us, so that we may press forward especially when we need strength most!

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