The Origination of the Rastafarian Belief and Movement
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The Origination of the Rastafarian Belief and Movement

Over the last few decades the Rastafarian movement has grown increasingly popular as well as increasingly large. This can be mostly attributed to Bob Marley and the popularity of his music. However what many people don’t come to realize is when the Rastafarian movement originated or for what specific what reason.

The group of people known as Rastafarians has become increasingly well known over the last few decades.  This could be mostly attributed to Bob Marley and the popularity of his music throughout the 80’s and 90’s.  However what many people don’t actually know is what the Rastafarian way of life is all about and how it originated.  The image of a Rastafarian is that of reggae music, dreads, and marijuana but both religiously and culturally they are much more than that.

The way of Rastafarianism is to help Blacks fight against oppression felt by the upper middle and higher classes.  Because a lot of Africa was colonized by the British, Ethiopians and various other tribes felt it necessary in order to establish a way to restore cultural pride.  They did this by referring to the way the British had forced them into solitude as living in ‘Babylon.’  Their goal was to rid their continent from the control of Western Powers and return it to the Africans that owned it first which is referred to returning to ‘Zion.’   

Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) was the 225th Monarch in an unbroken line of Ethiopian Leaders in the Solomonic Dynasty.  He became considerably known by many tribes and cultures throughout Africa because of his intelligent approach to warfare and handling various societal issues.  Instead of using ruthless tactics like many of his predecessors did, Haile was famous for using deception in order to deceive his enemies rather than killing them.  Because of this, Haile became recognized (by the Rastafarians) as the third coming of Jesus Christ and the possible reincarnation of their God ‘Jah’.    

Another monumental figure to the Rastafarian movement is Marcus Garvey (August 17th 1887 – June 10th 1940).  Although Marcus Garvey was not actually a Rastafarian himself he was a philosopher, publisher, entrepreneur and Black nationalist.  However, because of Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African philosophy his philosophy became a great inspiration to the Rastafarian movement known as ‘Garveyism.’

The recreational and spiritual use of marijuana has also been deeply rooted into the Rastafarian movement.  Although much of society refuses to believe that marijuana can be used spiritually individuals belonging to the Rastafarian movement use it nonetheless.  It is believed that marijuana helps the mind enter into a form of meditation to help communicate with higher forms of consciousness.  It is also believed by the Rastafarians that marijuana is a natural healing remedy that can also be used medicinally as well as spiritually.       


An Introduction to Rastafari.” By Ras Charles and French Dread

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Comments (1)

Back in the 90's I had very interesting discussions with a Rastafarian. His grand goal was to relocate to Jamaica where he fetl he would truly be free. As you stated his religion was more of a political statement. We were not in agreement about Haile Selassie. He believed he was Jesus Christ and I did not. Although we only agreed on a few Bible points I found talking to him very educational.