Lilac Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller – Showing Off

Lilac Breasted Roller illustrated by Ravenari

Keywords/Guide Meanings:

Getting things done ‘on the fly,’ multi-tasking, the element of fire, and fire magic, mental and physical acrobatics, protecting what’s yours at all costs, showing off, performing and performance, sky deities, air and wind magic and wisdom, taking advantage of crises.

General Description:

The lilac-breasted roller of sub-Saharan Africa and Southwest Asia, is a prettily coloured bird known for its breeding displays of aerobatic prowess. The lilac-breasted roller feeds on insects, small amphibians and reptiles. Their nests are unlined and made in tree hollows, and occasionally in empty termite mounds. The males engage in spectacular courtship flight; flying quite high before quickly diving, rocking their wings while calling loudly and abrasively. They are territorial, monogamous birds by nature. The lilac-breasted roller will take advantage of bushfires by hunting for whatever flees the fire.

Lessons and Challenges:

Remember that this is only a snapshot of the bird’s wisdom and that the best ways to learn about a guide is through visualisation and further research.

The lilac breasted roller is a competent bird, that – unlike many other birds – is able to take prey ‘on the wing,’ which means the majority of the time it is acrobatic enough to hunt and eat in the air. This is a bird that teaches us how to get things done on the fly. Whether it’s multi-tasking in a single car trip and getting a lot of things done at once, or knowing how to schedule yourself at work or at home, or simply feeling a sense of accomplishment when you get a lot of things done at the same time. Lilac breasted roller is immensely helpful for those who wish to learn multi-tasking, and a champion for those who already do it.

Following on from the above, the lilac breasted roller teaches the value of multi-tasking. Some animals (like snail, for example) teach the value of a single focus. Lilac breasted roller on the other hand teaches us that it’s important to know how to save time by managing ourselves and our capacities well. There are plenty of mental exercises that can be done to bolster one’s ability to multi-task, and lilac breasted roller can also help with this less.

The lilac breasted roller is one of a few species of bird in the world that take advantage of bushfires by hunting whatever flees the fire. It takes a calculated risk and experiences a great deal of benefit as a result. The lilac breasted roller is connected to the element and magic of fire. When lilac breasted roller is in your life, instead of ‘burning out’, you will have an ability to use fire and all that it involves – passion, creativity, spark – in a positive, healthy manner.

Following on from this, the lilac breasted roller also teaches the value of taking advantage of a crisis. Random metaphorical fires in life do happen, but by looking for opportunity, you can sometimes find ways to take advantage. Whether that’s by finding a better job once a company has been shut down, or learning how much you value your loved ones after a crisis within the family, or winning the lotto after a robbery. The lilac breasted roller can indicate a sudden turn-around or benefit after a crisis. It’s a very specific kind of wisdom, and one that it shares freely.

There is no doubt that the lilac breasted roller is exceptionally acrobatic in the air; the whole family of rollers in general are renowned for their air agility. As an animal guide, the lilac breasted roller teaches of the benefits of both mental and physical acrobatics. On a mental level, it is valuing quick thinking, wit, lateral thinking and problem solving. On a physical level, it may be learning to get more spring in your tendons and ligaments, more responsiveness from your body. Consider lateral or unusual ways of exercising, if you don’t already.

The lilac breasted roller teaches the importance of protecting what’s yours at all costs. This means looking after your integrity of self, those you care about, your home, your work space, even parks and natural spaces that you care about. All of these things require some level of protection, and sometimes they require a great deal of protection. It can be necessary to cut off friendships if they begin to hurt you, or to burn bridges if your family is threatened. The lilac breasted roller indicates a great capacity for stepping forth and assertively looking out for yourself and others.

Of course, all rollers teach about the wisdom in showing off. Showing off is often decried as a purely negative act, but nothing is ever that simple. The lilac breasted roller wins its mate by showing off its spectacular plumage and its brilliant agility. It literally soars up into the air, dives and rolls back down to earth, calling attention to itself. When a bird does it, we marvel. But when humans do it, we can sometimes be coarse and rejecting of it. The lilac breasted roller can ask a person to look at their attitude towards showing off, what showing off means to them, and to potentially consider if there’s any particular areas where it might benefit to do some ‘showing off.’ Obvious areas are when looking for a job promotion or increased job security, but there are many areas in life where showing off, if not done to excess, can bring a great deal of gain.

Following on from this, the lilac breasted roller also teaches about the value of performing and performance. Having evolved to give performances themselves, they are patrons of those who need to act or perform. Whether that’s perform on the sports pitch, stage or dance floor, or whether it’s perform at work so you can get through the day intact. Lilac breasted roller asks us to contemplate the value of performance. This can draw the lilac breasted roller into the lives of people who need to perform more, or increase their respect of performance.

All rollers are connected to sky gods, as well as the element of wind and its magic. Using the wind and sky as they do, to both show off their immense beauty and prowess, they exemplify some of the most striking and positive characteristics of the element of air. It’s ability to show wisdom in startling clarity, for example. But also how we ourselves benefit when we learn how to communicate with sky gods, or with the element of air through meditation and elemental immersion. Consider getting out into the open on days with high, mood-piquing winds.

As a Shadow Energy:

A shadow energy, or guide, is an animal that a person irrationally fears, dislikes or reviles. When activated in their shadow aspect, they can teach many lessons, of which these may be two:

If you find yourself in a shadow relationship with lilac breasted roller, you may find it particularly difficult to deal with people who obviously perform or facade, and you may find it very difficult to deal with any performative aspects within yourself. It may be that you can only see ‘falseness’ in performance, instead of any legitimacy or validation. Whatever the reason behind the dislike, the lilac breasted roller in its shadow aspect can be confrontational about this fear, trying to draw your attention repeatedly to the positive benefits that performance can have, or – positive benefits aside – simply how necessary it can be when getting through in society.

Additionally, in its shadow aspect, the lilac breasted roller can confront those who find it difficult to multi-task, or dislike doing many things at once. At this time, you may find opportunities slip through your fingers if you are too singly focused.


Communion discusses the best ways to go about contacting this guide. As always, you may try whatever methods you wish, and these are only suggestions:

The lilac breasted roller is a showy, flashy bird with an ability to be quite strident and abrasive as a guide. A risk taker, acrobatic and sometimes caustic, they can be at one moment polite and pleasant, and the next quite direct and even harsh in their dealings with people. However, this doesn’t detract from their meaning at all, if anything, communing with lilac breasted roller is where you’re most likely to see the value of performance and showing off. The lilac breasted roller is almost always willing to give those who approach respectfully a show.

Consider going out to windy environments, or places where you have a clear, unimpeded view on a mostly clear day to get in touch with the energy of lilac breasted roller. Once there, a simple visualisation can bring their energy in quite quickly. If you are someone who likes to make altar offerings, consider images of the open sky and clouds, insects or a piece of termite mound.