Cardinal Signs & Symbols, Message from Dean Brooks

What can These Cardinal Symbols Mean for You?

The Cardinal Color Red: Symbolic of Vitality, Importance, Faith & Power

Cardinals can bring color and vitality into our lives. Their crimson color can remind us of the importance of ourselves as individuals in the circle of life. As the cardinal red color is symbolic of faith, so it can remind us to “keep the faith” though circumstances might look bleak, dark and hopeless.

The Cardinal Cycle of Twelve: Symbolic of Cycles, Life, Death & Renewal

Twelve hours make a day and twelve months make a year. Twelve is a vital life cycle and regardless of the time of year, the time of day or the time of life you are presently confronting, you are a part of the cycle. You are a vital element in the circle of life and regardless of where you are in that cycle You always have the opportunity for restoration, revitalization and renewal.

The Cardinal Sounds: Symbolic of Cheer, Elevation, Clarity & Communication

The call of a cardinal can come to cheer us up, or cheer us on. The unique clarity of his call is can be used to gain our attention and lift us from our depression, our sorrow or perhaps our ordinariness. The cardinal’s call can call to us to do our duty. A cardinal call can tell us to give up any vanity or appearances we may be holding on to and follow the hope in our heart, a cardinal hope that will lead us, on our upward journey through the cycle of life.

Cardinal Parenting & Mating: Symbolic of Care, Duty, Dedication & Transformation

**The female cardinal’s voice in the world may remind a woman that she too has a voice and it may be time to find it and begin expressing herself. The parental and mating behavior of cardinals can remind us that our dedication to nurturing and caring for our loved one is also a part of the natural life cycle.

The caring manor of a male cardinal can remind us that we are never really alone, that there is a father above who will always protect and care for us. Cardinal Health is symbolic of: strength, readiness, self-preservation & vitality.

The cardinal may be suggesting that our current diet may be injurious to our health. The cardinal can be a sign that we must be prepared to fight for our health.

When the fiery crown of a cardinal rises, it can also let us know that we have the strength of spirit within us to win the fight!

A Brief History of the Cardinal Symbol

While we usually think of a symbol as a visual form, much of the meaning can be found in the origins of the word that identifies that form. The history of the word cardinal sheds a lot of light on it’s symbolic meanings today. So, where did the roots of the word cardinal come from? And, how did the word cardinal come to define the bird?

Interestingly, the base root of the word cardinal is actually connected to the word cross. It comes from the Old Norse word, kross and the Latin word, crux. For the ancient Romans, the Latin word crux, had come to mean “a guidepost that gives directions at a place where one road becomes two”. Today the root word cross is contained in many words we commonly use: across, crucial, crucify, cruise (to cross the sea, or go backwards and forwards), cruiser, crusade, crux, and excruciate. The cross is of course universally recognized as a Christian symbol, but the symbol of the cross
was not used by Christian’s alone. The same symbol was also used by early Mexicans. It was one of the emblems of Quetzalcoatl, as lord of the four cardinal points, and the four winds that blow therefrom. In the cardinal sense, the cross represents fourfold systems: the four directions: north, south, east, and west; the four seasons; the four elements; the four winds; etc.

In the thirteenth century, Dante attributed Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude, to the four brightest stars in the Southern Cross. This was done before the discovery and naming of the constellation (in 1679). As history reveals, the early explorers used the four cardinal directions in the form of a cross to discover the new world. Our world itself is constructed in the shape of a cross, whose four points correspond to the four cardinal points or intersections of the horizon with the meridian.

So, how did the word cardinal come to define the bird? The word cardinal originates from the Latin word cardinali, meaning principal or chief. The chief Catholic priests from the Vatican in Rome are Cardinals, who wear ‘cardinal’ red cassocks. Cardinal is also a vivid red color. The family of birds, known as the Cardinalis, takes its name from the color of the cassocks worn by the cardinal priests.

Now that we have seen where the symbols of the cross and the color come from, we can continue to the heart of the matter. Cardinal is also rooted in the heart, originating from the root word cardo, meaning heart. Cardo, also stems into the word cardinis, used for the hinge of a door, or a pivot; that on which something turns. In Latin, cardo means hinge or axis, something on which all else depends, as does the general meaning of the word crucial. What does a hinge have to do with a heart?

A hinge (cardo) is literally the place on which a door swings and is always moved. It is so called after the term Greek kardia (heart), because as the heart (cor) governs and moves the whole person, just as this pivot governs and moves a door. The cross has four points, and the human heart has four chambers or closed spaces, two atria and two ventricles. In Latin cardium means heart. In Greek word for heart is kardia, which comes from the Indo-European root kerd meaning heart and that is as far back into the history of the word cardinal we were able to reach.

I understand now, that in the same way the cardinal brings hope and cheer in the bareness of winter, he beacons us to rise above our grieving hearts and know that there is a full and happy life beyond death and sadness. This little red bird is a messenger of hope and all this time he has been shouting “cheer, cheer”, how foolish I feel now that I could not hear what he was trying so hard to tell me. From –

Cardinals have a long symbolic history of visiting those who are saddened by loss, in particular, a “Cardinal Loss”, the heartrending loss of a loved one. It was through a series of visitations from a small red cardinal that the answers to many painful questions about living life, after death began to unfold, and ironically, as I began sharing my Cardinal Experience with others, others began sharing their unique Cardinal Experiences with me. That’s when I began researching and discovered that the Cardinal Experience was a phenomenal encounter that had touched countless human lives throughout history. While the experience itself was enlightening, it was through the act of sharing this Cardinal phenomenon that the dark pain of grief began transforming into the light of hope, and so our mission began.

Cardinal Signs & Symbols thanks to Guest Blogger, Dean Brooks

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