Rastafari is not a religion but relationship

Rastafari - Wikipedia

rastafari is not a religion but relationship

Rastafarianism developed in Jamaica in the s among Although Haile Salassie died in , his death is not accepted by Rastafarians, However, Rastafarianism has never been a highly organised religion, and many. examined in relation to Rastafarianism and used to support some general propositions . these religions is not so much an African religion as a recon ciliation. In the early 's religious and social movement called Rastafarianism evolved in The true Messiah was not Jesus of Nazareth, but Emperor Selassie, the . groups of Rastas whose members sustain an ongoing relationship (Murrell, ).

The Rastafari religion would continue to follow this trend of interpreting the Bible literally which lead to practices that make the Rastafari religion unique from any other. To many, any one who has dreads, smokes ganja, and plays Reggae music is a Rasta. There is much more than those three elements to being a Rasta. Rastafari is more than just a religion. It is a movement and a way of life. The Rasta life style is one of peace, or at least it seeks to be one of peace. It is important when reading this section of the paper that one understands that the Rastafari has no set book of rules.

rastafari is not a religion but relationship

Ganja Smoking One of the first aspects of Rastafari that come to mind when people hear of Rastafari is their use of marijuana. The smoking Ganja for a Rasta is a special experience. They use the Ganja to help enlighten their mind so they can correctly reason the ways of the world.

The Ganja is always smoked in a ritual way. The Rasta call them reasoning sessions when they use Ganja for Nyabinghi. A Nyabinghi session is much different from a casual marijuana smoking session that western people take part in. People in the west smoke marijuana for social and entertainment reasons. In the west smoking the weed may lead to a silly time of laughing and horse play.

rastafari is not a religion but relationship

This differs greatly from what takes place during a Nyabinghi. A Nyabinghi is a taken very seriously. Acting silly would be considered disrespectful to a Rasta. Before Rasta smoke the ritual plant, they say a prayer to their god Haile Selassie. Unfortunately for the Rasta, the smoking of Ganja has become one of the Rasta biggest struggles.

This is due to the fact that Ganja smoking is illegal in almost every country in the world with the exception of two. Throughout the world, from South Africa to Jamaica the Rasta are constantly at court with the government trying to fight for the legalization of Ganja for religious purposes. The countries that they have tried to fight for the right to smoke Ganja in include: In one of the early teachers of Rastafari, Leonard P.

This community was named Pinnacle. At Pinnacle, Howell grew Ganja as a cash crop. It was during this time that Rasta discovered the properties of Ganja that helped their reasoning process. The Rasta soon turned to the Bible and found reverence to the use of this holy plant.

BBC iWonder - Haile Selassie: Who was the Rastafarian messiah?

From this Ganja was born into the Rastafari culture. Dreadlocks are another well-known part of Rastafari. The name dreadlock comes from the locks of hair deemed dreadful as Dubb explained. This comes again from interpreting the Bible literally. Due to this belief they do not believe it is right to shave or comb their hair. The lion is significant because the lion is the respected king of the animal kingdom, as well as humble animal.

The dreadlock is also a natural state of the African person hair, and by being natural the Rasta feels they are more connected to Jah. The wearing of the dread first appeared in the Rasta Community at the original Rasta community of Pinnacle.

Haile Selassie: Who was the Rastafarian messiah?

At Pinnacle Howell was growing Ganja as a cash crop and the police where constantly raiding the farms. Because of this and other border problems at the Rasta community, Howell was forced to create a group of guards to protect the area.

With this and the reasons given in the previous paragraph, the Dreadlock became the hairstyle of the Rasta. Just like the smoking of Ganja, the dreadlock hairstyle has lead many problems for the Rasta. In the early days of Rastafari, Rasta who wore their hair in dread form where brutalized by the police for no reason.

This pushed many Rasta into the bush of Jamaica so that they could live in peace. Things have not gotten a whole lot better for dreadlocked people.


In Jamaica and other parts of the world children who have dreads are not allowed to attend some schools. Just like the Ganja issue the, the dreadlock school issue is constantly being fought in courts throughout the Rasta world. It came up lately in a South African school where a young child was not given the right to go to school because of her dreads and the issue had to be fought in court.

The Rastafari diet is something that is often overlooked by many people who do not know a great deal about Rastafari. The Rasta has a very interesting belief in their thoughts about dead beings.

This idea stems into their diet. The Rasta believes that it is wrong to eat animals that have died because then you are turning your body into a cemetery.

This does not mean that a Rasta will not eat dairy products. However the Rasta will not eat shellfish. This stems from more readings in the Bible. Some but not all Rasta will go as far as to not t eat fruit that has been altered from its original form.

This means they would not eat fruit that has been pealed, cut, or smashed. There is also a large number of Rasta that will not eat any processed food. Rasta Dialect The dialect of the Rasta reflects their beliefs in many ways. Their speech uses a literal translation of words, just like their beliefs use a literal translation of biblical readings. Their speech reflects their protest against oppression, as well as their protest against authority.

The Rastafarian rhetoric changes the English language in a way that helps them make more sense of the world, as well as to protest against what the Rasta believe to be unjust. Rasta will often change word from a negative meaning to a positive meaning.

Rastafari: Alternative Religion and Resistance against “White” Christianity

A Rasta will almost never use a negative term. They will always replace it with something positive. This is a great reflection on how the Rasta always sees things positively.

The Rasta use the word to connect themselves to god, to show that that god is always part of them. The Rasta does this to show that god is part of him, and that he is not separate from any other person. The Rasta believes in peace and they are constantly trying to preach down violence. The Rasta fear world wars, and especially Nuclear war. One of the most important parts of Rasta thought is the protest against authority and structure.

This rejection of authority can be seen in how Rastafari has no rules like many other religions do. There is not one thing that Rasta has to do to be a Rasta because that would defeat the whole purpose of being a Rasta. Burn the Pope man….

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  • Annotated Bibliography

The Pope is a vampire, wants our blood. Selassie I is the head. To a Rasta Communism would be too structured. They would also reject the idea of a leader telling them what to do.

rastafari is not a religion but relationship

Instead they either live in a place where they can survive on what they can grow or they take part in the informal economy and survive through street vending. One unfortunate part of Rastafari is their negative attitude toward females. They believe that a good woman must always respect men and do what they ask. This is very contrary to much of their other beliefs about people being equal.

rastafari is not a religion but relationship

Rasta men often beat their wives for being lazy. Rasta men believe that being naked is good because you are closer to god in your natural state. Rasta men often have many different partners, while it is wrong for Rasta women to give more than a hand shake to more than one man.

Fortunately for some this dream has come true. The land that was given is located in the small southern Ethiopian town of Shasemene. The small town of Shasemene has a population of 13, The town has many visitors because it is a cross roads of the three largest Ethiopian cities. Prostitution is very common in this town and many women make good money through this business.

Other than prostitution there is little contact between the sexes. The staple crops are maize, beans, potatoes, wheat, barley and injera a local grain used in traditional Ethiopian breads.

Rastas take Biblical study very seriously and spend much time citing and discussing scriptural passages Murrell, Rastas have moved beyond the identification of Blacks in biblical text, and go on transform themselves into the very Israelites in the Bible Murrell, To the Rastafarians, this was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy Murrell, On the other hand, many see Selassie as the second coming of the Messiah. Some have even claimed to see indentations in his hands as a sign of his crucifixion.

Scholars tend to agree that no central doctrine, formal or informal, exists. This comes to us as no surprise, as the Rastafarian advocates liberation from the oppression of organized systems. Methods of Inquiry The Rasta views the Bible in search of materials that favor the hermeneutics of Blackness. Most have no formal training in theology or knowledge of the original languages of the Bible.

In reality, some Rastas are barely literate. Yet, their creativity sheds new light upon the stories and personalities represented in the Bible. In the Bible, the ancient city of Babylon represents the main oppressor of the people of God, whereas Zion is the Promised Land they will inhabit after their release from oppression. Rastafarians have extended the idea of Babylon from a literal place to an entire system of oppression and domination. They believe that the spirit of Babylon survives as an oppressive force in modern-day political and economic systems and institutions in the West generally, particularly in Jamaica Murrell, Zion, on the other hand, represents freedom from the Babylonian System.

To the Rasta, Ethiopia is the Promised Land to which they will return someday. When Babylon crumbles, the existing system will be reversed, and Ethiopia will take her rightful place as the ruling state.

rastafari is not a religion but relationship

These sessions may be informal gatherings, or planned meetings at specific locations. Somewhat more formal all-night gatherings sometimes take place, where in addition to ritual smoking and reasoning, drumming, chanting and feastings also mark the event Murrell, M Haile Selassie I.

Rastafari Culture

The Rastas have also made many other colorful transformations which express their views of society. Language can also be used to express dislike for certain persons or institutions. One of the key ideals of the Rastafarian system of though is the lack of a formalized structure or hierarchy.

As previously outlined, organized systems belong to Babylon, and therefore should be shunned. No formal leadership hierarchy or orthodoxy structures exist in this non-homogenous movement. Many researchers see this as a positive characteristic of the movement, allowing the individual Rasta groups to enjoy a kind of freedom not often encouraged in many organized religious and secular movements Murrell, Even though formal organization fails to exist among Rastas as a whole, there are still distinct social structures within the movement.

This individual spirituality is the main emphasis of Rastafarian thought, as a personal relationship with God provides an understanding of the source of truth and life Murrell, These are small, informal groups of Rastas whose members sustain an ongoing relationship Murrell, These leading brethren are often seen as elders, not in a formal sense, but more as an inspirational leader.

Rather than being attained through election, the position is conferred upon one who has an uncompromising commitment to and defense of the principles of Rastafari willing to suffer persecution. Whereas ten to fifteen Rastas may comprise a house, mansions often have hundreds of members.

Churchical groups focus on the development of Rastafarian culture and behavior, as well as the cultivation of African consciousness and lifestyle Murrell,