A cardinal sits on a branch in the snow


Written by Jacob Terranova


A few months after my grandfather passed, I remember taking trips out to the rural cemetery to visit the gravesite with my family. One of the distinct memories I have of those trips was from my grandmother.


“Keep an eye out for cardinals,” she would say. Then she went on to say that seeing the bright red bird was a sign that our grandfather was visiting us from heaven.


Her story about the cardinal was something that always stuck with me, and it got me thinking. What other signs and symbols show us that our loved ones are near?


The Many Different Signs of Animals

It turns out cardinals aren’t the only bird that’s a messenger from our loved ones. Other brightly-colored birds, like blue jays or red-tailed hawks, also are common signs. Birds represent the idea of the soul soaring up, an idea that dates back to ancient Egypt. Different birds often represent different things, too. For example, doves represent a spirit of purity and devotion. Meanwhile, seeing an eagle represents a soul of bravery, possibly a soldier.


In fact, it’s not just birds. Butterflies are meant to represent the rebirth of a person into a new life. So seeing a butterfly fly by in the cemetery is a sign your loved one has passed on in peace.


Below are some other common animal symbols about the departed:

  • Rooster: A soul’s new awakening or resurrection
  • Owl: A soul watching over loved ones
  • Dog: A sign of loyalty and that your loved one is guarding over you
  • Deer: A soul’s faithfulness

Signs from Mother Nature

Mother Nature is a great comfort to those mourning, and has been known to show signs that a loved one is at peace. Here are a few signs you might have seen:

  • We don’t typically associate thunderstorms with good things. But if you ever hear thunder at a funeral, it’s a sign that a loved one has been accepted into heaven.
  • Rain is another symbol that a loved one is in a good place. In the Victorian era, rain symbolized that heaven itself was mourning the departed and accepting them into heaven.
  • After the rain, seeing a rainbow is another sign that the soul has ascended to a better place.
  • And of course, flowers have a long history of symbolism and meaning in funerals.

Loved Ones and Pennies

Another common belief is that pennies or other coins are signs from a loved one. It’s believed if you find a random penny somewhere, it’s your loved one trying to get your attention or offer guidance. The pennies appear whenever you’re feeling alone or anxious. Or they might appear to let you know you’re on the right path in life.


So the next time you see a penny, pick it up. It could me a message from your loved one.


What are some other signs you’ve seen? Share with us in the comments below!