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Rastafari Movement. Amber Mckin Erin O’Brian Lindsay Strait Evan Salvador Hannah Downs Alex. History of Rastafarians. Tradition was to resist against the system Prophet figure was Marcus Garvey, shaped the movement with his philosophies and promoted black nationalism

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rastafari movement

Rastafari Movement

Amber Mckin

Erin O’Brian

Lindsay Strait

Evan Salvador

Hannah Downs


history of rastafarians
  • Tradition was to resist against the system
  • Prophet figure was Marcus Garvey, shaped the movement with his philosophies and promoted black nationalism
  • Was influential to lower-class black in Jamaica
  • Rastafarians can be seen as extensions of Garveyites (Garvey’s followers)
  • The Holy Piby is one writing that is a primary source of information
    • Holy Piby taught self-reliance and self-determination
history continued
History continued…
  • The name Rastafari comes from Ras; meaning “head’ or leader
  • The Rastafarian movement is generated by Reggae music (Expecially Bob Marley)
  • Leonard Howell (considered the first Rasta) formed a communion at Pinnacle consisting of 5,000 or more
  • Cannabis is used frequently for spiritual use
the f ive main doctrines
  • The doctrines of Rastafari are completely opposite from the basic norms of the modern mind.
  • Rastafari stresses loyalty to their vision of “Zion,” and rejection of modern society.
  • Individual Rasta’s work out their religion for themselves, resulting in a wide variety of different doctrines.
  • Rasta’s believe that scientists try to discover how the world is by looking from the outside in, whereas the Rasta approach is to see life from the inside, looking out.
  • Rastafarian is viewed as a response to racist negativity of black people
  • They also believe that living close and a part of nature as much as possible is African, and they show that through dreadlocks, ganja, ital food, and in all aspects of the Rasta life.
  • Another important Afrocentric identification is with the colors red, gold, and green, of the Ethiopian flag as well as, the addition of black, the colors of "Pan-African Unity"
  • Red stands for the blood of the witnesses, Gold stands for wealth prosperity, or the sun which gives everything light, and Green stands for the vegetation of Africa.
haile s elassie and the bible
  • Haile Selassie I was crowned the Emperor of Ethiopia on November 2, 1930.
  • The Emperor of Ethiopia is the living God who will lead the African people into a promised land and a world of full freedom, and divine justice.
  • Most Rasta’s believe the only half of the bible is written and that the other half was stolen from them along with their culture.

Halie Selassie

rep atriation and race
  • Repatriation is the desire to return home to Africa after 400 years of slavery.
  • They believe it also is living forever in peace, love and harmony.
  • They declared that the teachings of the Bible is the route to spiritual freedom for people of any racial or ethnic background.
church and the holy trinity
  • Some Rasta’s believe that their body is the true Church or Temple of God.
  • They believe there is no need to build churches or temples out of physical buildings
  • They believe Hali Selassie is God the Father and God the Son of the Holy Trinity
  • They also believe that potentially humans embody the Holy Spirit
phy sical immortality
  • Physical immortality means they believe that a selected few will continue to live forever in their current bodies.
  • An example of physical immortality is Bob Marley’s refusal to write a will
    • They believe that writing a will would mean they were giving into death and forgoing their chances at everliving life.


  • Rasta culture consists of an ital diet.
  • Ital is derived from the word “vital” meaning a natural and healthy way of life
  • They believe your body is a temple and you need to rid it of impureness.

Diet Cont.

  • Ital is generally a vegan diet, even if some Rasta's eat fish. Some prohibit salt. In all cases, Ital prohibits pork, preservatives and chemical ingredients. Ingredients have to be as natural as possible.
  • They believe that touching meat is a form of touching death.
  • They also believe that consuming alcohol is deemed unhealthy too.
  • They believe that if you consume meat, alcohol or anything else unhealthy then your body will become a cemetery.
  • Rastas originally did not vote
  • At the One Love Peace Concert on April 22, 1978 Peter Tosh decriminalized against cannabis while smoking a spliff and was beat up 5 months later by Jamaican Authorities.
    • At the same concert Bob Marley led Prime Minister Michael Manley and opposition leader Edward Seaga onto the stage and took a famous picture of all three holding hands, a symbolic gesture of peace during a violent election
  • In the United Kingdom some Rastas work with the police to help keep peace on the streets
  • Rastas believe that their African languages were taken from them during the slave trade and that English is a colonial language.
  • Created their own vocabulary and dialect showing their desire to take forward language and confront society
    • I-tal = vital (used to describe diet)
    • Overstanding = understanding (denote an enlightenment which places one in a better position)
    • Irie = used to denote acceptance or positive feeling, describe something that is good
    • Livication = dedication (ded-ication associated with death)
    • Downpression = oppression (pressure is being applied from a position of power to put down the victim)
    • Zion = Paradise of Jah or Ethopia
    • Laryic = substitution for “I-and-I” referring to Jah and includes the presence of the divine in an individual. Also can be the separation of an individual from the community.
  • Rastas rejects all –isms because they want no part in them – such as communism and capitalism.
  • Especially reject Rastafarianism because they see themselves as having transcended “-isms”.
    • Created conflict between the Rastas and the scholars studying the Rastafari movement who insist on calling their religious belief Rastafarianism despite disapproval from Rastas.
    • This practice has continued among scholars however because it fits with their academic standards of use. Rastas think that this analysis is unnecessary.


  • There are two types of Rasta religious ceremonies. A reasoning ceremony is a simple event where the Rasta's gather; smoke ganja; and discuss ethical, social and religious issues. The person in authority lights the herb and passes it clockwise, unless in time of war they pass is counter clockwise.
  • A binghi or grounation is a holy day, binghis are marked by much dancing, singing, feasting and the smoking of ganja, and can last for several days.
  • Rastas believe dreadlocks to be supported 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.")
  • The length of a Rasta's dreads is a measure of wisdom, maturity, and knowledge
  • 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.
  • It is not deemed necessary for, or equivalent to, true faith.
  • spiritual act, often accompanied by Bible study
  • cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to Jah.
  • Genesis 3:18 "... thou shalt eat the herb of the field."
  • The colors of Rasta are the colors of the Ethiopian flag - red, gold and green
  • The green is for the earth that people walk on, to which Rastas feel a special connection.
  • The black is for the skin of the people.
  • The red is for the blood of all living things in the world.
  • The gold is for the sun and Jah's light that shine on people.
  • Niyabinghi chants are played at worship ceremonies called grounations, that include drumming, chanting and dancing, along with prayer and ritual smoking of cannabis.
  • Drums are a large part of worship because Jah’s spirit is in the drum
  • Another type of music is buru, played with three drums and later used by hip hop DJs.
reggae music
Reggae Music
  • Originated from Kingston, Jamaica and was a combination of Jamaican folk music with R&B, jazz and ska.
  • Bob Marley helped spread Reggae and the original nyabinghi chants by incorporating them into his music.
  • Many Reggae musicians incorporate Rasta history, doctrine and culture into their music
  • Many reggae songs also praise Jah
r astafari today
Rastafari Today
  • Rastafari is not a highly organized religion and many Rastas believe it is not a “religion” but “a way of life”.
  • Rastafari encourages one to find faith inside themselves although some identify with the “mansions of Rastafari” being Nyahbinghi, the Bobo Ashanti and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
  • Women are starting to have a greater role and are now accepted in religious and social ceremonies.
  • Rastas are strongly again birth control, abortion and homosexulaity
  • Rastafari has grown to incorporate more races today instead of just Black African.
  • A small Rastafari group has also sprung up in Japan where they created special shops selling natural foods and spread the reggae music