Art, Body & Soul

Peacock & Paisley

The cardinal means be unique, shine your colors brightly, sing your own song.  But it also says to use camouflage when it is appropriate.

There are times when it is important to disguise what you are doing, both for your own safety and for that of your children.

The male cardinal has stunning, deep red plumage.  The female cardinal is much more muted, more of a quiet fall foliage set of colors.  The male gently and thoughtfully feeds the female, even when they don’t have babies in the nest.  She will sit in a nearby tree while he goes in and out of the birdfeeder.  He carefully chooses the seeds for her, brings them over to her, and delicately feeds her.  When they have children, he will bring her food as she sits in the nest.  They both share equally in raising their children.  He will sit in the nest, also, tending the babies.  When he does this, he changes his plumage from “pull me over” red to the same comparatively dull but well-camouflaged female colors.  I like a man who embraces his female side in order to care for his family!!!  But it is also about hiding what you’re doing when necessary.

Are you being treated well by your partner?  Are you treating your partner well?

When you see a cardinal, watch its behavior to take your cues about what it’s telling you you need to do.

Ted Andrews says that cardinals embody “renewed vitality through recognizing self-importance,” and that the number 12 is connected with them. Cardinals lay three to four eggs, and they hatch in about twelve days.  Look for cycles or time frames of 12 hours, days, weeks, months, years.  They also eat cicadas (which come in 17 and 13 year cycles), as well as weed seeds and injurious insects.  Andrews says that this can “reflect a need to be more careful about your diet,” but it seems to me to be the reverse as well, that what bothers others, you clean up in the course of living, that your style provides goodness for you and helps to keep the ecosystem around you in balance.

Female cardinals whistle just as well as males,

adding to the gender equality of this bird.  Assert yourselves, women!  Sing your song right out loud and clear.  For men, remember that it is good for everyone to express all aspects of themselves, including femininity.  Creativity and intuition are native to and good for both sexes.

Be careful with and appreciate your Self.

Hide what you need to hide while you need to hide it.  Sing to all the world when you can.  Expect balance and sharing and tenderness in partnership.


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  1. Patti Hartye

    We’ve had a female cardinal tapping at our window – several hours every day for over 8 months. We initially tried to distract her with shiny objects hanging outside and tape over the windows, etc. but she just continues to keep tapping every day. Any thoughts are what the message is she might be sending. The male usually sits in the tree and watches. We’re in a very wooded area.

  2. Missy

    We had cardinals show up on our back deck about a month and a half ago. They were very loud. Chirping constantly. A week later, our 11 year old German Shepard had a stroke and we had to put her to sleep. It was my mother-in-law’s dog and she had passed away in 2009. The cardinals were gone after that. We did not hear them again after the day the dog passed away. I took that as a sign. Today would have been my in- law’s anniversary, had they both been still alive. As I stood at the kitchen sink, the male and female cardinal came back on the deck for a visit. They stayed about 5 minutes and then flew off. No chirping. Just visiting. I took that as my in-laws letting me know they are okay.

  3. debbie petrewski

    Have male and female cardinals trying to get into the house for the past 4 days. Now they are gone.. Will they come back or was my message to pay attention (which I have done)

  4. Tina

    Hi Heather! I’ve just ‘stumbled’ across this page trying to find out as much as I can as to why these Cardinals are ALWAYS around me. I’ve always believed in The Other Side but have recently been more spiritually awakened upon finding out that I’m a Lightworker. So I’ve been reading whatever I can to try to open my spirituality even more and understand all of this. I know the Cardinal, both male and female, are trying to tell me something. I just don’t know what! Sometimes they are more prominent than others but as soon as I hear them, I know there’s a message but I don’t know how to ‘listen’. Why do you think they’re around so much?

  5. Felicia white

    I meant a man a month ago, when he was taking me to his house, it was two carinal birds that flew right between our cars and it was weird for me to see that. what does it mean actually. Now they come in the morning outside of our house, where ever I am they show up and it is amazing to see them both.
    At first the blue jay birds would follow me around, i would see one, then two would show up and then three at the same time together. It is wonderful to see them all around me. Also there was a time I seen the carinal and the blue jay watching me together in the tree. man these birds really love me.

  6. Sha'ahn

    I’ve never had a cardinal this close, but this morning, a male perched outside my kitchen window in the rain. I didnt notice his chirping until it was gone once he flew off. But it was a pleasant sound. He stayed for a few minutes, just sitting there int he rain. then he hopped to another part of my deck before flying away. I didnt know they were good luck until I posted the pic i took of him on fb. Its strange, but I felt happy when i saw him. What does this mean?
    I am embarking on a new career (one Ive dreamed of since childhood) and things are going well. Maybe he is telling me to keep going!

    • Heather Cate

      Wonderful, Sha’ahn! Sounds to me like he’s saying “sing your song, your time is now!” Also, take heed of the beauty around you may be taking for granted/hone in on where it’s coming from so that you can appreciate it while it is with you.

      Keep track of the numbers involved, such as the timing of 12 days/weeks/months, etc., although my impression is soon for something to hatch for you. Also, 3 to 4 projects (eggs/babies).

      Cardinal song is also very clearing, so he may have been helping to clear your path energetically.


      Blessings and stay in touch!

  7. Ann

    For the last several days I have had 2 male red birds in a tree outside my window on Friday and today 6 male redbirds appeared what does this mean? They are all so beautiful.

    • Heather Cate

      Hi Ann, usually when a totem shows up in greater numbers and on more than one occasion, it is “turning up the volume” so that you’ll hear the message.

  8. jessica

    I had a male cardinal dive bomb me while sitting on my porch.
    The next time I saw him he had a worm in his mouth in a nearby tree/bush while I was sitting on my front steps.

    • Heather Cate

      Hey Jessica, that’s great! The early cardinal gets the worm! 😉 He certainly wanted you to take note of that. What’s your sense of the message for you?

      • jessica

        I am trying to be as true to myself as possible and tring to look at the world more vibrantly. Do you have any suggestions to help see the picture more clear… meditation… journing?

        • Heather Cate

          Ooooh! Very cool! Good job!

          Meditation, being out in nature, journeying, journaling, and the harder stuff: no drugs, drinking, smoking, bad eating/not eating. In short, cut out addictions and let yourself feel what you really feel. But be prepared with emotional and spiritual support.

          Another action is to say and do what you really feel and mean. Alot of us were raised to be “nice” all the time, and do what other people want. That is damaging to the spirit. Honor yourself and you will like life better, and the world will be more beautiful. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you, but not just that, those people need to respect you. If they love you, but don’t respect you, find other people who do both.

          Do things, no matter how small, which bring you joy. Ask the Universe to send you experiences daily that fill you with hope.

          You are on a marvelous and most important course. Be proud of yourself for doing it!

  9. Pam Turner

    Three times today there has been a female cardinal that seems like it’s trying to get in my house! The first time it was on my skylight which is angled down, and it seemed ike it was trying to walk up it but of course, was struggling to do so. Then, I noticed it on the patio, by the sunroom, flitting about from the swing, to the spa on the patio. I walked into the sunroom and noticed it was actually perched on the storm door. Just now I was getting ready to scrapbook in our dining room, heard and sound and turned around and it was fluttering about on the dining room window. I’m not sure what to make of this bird trying to get in?? I too am going through a lot of relationship issues. What do you think?

    • Heather Cate

      Pam, I am covered with goosebumps. Very special situation going on for you! That takes a lot of work on the cardinal’s part; there’s no accident and you must pay attention and take action.

      Who does this bird remind you of?

      Would you like to set up a session with me?

  10. Barbara Brose

    I am going through a lot of changes in my life I am a life coach and therapist and have also been doing healing work for over 20 years. As I was sitting in my porch today June 9 – I have been in the USA for 7 years and have never seen this bird – and a cardinal shows up on the fence. I kept quiet… then it kept walking on the plants grown on the fence to the other side… I just thought if there is a message for me, have it come to me… and there was a branch, tall hanging toward my porch… Suddenly I see the cardinal jump on that branch and feed itself from the flowers. It was as close as it could really get to me. I’m still wondering what it all means.

    • Heather Cate

      Hi Barbara! Thanks for telling us about your experience — what a blessing!

      Would you like to tell us what the changes are that you’re going through?

      Cardinal often represents really being your true self, singing your own song your way. Was it the male, strong red, cardinal? If so, shine on! Shine your colors bright! Just like the Cyndi Lauper song, “your true colors are beautiful, like a rainbow” and bring joy to those who see them. Also, it “was as close as it could really get to me” — seems like another true self indicator. LOL! Go out on a limb to be your true self, to get as close to your self as you can.

      Feeding from the flowers makes me wonder if it’s telling you to nourish yourself with something you find gloriously beautiful. What kind of plant/bush/flowers?

      By the way, there is actually a bright red male cardinal sitting just outside my window singing his gorgeous, clear, liquid song right now!

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