The goldfinch is a bird synonymous with wealth and good fortune. Vibrant plumage and a cheerful song set this lovely little finch apart from the crowd. Goldfinches are energetic and active which make them a joy to watch. For more information about finches in general, check out our article on finch symbolism.
The name, “goldfinch,” can actually be applied to several different birds. In the Americas, a “goldfinch” can refer to the iconic American Goldfinch, the somewhat less ubiquitous Lesser Goldfinch, or, by the uninformed, a canary. Canaries are not goldfinches but they are finches with yellow plumage. It is common for canaries and goldfinches to be confused or used interchangeably. Notably, people often mistakenly identify the American Goldfinch as a “wild canary.” (1) In Europe, “goldfinch” is likely to refer to the European Goldfinch. European Goldfinches look quite different from the American varieties which can lead to a bit of confusion.
Though goldfinches are not all one species, nor are all species similar, in this article we will examine the various meanings associated with goldfinches of all kinds. Despite their differences, the American and European varieties of goldfinches do share plenty of common meanings, especially stemming from their shared obvious association with gold.
Though goldfinches are pint-sized creatures, they have had a unique influence on many aspects of human society. They brighten the landscape through their plumage and their songs, and they provide guidance for individuals who feel connected to these little birds. Whether you have dreamt of goldfinches, had a meaningful encounter with one, or feel that the goldfinch has some wisdom in store for you, read on to discover the potential meanings of the goldfinch. Though they are small, the value of these birds is immeasurable. You may even say that they are worth their weight in gold.
Goldfinch Symbolism and Meaning
As good as gold… Silence is golden… The golden years… Going for the gold. There are so many idioms that refer to the inherent value of gold that it would be difficult to list them all. Considering the almost universal connection between gold and wealth, it is easy to associate goldfinches with value, prosperity, and luxury. (2)
Though gold as a substance may also be connected to greed, avarice, arrogance, and ambition, goldfinches are different. The golden color of the goldfinch is not some material object that is jealously guarded or coveted. Rather than securing their “gold” behind locks and bolts, goldfinches share the wealth! The golden value of the goldfinch is that it is uncountable and never depreciates. Everyone can look at the goldfinch’s bright plumage and feel just a bit richer.
For this reason, goldfinches represent the riches of nature itself, generosity, and the wisdom of recognizing that the best things in life are often free. The goldfinch’s bright plumage can also represent good luck, joy, and the rewards that kindness and hard work bring.
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Goldfinch Native American Symbolism
In Native American traditions, finches on the whole are often associated with celebration and joy. They are regarded as Omens of good things to come. This is especially so for goldfinches which are connected with light and sanctity. Additionally, the bright yellow feathers of the American Goldfinch are associated with the might and spiritual power of the sun.
Goldfinch Christianity Symbolism
In Christian art, the European Goldfinch is often depicted alongside Christ, especially in crucifixion scenes. This comes from a particular legend explaining the European Goldfinch’s unique plumage.
The European Goldfinch has a bright crimson patch on its head. There is a Christian legend that associates this bird with Christ’s passion. In this imagining of the story of Christ’s death, the European Goldfinch is overcome with empathy for Christ’s suffering, and so attempts to remove the crown of thorns from Jesus’s head. In doing so, the bird is stained with the blood of Christ. This legend posits that this is where the crimson plumage on the European Goldfinch’s head comes from. (3)
Thus, in Christian symbolism the goldfinch is a bird that can be connected with Christ, compassion, benevolence, and sacrifice.
Goldfinch Celtic Symbolism
In Irish folklore, European Goldfinches are associated with fairies. The Irish name for this bird, “lasair choille,” means “flame of the forest.” (4)
These birds are often associated with mischievousness, the occult, and playfulness.
Goldfinch in Dreams
Dreaming of goldfinches is usually a very fortunate occurrence. It is obvious that such a dream might refer to riches to come. Dreaming about a goldfinch on the eve of a financial event is especially lucky and foretells a high likelihood of success.
Remember, though, that the riches of the goldfinch are not entirely material. Dreaming of a goldfinch may not necessarily indicate a windfall of cash. Instead, such a dream may signify that the dreamer will soon possess riches of another kind. A budding relationship, an addition to the family, or a valuable learning experience may be represented by the goldfinch. In these cases, the goldfinch dream may be a reminder not to undervalue the blessings that come into your life. Gold is not the only thing that enriches us.
If you’ve dreamt of a goldfinch, consider also the possibility that this bird may represent a light at the end of a tunnel. The goldfinch is a beacon of light upon the earth tones of its habitat. If you are dreaming of goldfinches it might mean that you need to be reminded that bright things lie ahead. Treasure is all around us and misfortune can never last forever. Keep the wisdom of the goldfinch close to your heart whilst you weather the storm!
Goldfinch Encounters and Omens
An encounter with a goldfinch can be a very auspicious sign for the same reasons that a goldfinch dream indicates good fortune. Goldfinches frequently visit feeders, especially those serving a menu of thistle seeds.
If a goldfinch visits your home it can be a sign that you are on the correct path towards the future that you envision. This can act as a message telling you to stay on track and keep the faith.
On the subject of faith, an encounter with a European Goldfinch may have additional meaning for an individual belonging to the Christian faith. In such instances, the European Goldfinch may act as a reminder of God’s love and the rewards that Christ’s suffering have earned for all of mankind. (5)
Additionally, a goldfinch visit can mean that someone is thinking highly of you and wishing you the best. When a loved one wishes success and good fortune for you, that positive energy might just visit in the form of a goldfinch encounter.
Finally, a goldfinch encounter may indicate the need to count one’s blessings. Take a look around and breathe in the riches of nature. Look for things to be grateful for each day and you will feel like the richest person around.
Goldfinch in Mythology & Folklore
The previously mentioned Christian myth of the goldfinch demonstrates the intense spiritual significance of this bird across various cultures. In addition, it showcases the fact that most goldfinch myths, no matter which goldfinch they feature, focus on the striking plumage of these birds. (6)
Native American Mythology:
Native American mythology surrounding goldfinches tends to focus on the goldfinch’s bright yellow feathers. These stories typically refer to the American Goldfinch, though the Lesser Goldfinch has a similar appearance and may also be included by these stories. (7)
In one Iroquois legend, goldfinches were originally a drab black or grey color. Dissatisfied with their plumage, these finches only earned their gold coloration through an act of selfless kindness. As the story goes, a fox took a nap beneath a pine tree. As he did this, the sap dropped into his eyes and sealed them shut. He begged for help and the drab grey finches agreed to help him. They worked in shifts pecking at the sap until the fox could open his eyes again. The fox offered them a reward of their choice for their help. When they asked him for brighter colors, the fox pressed yellow flowers into paint and painted the finches with his tail as a brush. The finches were so pleased with their new plumage that they began to flutter, dance, and sing. This is the reason that finches still flutter while they fly and sing such cheerful songs! (8)
Goldfinch Spirit Animal
Those who have the goldfinch as their spirit animal are typically defined by their extroversion, generosity, and optimism.
For people with the goldfinch spirit animal, yellow and gold are not just colors. These individuals radiate these summery hues through their sunny outlook. Befriending someone with the goldfinch spirit animal is like striking gold. They are compassionate, attentive, and have the capacity to love unconditionally.
Generosity is a way of life for people with the goldfinch spirit animal. This is because they are deeply grateful for the blessings in their lives. Gratitude begets giving in those with the goldfinch spirit animal. Not content to merely enjoy their blessings, they aim to multiply them by sharing what they can with others who need it.
People with the goldfinch spirit animal also tend to be “old souls.” Though they are extroverted, these individuals usually enjoy intimate social activities over loud or crowded destinations. Preferring to surround themselves with like-minded friends, those with the goldfinch spirit animal tend to find value in enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
Goldfinch Totem Animal
The goldfinch totem animal is associated with entertainment and cheer. People with the goldfinch totem animal have the unique ability to bring joy into the lives of others. They are often gifted storytellers whom others find enthralling.
Through their joyful outlook, people with the goldfinch totem animal have a positive influence on those around them. People are drawn to individuals with this totem because their optimism is often infectious.
People with the goldfinch totem animal have such a strong influence on others because they are excellent at reading people. Though they almost always use this innate ability to impact positive change, people with the goldfinch totem can read the emotions of others with unnerving accuracy. This allows them to empathize deeply with their loved ones’ pain, but it also allows them to be manipulative. Fortunately, cunning and deception are not usually a part of the nature of someone with this totem.
Goldfinch Power Animal
The principal ability of the goldfinch power animal is shrewdness. Do not be fooled by the generosity and cheeriness of individuals with the goldfinch power animal. Though they are certainly joyful, people with this power animal also possess deep wisdom and foresight.
In fact, many see the generosity of the goldfinch power animal as a sign of naivety. This is a mistake. People with the goldfinch power animal are excellent at sensing the intentions of others and will use this sense to inform their decisions.
One cannot afford to be generous without being wise enough to accrue the necessary wealth. People with the goldfinch power animal value hard work and prudence. They are unlikely to extend generosity to those who are ungrateful or lazy. It is because of this shrewdness that the goldfinch power animal has the ability to be so giving to those who most deserve it.
Goldfinch Tattoo Meaning
A goldfinch tattoo can be a meaningful reminder of the blessings that life has to offer. For people of all wealth levels, such a tattoo can act as a reminder that true value is more often found outside of material things. Thus, a goldfinch tattoo may represent gratitude.
Other possible meanings for a goldfinch tattoo include good luck, kindness, positivity, and friendliness.
For an individual who practices the Christian faith, a tattoo of a European Goldfinch may represent Christ, the passion, sacrifice, and faith.
Goldfinches are one of those special items wherein the name says it all. They are finches with plumage in beautiful gold colors. The visual of these vibrant birds is undoubtedly impressive.
What I find to be special about goldfinches, though, is something that they have in common with many more plain-looking birds. To me, goldfinches embody the joy of birds and birdwatching. They are art in motion. Goldfinches are tiny little jewels that glimmer throughout nature’s landscapes. They take very little from the world and in return they fill it with light, color, and song.
Though this can be said of many birds, the goldfinch is an especially impactful example of the joy of birdwatching. They are gold; valuable, shining, and waiting to be appreciated. As with so many of nature’s treasures, the greatest part is that we get to appreciate them for free. In this way, goldfinches make each one of us richer.
5 thoughts on “Goldfinch Symbolism & Meaning (+ Totem, Spirit, & Omens)”
These lovely birds visit us in summer to devour on the cornflower seeds. I could watch them forever, and love to capture them on my camera. This is such a wonderful read. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed my work!!!
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ World Birds
My first encounter with the goldfinch was six years ago. We had just moved into our new home and were greeted by three finches on the patio. Only yesterday there was a pair of finches in the front garden.
Awe….Thank You for your insightfulness on the Goldfinch. I have meadows that they have come to nest by and feed. It’s been a joy to learn about them and be graced by them with their song and beauty.
With Appreciation for Your Insight,
Thank you for reading! I’m glad to hear you have enjoyed my work!
— Hailey Brophy
Writer @ World Birds