Rastafari Movement and Rasta Essay

Submitted By keybabe
Words: 1975
Pages: 8

Keyiara Harvell
African-American History
8 December 2011
Final Research Paper

The Rastafarians

The Rastafarian movement started in the 1930’s. Their Culture, Religion, and their History all became worldwide. It arose in Jamaica at the time a predominantly Christian culture. The movement is sometimes referred to as “Rastafarianism,” but some Rasta’s, who dislike being labeled as an “ism”, considers this term derogatory and offensive.The Rastafari movement encompasses themes such as the spiritual use of cannabis and the rejection of western society, called Babylon. Rasta also embraces various Afrocentric social and political views, such as the political views and teachings of Jamaican publicist, organizer, and Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey. Another theme is Royalty, with Rasta’s seeing himself or herself as African royalty and using Prince or King in order to give royalty to their names. Rastafari is not a organized religion, it is a movement and an ideology. Many Rasta’s say that it is not a religion at all, but a “Way of Life.” The name Rastafari is taken from Ras Tafari, the pre-regnal title of Haile Selassie I, composed of Amharic Ras, and Haile Selassie’s pre-regnal given name, Tafari. Today, people worldwide know of the Rastafari Movement. Rastafari are monotheists, worshipping a singular God whom they call Jah. Jah is the term in the “KVJ Psalms 68.” Rasta’s see Jah as being in the form of the Holy Trinity, that is, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Rasta’s say that Jah, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives within the human, and for this reason they often refer to themselves as “I and I.” “I and I” is used instead of “we,” and is used in tis way to emphasize the equality between all people, in the recognition that the Holy Spirit within them all makes them one and the same. Rasta’s accept the Christian doctrine that God incarnated onto the Earth in the form of Jesus Christ, to give his teachings to humanity. They feel his teachings were corrupted by Babylon. The Holy Trinity include stressing the significance of the name “Haile Selassie, “meaning “Power of the Trinity” or powerful trinity in Ge’ez the name given to Ras Tafari upon his baptism, and later assumed as part of his regnal name at his November 2, 1930, coronation by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Haile Selassie I was the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Rasta’s claim that he is the resurrected manifestation of Jesus Christ and therefore an incarnation of Jah onto the earth and that he will lead the righteous into creating a perfect world, called “Zion”. Zion is a perfect place for Rasta’s. Rasta’s may say that Haile Selassie’s coming was prophesied from Genesis to the Book of Revelation. During his coronation, Selassie was given many of the same titles used in the Bible, :Kings of Kings,” “Elect of God,” and “Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah the Author of Mankind,” “the Power of Authority,” are just some of more than 38 titles and anointments placed on Selassie. He also received acclaim from various Christian and Muslim leaders and clergy for the work he performed towards establishing world peace and the brotherhood of mankind. This is one of the reasons he is held to be God incarnate. Rasta’s also refer to Selassie as “His Imperial Majesty” and “Jah Rastafari.”
The tradition states that Haile Selassie was the 225th in an unbroken line of Ethiopian monarchs of the Solomonic Dynasty. This dynasty is said to have been founded in the 10th century BC by Menelik I, the son of the biblical King Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, who had visited Solomon in Israel. The death of Haile Selassie I, Rastafari do not accept that God could die and some thus insist that Selassie’s 1975 reported death was a hoax. It also claims that he entered the monastery and will return to liberate his followers and vanquish al evil, restoring his creation. Haile Selassie remains their God and their King. From the beginning the Rasta’s decided that their