The Rastafari Beliefs and Practices – Love is the very idea
The Rastafari Do Not Say “We” for Plurality
The religious meaning is that a Rastafari is a part of god, at the same time a living man, which is exactly described as an “I” (as the personal pronoun). Because everyone is an “I”, a Rastafari does not say “we” for plurality, but says “I and I”. They often replace some syllables with “I”, like, “eternal” translated into “I-ternal”, “creator” into “I-reator” and “hour” into “I-owa”. The Roman numeric one, which is also I, follows the name of Haile Selassie I, demonstrating the divinity of His Imperial Majesty, Rastafari believe.
Use of “L” in the “Selassiel!” blessing
The followers of the Rastafari religion use the name of Haile Selassie I for blessing and to express the feeling of divine inspiration because he is a Messiah and God, and people use prophets’ names and gods’ names for blessing all the time. They shorten it to “Selassie” but not always.
In Cuba and all over the former Spanish Main the roman numeric royal index “I”, Haile Selassie the first, may be replaced with an “L” simply because the roman numeric “1” [one] appears like the lower case “l” [el]. Note that in this case all letters produce a sound where “ie” makes two separate sounds, /i/ followed by /e/, due to the Spanish origin of the use.
Pronounce it as “Selássi-eL!”. God bless.
To make this post clear, we suggest several definitions. Many of us, marijuana lovers, already know who Haile Selassie I is and why the Lion is here, yet we pack it briefly into this, err, vocabulary:
★ Jah — is the name of God in the Rastafari religion, basically the Abrahamic branch, along with Judaism, Islam and all sects of Christianity. Jesus, Jahvee, Allah, Jah, whatever you call him, he is still the same “personality”, the monotheistic deity of all Abrahamic religions, or branches.
★ Haile Selassie I — is the last King of Ethiopia, His Imperial Majesty (H.I.M.), the King of Kings, and the central person and the Messiah (second coming of Jesus) in the Rastafari religion. Rastafari believe he is the direct descendant of biblical King Solomon and Queen of Sheba, therefore a holy person and the deity which they practically worship. And then Ethiopia is the Caanan, the promised land.
★ Zion, or Mount Zion — is a biblical place which the Rastafari have “moved” from Israel to Africa, in their belief. The traditional definition of heaven as a “spiritual place in the sky” has been rejected, promoting instead that the Mount Zion is the “heaven on earth”.
★ Babylon — is every negative aspect of the “western culture”, which Rastafari religion opposes in the lyrics of ska and reggae, namely: the law enforcement, the government when going mad, sometimes UK, almost always USA, along with specific political leaders including but not limited to Vatican religious authorities, etc, etc.
That’s it, and we continue listing up the rare facts about Rastafari:
Ska was a pop-version of reggae called “bluebeat” in England, a mix of jazz and blues, outdated by now and rarely in use, so to say — a precursor of reggae. Developed in the 1950-60s as a mild protest against social and political conditions in Jamaica. While sounding happy and content, ska rhythms were about pain and suffering of people of Jamaica under governmental regime, very similar to Reggae but in a softer manner of blues. Ska also introduced Jamaican drumming for the first time, long before the transformation into reggae. Famous ska titles were “Oh Carolina”, “Another Moses”, “Babylon Gone”.
Female Corruptive Influence
Ska musicians expressed deep personal pain they gain from the political forces and, surprisingly, from the pain from the “corruptive influence of a female”, promoting that the temptation of female flesh eventually leads in general to broken hearts, loneliness and teardrops. This may explain the meaning of Bob Marley’s “No woman, no cry” — while being romantic in sound, it is practically a disgrace of the female role in a society. Not a popular opinion nowadays. Oops!
To advocate this provision, let me add that WOMAN is worshiped as the incarnation of love and a deity through the thousands of years of the history of religions! At the same time, Woman clearly demonstrates the dual-nature, just as gods do. It does not necessarily mean anything bad, but this is the very idea supported by many cultures through the ages. To understand the conception of divine duality, think of water or the Sun, both create life, both can destroy.
There are (at least) two monuments to Judah Lion in Addis Ababa
Historically, the Lion is the symbol of the Judah tribe and is a symbol of the Rastafari movement because biblical King Solomon was of the Judah tribe. It automatically means that His Imperial Majesty, King of Kings Haile Selassie I, is of the Judah tribe as well. The Lion is depicted in his coat of arms, and there are TWO beautiful monuments to this Lion in Addis Ababa.
One was erected in 1930, on the occasion of the coronation of Haile Selassie I:
And another one, commissioned in 1954 by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I:
The Lion of Judah sometimes is referred to as the Lion of Zion. Both variants are correct because the former is about the name of the tribe, and the latter is the geographical spot, mysterious or not, but virtually belonging to this tribe.
Discourage of -ism and -ians
The Rastafari totally disrespect and discourage the usage of “-ism” and “-ian” suffixes, considering such usage a correlation to the Babylonic ideologies which Rastafari avoid and disgrace, as through the lyrics of reggae and by other means too.
WHEREAS the use of “common” Babylonic term “rastafarians” is not correct and may be perceived as a total disrespect to the RASTAFARI religion. To understand the power of phonetics, simply try saying “Christianism” instead of “Christianity” to discover how much of a negative sound such may add. As simple as that.
Some of Rude Boys were Rastafari
In 1965 in Jamaica, unemployed ghetto youths, 14-25 years old, living in the shanytown of Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, formed a strong and well-organized rebellion force armed with knives, cutlasses and guns. They became a certain threat to the middle class, looting houses and shops, clashing violently and quite successfully against the law enforcement, living only for “run faster, jump higher, fuck longer” as they claimed. Rude Boys embraced the image of an outlaw hero and a symbol of a new generation opposing the system which (they suggested) produced unemployment and poverty in Jamaica. Guess that for “rudies” marijuana was not exactly a spirituality, and their behavior, righteous or not, can hardly match the “peace and love” approach of the Rastafari followers.
However, some “rudies” claimed and pretended they were Rastafari, adopting the Rastafari language, appearance, dreadlocks, also consuming weed openly. Consequently, citizens of Jamaica organically associated Rude Boys to the already existing negative, lunatic image of Rastafari.
Rastafari in their turn desperately denied any connection to “rudies” by all means, and never encouraged or promoted any violent action towards other people in exchange for gaining their own liberty. The suffering of humans, regardless of their negativity, is out of the question too. Rastafari and Rude Boys highlighted identical goals to “fight” poverty and oppression, but indeed espoused two radically different ideologies.
Haile Selassie influenced the incorporation of “rudies” into Reggae
The only visit of Haile Selassie to Jamaica happened on the 21st of April in 1966. About 100,000 people were at the airport. Reportedly only 10,000 of them were Rastafari, smoking bongs and chanting “God is here” — the long-awaited Messiah finally arrived on the island to liberate them and take them to Africa! Among other goals, His Imperial Majesty wished to influence the public opinion, persuading political leaders of Jamaica that the Rastas could no longer be written off as “dangerous freaks”.
Also, King of Kings has spoken to Rastafari leaders and proposed a new concept to them — to refuse the idea of physical repatriation to Africa (to the biblical Canaan, the promised land) but replacing it with the idea of political liberation of Jamaica.
Since then — the Rastafari music, the Reggae, already transforming from Ska to Reggae under the influence of R&B, applied to be relatively aggressive and more political. The reggae musicians since then have applied to build the heroic image out of “rudies” (Rude Boys), demonstrating the virtual alliance between Rude Boys and Rastafari united from now on against the common enemy, the system that produced unemployment and poverty, the Babylon Evil.
From Ska passive crying Rastafari slowly switched to Reggae struggle. The sounds of reggae changed to describe the society in the process of transformation. Also, the Religious Rastafari became the Political Power, which promoted rebellion and liberation.
Why Ras Tafari
No mystics, no magic, and very simple. Rastafari worship the King of Kings, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, whose real-world name before being a king was Tafari Makonnen, who was a Duke of Harrar as a crown prince in his youth. “Duke” translates into the Ethiopian language as “Ras”. Therefore, Ras Tafari = Duke Tafari, the ruler of Harrar.
Love is the very idea
The Western way of thinking may call an aggressive image of a Rastafari fighting for liberation, disobeying the Babylonic government, etc. But in reality, the Rastafari oppose Western thinking dramatically, as they are the “silent protesters”, and the “peaceful rebels”. RASTAFARI express their claims and demands exclusively through the music and never mean a violent action. Love and peace they express in asceticism.
We are truly humble people whose response to evil is to flee from itBongo Dizzy says in “Bongo-man”, rastafari newspaper, 1968
We have to go to Africa to live with our brothers and sisters there. Blacks remember, our King Haile Selassie grant land space for us in EthiopiaRasta Historian, the contributor-writer to “Bongo-man” newspaper, 1968