ORIGINS The origins of Rastafari begin with King Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba. On her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem, she was converted to the faith of Abraham, and the G-d of the Hebrews. Upon her return (and with child) she converted her kingdom of Sheba to Judaism, and promised that if Solomon died, her son would continue to teach and prolong the faith of the Hebrews in her land (which is modern Ethiopia). An undiluted form of Judaism is still very prominent in Ethiopia to this day. Thousands of years later, Paul the Apostle converted many in Ethiopia to Christianity. Thus began the Ethiopian Orthodox church, which kept all of it’s Judaic and Egyptian/Nile Valley aspects and influence (which Rastafari also holds all of). Another two thousand years, and the coronation of a black Ethiopian King Haile Selassie I (who’s real name is Ras Tafari Mekonnen) fulfills prophecy for thousands of blacks around the globe, and thus begins the religion of Rastafari.
ORIGINS (cont.) Coronated as Haile Selassie the First, Rastafarianism stems from prophecies and scripture fulfilled through his coronation, bloodline, and his fending off of the fascist Italian forces during WW2. A connection is made in Jamaica, and in the hearts and minds of Rastas around the globe, between Rome, Babylon in Revelations, and their invasion of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie is seen as a living G-d and the second coming of the Messiah to thousands of new Rastafarians.
CREATION Rastafari teaches the same beliefs of “intelligent design” creation that one would find most reformed, liberal Jews to believe. i.e. Teaching the book of Genesis in an allegorical sense, not literal.
THE HOLY PIBY The Holy Piby is the main sacred text of the Rastafari. It was compiled by Robert Athlyi Rogers of Anguilla from 1913 to 1917 . It was collected from many sacred Ethiopian texts written in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia for centuries. It was printed coincidentally around the time of much controversy and conflict erupting through out Ethiopia, the Carribbean and South Africa. It it is considered to be the “Black Man’s Bible” by Rastas and many Afro-centric religions alike. Rastafari also consider the Torah and much of the Christian Bible to be sacred and holy.
SYMBOLISM The Star of David and the Lion of Judah are both adopted symbols that are used to represent Rastafari. The Ethiopian flag can also be seen being flown along side the flag of Jamaica, or a flag of whichever nations the Rasta hails from, to represent their spiritual and ancestral roots and ties to Ethiopia.
Rastafari is often mistaken as being a sect of Judaism. It is similar in the sense that it is an Abrahamic faith, it is monotheistic, and believes in Zion being the promised land of God’s people. Zion being Ethiopia. Yisrael: There is a lot of reference to Israel, and the people of the Torah through out Rastafari. Ethiopia is believed to be the promised land which all Rastas should and will return at a secret time only known by the true believers. Heaven & Hell: Rastafari holds the same beliefs as Christianity does regarding heaven & hell. If one lives a truthful, humble and compassionate life according to JAH Rastafari, one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Church: There is no church of Rastafari. Rastas view churches as mud and stone, not places of JAH, because He is the Earth. Anywhere is a suitable place for Rastas to meet and “Reason” (or speak of and praise JAH). Jesus Christ: All but the 12 Tribes of Israel, see Jesus as the first begotten Son of JAH, and the predecessor of Haile Selassie. He is held in high regard amongst Rastas.
Rastas respect and practice the laws of the Torah. To what extent, depends on how orthodox, or liberal the Rasta. All Rastas are encouraged greatly to follow the laws of the Torah regarding diet. GUIDELINES There is no dress-code, or law requiring modesty upon the females (with the strong exception of the Bobo Ashanti Rastas). Rastas aren’t enforced, or policed by taboo or social expectations to live out specific lifestyles or moral codes. Like a number of devout Jews and Christians, Rastas strive for lives of humility and compassion towards others, in servitude of JAH.
Rastas are strict pacifists .There are few occassions and circumstances when Rastafari encourages an act of warfare in defense. -If a race of people is opressed, and the opression could lead to their ultimate destruction. Slave uprisings would not be condoned. -If a Holy Land (ie Ethiopia/Israel) is endangered or faced with invasion or harassment. GUIDELINES (cont.)
MANSIONS of RASTAFARI NYAHBINGHI : Thought to be the most strict of all the mansions of Rastafari, the NYAHBINGHI believe in a theocratic world government of which Haile Selassie I would be rule as the promised Messiah and the incarnation of G-d. The name NYAHBINGHI comes from an Amazon queen who possessed a Muhumusa, a Ugandan woman in the colonial era of the late 1800’s. Through the influence of the Amazon queen, Muhumusa spearheaded a movement of resistance against the colonial forces in Uganda. This later had much influence on a group of Jamaican Rastas that started incorporating “Binghi” ( NYAHBINGHI ) chants and “riddims” into their music.
Bobo Ashanti : Also known as the Ethiopian Africa Black International Congress or the Priestical House of Rastafari . Started under Prince Edward Emmanuel Charles VII in the 1950’s. Bobo “Dreads” see Prince Edward Emmanuel Charles VII as part of a holy trinity, including him, Haile Selassie and JAH (G-d). -Bobo men and women are known for wearing their traditional turbans and robes. -Bobo women are to be modest, and cover their arms in long sleeves. -Both Bobo women and children are to be submissive to the Bobo men. -Bobo men are seen as “prophets” or “priests”. The job of a prophet is to “reason”. The job of a priest is clerical.
Twelve Tribes of Israel : Originating in Kingston, Jamaica under Vernon Carrington , also known as the Prophet Gad. The Twelve Tribes of Israel see Jesus (Yesus Kristo) in almost the same exact manner as Christians do—as the Messiah, and the Son of G-d. Haile Selassie I is viewed (not worshipped) as a messenger of JAH(G-d), who empowered and revitalized the black race to start their own religion out of the corruption and oppression of western churches. A noteable follower of the Twelve Tribes of Israel is Robert Nesta Marley, or “Bob Marley”.
DREADLOCKS The most well-known practice of the Rastafari is the tradition of keeping one’s hair in dreadlocks. This practice is not in fact required for a Rasta to follow. It is in practice because of the “Holy Directive” that is written in the Bible’s book of Leviticus 21:5. "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh." This practice, amongst some modern-day Rastas has become a way to mock the aversion of non-believers practice of Rastafari, and rebellion against the western views and ideals of the black race.
“ Ital” is the word for the diet that most Rastafari will adhere to and follow. Rastas follow a set of doctrinal diet rules that are almost exactly along the same guidelines as the dietary laws of the Torah. No meat (especially pork), no shellfish, scale-less fish, predatory marine life, scavengers, and in some cases no common seasonings like salt. As well as a set of dietary laws, Rastas shun the use of tobacco and alcohol. “ITAL” (DIET)
GANJA The most infamous, and well-known practice of the Rastafari—is the smoking of Marijuana (or Ganja ). Like the practice of keeping one’s hair in dreads, it is not a required practice. For the Rastafari, it’s a spiritual act . It is considered to be a sacrament that affects both consciousness and peace-of-mind, which brings the Rasta closer to JAH (G-d). It is seen as a tool that opens minds to the truth, and that is what makes it illegal—because the western church does not want people to be exposed to a truth outside of the theirs. There are several theories and explanations for the arrival and wide usage of Marijuana amongst the Rastafari. Rastas believe that it grew on the tomb of King Solomon, and that the Bible even promotes the usage of the herb. Genesis 3:18 "... thou shalt eat the herb of the field." Proverbs 15:17 "Better is a dinner of herb where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Psalms 104:14 "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man."
The Life & Times of Bob Marley http://www.bobmarley.com/life/rastafari/ Swagga: The Afrocentric Experience http://www.swagga.com/rasta.htm Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rastafarianism Rastafari Org http://www.rastafari.org/ Rastafarian Net http://www.rastafarian.net/ INTERNET BIBLIOGRAPHY