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!
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!