Birds, Omens, and Losing Control

This morning on the way to work a strange thing happened. A cardinal landed on the bed of the truck in front of me while we were both stopped at a stoplight. It stood there on the tailgate and stared straight at me as I looked through the windshield. It was a young one, no doubt confused about where it was flying. There were trees by the side of the road on which we were sitting. The light turned green and the bird flew off to a nearby tree. Very strange. I love cardinalcardinals. They are my favorite bird in the whole world. Their brilliant red color inspires me. Being an Aries, ruled by Mars, it’s no wonder that red is my favorite color. I find it strange though that I suffer from anemia, not enough “red” in the old bloodstream. Perhaps my soul knows that I need as much red as I can get in my life at this particular juncture.

Lately, I’ve been reading Mother Wintermoon over at Romancing the Crone and other wonderful web sites listed in her blogroll that speak of finding your animal guide/totem. Last week, I sent the prayer out there and asked and promptly forgot all about it. Then this morning, the cardinal alights. According to one web site:

“Cardinals have a loud and distinct whistle. Whistles are reminders to listen closely and pay attention to what is blowing on the wind. Unlike other birds, the female joins in on the whistling reminding us to listen to our inner feminine voice more closely and heed its advice. Since most female birds are quiet and camouflaged, a cardinal totem almost always reflects a need to assert the feminine aspects of creativity and intuition.” (Believed to be from Ted Andrews’ book “Animal Speak”)

I’ve long known that I suffer from a distinct lack of “feminine” qualities, whatever those may be according to the subculture you belong to. I speak loudly and forcefully. I read whatever I want to and write whatever I feel like. I’ll enter into arguments with just about anybody and, in my heyday, have been known to duke it out physically and mentally with men and women alike. I do not back down and I am not submissive. I’m like a bull in a china shop and don’t have a delicate, careful bone in my body. I like control and when I’m facing a loss of it, say like in surgery, it leaves me feeling shaken and afraid. The specter of death is always looming because naturally, with my personality it’s either all or nothing, one extreme or the other.

So how does one listen to their inner feminine? What is that exactly? Submission? Deferring to someone stronger? Another web site says this:

The Cardinal The cardinal is a power packed bird that transforms and awakens us. Its color and its voice are its two strongest characteristics. It is a member of the finch family and is often recognized by its brilliant red color.The eggs laid by the female hatch in about twelve days. This, along with the cardinal being a year round resident, reflects the rhythm of the number twelve. The number twelve often has important significance for those with this totem. It can indicate a turn of events or a life changing situation. When the cardinal flies into your life expect a change to occur within 12 days, 12 weeks, 12 months or at the hour of 12. Because this bird is a year round resident its medicine is available at all times and should be used by those with this totem whenever a need arises.

Cardinals have a loud whistle, Whistles penetrate the air with sharp distinct tones. They demand our attention urging us to hear what is carried through the air. Both male and female cardinals join in the whistling. This reflects the need to integrate our male and female characteristics into our day to day life. Feminine energy is linked to intuition. Male energy is linked to perseverance. If both are operating within our life our intuitive knowledge has the perseverance and strength necessary to manifest our goals and dreams.

Cardinals eat many decaying weeds and injurious insects. When a cardinal appears in your life it is telling you to pay attention to your eating habits. Are you eating things that might be injurious to your health? IS your diet nutritionally balanced? Extra care should be given to the blood and circulatory system. Past life ties to overindulgence or the consumption of poisonous substances is often linked to cardinal medicine people.

The bright red color of the cardinal is very symbolic. Red represents the blood or life force of the Mystic Christ. In yoga circles this vital force is known as the kundalini. The kundalini lies dormant within us until activated by a disciplined spiritual practice. Once activated spiritual power can be attained. The cardinal offers safe passage into the world of personal power for those who ask for its help.

When a person with cardinal medicine steps onto a spiritual path there will be no turning back. Everything else in their life will seem insignificant. Extra care must be taken here to insure personal happiness, particularly in the area of one to one relationships. Balancing spiritual ideals and physical pleasure will need to be instated in ones life so harmony on all levels is known.

Cardinals are named for the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church with their bright red robes. A great love or a strong dislike for religion and churches is common amongst cardinal medicine people and can indicate a past life connection with one or both.

The cardinals voice is strong and clear and reflects an air of importance. This power packed bird can teach you how to express your truth, develop confidence and walk you talk. If you respect its teachings it will lead you home.

I think this is a much better signifier of the cardinal coming into my life at this particular moment; facing surgery, amending my diet, and the whole issue of blood (no pun intended) and the remedies for too much of it vs. not enough. 🙂 According to the article, intuition is a “feminine” quality. I am both intuitive and persevering so I think I have my masculine and feminine balanced nicely thank you. I do however, need to focus on balancing all aspects of my life rather than be lopsided. I am always one thing or the other and religion has blurred the lines and the boundaries of my need for both. One religion claims that we should never listen to our intuition, only to the masculine-exclusive spirit it offers. Another religion says that we should never desire anything because therein lies all suffering. Bah! Intuition has served me very well. Desire is the stuff of life and is what furthers the species of humans on this planet. Without desire, we stagnate and become useless consumers, not creators. My totem, the cardinal, signals a bout with creativity coming my way. A need for balance and spiritual energy. If I wake up tomorrow after surgery, I certainly hope the creative juices will start flowing again!


2 thoughts on “Birds, Omens, and Losing Control

  1. I googled cardinals as spirit guides because of things that have been happening to me in the last year or so surrounding cardinals: last fall, I removed a dead cardinal from someone’s grill for her because she was too squeamish, a few months ago, I picked up an injured cardinal by the side of the road ( I can never just leave injured birds to die), and since then, I have suddenly been having cardinals swooping in front of my car, which I don’t remember happening before. All these are male cardinals. I decided to start meditating, and today I sat on the back porch and closed my eyes for a few minutes and asked the universe to show me where I fit in. I breathed in and out and tried to quiet my mind. As soon as I opened my eyes, a male cardinal swooped down and landed in a tree nearby. Thank you for doing the research on this- so much of those passages make sense for me. I guess you came through your surgery okay, since it’s been almost a year since you wrote this. Interestingly, I also had major surgery last year, in September.

  2. Anne,


    What’s even more interesting is that my name is Ann too! (not widely known here). Interesting about the proliferation of cardinals in your life right now. I think cardinals are harbingers of sudden changes and complete turnarounds.

    I did come through the surgery all right and it has changed my life for the better. Some things are an annoyance from it. But overall, I think the cardinal portends our changes. Might something be happening to you right about now? Also, being an Aries and having Mars as a ruling planet and the color red as being closely aligned to all, it is significant that blood was involved.

    Blessings on your cardinal encounters!

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