As we might guess, a large part of the animal symbolism of the cardinal comes from the brilliant red color of the males.
Even its common name is derived from the royal red vestments worn by Catholic cardinals.
This shock of red, especially against the stark backdrop of winter snow, is a magnificent sight. The male cardinal reminds us passion, warmth and vibrancy is available to us - even in under the cloak of winter's grey clouds.
Interestingly, the more bold and bright his color is, the more successful the cardinal will be at prolonging his lineage. Dull colored male cardinals are less likely to mate successfully than bright ones.
True to the fire of his color, the crimson cardinal has got some major spunk. He will aggressively defend his territory, and fight attackers with ferocity. Indeed, they have been known to fight ghost males (their reflections) in mirrors for hours on end.
Both male and female give us glorious songs. Along with peeps and pips and warbles, the tuned ear can also hear "cheer, cheer, cheer!" Very appropriate to the animal symbolism of cardinals, because they are a delight to both eyes and ears.
The cardinal makes a fantastic animal totem. It reminds us to hold ourselves with pride - not ego pride. Rather, the cardinal asks us to stand a little taller, be a bit more regal, step into our natural confidence as if we were born to lead with grace and nobility.
Those who attract the cardinal as their totem are naturally energetic, love life, and happily help others where/when they can.
Call upon the cardinal when you are feeling low (especially if you have the winter blues). Also call on the cardinal when you need bolstering for an event you are nervous about - the cardinal is better than B-12 for giving energy and vitality to those who need it!
I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on symbolic cardinal meanings. Be sure to check out other related articles on animal symbolism via the links provided at the end of this page. Thanks for reading, and happy warbling! :)
Image at the top of this page was kindly provided by: Tony Alter on Flickr. Thanks Tony!
Center cardinal picture kindly provided by David J. Crotty. Thanks Dave! :)