A Red Cardinal Sighting
When a red cardinal shows up, people pay attention. Its beautiful red feathers and distinctive crest catches your eye and brightens your day. The spiritually sensitive often experience a red cardinal sighting as a message from Spirit, and for good reason. When Spirit wants to attract your attention in a positive way, Spirit will find a way to do so, and in a way that brings you joy.
What Is a Red Cardinal?
The Red Cardinal is actually a Northern Cardinal, which is a songbird indigenous to North and Central America and the Big Island of Hawaii. Traditionally called “redbirds,” European colonists applied the “cardinal” name after noting that the feathers of the male birds are the same bright red color as the robes of Roman Catholic Cardinals.
Are Red Cardinals Spiritual Messengers?
Yes, in many ways Red Cardinals can be spiritual messengers. Many cultures and belief systems hold that animals, including birds, can be spiritual messengers. Red cardinals, because of their distinctive appearance, are often distinguished by cultural practice as messengers of importance.
The word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo, meaning hinge or axis. Like a door’s hinge, the cardinal is the hinge on the doorway between earth and Spirit. They carry messages back and forth. The appearance of a cardinal may suggest that Spirit is hoping to hear from you. This can be a good time to re-explore or recommit to your prayer life.
Many myths and traditions surrounding the cardinal have to do with renewal, good health, happy relationships, monogamy, and protection. Looking at the life of a cardinal, it’s easy to see why it has so many good associations.
For example, cardinals mate for life. They are also non-migratory birds, so they remain in their immediate area all their lives, protecting their turf. And after the couple’s chicks hatch, both parents work together to assure the health, welfare, and security of their family unit.
Many people associate cardinals with the winter holidays,.Greeting cards, holiday decor, calendar art, and ornaments often feature cardinals. These holidays usually include spending time with family and friends. A red cardinal sighting might be pointing you to a need to reconnect with family or your hometown, or anticipation of going on vacation.
If you believe that cardinals are messengers from Spirit, then the next time you see one who is insisting on getting your attention, ask yourself these questions: What or who were you thinking of at that moment? Did you ask for guidance from Spirit or ask for help finding the answer to an important question?
Allow your cardinal sightings to bring you a feeling of peace. Know that Spirit is listening. Let red cardinal visits remind you that Spirit always guides and protects you. Above all, don’t forget to thank your cardinal friends and Spirit for their guidance.
Visits from the Other Side
If a deceased loved one wants you to know that they’re around, they might send messengers from the animal kingdom: small, brightly-colored bugs, birds, and butterflies are not uncommon choices. Things with wings tend to get our attention, and if you allow yourself to tune in, you might even know who has sent them. Their message could be a simple acknowledgment that your loved ones are always around. If you’re asking the Universe for guidance, seeing a cardinal tells you that Spirit is hearing you and guiding you too.
Native American Culture and Shamanism
Many Native American tribes tell stories and hold beliefs surrounding the cardinal (called the “red bird”) and a red cardinal sighting. In Cherokee creation stories, the first red bird is the daughter of the sun itself. This gives the red cardinal a feminine connection, even though males are the more colorful of the two.
The Choctaw people believe that the cardinal is an omen regarding relationships. If you’re single, it could be a sign that your status is about to change. If your relationship is in trouble, the cardinal may be a warning that things need to change.
Some Native American cultures believe that cardinals help them predict changes in the weather, serve as watchers and guardians, and others look to red cardinal sightings as a sign of what direction to travel or follow. Some also believe that red is the color of protection from enemies and illness.
No matter the story, belief, or tradition, it’s certainly clear that a red cardinal sighting plays an important role in Native American heritage. In their practice, Native American shamans utilize the medicine wheel. The basic makeup of this medicine wheel includes the four sacred, or cardinal, directions: North, south, east, and west, and the four cardinal colors: red, blue, black and white.
In the medicine wheel, red is the color of the east, the season of spring, and animals of flight, including the cardinal. Words spoken in the direction of the east are carried on wings and taken directly to Spirit.
What Does a Cardinal Symbolize in Christianity?
Some people wonder if the red cardinal has Biblical meaning. There are no cardinals in the areas where the books of the Bible were written. Nonetheless, there are some connections between Christianity and cardinals.
Four of the seven Archangels are Cardinal Angels. They are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. Cardinal Angels influence and inspire large groups, such as cultures and nations. Each of the Cardinal Angels also have rulership over an element: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. In addition, the Archangels may be trusted to bring messages to people. This is very similar to the Native American belief that Spirit offers guidance, protection, and direction through messengers.
If you encounter a red cardinal, consider that there may be a significant change in a group or organization that you are a part of. This may also be a sign that you are to assume a greater leadership role in these groups or in your larger community.
Another consideration might be that Spirit wants you to become more aware of how an element, or elements, are manifesting themselves in your life. Here are the ways that the four traditional elements operate in our lives:
Fire: Inspiration from the divine, taking initiative, and challenging the status quo.
Air: Strategies, plans, ideas, and intellectual development.
Water: Creativity, relationships, intuition, dreamwork, and getting in touch with emotions.
Earth: Day-to-day responsibilities, finances, property, and the environment.
Pay attention to where the red cardinal has landed, that may indicate the element that you need to concentrate on. For example, if you see the cardinal near a power line, utility box, or even on a stack of firewood, it may be time for you to take more initiative and start making aggressive changes. On the other hand, if the cardinal has landed near a puddle or other body of water, Spirit may be asking you to spend more time in a creative pursuit or working with your dreams.
Roman Catholic Cardinals
In the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinals are senior church officials with a significant amount of authority. In addition to leading dioceses or fulfilling other important functions, Cardinals may advise the pope. A cardinal sighting may indicate auspicious timing for speaking to an authority figure about your concerns or taking on a major project.
Red Cardinal Sightings
The red cardinal has played many prominent roles throughout our history. It continues to be an important part of our human experience. It bridges the gap between Earth and Spirit, and it also brings the wisdom of the Universe to our doorsteps in a bright and beautiful way. All we have to do is pay attention.
If you’re interested in our other animal sighting articles, you can find them here.
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