The beautiful northern cardinal. The male is bright red with an orange beak. The female is more subtle; she is mostly brown with red-orange highlights.
Cardinals have a crest of feathers on top of their head that can be raised and lowered depending on their mood. It gives them a very distinguished profile. These beautiful birds mate for life, so if you spy one cardinal, their mate is probably not too far away.
The cardinal is a bird that you remember. So when you see a streak of red in the treetops, it feels a bit magical.
Cardinals don’t migrate, so if you are lucky enough to live in the north, you may someday see them perched on a tree branch with snow softly falling. A red cardinal in the snow is one of Mother Nature’s perfect combinations.
Traditional symbolism of the cardinal
The northern cardinal is found in the United States and parts of Mexico. For some indigenous tribes, the cardinal was thought to bring sunny days and good luck.
Many tribes identified the cardinal as a symbol of love. If you were single, a cardinal crossing your path meant you might be headed for romance. If you were in a relationship, a cardinal could mean you would find new intensity with your partner.
The cardinal as a spiritual messenger
More recently, cardinals have come to represent symbols of our loved ones who have passed on.
A quick Google search will find you many beautiful stories of cardinals bringing comfort to the bereaved. There are stories of cardinals knocking on windows, following people, and landing on shoulders and heads.
For many, the cardinal seems to appear when you most need a reminder that your loved one is not far away.
Related: Learn about the symbolism of doves in dreams.
Cardinals appearing in our dreams
So if you are dreaming about cardinals, what does it mean? There are a few interpretations of what a cardinal in your dream may symbolize.
Messenger from the other side
Like seeing a cardinal when awake, the cardinal in your dream may be a messenger from the other side. It could be God or source trying to make contact, or a loved one who has transitioned.
This may be a message of love and care from the other side, as cardinals also represent love and fidelity.
Cardinals in your dreams may symbolize good luck heading your way. Surprising positive changes could occur out of the blue. Unexpected money or opportunities could appear.
This busy bird is also a symbol of positive energy. Let your cardinal dream experience energize you to make beneficial and exciting changes in your life.
Cardinals are hardy birds; they thrive in harsh winter environments. So to dream of a cardinal in winter may be a message of strength—a sign to take heart, stay strong, and know that summer will come again.
The symbolism of cardinal behavior in dreams
A flying cardinal
If a cardinal is flying in your dream, it may indicate you have come to a place of peace in your life. You are satisfied or content. This beautiful bird gliding through the air may tell us it is time to relax and enjoy the ride.
A cardinal at your window
A cardinal at your window, trying to get in, can be a message that you need to reflect on who you are letting into your life. Do those closest to you bring positive energy and love into your life?
If not, it may be time to shut the window and let them fly to a new perch.
A pair of cardinals
A pair of cardinals may indicate it is time to work together with someone in your life. If going it alone on a particular project isn’t working, it’s time to collaborate! Cardinals mate for life and seeing a pair is a symbol of loyalty and devotion.
Also, a pair of cardinals could mean you will soon experience more love in your life. A new partner, dear friend, child, or pet may be on the horizon.
Unlocking the meaning of the dream
A dream featuring a cardinal is likely a very positive sign. They symbolize our departed loved ones, fidelity, teamwork, and positive energies.
So enjoy these dapper, industrious little birds when they enter your dream world; they bring you good tidings.