From reminding you of a loved one who’s passed to inspiring change and transformation, seeing a red cardinal is nothing short of striking. And their bold appearance catches your eye for a reason, as these birds have a deep spiritual significance. Here’s what to know if cardinals keep appearing to you.
What a red cardinal symbolizes.
You may have heard that cardinals are a sign that a loved one who’s passed is near, letting you know they’re with you. This is one of the most well-known interpretations of the cardinal, though their meaning is ultimately up to context and your own interpretation.
As spiritual teacher Alyson Charles tells mbg, cardinals can also relate to strength, transformation, and even manifestation. As with any synchronicity or sign that appears to you, it’s important to take into account what was happening when you saw it. And when you have a better understanding of what the cardinal may be trying to tell you, you’re better able to take aligned action.
5 spiritual meanings behind the red cardinal:
1. A transformation is underway.
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According to Charles, seeing a cardinal can indicate a bold change wanting to occur in your life. Whatever that change may be for you, she says, “Cardinal invites you to trust your evolutionary processes and trust yourself that you can go right to the epicenter of this change and embrace it.”
2. It’s time to connect to your root chakra.
With its attention-grabbing red color, this bird also relates to the root chakra, particularly when it comes to changes you’re going through. “Any time we are going through potent transformations—which also usually involve an urging to rise and expand in consciousness—it’s extra important to stay in your body, stay connected with your breath, and be grounded,” Charles explains.
As such, practices to help balance and harmonize your root (such as walking barefoot on the Earth, sitting in nature and receiving the blessings of the wind, and communicating with nature spirits for healing) are a good idea. “Affirmations such as ‘I am in my body; I am safe,’ will support you in times of transformation,” Charles adds.
3. You are free to express yourself.
When you think cardinal, you think bold—and that’s exactly what this bird wants you to become. According to Charles, seeing a cardinal is a reminder not to withdraw but rather to express yourself and open up. “Perhaps your transformation or initiation is bringing up feelings of shame, embarrassment, etc., and that elicits a desire to hide. Cardinal asks you to do the opposite,” she explains.
4. You are surrounded by loyal people.
Cardinals have a reputation for loyalty, mating with one partner for life. This gives them a connection to partnership, loyalty, and monogamy, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you can take seeing a cardinal as a good sign—especially if you see one with your partner or when you’re thinking about your partner.
5. You are connected to the spirit realm.
Lastly, as aforementioned, cardinals are often thought of as messengers from the spirit realm, either connecting you with guides or loved ones who have passed on. Many people (anecdotally) speak of seeing cardinals after a loved one passed on, with the bird’s bright, eye-catching hue offering comfort and support.
What to do if you keep seeing red cardinals.
If cardinals keep appearing, there is likely a message there for you. As Charles explains, with any power animal, they like to get an invitation from you first in order to work with you. “So, if it’s resonating to work with cardinal, you can call upon it in meditation, shamanic journey, or before you go to bed to enter during dreamtime and help support with providing any messages, medicines, or guidance that will further empower you at this time,” she tells mbg.
She adds that you can also say aloud, Sacred cardinal, thank you for showing up for me. I receive your messages and blessings and invite you in to further connect with me. I feel this is a time of growing self-empowerment and respect and allow you to share your medicine so that I may develop an even stronger trust in this evolutionary time and emerge enriched and ready to receive even greater blessings in my life.
If they’re appearing at your window.
Seeing a cardinal out your window isn’t uncommon and may have a special meaning, depending on what you’re going through. Any of the aforementioned meanings may still apply, but the window is unique in that the cardinal is appearing to you in your home.
Our homes are our safe spaces and our havens from the world. For a cardinal to show up there for you can indicate a need to tap into your own energy and power to keep your home (and subsequently, your own aura) safe and secure. Perhaps that means setting firmer boundaries, working with your root chakra as previously mentioned, or facing any fears you’ve been avoiding.
Again, as Charles explains, you can always directly ask/invite a cardinal to work with you and share its messages, to get a better understanding of what it’s trying to tell you. And from there, you can heed its message and take appropriate action.
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