introduction to Rastafari by Ras Charles and French Dread
aim and "why" of Rastafarian faith
must look to the almighty Jah, thank God who has raised man above all
creatures and endowed him with reason and intelligence.
We must at all times put our trust and faith in Him and he will not desert
us or permit us to destroy ourselves or humanity that He created in His
image. We must examine ourselves and look deeply in our souls. We must
become something we have never been before. We must become bigger that
we have been, greater in spirit, more courageous, and larger in our outlook.
As His majesty said, we must overcome our petty prejudices, even if the
weight of history is heavy, owing our ultimate dedication or allegiance
not to any nation or country, but to our fellow men within the human community
and become member of a new race, the true race: the human race.
is a movement of black people who know Africa is the birthplace of mankind,
all mankind. It is a twentieth century manifestation of God that enlightened
our pathway towards righteousness and is therefore worthy of reverence.
Rastafari recognizes Africa as the central origin of religious history,
culture, science and technology. Africa, symbolized in the scriptures
by Ethiopia (I-thiopia) is an emotional magnet for many Africans, that
is calling us home to the continent which our ancestors were taken by
force from more than three hundred years ago, during slavery, the black
That call has never been felt more deeply than by members of the Rastafari
faith. Rastafari wants all people, especially black people, to know that
we are Africans and to develop a sense of pride and integrity in ourselves,
knowing that our heritage is of the noblest of mankind and that we are
in fear of no man.
All people, especially Black people, are Africans and Africa is the birthplace
of mankind. We must re-culture ourselves so we can have a sense of pride,
in the turning from Occidental culture, and taking into ourselves the
power of our African culture, which has been hidden from us for so long.
As it is written, Africa awaits the creator and Rastafari.
See I and I selves as positive warriors in the battle for redemption and
reconstruction of our mother continent. See I and I selves as Jah masons,
who build and don't destroy like Babylon do..
To accomplish this, we cannot confront the occident with there armonition
to win, our only hope is for us to use the mental power of our African
culture to unite ourselves and overwhelm the negative aspects of Occidental
culture where ever it impedes our progress and enlightenment. It doesn't
mean that europeans or whites or any color are bad, as we are all Jah
creatures, but people shall know that Babylon is going wrong and will
Creating divisions, ie among races, is the rule of Babylon. So racism
has nothing to do with Rastafari. "United we stand, divided we fall".
The birth of the movement of Rastafari can be officially fixed in
Ethiopia during the coronation of the prince Ras Tafari Makonnen (Haile
Selassie) on November 2, 1930. This was no ordinary event in Jamaica because
a year earlier Marcus Mossiah Garvey had a prophetic vision, seeing a
king be crowned in Africa.
After the coronation of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I (Power of
the Trinity), several individuals searched the Bible for confirmation
and found it in the Psalms: "A Prince shall come out of Egypt, and
Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand unto Jah". The prophecy
was fullfilled and these people were the first Rastafarians.
Apart from carrying the legal title "King of Kings, Lord of Lords,
conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah" that is written in Revelations,
Haile Selassie is the 225th descendant of King Salomon, son of David,
and the Queen of Sheba.
times people have asked what proof does Rastafarians have to point to
Haile Selassie as our Savior. Look at Revelations 5 verse 5, Revelations
19 verse 16, Revelations 22 verse 16 and Psalms 87:4, Ezekiel 30, Epistle
to Timothy, Revelation 19, 22, Psalms 9,18, 68, 76,and Isaiah 9.
When HIM returned from exile, in 1941, further proof was found in Revelations17:14.
It is written that ď They shall make war with the lamb, and the lamb
shall overcome them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and they
that are with HIM are called and chosen and faithfulĒ. So the Rastafarians
of Jamaica must always be honored and praised as the vanguard of African
resistance movement from which we must be entirely and eternally grateful.
The early Rastas come from the worst possible slum which no one could
ever imagine were often beaten, harassed, and imprisoned. The movement
went through a relatively peaceful time maybe during the 1930ís or
40ís. But in the 1950ís and towards the í70s the movement
faced continuous and increased prosecution and harassment from the middle
and upper class of Jamaica society and was regarded as an outcast. They
in turn regard the society as Babylon, which is evil. It is the oppressor
and not their home, but a place where they were captive,and until they
return to Africa there will be no peace. They were also discriminated
against by fellow Jamaicans and constantly arassed by the police and attacked
by the media. The movement at this time was also growing in small numbers
across the Caribbean, U.S. and especially in England. The Black Power
Protest in the U.S.A. in the 1960ís also strengthened the movement.
Because of itís dynamic nature of the movement the belief and the
language vary from group to group and from area to area. By the mid1970ís
however, the movement took a dramatic turn with the rise of reggae and
his most famous representative Bob Marley
many people accept Rastafari, but some are afraid to really project it
in their own way because of what society teaches. And some of them through
struggles allow themselves to become what they are.
Rasta worship and Symbols
any spirituality, Rasta has its own traditions and symbols:
Dreadlocks: they have several meanings. First, they are a part of the
biblical Nazarene vow, who prohibits to shave and comb the hair. (But
it is not the dreadlocks who makes someone a rastaman, and some Rastas
don't wear dreadlocks).
The locks, because of their appearance, symbolizes the roots of the man,
and his spirituality, the link with Jah. As Marcus Garvey said, "a
man without knowing of his past is like a tree without roots". They
can also be seen as a symbol of the Lion, Haile Selassie I.
The Ganja, "healing of the nations', also known as hemp, cannabis,
or marijuana, is used as a holy sacrament by Rastas in many ways. The
legend says that the Holy Herb was found growing on the King Solomon's
Use of herb has his source in the Bible: "Thou shalt eat the herb
of the field." (Genesis 3:18), "eat every herb of the land."
(Exodus 10:12), "Better is a dinner of herb where love is, than a
stalled ox and hatred there with." (Proverbs 15:17), "He causeth
the grass for the cattle, and herb for the service of man." (Psalms
Rastas smoke herb to meditate, symbolizing the burning bush, and for his
curative properties (ie asthma). Herb can be eaten or infused. His seeds
are very nutrious. Hemp is also used to make clothes, shoes and ropes.
flag: The red, yellow, green are the colors of the Rasta flag. The red
symbolizes the blood of black people, the yellow the stolen gold and the
green the lost lands of Africa.
The Rasta flag can also be seen during coptic celebration in the motherland
Ethiopia. These colors are too on the senegalese flag, from where thousand
of slaves were deported, transiting by the Goree island.
star of David: The star of David is the symbol of the linkage between
HIM Haile Selassie and David. When HIM make the Solomon seal with his
hands, you can see that it looks like the star of david. Also, the Rasta
consider themselves like the Israelites in exile in Babylon. The star
of David is the symbol of Israel.
Conquering Lion and the Lamb: they both symbolize HIM Haile Selassie according
to the Revelations and the opening of the seven seals. They are two faces
of a same reality, the Alpha and Omega.
hope you enjoyed reading this introduction to Rastafarian faith. Email
us if you have any comment or question.
With the blessings of the almighty God, true Rastafari, all will become
one. Oneness through the movement. Praise to the most high, Emperor Haile
Selassie, Jah Rastafari!