"TITTER YE NOT"
A Rastafarian walks into a bank with a 25kg bag of marijuana and hands
it over to the cashier... Shocked, the cashier asks..
'What's this for?'
The Rastafarian replies..
'Me here to open a joint account'
A Rastaman and his Empress was in court getting a divorce. The problem was who should get custody of the child.
The Empress jumped up and said “Your honour, I brought the child into this world with pain and labor. She should be in my custody.”
The judge turned to the Rastaman and said “What do you have to
say in the matter?”
The Rastaman sat down for a while contemplating.
Then slowly he rose and said,
“Yow…yuh honor, if I and I put a dollar in a vending machine and a Pepsi come out, who is da
Pepsi…I and I or the machine?”
When the police arrived on the scene, a Rastaman was
about the damage to his precious 318is BMW.
"Hafficer, look wah the ed'iat do to mi bombo claat Bimma", he whined.
"You Rastafarians are so materialistic and show off, you make me sick!"
retorted the officer. " You're so worried about your stupid BMW, that
you didn't even notice that your left arm is ripped off!"
"Rahtid...", replied the Jamaican, finally noticing the bloody left shoulder where the arm once was,
"Mi ras claat Rolex has gone!!!
Rastafari is an Abrahamic belief which developed in Jamaica in
the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as
Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930. Its adherents worship him in much
the same way as Jesus in his Second Advent, or as God the
Father. Members of the Rastafari way of life are known as
Rastafari, Rastas, Rastafarians, or simply Ras. Rastafari are also
known by their official church titles, such as Elder or High Priest.
The way of life is sometimes referred to as "Rastafarianism", but
this term is considered offensive by most Rastafari, who, being
critical of "isms" (which they see as a typical part of "Babylon"
culture), dislike being labelled as an "ism" themselves.
The name Rastafari is taken from Ras Tafari, the title (Ras) and
first name (Tafari Makonnen) of Haile Selassie I before his
coronation. In Amharic, Ras, literally "head", is an Ethiopian title
equivalent to prince or chief, while the personal given name
Täfäri (teferi) means one who is revered. Jah (יה in Hebrew) is a
Biblical name of God, from a shortened form of Jahweh or
Jehovah found in Psalms 68:4 in the King James Version of the
Bible and many other places in the Bible. Most adherents see
Haile Selassie I as Jah or Jah Rastafari, an incarnation of God
the Father, the Second Advent of Christ "the Anointed One", i.e.
the second coming of Jesus Christ the King to Earth.
Many elements of Rastafari reflect its origins in Jamaica along
with Ethiopian culture. Ethiopian Christianity traces its roots to
the Church of Alexandria, founded by St Mark, and its 5th-century
continuation in the Coptic Church of Alexandria. Rastafari holds
many Christian beliefs like the existence of a triune God ("Jah"),
who had sent his divine incarnate son to Earth in the form of
Jesus (Yeshua) and made himself manifest as the divine person
of Haile Selassie I. Rastafari accept much of the Bible, although
they believe that its message and interpretation have been
The Rastafari way of life encompasses the spiritual use of
cannabis and the rejection of the degenerate society of
materialism, oppression, and sensual pleasures, called Babylon.
It proclaims Zion, in reference to Ethiopia, as the original
birthplace of humankind, and from the beginning of the way of life
calls for repatriation to Zion, the Promised Land and Heaven on
Earth. This can mean literally moving to Ethiopia but also refers to
mentally and emotionally repatriating before the physical. Some
Rastafari also embrace various Afrocentric and Pan-African social
and political aspirations. Some Rastafari do not claim any sect or denomination, and thus
encourage one another to find faith and inspiration within themselves, although some do
identify strongly with one of the " Mansions of Rastafari "— the three most prominent of these being the Nyahbinghi, the Bobo Ashanti, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
By 1997 there were, according to one estimate, around one million Rastafari worldwide . In the 2011 Jamaican census, 29,026 individuals identified themselves as Rastafari. Other sources estimated that in the 2000s they formed "about 5% of the population"
of Jamaica, or conjectured that "there are perhaps as many as 100,000 Rastafari in Jamaica".
Rastafari are monotheists, worshiping a singular God whom they call Jah . Jah is the term in the King James Bible, Psalms 68:4. Rastas view Jah in the form of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Rastas say that Jah in the form of the Holy Spirit (incarnate) lives within the human. For this reason, they often refer to themselves as "I and I". "I and I" is used instead of "We" to emphasize the equality between all people, in the belief that the Holy Spirit within all people makes them essentially one and the same.
Rastafari doctrines concerning the Trinity include stressing the significance of the name "Haile Selassie," meaning power of the Trinity, might of the Trinity, powerful trinity in Ge'ez or also Haile Selassie I (qedamawi Haile Selassie) meaning the (first power of the Trinity) name given to Ras Tafari upon his baptism and later assumed as part of his regnal name at his November 2, 1930
coronation by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, then known as just the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church .
Haile Selassie I (1892–1975) was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974.
Rastafari say that he will lead the righteous into creating a perfect world called
Zion. The future capital city of Zion is sometimes put forward as the New
Jerusalem (Lalibela, Ethiopia) and the very Habitation of the Godhead (Trinity)
creator, Ras Tafari. Prophetic verses of the Hebrew Bible (such as Zephaniah 3:10
"From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed
ones, shall bring my offering") have been interpreted as subtly hinting that the
messianic king will be in Ethiopia and the people will come from all over world
beyond its rivers.
Rastas may say that Haile Selassie I's coming was prophesied from Genesis to
the Book of Revelation. Genesis, Chapter 1:
"God made man in His own image."
"Yet I set my Holy king on My Holy hill of Zion." Psalm 87:
interpreted as predicting the coronation of Haile Selassie I. During his coronation,
Haile Selassie I was given 38 titles and anointments taken from the Bible:
Kings," "Elect of God," "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah the Author of
Mankind," "the Power of Authority," etc. He also received acclaim from various
Christian and Muslim leaders and clergy for the work he performed towards
establishing world peace and the brotherhood of mankind — this being one of the
primary reasons his followers hold him as a God incarnate. Rastas also refer to
Haile Selassie I as "His Imperial Majesty" (or the acronym HIM) and
" Jah Rastafari ."
According to tradition, Haile Selassie I was the 225th in an unbroken line of Ethiopian
monarchs of the Solomonic dynasty . This dynasty is said to have been founded in the
10th century BC by Menelik I. Menelik I was son of the Biblical King Solomon and Makeda,
the Queen of Sheba, who had visited Solomon in Israel. 1 Kings 10:13 claims "And King
Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that
which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country,
she and her servants." On the basis of the Ethiopian national epic, the Kebra Negast,
Rastas interpret this verse as meaning she conceived his child.
The death of Haile Selassie I is a topic of some debate among Rastafari. Some Rastas
consider it a partial fulfillment of prophecy of the " Temporary Messianic Kingdom " found in
the apocalyptic 2 Esdras 7:
28. Others believe that Haile Selassie's 1975 reported death
was a hoax. It has also been claimed that he entered a monastery and is now known by
many as Abba Keddus (Amharic for Holy Father) and will return to liberate his followers and vanquish all evil, restoring his creation. One Rastafari reaction to Haile Selassie's supposed death was contained in Bob Marley's song Jah Live, which declares emphatically "God cannot die." Many Rastafari claim to have met Haile Selassie after his reported death and know him also by his claimed new name Abba Keddus or Abba Keddus Keddus Keddus.
For some Rastafari, Haile Selassie I remains their God and King . They see Haile Selassie I as being worthy of worship for having stood with great dignity in front of the world's press and the representatives of many of the world's powerful nations, especially
during his appeal to the League of Nations 1936 when he was still the only independent non-European monarch in Africa. Other followers of the Rastafari tradition do not worship him outright but hail him as an African prophet who spoke to the world on behalf of his brethren. He spoke to the plight of disenfranchised peoples throughout his life.
BOB MARLEY ONE LOVE
In a 1967 interview when a Canadian interviewer mentioned the Rastafari belief that he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, he responded by saying:
"I have heard of this idea. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that a human being is emanated from a deity."
His grandson Ermias Sahle Selassie has said that there is “no doubt that Haile Selassie did not encourage the Rastafari movement.” This encouragement included his meetings with Mortimer Planno and other movement leaders who journeyed to Addis Ababa in 1961, again in 1966 on his visit to Jamaica, and many times at Shashemene in the later
years of his reign.
Acceptance of the Jesus-incarnate status of Qedamawi Haile Selassie is Rastafari doctrine, as is the notion of the corruption of his teachings by secular, Western society, figuratively referred to as Babylon. For the reason, they believe, it was prophesied in the Book of Revelation—"And I heard the number of them which were sealed:
and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. "[ that Jesus would return with a new name that would be inscribed on the foreheads of 144,000 of his most devoted servants. Rastas hold that they represent this fulfillment based on their experience in the light of Haile Selassie I's return and coronation as the King of Kings on November 2,
1930, whom they see as the second coming of Jesus or the coming of the holy spirit, and therefore Jah, onto the Earth Rastas assert that Zion (i.e., Ethiopia) is a land that Jah promised to them. To achieve this, they reject modern western society, calling it "Babylon", which they see as entirely corrupt due to materialism and greed.
"Babylon" is considered to have been in rebellion against "Earth's
Rightful Ruler" (Jah) ever since the days of the Biblical king Nimrod .
Many Rastafari are physical immortalists who maintain that the chosen few will continue to live forever in their current bodies. This is commonly called "Life Everliving". Everliving in Iyaric replaces the term "everlasting" to avoid the "negative word sound" of last implying an end. Rastas say their life will never have an end, but will be everliving, with Jah as king and Amharic the official language. Rastas strongly reject the idea that heaven is in the sky, or is a place where dead people go and instead see heaven as being a place on Earth, specifically Ethiopia.
First and foremost, Rastas assert that their own bodies are the true church or temple of God. However, in international communities with large Rastafari populations, Rastafari have created tabernacles, churches, headquarters, and temples as spiritual meeting centers. There are three main Mansions (sects or orders) of Rastafari:
the Nyahbinghi Order, Bobo Ashanti , and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. All agree on the basic principles of the divine status of Haile Selassie. Many Rastafari do not belong to any sect.
The Nyahbinghi Order (also known as Haile Selassie I Theocratical Order of the Nyahbinghi Reign) is the oldest of all the Rastafari mansions and was named after Queen Nyahbinghi of Uganda, who fought against colonialists in the 19th century. The Nyahbinghi Order holds steadfast to ancient biblical values. It focuses mainly on Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia, and the eventual return to Africa. It is overseen by an Assembly of Elders. Nyahbinghi brethren also accept the Bible according to the teachings of Haile Selassie I. Nyahbingi as a Rastafarian lifestyle -> For Rastas, Nyahbingi is the mystical power of the Most High to mete justice throughout the universe. Although the genuine origin of the word means “Black Victory” and is Ugandan, as a concept and theology. "Niya" meaning "black" and "binghi" meaning "Victory." Therefore, it is through prayer, music and biblical reasonings that the Rastaman chants bingi, calling on the forces of nature to destroy the powers of racial oppression.
Nyabinghi was a legendary Ugandan/Rwandan tribe queen, who was said to have possessed a Ugandan woman named Muhumusa in the 19th century. Muhumusa inspired a movement, rebelling against African colonial authorities. Although she was captured in 1913, alleged possessions by Nyabinghi continued (mostly afflicting women). Bloodline of the true Nyabinghi warriors rightfully settled in the heart of Dzimba dze Mabwe now known as Zimbabwe.
The Twelve Tribes of Israel sect was founded in 1968 by Dr. Vernon "Prophet Gad" Carrington . It is the most liberal of the Rastafarian orders and members are free to worship in a church of their choosing. Each member of this sect belongs to one of the 12 Tribes (or Houses), which is determined by Gregorian birth month and is represented by a colour, a part of the body and a character trait often called a faculty. The Standard Israelite calendar begins in April, the 12 tribes being Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. Although the 12 representations apply to male and female alike, Dinah, although not considered a tribe, is representative of the feminine. Members of this order are not required to be turbaned.
The Howellites were the followers of The Rastafari Movement/Ethiopian Salvation Society that was established by Leonard Percival Howell (the Founding Father of the Rastafari Movement) in 1932. Many Howellites travelled with their parents from the settlement of Trinity Ville in St. Thomas, Jamaica to Pinnacle, or they were born in Pinnacle; Pinnacle was the "First Industrial Mission" and was the most thriving society in the Caribbean at the time.
The Lion of Judah is an important symbol to Rastas, for several
reasons. The lion appears on the Imperial Ethiopian flag, used in Haile
Selassie I's Ethiopia. In addition, the Ge'ez title Mo'aAnbesaZe'
imnegede Yihuda ("Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah") has been
applied to Ethiopian Emperors, in their tradition beginning with Menelik
I, said to be the son of king Solomon (c. 980 BC).
For Rastas, smoking cannabis, commonly referred to as herb, weed,
kaya, sinsemilla (Spanish for "without seeds"), or ganja (from the
Sanskrit word ganjika, used in ancient Nepal and India), is a spiritual
act, often accompanied by Bible study; they consider it a sacrament
that cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the
consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings
them closer to Jah. They often burn the herb when in need of insight
from Jah. Sacramental use of Cannabis in celebration of the Rastafari
faith became legal in Jamaica on April 15, 2015. By the 8th century,
cannabis had been introduced by Arab traders to Central and
Southern Africa, where it is known as "dagga" and many Rastas say it
is a part of their African culture that they are reclaiming. It is
sometimes also referred to as "the healing of the nation", a phrase
adapted from Revelation 22:
Alternatively, the migration of many thousands of Hindus and Muslims
from British India to the Caribbean in the 20th century may have
brought this culture to Jamaica. Many academics point to Indo-
Caribbean origins for the ganja sacrament resulting from the
importation of Indian migrant workers in a post-abolition Jamaican
landscape. " Large scale use of ganja in Jamaica... dated from the
importation of indentured Indians...". Dreadlocked mystics Jata, often
ascetic known as sadhus or Sufi Qalandars and Dervishes , have smoked cannabis from both chillums and coconut shell hookahs
in South Asia since the ancient times. Also, the reference of "chalice" may be a transliteration of jah me qalandar (a term used by Sufi ascetics meaning 'bowl or cup of qalandar'). In South Asia, in addition to smoking, cannabis is often consumed as a drink known as bhang and most qalandars carry a large wooden pestle for that reason.
According to many Rastas, the illegality of cannabis in many nations is evidence of persecution of Rastafari. They are not surprised that it is illegal, seeing it as a powerful substance that opens people's minds to the truth – something the Babylon system, they reason, clearly does not want. They contrast it to alcohol and other drugs, which they feel destroy the mind.
According to some Rastafari, the etymology of the word "cannabis" and
similar terms in all the languages of the Near East may be traced to the
Hebrew " kaneh bosm " קנה-בשם as one of the herbs that God
commanded Moses to include in his preparation of sacred anointing
perfume in Exodus 30:
23; the Hebrew term also appears in Isaiah 43:
20; Ezekiel 27:
19; and Song of Songs 4:
and canonical references to the patriarchs Adam, Noah, Abraham, and
Moses "burning incense before the Lord" are also applied, and many
Rastas today refer to cannabis by the term "is hence"—a slightly changed form of the English word incense. Some Rastas claim that cannabis was the first plant to grow on King Solomon's grave.
In 1998, Attorney General of the United States Janet Reno gave a legal opinion that Rastafari do not have the religious right to smoke marijuana in violation of the United States' drug laws. The
position is the same in the United Kingdom, where, in the Court of
Appeal case of R. v. Taylor 2002 10 million. App. R. 37, it was held that
the UK's prohibition on cannabis use did not contravene the right to
freedom of religion conferred under the Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Rastafari culture does not encourage mainstream political involvement.
In fact, in the early stages of the movement most Rastas did not vote,
out of principle. Ras Sam Brown formed the Suffering People's Party
for the Jamaican elections of 1962 and received fewer than 100 votes.
In the election campaign of 1972, People's National Party leader
Michael Manley used a prop, a walking stick given to him by Haile
Selassie, which was called the "Rod of Correction", in a direct appeal
to Rastafari values.
In the famous free One Love Peace Concert on April 22, 1978, Peter
Tosh lambasted the audience, including attending dignitaries, with
political demands that included decriminalising cannabis. He did this
while smoking a spliff, a criminal act in Jamaica. At this same concert,
Bob Marley led both then-Prime Minister Michael Manley and opposition leader Edward Seaga onto the stage; and a famous picture was taken with all three of them holding their hands together above their heads in a symbolic gesture of peace during what had been a very violent election campaign.
"He [the Almighty] taught us that all human beings are equal regardless of sex, national origin and tribe. And He also taught us all who seek Him shall find Him." – Haile Selassie I, Dec. 1968 interview with Dr. Oswald Hoffman on 'The Lutheran Hour'.
Per the Rastas' perception of what Haile Selassie's consistent lifelong message was, Rastafari tend to be firm adherents to the proposition that in the eyes of Jah, all men and women deserve equal and just rights, treatment and respect. With both King Alpha and his Queen Omega as examples, Rastafari bredren and sistren (collectively idren) seek to emulate kings and queens according mutual respect and dignity. According to them, all people are equal, regardless of race, because all people are children of Jah .
However, in terms of sexual behavior, there are many in the Rastafari movement (like most other biblical religions) who consider homosexual acts to be a Babylon-promoted sin against the Creator, and therefore may not support LGBT rights movements. The Bobo Ashanti mansion has been noted for this; with other mansions it tends to vary.
Rastas assert that their original African languages were stolen from them when they were taken into captivity as part of the slave trade, and that English is an imposed colonial language. Their remedy has been the creation of a modified vocabulary and dialect
known as " Iyaric ", reflecting their desire to take language forward and to confront the society they call Babylon. One of the most distinctive modifications in Iyaric is the substitution of the pronoun "I and I" for other pronouns, usually the first person. "I", as used in the examples above, refers to Jah; therefore, "I and I" in the first person includes the presence of the divine within the individual. As
"I and I" can also refer to us, them, or even you, it is used as a practical linguistic rejection of the separation of the individual from
the larger Rastafari community, and Jah himself.
Rastafari say that they reject -isms. They see a wide range of -isms and schisms in modern society, for example communism and capitalism, and want no part in them. For example, Haile Selassie himself was an anti-communist during the cold war, and was deposed by a Marxist coup. Rastafari would reject Marxism as part of the Babylonian system or, at the very least, just another version of western Humanism. They especially reject the word " Rastafarianism ", because they see themselves as "having transcended-isms and schisms". This has created conflict between some Rastas and some members of the academic community studying Rastafari, who insist on calling this faith "Rastafarianism" in spite of the disapproval this generates within the Rastafari movement. Nevertheless, the practice continues among scholars, though there are also instances of the study of Rastafari using its own terms.
The Ital vegetarian diet is one of the main tenets of the Rastafari movement. Those who adhere to it abstain from all meat and flesh whatsoever, asserting that to touch meat is to touch death, and is therefore a violation of the Nazirite law. Some Rastafari eat limited types of meat in accordance with the dietary Laws of the Old Testament but in accordance with those laws, they do not eat shellfish
or pork. Some are vegetarian but make a special exception allowing fish, while abstaining from all other forms of flesh. Most Rastafari maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet all of the time. Food approved for Rastafari is called ital. The purpose of fasting (abstaining from meat and dairy) is to cleanse the body in accordance to serving in the presence of the " Ark of the Covenant ".
Usage of alcohol is also generally deemed unhealthy to the Rastafari way of life, partly because it is seen as a tool of Babylon to confuse people, and partly because placing something that is pickled and fermented within oneself is felt to be much like turning the body (the Temple) into a "cemetery".
The wearing of dreadlocks is very closely associated with the movement, though not universal among, nor exclusive to, its adherents. Rastafari maintain that locks are required by 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 the flesh.") and the Nazirite law in Numbers 6:
5 ("All the days of
the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head:
until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow."). The Dreadlocks represents A lion's mane and
Yeshua (Jesus) in his Kingly Character. It has been suggested (e.g., Campbell 1985) that the first Rasta locks were copied from Kenya in 1953, when images of the independence struggle of the feared Mau Mau insurgents, who grew their "dreaded locks" while hiding in the mountains, appeared in newsreels and other publications that reached Jamaica. However, a more recent study by
Barry Chevannes has traced the first hair locked Rastas to a subgroup first appearing in 1949, known as Youth Black Faith. In 1844, the trade of coolies was expanded to the colonies in the West Indies, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Demerara, where the Asian population was soon a major component of the island demographic. The Indian coolies brought their culture with them, which includes, prominently, the wearing of dreadlocks by holy men. This god Shiva of the Indian trinity wears dreadlocks.
Also, according to the Bible, Samson was a Nazirite who had "seven locks". Rastafari argue that these "seven locks" could only have been dreadlocks, as it is unlikely to refer to seven strands of hair. Locks have also come to symbolize the Lion of Judah (its mane) and rebellion against Babylon. In the United States, several public schools and workplaces have lost lawsuits as the result of banning locks. Safeway is an early example, and the victory of eight children in a suit against their Lafayette, Louisiana school was
a landmark decision in favor of Rastafari rights. More recently, in 2009, a group of Rastafari settled a federal lawsuit with the Grand Central Partnership in New York City, allowing them to wear their locks in neat ponytails, rather than be forced to "painfully tuck in their long hair" in their uniform caps.
Rastafari associate dreadlocks with a spiritual journey that one takes in the process of locking their hair (growing hair locks). It is taught that patience is the key to growing locks, a journey of the mind, soul and spirituality. Its spiritual pattern is aligned with the Rastafari movement. The way to form natural dreadlocks is to allow hair to grow in its natural pattern, without cutting, combing or brushing, but simply to wash it with pure water and herbal shampoo. For Rastafari the razor, the scissors and the comb are the
three Babylonian or Roman inventions. So close is the association between dreadlocks and Rastafari, that the two are sometimes used synonymously. In reggae music, a follower of Rastafari may be referred to simply as a "dreadlocks" or " natty (natural) dread ".
The Rastafari colours of green, gold and red (sometimes also including black) are very commonly sported on the Rastafari flag,
icons, badges, posters etc. The green, gold and red are the colours of the Ethiopian flag and show the loyalty Rastafari feel towards the Ethiopian state in the reign of Haile Selassie. The red, black and green were the colours used to represent Africa by the Marcus Garvey movement. Red is said to signify the blood of martyrs, green the vegetation and beauty of Ethiopia, and gold the wealth of Africa.
Music has long played an integral role in Rastafari, and the connection between the movement and various kinds of music has become well known, due to the international fame of reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Reggae was born in Trenchtown, the main ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, amidst poor blacks who listened to radio stations from the United States. Jamaican musicians, many of them Rastas, soon blended traditional Jamaican folk music and drumming with American R&B, and jazz into ska, which later developed into reggae under the influence of soul.