The Symbolic Meaning of Crossing Paths With a Brilliant Red Cardinal

Photo: Getty Images / Keith Draycott
Spiritual health is a component of your overall well-being. Every day, people are looking for answers to some of life’s biggest questions. And one way in which folks are finding answers is by placing value and finding meaning in everyday occurrences, like crossing paths with a monarch butterfly, a black cat, or even a red northern cardinal.

A cardinal is thought to hold meaning beyond its striking red feathers, and, as such, some people believe that crossing paths with the small bird is a sign from above (and not just because they can fly). With that in mind, we chatted with Cristina Panescu, a tarot card reader, spiritual healer, psychic, and empath from, a digital platform that connects people with New Age Healers, to discuss the meaning of cardinals. Ahead, she reveals what it means if you keep seeing cardinals.

Experts In This Article
  • Cristina Panescu, tarot card reader, spiritual healer, and psychic from Psychics1on1

Cardinal Spirituality

Love is all you need—and cardinals are here to remind us of that.

“A cardinal’s spiritual meaning is that of love,” Panescu says. “This is an animal that wings its way into your life when you are on the horizon of a new relationship or other significant event filled with romance.”

According to Panescu, cardinals don’t only appear at the start of a new romance, though. They can also show up as a sign of pregnancy, and as a symbol that you’re on the right path within it. In that way, Panescu mentions that cardinals can also be a symbol of self-love—they can present as a nudge to have more faith in yourself.

“The red bird symbolizes lessons of distinctiveness, staying true to ourselves, and recognizing our place and the power we have within ourselves,” she explains. “A cardinal’s spiritual meaning is one of a fight against insecurities. It is a push by a loved one from the ‘beyond,’ so you keep striving towards self-empowerment and reaching your goals.” Panescu says that cardinal sightings should be considered the ultimate reassurance for those struggling with insecurities.

Cardinal Meaning in Relationships

While the cardinal’s spiritual symbolism is significant, Panescu is quick to add that if you’ve engaged in an entanglement outside of your vows or relationship, cardinals can also be a sign to focus on the love in your life that grasped your attention and heart in the first place.

“Cardinals also serve as a reminder of monogamy to people who were unfaithful in their relationships,” she explains.

That’s not to say that cardinals only show up in instances of distrust, though. “If a single person spots a cardinal crossing their path, they might expect a romantic relationship soon,” Panescu says. “If a person in a committed relationship encounters the red bird of wonders, they can expect a renewed spark of romance in their relationship.”

What To Do if You See a Red Cardinal

Now that the cardinal meaning is clear, you might be wondering what you should do if you see one. In short, it depends on your current situation and which meaning best applies to it. Additionally, where they land plays a role.

“Seeing a cardinal is a mysterious yet important event,” Panescu says. “You need to pay attention to where the cardinal is sitting or landing. For example, if you see them near a utility box, power line, or even near firewood, it means it is time for you to start making changes aggressively and take more initiatives than you usually do. However, if you see a cardinal land near any body of water like a puddle, for instance, then the spirits might be nudging you to pursue your dreams. Maybe it is time for you to spend more time on your creativity.”

A Message From Beyond

Have you been seeing cardinals more frequently since losing a loved one? As a common symbol of love, Panescu says that cardinals don’t only represent love on Earth, but beyond it. “People have often reported that after the death of their near loved ones, they begin to see cardinals frequently,” she says. “Seeing a cardinal for the first time or more frequently than usual can be an indication from your loved one that they will always feel your love and will be near you.

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