I’ve been a professional psychic medium for the last seven years, and I’ve noticed an interesting trend. Whether I’m giving psychic readings in Omaha, Minneapolis, Kansas City, or anywhere in-between, people seem to look for the same signs and messages from their loved ones in Heaven. Sure, we may root for different sports teams, but spiritually-based people nationwide really aren’t all that different in how they look for signs and messages from Heaven.

I’ve lost count of how many people have said something to the effect of, “I know my deceased grandma visits me often because she sends me cardinals.” Or, I’ve heard clients say, “I tend to see butterflies every time I miss my husband who passed away.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard these statements, I’d have enough money to buy bird houses and butterfly nets for everyone in North America.

The real question is, what do butterflies and cardinals have to do with Heaven? How did they become the universal mascots for all things good and holy? If God sent out an e-mail on this, I didn’t receive it. Then again, my spam filter is pretty finicky and it probably thought an e-mail from the Other Side was spam and sent it to my junk inbox.

All kidding aside, I’m really not sure how cardinals and butterflies got nominated as the messengers from our loved ones in Heaven. I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised though. Winged angels have been synonymous with Heaven for thousands of years. Angels have wings, and wings not only represent the freedom that angels possess, but also their ability to swiftly travel back and forth from Heaven and Earth. Similarly, butterflies and cardinals also have wings. Therefore, they’re in the same category as angels. Plus, is doesn’t hurt that cardinals are beautiful birds and butterflies are beautiful insects (when you’re viewed as a sign from Heaven, it never hurts to have a cute face).

Just to clarify, when dear old Grandma sends you a blue butterfly, it doesn’t mean she’s literally inside that butterfly. My goodness, the thought of a human being trapped inside a butterfly is strange. We’d probably flounder around pretty awkwardly because we wouldn’t quite fit in there – like the time I put on my shirt in the dark and stuck my head through the shirt sleeve. No, Grandma is not literally the pretty blue butterfly that lands on your shoulder. However, she could very well have sent you that gorgeous butterfly as a way of saying, “I’m with you in spirit, I love you, and I’ll always be with you.” It’s not impossible for your deceased Grandma to appear at the foot of your bed and wave hello to you. However, the experience would probably scare the devil out of you. It’s much more gentle and effective for her to use things in your physical environment to get your attention.

Our loved ones in Heaven are masters of timing. It’s no coincidence that we happened to see meaningful signs like pretty birds and insects at the same exact moment we’re thinking about and missing our departed friends and family. It’s really not that hard for them to cause a cardinal to land on your deck or a butterfly to land on your hand. If a cardinal or butterfly is one of your favorite critters (or if it was a favorite of one of your deceased loved ones), please keep your eyes open and be patient for your sign. You’ll surely get it when you need it most.

Then again, if your favorite animal is a Grizzly bear, I sure hope Grandma doesn’t cause one of those to wander into your yard. Seriously though, when departed friends and family are trying to get our attention with members of the animal kingdom, they’re not just limited to cardinals and butterflies. Almost any animal is fair game, as long as it won’t cause us harm. One time, I was connecting with my client’s grandmother who wanted me to say that her “sign” for her granddaughter was a lady bug with three dots on it. I thought that was extremely specific, but I gladly relayed the message anyway. My client nearly fainted, and quickly got teary-eyed. She explained that her grandmother was an avid gardener and always had a yard decoration of a three-spotted lady bug. Since her grandma’s passing, my client had inherited that lady bug yard decoration. “In fact,” my client said. “I’m also going to get a lady bug tattoo in honor of my grandma. It will definitely have three spots on it!” I smiled and shrugged my shoulders. “That would be a lovely tribute to her,” I said.

Perhaps you and your loved ones in Heaven share a love of butterflies. Or, maybe cardinals. Or, maybe it’s a Three Toed sloth or a Giant Salamander (to each their own). My point is that people in Heaven can and DO send us comforting messages by causing our favorite critters to cross our paths at just the perfect moment when we’re most in need of a smile. Keep your eyes peeled and your heart open (and your birdfeeders stocked for those majestic cardinals).