RASTAFARI, sometimes termed RASTAFARIANISM, is an Abrahamic religion
. Classified as both a new religious movement and social movement , it
Jamaica during the 1930s. It lacks any centralised
authority and there is much heterogeneity among practitioners, who are
known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Rastas.
Rastafari refer to their beliefs, which are based on a specific
interpretation of the
Bible , as "Rastalogy". Central is a
monotheistic belief in a single God—referred to as
partially resides within each individual. The former emperor of
Haile Selassie , is given central importance. Many Rastas
regard him as an incarnation of
Jah on Earth and as the Second Coming
of Christ . Others regard him as a human prophet who fully recognised
the inner divinity within every individual.
Rastafari is Afrocentric
and focuses its attention on the
African diaspora , which it believes
is oppressed within Western society, or "Babylon". Many Rastas call
for the resettlement of the
African diaspora in either Ethiopia or
Africa more widely, referring to this continent as the Promised Land
of "Zion". Other interpretations shift focus on to the adoption of an
Afrocentric attitude while living outside of Africa. Rastas refer to
their practices as "livity". Communal meetings are known as
"groundations", and are typified by music, chanting, discussions, and
the smoking of cannabis , the latter being regarded as a sacrament
with beneficial properties. Rastas place emphasis on what they regard
as living 'naturally', adhering to ital dietary requirements, allowing
their hair to form into dreadlocks , and following patriarchal gender
Rastafari originated among impoverished and socially disenfranchised
Afro-Jamaican communities in 1930s Jamaica. Its Afrocentric ideology
was largely a reaction against Jamaica's then-dominant British
colonial culture . It was influenced by both
Ethiopianism and the
Back-to-Africa movement promoted by black nationalist figures like
Marcus Garvey . The movement developed after several Christian
clergymen, most notably
Leonard Howell , proclaimed that the crowning
Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930 fulfilled a Biblical
prophecy. By the 1950s, Rastafari's counter-cultural stance had
brought the movement into conflict with wider Jamaican society,
including violent clashes with law enforcement. In the 1960s and 1970s
it gained increased respectability within
Jamaica and greater
visibility abroad through the popularity of Rasta-inspired reggae
Bob Marley . Enthusiasm for
Rastafari declined in the
1980s, following the deaths of
Haile Selassie and Marley.
The Rasta movement is organised on a largely cellular basis. There
are several denominations, or "
Mansions of Rastafari ", the most
prominent of which are the
Bobo Ashanti , Ethiopian Zion
Coptic Church , and the Twelve Tribes of
Israel , each of which offers
different interpretations of Rasta belief. There are an estimated
700,000 to 1 million Rastas across the world; the largest population
Jamaica although communities can be found in most of the world's
major population centres.
* 1 Definition
* 2 Beliefs
Jesus of Nazareth
* 2.3 Afrocentrism, Babylon, and
* 2.3.1 Salvation and paradise
* 2.4 Morality, ethics, and gender roles
* 3 Practices
* 3.1 Grounding
Spiritual use of cannabis
* 3.3 Music
* 3.4 Language and symbolism
* 3.5 Diet
* 4 History
* 4.1 Ethiopianism, Back to Africa, and
Haile Selassie and the early Rastas: 1930–1949
* 4.3 Subsequent development: 1950–present
* 5 Organization
Mansions of Rastafari
* 6 Demographics
* 6.1 Conversion and disillusionment
Jamaica and the Caribbean
* 6.3 Africa
* 6.4 Western countries
* 6.5 Asia
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 8.1 Citations
* 8.2 Sources
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
Scholars of religion have categorised
Rastafari as a new religious
movement , a new social movement , or as a social movement . The
scholar of religion Leonard E. Barrett referred to it as a sect , and
the sociologist Ernest Cashmore as a cult , while scholar of religion
Ennis B. Edmonds argued that it could best be understood as a
revitalization movement . Although
Rastafari focuses on Africa as a
source of identity, the scholar of religion Maboula Soumahoro noted
that it was not an "authentic" African religion but an example of
creolization , a product of the unique social environment that existed
in the Americas. Edmonds also suggested that
Rastafari was "emerging"
as a world religion , not because of the number of adherents that it
had, but because of its global spread. Many Rastas themselves,
however, do not regard it as a religion, instead referring to it as a
"way of life".
The term "Rastafari" derives from the pre-regnal title of Haile
Selassie; the term "Ras" means a duke or prince, while "Tafari
Makonen" was his name. It is unknown why the early Rastas adopted
this form of Haile Selassie's name as the basis of their religion's
name. Many commentators—including some academic sources —refer to
the movement as "Rastafarianism". This term has also been used by
some practitioners. However, "Rastafarianism" is considered offensive
by most Rastafari, who, being critical of "isms" or "ians" (which they
see as a typical part of "
Babylon " culture), dislike being labelled
as an "ism" or "ian" themselves. Cashmore urged fellow academics not
to use this term, which he described as "insensitive".
The Liberty Bell Temple in
Los Angeles was established by Ed
Rastas refer to the totality of their religion's ideas and beliefs as
"Rastalogy". The scholar of religion Ennis B. Edmonds described
Rastafari as having "a fairly cohesive worldview"; however, Cashmore
thought that its beliefs were "fluid and open to interpretation".
Because it has no systematic theology or highly developed
institutions, the sociologist of religion
Peter B. Clarke stated that
it was "extremely difficult to generalise" about Rastas and their
beliefs. Attempts have been made to summarise
Rastafari belief, but
these have never been accorded the status of a catechism or creed
within the movement. Emphasis is placed on the idea that personal
experience and intuitive understanding should be used to determine the
truth or validity of a particular belief or practice. No Rasta,
therefore, has the authority to declare what beliefs and practices are
orthodox and which are heterodox . The conviction that
no dogma "is so strong that it has itself become something of a
dogma", according to Clarke.
Rastafari belief is deeply influenced by
It accords the
Bible a central place in its belief system, regarding
it as a holy book, and adopts a literalist interpretation of its
contents. Rastas regard the
Bible as an authentic account of early
black history and their place as God's favoured people. They believe
Bible was originally written on stone in the Ethiopian
Amharic . For Rastas, the
Bible is therefore viewed as
the key to understanding the past and the present and for predicting
the future. It is also regarded as a source book from which they can
form their religious practices. The Bible's final chapter, the Book
of Revelation , is widely regarded as the most important part for
Rastas, having a particular significance for their situation.
However, Rastas also believe that the true meaning of the
been warped, both through mistranslation into other languages and by
deliberate manipulation by those who wanted to deny black Africans
their history. They also regard it as cryptographic, meaning that it
has many hidden meanings. They believe that its true teachings can be
revealed through intuition and meditation with the "book within". As
a result of what they regard as the corruption of the Bible, Rastas
also turn to other sources that they believe shed light on black
African history. Common texts used for this purpose include Leonard
Howell 's 1935 work
The Promised Key ,
Robert Athlyi Rogers ' 1924
Holy Piby , and
Fitz Balintine Pettersburg 1920s work, the Royal
Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy .
JAH RASTAFARI AND JESUS OF NAZARETH
Rastafari are monotheists , worshiping a singular
God whom they call
Jah . Rastas view
Jah in the form of the
Holy Trinity – Father , Son
, and the
Holy Spirit . The term "Jah" is a shortened version of
Jehovah ", the name of
God in English translations of the Old
As well as regarding
Jah as a deity, Rastas also believe that
inherent within each human individual. This belief is reflected in
the aphorism, often cited by Rastas, that "
God is man and man is God".
As a result, Rastas speak of "knowing" Jah, rather than simply
"believing" in him. In seeking to narrow the distance between
humanity and divinity,
Rastafari embraces mysticism . In believing
that human beings have an inner divinity within themselves, Rastas
help to cultivate a bastion against the uncertainty and insecurity
that exists within society and societal institutions.
Jesus of Nazareth is an important figure in Rastafari. However,
practitioners reject the traditional depiction of
Jesus present in
Christianity, particularly the depiction of him as a white European,
believing that this is a perversion of the truth. They believe that
Jesus was a black African and that he was a Rasta.
treated with suspicion out of the view that the oppressors and the
oppressed cannot share the same God, with many Rastas taking the view
God worshipped by most white Christians is actually the Devil
. Rastas therefore often view Christian preachers as deceivers, and
Christianity as being guilty of furthering the oppression of
the African diaspora.
Jesus is given particular prominence among a
Rastafari denomination known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Rastas
belonging to this group refer to
Jesus as Yahshua and Yesus Kritos,
and believe that his second coming is forthcoming. Accordingly, they
do not share the view of other Rastas that
Haile Selassie was the
second coming of Jesus.
From Rastafari's origins, the religion was intrinsically linked with
Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia , who ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from
1930 to 1974. Although he is a figure held in esteem by all Rastas,
precise interpretations of his identity differ. For Rastas, Haile
Selassie is believed to be the messiah predicted in the Biblical Old
Testament , and the
Second Coming of
Jesus of Nazareth . Some Rastas
Haile Selassie as the embodiment of
manifested in human form. For them,
Haile Selassie was the living
God. For other Rastas,
Haile Selassie is seen as a messenger of God
rather than a manifestation of
God himself. As evidence for this,
Rastas point to the belief that both
Haile Selassie were
descendants from the royal line of
David . The Makonnen dynasty
claimed descent from the Biblical figures
Solomon and the Queen of
Sheba . Rastas also cite their interpretation of chapter 19 in the
Book of Revelation. Emperor
Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia ,
considered by Rastas to be the reincarnation of Christ.
On being crowned,
Haile Selassie was given the title of "King of
Kings and Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah".
Rastas use this title for
Haile Selassie alongside others, such as
"Almighty God", "Judge and Avenger", "King Alpha and Queen Omega",
"Returned Messiah", "Elect of God", and "Elect of Himself". Rastas
Haile Selassie as a symbol of their positive affirmation of
Africa as a source of spiritual and cultural heritage.
The 1974 overthrow of
Haile Selassie by the military
Derg and his
subsequent death in 1975 resulted in a crisis of faith for many
Rastas. Some practitioners left the movement altogether. Others
remained, and developed new strategies for dealing with the news. Some
Rastas believed that Selassie did not really die and that claims to
the contrary were Western misinformation. To bolster their argument,
they pointed to the fact that no corpse had been produced; in reality,
Haile Selassie's body had been buried beneath a toilet in his palace,
remaining undiscovered there until 1992. To support their claim of
his continued survival, some Rastas claimed that Selassie was now
living under a new name, Abba Keddus or Abba Keddus Keddus Keddus.
Another perspective within
Rastafari acknowledged that Haile
Selassie's body had perished, but claimed that his inner essence
survived as a spiritual force. A third response within the Rastafari
community was that Selassie's death was inconsequential as he had only
been a "personification" of
Jah rather than
During his life, Selassie described himself as a devout Christian.
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
Rastafari movement". For some Rastas, Haile Selassie's denials
are taken as evidence was that he was indeed the incarnation of God.
However, critics of the religion have insisted that
Haile Selassie was
merely a human being who never claimed to be God.
AFROCENTRISM, BABYLON, AND ZION
The eastern African nation of Ethiopia is given great prominence
in Rasta doctrine
According to Clarke,
Rastafari is "concerned above all else with
black consciousness, with rediscovering the identity, personal and
racial, of black people". The
Rastafari movement began among
Afro-Jamaicans who wanted to reject the British imperial culture that
dominated Jamaica, while at the same time making a determined effort
to create an identity based on a re-appropriation of their African
heritage. Rastas equate blackness with the African continent and thus
endorse a form of
Pan-Africanism . Practitioners of Rastafari
identify themselves with the ancient
Israelites —God's chosen people
Old Testament —and believe that black Africans or Rastas are
either the descendants or reincarnations of this ancient people.
Rastafari espouses the view that the true identity of black Africans
has been lost and needs to be reclaimed. In reclaiming this identity,
Rastas believe, they will help to rid themselves of feelings of
Rastafari teaches that the black
African diaspora are exiles living
in "Babylon", a term applied to Western society . For Rastas,
European colonialism and global capitalism are regarded as
manifestations of Babylon, while police and soldiers are viewed as
its agents. The term "Babylon" is adopted because of its Biblical
associations. In the Old Testament,
Babylon is the Mesopotamian city
which conquered and deported the
Israelites from their homeland
between 597 and 586 BCE. In the
New Testament , "Babylon" is used as
a euphemism for the
Roman Empire , which was regarded as acting in a
destructive manner akin to the ancient Babylonians. Rastas view
Babylon as being responsible for both the
Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade which
removed enslaved Africans from their continent and for the ongoing
poverty facing the African diaspora. Rastas turn to scripture to
explain the Atlantic slave trade. Rastas believe that the slavery,
exile, and exploitation of black Africans was punishment for failing
to live up to their status as Jah's chosen people.
Babylon is regarded as the ultimate evil . Rastas regard
the exile of the black
African diaspora in
Babylon as an experience of
great suffering, with the term "suffering" having a significant place
in Rasta discourse. Rastas seek to delegitimise and destroy Babylon,
something often conveyed in the Rasta aphorism "Chant down Babylon".
Rastas often expect white-dominated society to dismiss their beliefs
as false, and when this happens it is seen as confirmation of the
correctness of their faith, thus strengthening their convictions.
Map of Ethiopia, the "Zion" of the Rastas
Rastas view "
Zion " as an ideal to which they aspire. As with
"Babylon", this is again a term derived from the Bible, where it
referred to an idealised
Jerusalem , regarded as the City of God.
Rastas use the term in reference either to Ethiopia or to Africa more
widely, a land which has an almost mythological identity in Rasta
discourse. In doing so, Rastas reflect their desire to escape what
they perceive as the domination and degradation that they experience
in Babylon. During the first three decades of the
it placed strong emphasis on the need for the
African diaspora to be
repatriated to Africa. To this end, various Rastas lobbied the
Jamaican government and
United Nations to oversee this resettlement
process. Other Rastas organised their own transportation to the
African continent. Critics of the movement have argued that the
migration of the entire
African diaspora to Africa is implausible,
particularly as no African country would welcome this.
By the movement's fourth decade, the desire for physical repatriation
to Africa had declined among Rastas. This change in view was
influenced by observation of the
1983-1985 famine in Ethiopia .
Rather, many Rastas saw the idea of returning to Africa in a
metaphorical sense, entailing restoring their pride and
self-confidence as people of black African descent. The term
"liberation before repatriation" began to be used within the movement.
Some Rastas seek to transform Western society so that they may more
comfortably live within it rather than seeking to move to Africa.
There are nevertheless many Rastas who continue to emphasise the need
for physical resettlement of the
African diaspora in Africa.
There is no uniform Rasta view on race. Rastas typically believe
that black Africans are God's chosen people , meaning that they made a
deal with him and thus have a special responsibility. This is similar
to beliefs in
Judaism . Influenced by Garvey, many Rastas endorse
black supremacy , believing the black African race to be superior to
other racial groups. This has opened the religion up to accusations
of racism from its critics, including black Jamaicans. Cashmore noted
that there was an "implicit potential" for racism in Rasta beliefs but
that racism was not "intrinsic" to the religion. Some Rastas have
acknowledged that there is racism in the movement, primarily against
Europeans, Asians, and also against white European Rastas. Some Rasta
sects reject the idea that a white European could ever be a legitimate
Rasta, while others believe that an "African" identity is not
inherently linked to black skin but rather is about whether an
individual displays an African "attitude" or "spirit".
Salvation And Paradise
Rastafari has been characterised as a millenarianist movement, for
it espouses the idea that the present age will come to an apocalyptic
Babylon destroyed, Rastas believe that humanity will be
ushered into a "new age". In the 1980s, Rastas believed that this
would happen around the year 2000. In this Day of Judgement, Babylon
will be overthrown, and Rastas would be the chosen few who survive.
A common view in the Rasta community was that the world's white people
would wipe themselves out through nuclear war , with black Africans
then ruling the world, something that they argue is prophesied in
Daniel 2: 31–32. In Rasta belief, the end of this present age would
be followed by a millennium of peace, justice, and happiness in
Ethiopia. The righteous will live in paradise in Africa. Those who
Babylon will be denied access to paradise. The Rasta
conception of salvation has similarities with that promoted in Judaism
Rastas do not believe that there is a specific afterlife to which
human individuals go following bodily death. They believe in the
possibility of eternal life, and that only those who shun
righteousness will actually die. One Rasta view is that those who are
righteous are believed to go through a process of reincarnation ,
with an individual's identity remaining throughout each of their
incarnations. Barrett observed some Jamaican Rastas who believed that
those Rastas who did die had not been faithful to Jah. He suggested
that this attitude stemmed from the large numbers of young people that
were then members of the movement, and who had thus seen only few
Rastas die. In keeping with their views on death, Rastas eschew
celebrating physical death and often avoid funerals, also repudiating
the practice of ancestor veneration that is common among African
traditional religions .
MORALITY, ETHICS, AND GENDER ROLES
Barbados , wearing the
Rastafari colours of green,
gold, red and black on a rastacap .
Most Rastas share a pair of fundamental moral principles known as the
"two great commandments". These are love of
God and love of
Rastafari promotes the idea of "living naturally", in
accordance with what Rastas regard as nature's laws. It endorses the
idea that Africa is the "natural" abode of black Africans, a continent
where they can live according to African culture and tradition and be
themselves on a physical, emotional, and intellectual level.
Practitioners believe that Westerners and
Babylon have detached
themselves from nature through technological development and as a
result have become debilitated, slothful, and decadent.
Rastafari promotes what it regards as the restoration of black
manhood, believing that men in the
African diaspora have been
emasculated by Babylon.
Rastafari espouses patriarchal principles,
and promotes the idea that women should submit to male leadership.
External observers—including scholars like Edmonds —have claimed
Rastafari accords women an inferior position to men. Rasta
discourse often presents women as morally weak and susceptible to
deception by evil , and claims that they are impure during their
period of menstruation .
Rastafari mirrored the views on gender which
were common in Jamaican society more broadly; however, it has
retained its commitment to patriarchy while Jamaican society has moved
toward greater gender equity. Rastas legitimise these gender roles by
citing Biblical passages, particularly those in the Book of Leviticus
, and in the writings of
Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle .
Rasta women usually wear clothing that covers their head and masks
their body contours, in a manner akin to traditional Islamic clothing
. Long skirts are usually worn rather than trousers. Rasta discourse
legitimises this female dress code with the claim that it is necessary
to prevent women attracting men; it also endorses this female dress
code as an antidote to the sexual objectification of women in Babylon.
Rasta men are permitted to wear whatever they choose. Although men
and women took part in early Rasta rituals alongside each other, from
the late 1940s and 1950s a more radical movement within the Rasta
community encouraged gender segregation for ceremonies. This was
legitimised with the explanation that women were impure through
menstruation and that their presence at the ceremonies would distract
male participants. Rasta Shop, Oregon
Rasta men are permitted to have multiple female sex partners, while
women are expected to reserve their sexual activity for their one male
partner. Marriage is not usually formalised, although there are many
Rastas who are legally married. Rasta men refer to their female
partners as "queens", or "empresses", while the males in these
relationships are known as "kingmen".
Rastafari places great
importance on family life and the raising of children. The religion
emphasises the place of men in child-rearing, associating this with
the recovery of African manhood. Women often work, sometimes while
the man is left to raise the children at home.
rejects feminism , although since the 1970s there have been
increasing numbers of Rasta women calling for greater gender equity
Rastafari movement. Clarke encountered Rasta women in
Britain who expressed feminist sentiment and criticised sexism within
the religion. Some Rasta women have challenged gender norms by
wearing their hair uncovered in public and donning trousers.
Both contraception and abortion are usually censured by Rastas, and
a common claim in Rasta discourse is that these were inventions of
Babylon created in an attempt to decrease the black African
birth-rate. Rastas also typically express hostile attitudes to
homosexuality , regarding homosexuals as evil and unnatural; this
attitude derives from references to same-sex sexual activity in the
Bible . The scholar of religion Fortune Sibanda suggested that there
were likely homosexual Rastas who deliberately concealed their sexual
orientation because of these attitudes.
Some Rastas have promoted activism as a means of achieving
socio-political change, while others believe in awaiting change that
will be brought about through divine intervention in human affairs.
In Jamaica, Rastas do not typically vote and derogatorily dismiss
politics as "politricks". Most of these Jamaican practitioners have
rejected both capitalism and socialism as models of economic
The cultural and religious practices of
Rastafari are referred to as
"livity" by Rastas.
Rastafari has no professional priesthood, with
Rastas believing that there is no need for a priest to act as mediator
between the worshipper and divinity. There are individuals who are
regarded as elders within the community. This is an honorific title
bestowed upon those who have attained a good reputation among Rastas
because of their exemplary conduct. Although respected figures, they
do not necessarily have any administrative functions or
responsibilities among Rastafari. Elders are often in communication
with each other through a network.
Rastas in the West African country of Liberia
The term "grounding" is used among Rastas to refer to the
establishment of relationships between like-minded practitioners.
Groundings often take place in a commune or yard, and are presided
over by an elder. The elder is charged with keeping discipline in the
group, and can ban those who contravene the rules that they set forth.
The number of participants can range from a handful to several
hundred. Activities that take place at groundings include the playing
of drums, chanting, the singing of hymns, and the recitation of
poetry. Ganja, or cannabis, is often smoked. Most groundings contain
only men, with women being excluded. Some Rasta women have
established their own, all-female grounding circles.
One of the central activities that takes place at groundings is
"reasoning". This is a discussion among assembled Rastas about the
religion's principles and their relevance to current events. These
discussions are supposed to be non-combative, although attendees can
point out the fallacies in any arguments that are presented. Those
assembled inform each other about the revelations that they have
received through meditation and dream. Each contributor is supposed
to push the boundaries of understanding until the entire group has
gained greater insight into the topic under discussion. Cashmore
observed that in England, Rastas arrived and left throughout the
reasoning session. In meeting together with likeminded individuals,
reasoning helps Rastas to reassure one another of the correctness of
Rastafari meetings are opened and closed with prayers. Barrett
suggested that the most common example had "all the structure of a
classical ritual prayer". This prayer involves supplication of God,
the supplication for the hungry, sick, and infants, calls for the
destruction of the Rastas' enemies, and then closes with statements of
adoration. Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall stretch
forth her hand unto God. Oh thou
God of Ethiopia, thou
God of divine
majesty, thy spirit come within our hearts to dwell in the parts of
righteousness. That the hungry be fed, the sick nourished, the aged
protected, and the infant cared for. Teach us love and loyalty as it
is in Zion. — Opening passage of a common Rasta prayer
The largest groundings were known as "groundations" or "grounations"
in the 1950s, although were subsequently re-termed "Nyabinghi
Issemblies". The term
Nyabinghi is adopted from the name of a
mythical African queen. Several dates are often selected for
Nyabinghi Issemblies, particularly those associated with Ethiopia and
Haile Selassie. These include Ethiopian Christmas (7 January), the
day on which
Haile Selassie visited
Jamaica (21 April), Selassie's
birthday (23 July), Ethiopian New Year (11 September), Selassie's
coronation day (2 November). Some Rastas also organise Nyabinghi
Issemblies to mark Jamaica's Emancipation Day (1 August) and Marcus
Garvey 's birthday (17 August).
Nyabinghi Issemblies typically take place in rural areas, being
situated in the open air or in temporary structures—known as
"temples" or "tabernacles"—which are specifically constructed for
the purpose. Any elder seeking to sponsor a
Nyabinghi Issembly must
have approval from other elders to do so, and requires the adequate
resources to organise such an event. The assembly usually lasts
between three and seven days. During the daytime, those Rastas
attending the event engage in food preparation, ganja smoking, and
reasoning, while at night they focus on drumming and dancing around
Nyabinghi Issemblies often attract Rastas from a wide area,
including from different countries. They establish and maintain a
sense of solidarity among the Rasta community and cultivate a feeling
of collective belonging. They also help to confirm Rastas'
convictions in the veracity of
SPIRITUAL USE OF CANNABIS
Spiritual use of cannabis
Rastafari man carrying a
Clarke stated that the "principle ritual" of
Rastafari was the
smoking of ganja, or cannabis . Among the names that Rastas give to
the drug are callie, Iley, "the herb", "the grass", and "the weed".
When smoked in ritual contexts, Rastas often refer to it as "the holy
herb". In addition to smoking it, Rastas also ingest cannabis in a
tea, as a spice in cooking, and as an ingredient in medicine.
Cannabis is usually smoked during groundings, although some Rastas
smoke it almost all of the time. Others have criticised this
practice, believing that use of the drug should be restricted to
groundings. However, not all Rastas use ganja, explaining that they
have already achieved a higher level of consciousness and thus do not
Rastas argue that the use of ganja is promoted in the Bible,
specifically in Genesis 1: 29,
Psalms 18:8, and Revelations 22:2.
Rastas portray cannabis as the supreme herb, and regard it as having
healing properties. They also eulogise it for inducing feelings of
"peace and love" in those taking it, and claim that it cultivates a
form of personal introspection that allows the smoker to discover
their inner divinity, or "InI consciousness". Some Rastas express the
view that cannabis smoke serves as an incense that counteracts
perceived immoral practices, such as same-sex sexual relations, in
When meeting in a grounding, Rastas typically remove their head gear
first. Rastas most often smoke cannabis through a form of large
cigarette known as a spliff . This is often rolled together while a
prayer is offered to Jah; only once this is completed is the spliff
then lit, enabling it to be smoked. At other times, cannabis is
smoked not in a spliff but in a water pipe referred to as a "chalice".
There are different styles of chalices used by Rastas, including
kutchies , chillums , and steamers . The pipe is passed in a
counter-clockwise direction around the assembled circle of Rastas.
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 22:2. There are various
methods of transmission that might explain how cannabis smoking came
to be part of Rastafari. One possible source was the African diasporic
Kumina , based on the practices of Bakongo enslaved people
and indentured labourers who were brought to
Jamaica in the
mid-nineteenth century. In Kumina, cannabis was smoked during
religious ceremonies in the belief that it facilitated possession by
ancestral spirits. The religion was largely practiced in south-east
Jamaica's Saint Thomas Parish , where a prominent early Rasta, Leonard
Howell , lived during the period he was developing many of Rastafari's
beliefs and practices.
A second possible source was the use of cannabis in various Hindu
rituals. Hindu migrants arrived in
Jamaica as indentured servants from
British India between 1834 and 1917, and brought the use of cannabis
with them. One Jamaican Hindu priest, Laloo, was one of Howell's
spiritual advisors, and may have influenced his adoption of ganja. It
is also possible that its adoption was also influenced by the
widespread medicinal and recreational use of cannabis among
Afro-Jamaicans in the early twentieth century.
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. In smoking an illegal substance, Rastas
protest the rules and regulations of Babylon. Rastas have advocated
the legalisation of cannabis. The Rasta usage of ganja has attracted
much popular, scholarly, and legal debate.
Rastafari music developed at reasoning sessions, where drumming,
chanting, and dancing are all present. Rasta music is performed to
praise and commune with Jah. In performing it, Rastas also reaffirm
their rejection of Babylon. Rastas believe that their music has
healing properties, with the ability to cure colds, fevers, and
headaches. Many of these songs are sung to the tune of older
Christian hymns, but others are original Rasta creations.
The bass-line of Rasta music is provided by the akete , a three-drum
set, which is accompanied by percussion instruments like rattles and
tambourines . A syncopated rhythm is then provided by the fundeh
drum. In addition, a peta drum improvises over the rhythm. The
different components of the music are regarded as displaying different
symbolism; the bassline symbolises blows against Babylon, while the
lighter beats denote hope for the future.
The first person to record Rasta music was
Count Ossie , a drummer
who believed that black people needed to develop their own style of
music. He was heavily influenced by
Burru , two drumming
styles developed by African-Jamaicans. Ossie subsequently
popularised this new
Rastafari ritual music by playing at various
groundings and groundations around Jamaica. By the 1960s, Rastafari
had begun to influence Jamaican popular music , particularly through
the work of Ossie and
Don Drummond . Rasta ideas began to feature in
the lyrics of mento songs, such as Lord Lebby 's "Ethiopia". Rasta
ritual rhythms also began to be incorporated into reggae , and soon
the genre also began to incorporate Rasta chants, language, motifs,
and social critiques. As a genre, reggae contains much Rastafari
symbolism; however, most Rastas do not listen to reggae music. The
connection between reggae and
Rastafari has often been
over-exaggerated by those outside the religious movement. Like an
older form of Caribbean music, calypso , reggae soon became a medium
for social commentary from members of the African diaspora.
LANGUAGE AND SYMBOLISM
In the 1940s, a distinct form of Rasta language, often known as
"dreadtalk", developed among Jamaican practitioners. Rastas typically
regard words as having an intrinsic power, with
reflecting Rastas' own experiences, as well as fostering a group
identity and cultivating particular values. Rastas seek to avoid
language that contributes to servility, self-degradation, and the
objectification of the person. They believe that the English language
is a tool of Babylon, and thus by formulating their own language are
launching an ideological attack on the integrity of the English
language. The use of this language helps Rastas distinguish
themselves from non-Rastas, for whom—according to Barrett—Rasta
rhetoric can be "meaningless babbling". Garvey adopted the three
colours of the Ethiopian flag for his movement; Rastas in turn adopted
When greeting one another, Rastas often say "Peace and Love". Rastas
make wide use of the pronoun "I". The use of this word denotes the
Rasta view that the self is divine. It also reminds each Rasta that
they are a human being, not a slave, and that they have value, worth,
and dignity as a human being. For instance, Rastas use "I" in place
of "me", "I and I" in place of "we", "I-ceive" in place of "receive",
"I-sire" in place of "desire", "I-rate" in place of "create", and
"I-men" in place of "
Amen ". Rastas refer to this process as "InI
Consciousness" or "Isciousness". Rastas typically refer to Haile
Selaisse as "
Haile Selassie I", thus indicating their belief in his
divinity. Rastas also typically believe that the phonetics of a word
should be linked to its meaning. For instance, Rastas often use the
word "downpression" in place of "oppression" because oppression bears
down on people rather than lifting them up, with "up" being
phonetically akin to the "opp-". Similarly, they often favour
"livicate" over "dedicate" because "ded-" is phonetically akin to the
Rastafarians often make use of the colours red, black, and green,
which were previously the colours of the Garvey movement; Garvey in
turn had adopted them from the Ethiopian flag . According to Garvey,
the red symbolises the blood of martyrs, the black symbolises the skin
of Africans, and the green represents the vegetation of the land.
Many Rastas also include the colour gold alongside these previous
three, which has been adopted from the flag of
Jamaica . Displaying
these colours on their clothing marks Rastas out from non-Rastas and
allows adherents to recognise their co-religionists.
Ital An ital breakfast; ackee, plantain, boiled
food, breadfruit, and mango-pineapple juice
Rastas seek to produce food "naturally", eating what they call ital
, or "natural" food. This is often produced organically , and
locally. Most Rastas adhere to the dietary laws outlined in the Old
Book of Leviticus , and thus avoid eating pork or
crustaceans. Other Rastas remain totally vegetarian , and also avoid
the addition of any additives, including sugar and salt, to their
food. In Jamaica, Rasta practitioners have commercialised ital food,
for instance by selling fruit juices prepared according to Rasta
Rastas typically avoid food produced by non-Rastas or from unknown
sources. Rasta men also refuse to eat food prepared by a woman while
she was menstruating. They also avoid alcohol , cigarettes , heroin
, and cocaine .
Dreadlocks Rasta man with tuff dreads
Through their use of language, dress, dreaded hair, and lifestyle
Rastas seek to draw a clear boundary between themselves and
non-Rastas. One of the "distinguishing mark of the movement" is the
formation of hair into dreadlocks . The formation of dreadlocks is
Biblically inspired, legitimised by reference to the Book of Numbers
(6: 5–6). They are regarded as marking a covenant that the Rastas
have made with God, and are also regarded as a symbol of strength
linked to the hair of the Biblical figure of
Samson . Sometimes this
dreadlocked hair is then shaped and styled, often inspired by a lion's
mane symbolising Haile Selassie, who is regarded as "the Conquering
Lion of Judah
Lion of Judah ". For Rastas, the wearing of dreads is a symbolic
Babylon and a refusal to conform to its norms and
standards regarding grooming aesthetics. They also reflect a
commitment to the Rasta idea of 'naturalness'. Rastas are often
critical of black people who straighten their hair, believing that it
is an attempt to imitate white European hair and thus reflects
alienation from a person's African identity.
There are Rastas who do not wear their hair in dreadlocks; within the
religion they are often termed "cleanface" Rastas. Some Rastas have
also joined the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Christian organisation
Haile Selassie belonged, and these individuals are required
to not wear their hair in locks by the Church. Many Rastas also grow
their beards long. In reference to Rasta hairstyles, Rastas often
refer to non-Rastas as "baldheads", while those who are new to
Rastafari and who have only just started to grow their hair into
dreads are known as "nubbies". Members of the
Bobo Ashanti sect of
Rastas conceal their dreadlocks within turbans. The tam headdress
worn by many Rastas is coloured green, red, black, and yellow to
symbolise allegiance and identification with Ethiopia.
From the beginning of the
Rastafari movement in the 1930s, adherents
typically grew beards and tall hair, perhaps in imitation of Haile
Selassie. The wearing of hair as dreadlocks then emerged as a Rasta
practice in the 1940s. Within the oral culture of the movement, there
are various different claims as to how this practice was adopted. One
claim is that it was adopted in imitation of certain African nations,
such as the Maasai ,
Somalis , or Oromo , or that it was inspired by
the hairstyles worn by some of those involved in the anti-colonialist
Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya. An alternative explanation is that it was
inspired by the hairstyles of the Hindu sadhus .
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 hairlocked Rastas to a subgroup
first appearing in 1949, known as Youth Black Faith. Rastafari
man in rastacap
The wearing of dreadlocks has faced opposition from other sectors of
Jamaica during the mid-20th century, teachers and police
officers used to cut off the dreads of Rastas. 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 the razor , the scissors and the comb are the three
Babylonian or Roman inventions.
Dreadlocks and Rastafari-inspired clothing have also been worn for
aesthetic reasons by non-Rastas. For instance, many reggae musicians
who do not adhere to the
Rastafari religion wear their hair in dreads.
Rastafari of African descent wear locks as an expression of
pride in their ethnic identity, or simply as a hairstyle, and take a
less purist approach to developing and grooming them. The wearing of
dreads also has spread among people of other ethnicities. Locks worn
for stylish reasons are sometimes referred to as "bathroom locks", to
distinguish them from the kind that are purely natural. Rastafari
purists also sometimes refer to such dreadlocked individuals as
"wolves", as in "a wolf in sheep's clothing", especially when they are
seen as trouble-makers who might potentially discredit or infiltrate
Rastafari. The wearing of dreadlocks has also contributed to the
negative view of
Rastafari held by many non-Rastas, who regard it as
wild and unattractive.
Rastafari movement developed out of the legacy of the Atlantic
slave trade , in which over ten million Africans were enslaved and
transported from Africa to the Americas between the sixteenth and
nineteenth centuries. Here, they were sold to European planters and
forced to work on the plantations. Around a third of these
transported Africans were relocated in the Caribbean, with under
700,000 being settled in Jamaica. Here, the enslaved Africans were
divided into a stratified system, with field workers on the lowest
rung and house servants above them. In 1834, slavery in
abolished after the British government passed the Slavery Abolition
Act 1833 . Racial prejudice nevertheless remained prevalent across
Jamaican society, with those of African descent being second-class
citizens . For most of the nineteenth century, the overwhelming
majority of Jamaica's legislative council was white. Formerly
enslaved Africans and Afro-Jamaicans became free peasants. In the
three decades after emancipation, the Free Village system proliferated
Jamaica as non-conformist missionaries, particularly Baptist,
purchased land from the large owners and sold it as smaller plots to
The Great Revival of 1860–61 witnessed increasing numbers of
Afro-Jamaicans join Christian churches. They brought with them many
inherited African beliefs and rituals, which syncretised with
Christianity in various ways and to varying degrees. Some of the new
religions that emerged, such as Pukkumina, remained heavily based on
traditional African religion, while others, like Revival Zion, were
more fully Christian. The majority of these groups practiced
spiritual healing and incorporated drumming and chanting, counselling,
and beliefs in spirit possession into their structures. Increasing
numbers of Pentecostal missionaries from the United States arrived in
Jamaica during the early twentieth century, reaching a climax in the
1920s. These Christian movements provided a way for black
Jamaicans—who continued to live with the social memory of
enslavement and who were denied any substantial participation in
Jamaica's political institutions—to express their hopes, fears, and
ETHIOPIANISM, BACK TO AFRICA, AND MARCUS GARVEY
Marcus Garvey, a prominent African nationalist theorist who
Rastafari and is regarded as a prophet by many
According to the scholar of religion Ennis B. Edmonds, Rastafari
emerged from "the convergence of several religious, cultural, and
intellectual streams". Both
Ethiopianism and the
Back to Africa ethos
remain "fundamental ingredients of Rastafarian ideology". These two
Rastafari and can be traced back to the eighteenth
century. In the nineteenth century, there were growing calls for the
African diaspora located in Western Europe and the Americas to be
resettled in Africa. In that century, many members of the African
diaspora were moved to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Based in Liberia,
the black Christian preacher
Edward Wilmot Blyden
Edward Wilmot Blyden began promoting
African pride and the preservation of African tradition, customs, and
institutions. Blyden sought to promote a form of
was suited to the African context. The idea of the African diaspora's
return to Africa was given impetus by the creation of the State of
Israel in 1948 as a nation-state for the
Jewish diaspora to return to.
Also spreading through Africa was Ethiopianism, a movement that
accorded special status to the east African nation of Ethiopia because
it was mentioned in various Biblical passages. For adherents of
Ethiopianism, "Ethiopia" was regarded as a synonym of Africa as a
whole. Across the continent, although particularly in South Africa,
Christian churches were established that referred to themselves as
"Ethiopian"; these groups were at the forefront of the burgeoning
African nationalist movement that sought liberation from European
Garvey supported the idea of global racial separatism and rejected
the idea that black people of African descent living in the Americas
should campaign for their civil rights; instead he believed that they
should migrate en masse back to Africa. His ideas were opposed by
many blacks in the Americas and he experienced hostility from
African-American civil rights activists like
W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois . He
also faced opposition from the government of Liberia, which did not
want millions of unskilled migrants arriving on its shores. As a mass
movement, Garveyism declined in the
Great Depression of the 1930s.
A rumour later spread that in 1916, Garvey had called on his
supporters to "look to Africa" for the crowning of a black king; this
quote was never verified. Soumahoro noted that this statement was
"legendary". Rather, Garvey was critical of
Haile Selassie for
leaving Ethiopia at the time of the Italian Fascist occupation,
describing the king as "a great coward" who rules a "country where
black men are chained and flogged."
Rastafari does not promote all
of the views that Garvey espoused, but nevertheless shares many of the
same perspectives, with many Rastas regarding Garvey as a prophet.
According to Soumahoro,
Rastafari "emerged from the socio-political
ferment inaugurated by Marcus Garvey", while for Cashmore, Garvey was
the "most important" precursor of the
HAILE SELASSIE AND THE EARLY RASTAS: 1930–1949
Selassie I in the 1930s
Haile Selassie I was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930. A
number of Christian clergymen, among them Howell, Hibbert, Dunkley,
and Hinds, claimed that Selassie's coronation was evidence that he was
the black messiah that they believed was prophesied in the Book of
Revelation (5:2–5; 19:16), the
Book of Daniel (7:3), and the Book of
Psalms (68:31). These preachers began promoting this idea within
Kingston, and soon the message spread throughout 1930s Jamaica.
Clarke stated that "to all intents and purposes this was the
beginning" of the
Over the following years, a number of street preachers—most notably
Leonard Howell ,
Archibald Dunkley , Robert Hinds , and Joseph Hibbert
—began promoting the idea that
Haile Selassie was the returned
Jesus. Howell has been described as the "First Rasta", and the
"leading figure" in the early
Rastafari movement. Howell preached
that black Africans were superior to white Europeans and that
Afro-Jamaicans should owe their allegiance to
Haile Selassie rather
than to George V , King of Great Britain and Ireland . The island's
British authorities arrested him and charged him with sedition,
resulting in a two-year imprisonment. Following his release, Howell
established the Ethiopian Salvation Society and in 1939 created a
Rasta community known as Pinnacle, in St Catherine. The community
attracted between 500 and 2000 people, who were largely
self-sufficient. Police feared that Howell was training his followers
for an armed rebellion and were angered that it was producing
marijuana for sale among the wider community. They raided the
community on several occasions and Howell was imprisoned for a further
two years. On his release he returned to Pinnacle, but the police
continued with their raids and shut down the community in 1954; Howell
himself was committed to a mental hospital.
In 1936, Italy invaded and occupied Ethiopia , with Haile Selassie
going into exile. The event brought international condemnation and
growing sympathy for the Ethiopian cause. In 1937, Selassie then
Ethiopian World Federation , which established a branch in
Jamaica in 1938. In 1941, the Italians were driven out of Ethiopia
and Selassie returned. For many Rastas, this event was interpreted as
the fulfilment of an event described in the Book of Revelation
SUBSEQUENT DEVELOPMENT: 1950–PRESENT
Rastafari's main appeal was among the lower classes of Jamaican
society. For its first thirty years,
Rastafari was in a conflictual
relationship with the Jamaican authorities. Jamaica's Rastas
expressed contempt for many aspects of the island's society, viewing
the government, police, bureaucracy, professional classes, and
established churches as instruments of Babylon. Relations between
practitioners and the police were strained, with Rastas often being
arrested for cannabis possession. During the 1950s the movement grew
Jamaica itself and also spread to other Caribbean islands,
the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Reggae musician Bob
Marley did much to raise international awareness of the Rastafari
In the 1940s and 1950s, a more militant brand of
The vanguard of this was the House of Youth Black
Faith , a group
whose members were largely based in West Kingston . Backlash against
the Rastas grew after a practitioner of the religion allegedly killed
a woman in 1957. In March 1958, the first Rastafarian Universal
Convention was held in Back-o-Wall , Kingston. Following the event,
militant Rastas unsuccessfully tried to capture the city in the name
of Haile Selassie. Later that year they tried again in
Spanish Town .
The increasing militancy of some Rastas resulted in growing alarm
about the religion in Jamaican society. According to Cashmore, the
Rastas became "folk devils" in Jamaican society. In 1959, the
self-declared prophet and founder of the African Reform Church ,
Claudius Henry , sold thousands of black Jamaicans, including many
Rastas, tickets for a ship that he claimed would take them to Africa.
The ship never arrived and Henry was charged with fraud. In 1960 he
was sentenced to six years imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow
the government. Henry's son was accused of being part of a
paramilitary cell and executed, confirming public fears about Rasta
In August 1966,
Haile Selassie visited
Jamaica for the first time,
with crowds of Rastas assembling to meet him at the airport. The
event was the high point for many Rastas. During the 1960s, Rastafari
developed in increasingly complex ways. Whereas its support had
previously come predominantly from poorer sectors of Jamaican society,
in this decade it began to attract support from more privileged groups
like students and musicians. The foremost group emphasising this
approach were the Twelve Tribes of Israel, whose members came to be
known as "Uptown Rastas". At the time, some Rastas began to
reinterpret the idea that salvation required a physical return to
Africa, instead interpreting salvation as coming through a process of
mental decolonisation that embraced African approaches to life.
Many of the Rastas in the 1960s were influenced by the Black Power
movement that had established in the African-American community. For
many black youth,
Rastafari helped to fill the vacuum left by the
Black Power following the death of
Malcolm X ,
Michael X ,
and George Jackson .
Black Power ideas exerted a further interest in
Rastafari via the Guyanese academic
Walter Rodney who gave a series of
lectures to Jamaica's Rasta community in 1968, subsequently publishing
these as the pamphlet Groundings. During the early 1970s, Rasta
musicians had become an increasingly influential part of Jamaican
political life. The most successful of these was the reggae artist
Bob Marley who—according to Cashmore—"more than any other
individual, was responsible for introducing Rastafarian themes,
concepts and demands to a truly universal audience". The country's
Michael Manley courted and obtained support from
Marley, something which helped to bolster his popularity with the
electorate. Manley described Rastas as a "beautiful and remarkable
people", and carried a cane that he referred to as the "rod of
correction" and which he claimed was a gift given to him by Haile
Selassie. More widely, political groups increasingly employed Rasta
language, symbols, and reggae references in their campaigns. This
helped to confer greater legitimacy on
Rastafari in Jamaican society.
Barrett suggested that between 1961 and 1971, Jamaican Rastafari
underwent a process of routinization.
Rastafari was likely dampened by the death of Haile
Selassie in 1975 and then that of Marley in 1981. A number of
publicly prominent Rastas converted to Christianity, and two of those
who did so—Judith Mowatt and
Tommy Cowan —both maintained that
Marley had converted from
Rastafari to Christianity, in the form of
Ethiopian Orthodox Church , during his final days. Post-1980,
Pentecostalism and other Christian Charismatic groups proved more
successful at converting young people in
Jamaica than Rastafari. The
Rastafari messages in reggae also declined with the
growing popularity of dancehall , a Jamaican musical genre that
typically foregrounded lyrical themes of hyper-masculinity, violence,
and sexual activity rather than religious messages. Since the
mid-1990s, however, there was a revival of Rastafari-focused reggae
associated with musicians like
Anthony B ,
Buju Banton ,
Sizzla , and
Capleton . From the 1990s,
Jamaica also witnessed the
growth of organised political activity within the Rasta community,
seen for instance through campaigns for the legalisation of marijuana
and the creation of political parties like the Jamaican Alliance
Movement and the Imperial
Ethiopian World Federation Incorporated
Political Party , none of which have attained more than minimal
Rastafari is not a homogeneous movement and has no single
administrative structure, nor any single leader. Centralised and
hierarchical structures are avoided by Rastas because they want to
avoid replicating the formal structures of Babylon. Rastas also tend
to avoid hierarchic and bureaucratic structures because of the
ultra-individualistic ethos that the religion promotes with its ideas
about inner divinity.
The structure of
Rastafari groups is less like those of Christian
denominations and is instead akin to the cellular structure of other
African diasporic traditions like
Haitian Vodou , Cuban
Santeria , and
Zion . Since the 1970s, there have been attempts to
fashion a pan-Rasta unity movement, namely through the establishment
Rastafari Movement Association , which sought political
mobilisation. In 1982, the first international assembly of Rastafari
groups took place in
Toronto , Canada. This and subsequent
international conferences, assemblies, and workshops have helped to
cement global networks and cultivate an international community of
MANSIONS OF RASTAFARI
Mansions of Rastafari
Within Rastafari, there are distinct groups which display particular
orientations. There are often referred to as "houses" or "mansions",
in keeping with a passage from the
Gospel of John
Gospel of John (14:2): as
translated in the King James
Jesus states "In my father's
house are many mansions". The three most prominent branches are the
House of Nyabinghi, the Bobo Ashanti, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel,
although other important groups include the Church of Haile Selassie
I, Inc., and the Fulfilled Rastafari.
The House of
Nyabinghi is an aggregate of more traditional and
militant Rastas who seek to retain the movement close to the way in
which it existed during the 1940s. They stress the idea that Haile
Selassie was a manifestation of
God and the reincarnation of Jesus.
The wearing of dreadlocks is regarded as indispensable, and
patriarchal gender roles are strongly emphasised.
refuse to make any compromise with Babylon, and are often critical of
reggae musicians like
Bob Marley whom they regard as having
collaborated with the commercial music industry. According to
Nyabinghi House is "vehemently anti-white". It is
probably the largest
Bobo Ashanti sect was founded in
Jamaica by Emanuel Charles
Edwards through the establishment of his Ethiopia Africa Black
International Congress (EABIC) in 1958. The group established a
Bull Bay , where they were led by Edwards, who served as
the group's high priest, until his 1994 death. The group hold to a
highly rigid ethos. Edwards advocated the idea of a new trinity, with
Haile Selassie as the living God, himself as the Christ, and Garvey as
the prophet. Male members of the group are divided into two
categories: the "priests" who conduct religious services and the
"prophets" who take place in reasoning sessions. Women are regarded
as impure because of menstruation and childbirth, and so are not
permitted to cook for men. The group teaches that black Africans are
God's chosen people and thus are superior to white Europeans. Members
of this sect are recognisable by their attire, which include long,
flowing robes and turbans. Since the 1990s, increasing numbers of Bob
Ashanti Rastas have lived outside the
Bull Bay commune, but continue
to regard the latter as a place of pilgrimage . Twelve Tribes of
Israel headquarters in
Shashamane , Ethiopia
The Twelve Tribes of
Israel sect was founded in 1968 by Vernon
Carrington . He regarded himself as the reincarnation of the Old
Testament prophet Gad , one of
Jacob 's twelve sons, and his followers
thus refer to him as "Prophet Gad" or "Gadman". It is commonly
regarded as the most liberal form of
Rastafari and the closest to
Christianity in its beliefs; Barrett stated that there was "only a
thin line dividing the sect from true Christianity". Practitioners
are often dubbed "Christian Rastas" because they believe
Jesus is the
messiah and only saviour;
Haile Selassie is accorded importance, but
is not viewed as the second coming of Jesus. The group divides its
members into twelve groups according to which month in the Hebrew
calendar they were born; each month is associated with a particular
colour, body part, and mental function. Maintaining dreadlocks and an
ital diet are considered commendable but not essential, while
adherents are called upon to read a chapter of the
Bible each day.
Some Rastas regarded the Twelve Tribes as a heretical group for its
views. The Twelve Tribes peaked in popularity during the 1970s, when
it attracted artists, musicians, and many middle-class followers,
resulting in the term "middle-class Rastas" and "uptown Rastas" being
applied to members of the group. Marley was one such of these
musicians belonging to the Twelve Tribes. Carrington died in 2005,
since which time the Twelve Tribes of
Israel have been led by an
The Church of Haile Selassie, Inc was founded by Abuna Foxe, and
operated much like a mainstream Christian church, with a hierarchy of
functionaries, weekly services, and
Sunday schools . In New York ,
the group have established prison chaplains. In adopting this broad
approach, the Church seeks to develop Rastafari's respectability in
wider society. Fulfilled
Rastafari is a multi-ethnic movement that
has spread in popularity during the twenty-first century, in large
part through the
Internet . The Fulfilled
Rastafari group accept
Haile Selassie's statements that he was a man and that he was a devout
Christian, and so place emphasis on worshipping
Jesus Christ through
the example set forth by Haile Selassie. The wearing of dreadlocks
and the adherence to an ital diet are considered issues up to the
Born in the ghettos of Kingston, Jamaica, the Rastafarian movement
has captured the imagination of thousands of black youth, and some
white youth, throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, Britain, France, and
other countries in Western Europe and North America. It is also to be
found in smaller numbers in parts of Africa—for example, in
Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal—and in Australia and New Zealand,
particularly among the Maori. — Sociologist of religion Peter B.
Clarke , 1986
As of 2012, there were an estimated 700,000 to 1 million Rastas
worldwide. They can be found in many different regions, including
most of the world's major population centers. Rastafari's influence
on wider society has been more substantial than its numerical size,
particularly in fostering a racial, political, and cultural
consciousness among the African diaspora, Africans themselves, and
other dominated communities across the world.
The Rasta message resonates with many people who feel marginalised
and alienated by the values and institutions of their society. In
valorising Africa and blackness,
Rastafari provides a positive
identity for youth in the
African diaspora by allowing them to
psychologically reject their social stigmatisation. It then provides
these disaffected people with the discursive stance from which they
can challenge capitalism and consumerism, providing them with symbols
of resistance and defiance. Cashmore expressed the view that
"whenever there are black people who sense an injust disparity between
their own material conditions and those of the whites who surround
them and tend to control major social institutions, the Rasta messages
have relevance." According to sociologist of religion Peter B. Clarke
Rastafari "helped to provide many people of African descent with a
deeper sense of their African identity".
Rastafari is a religion dominated by men. In the religion's early
years, most of its followers were men, and the women who did adhere to
it tended to remain in the background. This picture of Rastafari's
demographics has been confirmed by ethnographic studies conducted in
the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
CONVERSION AND DISILLUSIONMENT
Rastafari is a non-missionary religion. However, elders from Jamaica
often go "trodding" to meet with newly converted Rastas in order to
instruct them in the fundamentals of the religion. On examining the
Rasta movement in England during the 1970s, Cashmore noted that Rastas
had not converted instantaneously to the belief system, but rather had
undergone "a process of drift" through which they gradually adopted
Rasta beliefs and practices, resulting in their ultimate acceptance of
the central importance of Haile Selassie. Rastas often claim
that—rather than converting to the religion—they were actually
always a Rasta and that their actual embrace of its beliefs was merely
the realisation of this. There is no formal ritual carried out to
mark an individual's entry into the
They regard themselves as an exclusive and elite community,
membership of which is restricted to those who have the "insight" to
recognise the importance of Haile Selassie. Rastas often regard
themselves as being the "enlightened ones" who have "seen the light".
Many see no point in establishing good relations with non-Rastas,
believing that the latter will never accept
Rastafari doctrine as
truth. English Rastas have for instance expressed criticism of black
Britons who have not embraced the religion, stating that they have
been "brainwashed", "misguided by European Christianity", and "blinded
Some Rastas have left the religion. Clarke noted that among the
British Rastas whom he communicated with, he found that some returned
Pentecostalism and other forms of Christianity, while others
Islam or no religion. Some of these British ex-Rastas
described disillusionment when the societal transformation promised by
Rasta belief failed to appear, while others felt that while Rastafari
would be appropriate for agrarian communities in Africa and the
Caribbean, it was not suited to the industrialised and materialistic
society in the UK. Some experienced disillusionment after developing
the view that
Haile Selassie had been an oppressive leader of the
Ethiopian people. Cashmore found that some of English Rastas who had
more militant views left the religion after finding its focus on
reasoning and musical outlets insufficient for the struggle against
white domination and racism.
JAMAICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Rastafari as "the largest, most identifiable,
indigenous movement in Jamaica." As of the mid-1980s, there were
approximately 70,000 members and sympathisers of the Rastafari
movement in Jamaica. The majority of these individuals were male,
working-class, former Christians aged between 18 and 40.
often valorised by Rastas as the fountain-head of their faith, and
many Rastas living elsewhere travel to the island on pilgrimage in
order to "drink from the source".
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". Jamaica's Rasta
population were initially entirely from the
and although most Jamaican Rastas remain Afro-Jamaican, it has also
gained members from the island's Chinese , Indian , Afro-Chinese,
Afro-Jewish, mulatto , and white minorities. Until 1965 the vast
majority were from the lower classes, although since that point it
attracted many middle-class members. By the 1980s, there were
Jamaican Rastas working as lawyers and university professors. The
majority are male. These Rastas are predominantly ex-Christians.
During the 1970s,
Rastafari ideas were spread through much of the
eastern Caribbean through the growing popularity of reggae. Rasta
ideas complemented the anti-colonial and Afrocentric views then
prevailing in countries like Trinidad, Grenada, Dominica, and St
Vincent. In these countries, the early Rastas often engaged in
cultural and political movements to a greater extent than their
Jamaican counterparts had. A number of Rastas were involved in
New Jewel Movement and were given positions in the
Grenadine government until it was overthrown and replaced following
the U.S. invasion of 1983 .
Reggae was introduced to Cuba in the 1970s by Jamaican students. By
the 1980s, underground reggae parties were being held in Havana and
Santiago. Foreign Rastas who were studying in Cuba during the 1990s
connected with this reggae scene and helped to ground it in Rasta
Since the founding of Rastafari, some practitioners have followed
through with their belief in resettlement in Africa. The West African
states of Ghana and Nigeria have been particularly favoured. In the
1960s, a Rasta community established itself in
Shashamane , Ethiopia,
on land made available for members of the
African diaspora by Haile
Selassie's Ethiopian World Federation. The community faced many
problems; 500 acres were confiscated by the Marxist government of
Mengistu Haile Mariam . There were also conflicts with local
Ethiopians, who largely regarded the incoming Rastas, and their
Ethiopia-born children, as foreigners. The
peaked at a population of 2000, although subsequently declined to
around 200. Rasta mural in Ethiopia
There are a substantial number of Rastas, Federation des Rastas du
Congo, or FERACO that make up Ndjili Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of
Congo . The House of Judah Community in Azania and other areas of
South Africa have some of the largest and most prominent Rastafari
communities, and a
Nyabinghi Groundation is regularly held.
There is a
Rastafari community in
Malawi as well. They have had
influences in the music industry in
Malawi where reggae remains a
popular form of music. The Malawian reggae band Black Missionaries
continues to propagate the
Rastafari culture and issues in Malawi.
They have featured at the
Lake of Stars Music Festival , an
international music festival which features international artists
including many of Malawi's reggae artists. They have also brought
Malawi-style reggae to the international scene through their
performance abroad, including in the United States. One of Malawi's
most popular reggae singers used to be
Lucius Banda , who was
especially outspoken against the autocratic state of
Kamuzu Banda .
Later, he briefly became a member of Parliament in the now Democratic
Malawi. Another outspoken Malawian reggae artist, Evison Matafale
known as "The prophet" was imprisoned in
Malawi and later died under
police custody in 2001.
Rastafari orders have also been established in Zimbabwe, all
of which send representatives to the
Rastafari Association of
During the 1950s and 1960s, several thousand Caribbean migrants
settled in the United Kingdom , some of whom brought
them. In 1955, a short-lived Rasta group was established in
South London, and by the latter part of the 1950s, a Rasta community
had settled in the
Notting Hill area of Northwest London. By the late
Rastafari had attracted converts from the second-generation of
British Caribbean people, offering an outlet for the economic
hardship, racial discrimination, and social isolation that many faced.
It spread among the black working-classes not just of London, but
Manchester , and Bristol
. Its spread was aided by the gang structures that had been
cultivated among black British youth by the rudeboy subculture; these
gangs proved to be a breeding ground for
Rastafari themes. This
social structure allowed for the promotion of in-gang associations and
the restrictions of contacts with Babylon. British
increasing attention in the 1970s as a result of reggae's popularity.
In that same decade it also faced increasing opposition, being
regarded as a criminal sub-culture by both much of the press, and by
the police, resulting in complaints of police harassment.
According to Clarke's research, the majority are from black
working-class families who practiced Pentecostalism, although a small
number are from white families. Cashmore found that the majority of
English Rastas were male and that most had few or no educational
qualifications. He also found that around 50% of them were
unemployed, and 45% employed in manual occupations; only 5% were in
more skilled jobs or higher education. In 1986, there were an
estimated 5000 Rastas living in the United Kingdom. Clarke believed
that there were "probably fewer members" at this time then there had
been at the start of the 1980s, with the movement declining following
Marley's death. According to the
2001 United Kingdom Census there are
Rastafari living in
England and Wales
England and Wales . Clarke described
Rastafari as a numerically small but "extremely influential" component
of black British life.
Rastafari was also established in various continental European
countries, among them the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, and France,
gaining a particular foothold among black migrant populations but also
attracting a growing number of white converts. Rasta communities were
also established in two French cities that had substantial black
Rastafari was introduced to the United States and Canada with the
migration of Jamaicans to continental North America in the 1960s and
1970s. As with the case in the UK, American police were often
suspicious of Rastas and regarded their religion as a criminal
A small but devoted Rasta community developed in
Japan in the late
1970s and early 1980s.
Jamaicans in Ethiopia
Jamaicans in Ethiopia
List of topics related to Black and African people
Religious and spiritual use of cannabis
Vegetarianism and religion
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 11; Edmonds 2012 , p. 92; Sibanda 2016 , p.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 92.
* ^ Stephen A. King; Barry T. Bays. Reggae, Rastafari, and the
Rhetoric of Social Control. The Journal of Popular Culture. ISBN
1578064899 . Retrieved 27 October 2017.
* ^ A B C Barrett 1997 , p. viii.
* ^ A B Cashmore 1983 , p. 6.
* ^ A B Soumahoro 2007 , p. 43.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 71–72.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 188; Edmonds 2012 , p. 92.
Stephen D. Glazier . Juergensmeyer, Mark K.; Roof, Wade Clark,
eds. Encyclopedia of Global Religion. Sage. p. 614. ISBN
978-0761927297 . Retrieved 10 March 2017.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 82; Edmonds 2012 , p. 32.
* ^ A B Barrett 1997 , p. 82.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , pp. 2, 103.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 8.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 187.
Stephen D. Glazier , Encyclopedia of African and
African-American Religions, 2001, p. 263.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 8–9.
* ^ A B C D E Edmonds 2012 , p. 32.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. v.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 49.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 63.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 49–50, 63.
* ^ A B C D Clarke 1986 , p. 64.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 111; Sibanda 2016 , p. 183.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 74; Barrett 1997 , p. 127; Sibanda 2016 , p.
* ^ A B C Sibanda 2016 , p. 184.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 64; Barrett 1997 , p. 127.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 127.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 73.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 74; Clarke 1986 , p. 64; Barrett 1997 , p.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 74.
* ^ A B C Soumahoro 2007 , p. 44.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 24; Barrett 1997 , p. 83.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 6; Clarke 1986 , p. 12.
* ^ A B C D E Edmonds 2012 , p. 36.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 65.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 12.
* ^ A B C D E Clarke 1986 , p. 67.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 67; Barrett 1997 , p. 106.
* ^ A B C Soumahoro 2007 , p. 39.
* ^ A B C D Barrett 1997 , p. 108.
* ^ Soumahoro 2007 , p. 46.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 34.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 15–16, 66; Edmonds 2012 , p. 32–33.
* ^ A B Cashmore 1983 , p. 22.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 66.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 1.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 59; Edmonds 2012 , pp. 36–37.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 63.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 60; Edmonds 2012 , p. 37.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 37.
* ^ Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah,
Rastafari – The New Creation, p.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 60; Barrett 1997 , p. 253; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 60.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 25.
* ^ Spencer, William
David (1998). Dread Jesus. SPCK Publishing. p.
44. ISBN 978-0281051014 .
* ^ MacLeod, Erin C. (2014). Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and
Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land. New York University
Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-1479882243 . Retrieved 8 February 2016.
* ^ A B C Cashmore 1983 , p. 127.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 17.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 129; Clarke 1986 , p. 17; Barrett 1997 , p.
111; Edmonds 2012 , p. 38.
* ^ A B C D E Clarke 1986 , p. 13.
* ^ A B C D E Edmonds 2012 , p. 40.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 38–40.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 175–176; Edmonds 2012 , p. 40.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 38.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 19.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 69; Barrett 1997 , p. 111.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 173.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 69.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 71.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 77.
* ^ A B C D E Edmonds 2012 , p. 41.
* ^ A B C D E F Edmonds 2012 , p. 42.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 99.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 100; Edmonds 2012 , p. 42.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 33; Barrett 1997 , p. 172; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 85.
* ^ A B C D E Clarke 1986 , p. 81.
* ^ A B Barrett 1997 , p. 113.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 149; Clarke 1986 , p. 81.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 150.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 82.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 7–8; Barrett 1997 , pp. 248–249.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 11.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 129.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 11, 69.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 70.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 134.
* ^ A B Barrett 1997 , p. 119.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 74.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 75; Barrett 1997 , p. 112.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 76.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 112.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 75.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 73.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 79.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 79; Edmonds 2012 , p. 47.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 83.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 96.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 87; Barrett 1997 , p. 241; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ A B C D Edmonds 2012 , p. 95.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 97.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 98.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 87.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 88; Edmonds 2012 , p. 98.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 98, 99.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 99.
* ^ A B C D E F Clarke 1986 , p. 88.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 78–79.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 79; Clarke 1986 , p. 87; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 109.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 87–88.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 103–104.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 107.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 79; Clarke 1986 , p. 88; Barrett 1997 , p.
209; Edmonds 2012 , p. 99.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 88; Edmonds 2012 , p. 100; Sibanda 2016 , p.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 79; Sibanda 2016 , pp. 180, 181, 191.
* ^ A B Sibanda 2016 , p. 192.
* ^ A B C D E Clarke 1986 , p. 50.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 220.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 225.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 53.
* ^ A B C D E Edmonds 2012 , p. 57.
* ^ A B C D E F G Edmonds 2012 , p. 55.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 88; Edmonds 2012 , p. 54.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 100.
* ^ A B C D E F G Edmonds 2012 , p. 56.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 56–57.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 57.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 10–11.
* ^ A B C D Barrett 1997 , p. 125.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 58–59.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 59.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 60.
* ^ A B C D E F Edmonds 2012 , p. 61.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 60–61.
* ^ A B C D E Clarke 1986 , p. 47.
* ^ A B C Barrett 1997 , p. 129.
* ^ A B C D Edmonds 2012 , p. 48.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 89.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 51; Edmonds 2012 , p. 53.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 89; Edmonds 2012 , p. 48.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 89; Edmonds 2012 , pp. 48, 55.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 49, 55.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 130; Edmonds 2012 , p. 56.
* ^ Hamid, The Ganjah Complex:
Rastafari and Marijuana,
introduction, p. xxxii.
* ^ Chanting Down Babylon, p. 130 ff.
* ^ Barry Chevannes,
Rastafari and Other African-Caribbean
Worldviews, pp. 35, 85; Edmonds, p. 52.
* ^ Edmonds, p. 61.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 128.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 93.
* ^ A B C D E Edmonds 2012 , p. 58.
* ^ A B C D Clarke 1986 , p. 94.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 94; Barrett 1997 , p. 123; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 93; Barrett 1997 , p. 162.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 113.
* ^ Ryman, Cheryl (2014). "Kumina". In Horn, David; Shepherd, John.
Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume 9:
Genres: Caribbean and Latin America. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 115.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 117.
* ^ A B C Barrett 1997 , p. 245.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. vii.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 45.
* ^ A B C D E F Edmonds 2012 , p. 47.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 92.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 92–93.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 46.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 103.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 269.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 92; Edmonds 2012 , p. 45.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 2, 38.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 92; Edmonds 2012 , p. 37.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 159; Barrett 1997 , p. 143.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 160; Barrett 1997 , p. 143.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 143.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 160.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 83; Barrett 1997 , p. 141; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 83; Edmonds 2012 , p. 47.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 49.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 83; Edmonds 2012 , p. 49; Sibanda 2016 , p.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 141; Edmonds 2012 , p. 49; Sibanda 2016 , p.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 267.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 85; Barrett 1997 , p. 142; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 142.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 85; Barrett 1997 , p. 131.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 131; Edmonds 2012 , p. 48.
* ^ A B C Barrett 1997 , p. ix.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 89; Barrett 1997 , p. 137; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 90; Barrett 1997 , p. 137.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 90; Edmonds 2012 , pp. 44, 45.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 157; Clarke 1986 , p. 90; Edmonds 2012 , p.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 44.
* ^ A B Barrett 1997 , p. 140.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 62–63; Clarke 1986 , p. 53.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , pp. 257–58.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 42–43.
* ^ Barry Chevannes, 1998,
Rastafari and Other African-Caribbean
Worldviews, chapter 4.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 139.
* ^ "Rastafarians win suit allowing them to bare dreadlocks at
work". NY daily news. New York. August 8, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-01
– via The Associated Press.
* ^ Chanting Down Babylon, p. 32; Gerlad Hausman, The Kebra Nagast:
Bible of Rastafarian Wisdom and Faith, p. 48; Gerhardus
Cornelis Oosthuizen, Rastafarianism, p. 16; An Educator's Classroom
Guide to America's Religious Beliefs and Practices, p. 155.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 90.
* ^ Chanting Down Babylon, p. 2.
* ^ A B C Chevannes 1994 , p. 2.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 24; Chevannes 1994 , p. 3.
* ^ A B Chevannes 1994 , p. 3.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 24.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 25.
* ^ Chevannes 1994 , p. 4.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 25; Barrett 1997 , p. 21.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 25; Barrett 1997 , p. 22.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 26.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 26; Barrett 1997 , p. 25.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 7.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 27.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , pp. 27–28.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 29–34; Barrett 1997 , pp. 75–76.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 32–33.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 18.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 34.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 34–35.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 41–42.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 43.
* ^ A B Clarke 1986 , p. 44.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 22; Soumahoro 2007 , pp. 38–39.
* ^ Soumahoro 2007 , p. 38.
* ^ E.
David Cronon, Black Moses, University of Wisconsin Press,
Madison (1955), 1966, p. 162.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 35; Edmonds 2012 , p. 7.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 3.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 46.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 81; Edmonds 2012 , p. 9.
* ^ The First Rasta:
Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism,
Helene Lee, 1999.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 46; Barrett 1997 , pp. 85–86; Edmonds 2012 ,
pp. 11, 13.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 25; Clarke 1986 , p. 46; Barrett 1997 , p.
86; Edmonds 2012 , pp. 13–14.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 26; Barrett 1997 , p. 87; Edmonds 2012 , pp.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 87; Edmonds 2012 , p. 15.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 27; Clarke 1986 , p. 47; Barrett 1997 , p.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 10.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 49; Barrett 1997 , p. 93.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 15.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 16.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 50; Barrett 1997 , p. 92.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 28; Clarke 1986 , p. 50; Barrett 1997 , p.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 28.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 28–29; Clarke 1986 , p. 50; Barrett 1997
, pp. 95–98; Edmonds 2012 , p. 19.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 29–30; Barrett 1997 , pp. 98–99;
Edmonds 2012 , pp. 19–20.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 51; Barrett 1997 , pp. 158–160; Edmonds 2012
, p. 24.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 51.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 51; Edmonds 2012 , p. 25.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 54; Edmonds 2012 , pp. 25–26.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 55.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 52; Edmonds 2012 , p. 26.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 53.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 108.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 52.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 220; Edmonds 2012 , p. 27.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 27.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 146.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 28.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 29.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 29–30.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 30.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 30–31.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 52.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 91.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 52–53.
* ^ A B C D E F G Edmonds 2012 , p. 69.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 88–89.
* ^ A B C D E F G H Edmonds 2012 , p. 62.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 59, 62.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 25.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 63.
* ^ "Bobo Shanti (Bobo Shanti Congress or Ethiopia Black
International Congress)". BBC. October 21, 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
* ^ A B C D E F G H Edmonds 2012 , p. 64.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 182; Edmonds 2012 , p. 64.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 227; Edmonds 2012 , p. 64.
* ^ "Twelve Tribes of Israel". BBC. October 12, 2009. Retrieved
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 231.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 67.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 229; Edmonds 2012 , p. 65.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 66–67.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 68.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 323.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 54; Barrett 1997 , p. 230.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 68–69.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 71.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 14; Edmonds 2012 , p. 71.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 89.
* ^ Cashmore 1984 , p. 3.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 94.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 94–95.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 85.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 55.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 128.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 9.
* ^ A B Cashmore 1983 , p. 57.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 57–58.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 38.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 59.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 97.
* ^ A B C Clarke 1986 , p. 16.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 87.
* ^ "Jamaica".
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (US
State Department). September 14, 2007. Retrieved 2010-10-20.
* ^ Reuters AlertNet (
Reuters Foundation ):
Jamaica (citing "NI
World Guide 2003/2004"); The world guide: a view from the south, New
Internationalist Publications, 2005, p. 312 ("Rastafarians 5 per
* ^ Michael Read: Jamaica.
Lonely Planet , 2006 p. 38
* ^ A B C Barrett 1997 , p. 2.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , pp. 2–3.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 241.
* ^ Barrett 1997 , p. 3.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 81.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 82.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , pp. 82–83.
* ^ A B Edmonds 2012 , p. 78.
* ^ A B C D Edmonds 2012 , p. 79.
* ^ "YouTube".
* ^ "House of Judah (Rastafarian Community)". Retrieved 2012-07-10.
* ^ "Malawian farewell to \'the prophet\'". BBC News. November 29,
* ^ Sibanda 2016 , p. 182.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 54; Edmonds 2012 , p. 72.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 54.
* ^ A B C Edmonds 2012 , p. 72.
* ^ A B Cashmore 1983 , p. 58.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 56.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 74.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , pp. 74–75.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , pp. 53–54.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , pp. 76, 78.
* ^ Cashmore 1983 , p. 70.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 14.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 61.
* ^ "
Rastafari at a glance". BBC. October 2, 2009. Retrieved
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 83.
* ^ Clarke 1986 , p. 98.
* ^ Edmonds 2012 , p. 76.
* ^ "Religions – Rastafari: Rastafarian history". BBC. Retrieved
Barnett, Michael (2005). "The many faces of Rasta: Doctrinal
Diversity within the
Rastafari Movement". Caribbean Quarterly. 51 (2):
67–78. Barrett, Leonard E. (1997) . The Rastafarians. Boston:
Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807010396 . Cashmore, E. Ellis (1983).
Rastaman: The Rastafarian Movement in England (second ed.). London:
Counterpoint. ISBN 0-04-301164-0 . Cashmore, E. Ellis (1984). "The
Decline of the Rastas?".
Religion Today. 1 (1). pp. 3–4. doi
:10.1080/13537908408580533 . Chevannes, Barry (1994). Rastafari:
Roots and Ideology. Utopianism and Communitarianism Series. Syracuse,
New York: Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0815602965 . Clarke,
Peter B. (1986). Black Paradise: The Rastafarian Movement. New
Religious Movements Series. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press. ISBN
0-85030-428-8 . Edmonds, Ennis B. (2012). Rastafari: A Very Short
Introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199584529 .
Salter, Richard C. (2005). "Sources and Chronology in Rastafari
Origins: A Case of Dreads in Rastafari". Nova Religio: The Journal of
Alternative and Emergent Religions. 9 (1). pp. 5–31. JSTOR
10.1525/nr.2005.9.1.005 . Sibanda, Fortune (2016). "One Love, or
Chanting Down Same-Sex Relations? Queering
Rastafari Perspectives on
Homosexuality". In Adriaan van Klinken and Ezra Chitando (eds.).
Religion and the Politics of Homosexuality in Africa. Abingdon
and New York: Routledge. pp. 180–196. ISBN 978-1317073420 . CS1
maint: Uses editors parameter (link ) Soumahoro, Maboula (2007).
Christianity on Trial: The Nation of
Islam and the Rastafari,
1930–1950". In Theodore Louis Trost (ed.). The African Diaspora and
the Study of Religion. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 35–48. ISBN
978-1403977861 . CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link )
* M.G. Smith, Roy Augier and Rex Nettleford, "The Ras Tafari
Movement in Kingston, Jamaica" (Institute of Social and Economic
Research, University College of the West Indies, 1960) in Caribbean
Quarterly vol. 13, no. 3, (Sept 1967), pp. 3–29; and vol. 13, no. 4
(Dec 1967), pp. 3–14; online
Lincoln Thompson , Experience, 1979
* William F. Lewis, Soul Rebels: The Rastafari, 1993
* Stephen D. Glazier, "Rastafarianism", in Patrick L. Mason (ed.),
Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, 2nd edition, New York: Macmillan
* Tracy Nicholas, Rastafari: A Way of Life, Frontline Books, 1966,
* Book of Memory: A
Rastafari Testimony, composed by Prince Elijah
Williams, edited by Michael Kuelker, ISBN 0-9746021-0-8
Find more aboutRASTAFARIat's sister projects
* Definitions from Wiktionary
* Media from Commons
* Quotations from Wikiquote
* Data from Wikidata