There are many differences in traditions and houses of Rastafari and as we look through out the existence of the Movement from 1930 onward, we can see a basic outline that separates the Rastafari Movement from other faiths. Without trying to divide but to show the specifics and uniqueness of the movement, study our strengths in the identity of Rastafari as a people. These are 7 Kingsiples of what makes Rastafari, Rastafari.
First and foremost that Haile Selassie I is the Almighty in Flesh, Supreme Head Creator. Some will use the term “God” while others prefer not to use the term due to its western influence and conditioned notions. Others see HIM as “Christ” returned, such as 12 Tribes of Israel, and His Divinity is based on individual theology of who Christ is. If ones believe Christ is God, then Haile Selassie I is seen as both. Because of these different views we have several branches or Houses, that have lessons that speak on this subject specifically.
Second, We as Rastafari research and have independent thoughts concerning The Bible and Scriptures. We study many books, including those linked to the Bible such as the The Book of Thomas and the Book of Enoch. We stress the ability to read and study in a balanced and historical manner, as well as with openness to the variations and bias that has been made in renderings and translation. We are also open to prophetic revelations that can appear to anyone thru the Scriptures and shed light on the future, recent past or current times. We promote study of secular and spiritual education with a clear conscious confident that with head and heart aligned we will choose the right, and stand by it.
“Your guide should therefore be the postolic saying; study and examine
all but choose and follow the good. Our forefathers have succeeded in passing down a free and independent people determined to safeguard its liberty by shedding its blood. Ethiopia is the country in Africa which has kept Ge’ez and Amharic with an alphabet of its own. We have also laid a firm foundation for the freedom, prestige and happiness of the present generation in the fields of education and development in accordance with the conditions now existing.Those who will be serving the people in future should follow this same path in endeavouring to develop their country and maintain her freedom. This is one of the main responsibilities of teachers.” Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Third, Rastafari as a people who are called by His Name should know everything they can about Emperor Haile Selassie I. It is the revelation that is happening to this day with direct messages from the Most High. From photos to speeches, His Imperial Majesty has multi layered teachings that if allowed can present a ruling perspective of Self, African Identity, Education, Spirituality and more. When a Man takes on the study of HIM they take on the vision of HIM. With that sight ones can look from a Kingly perspective and reason on the tangible reality of the words and solutions presented by The King of Kings. He is a Living Man, and can relate and teach in this modern day with a keen awareness of what we face in these times. Books and photos, speeches and documents are still surfacing, and the collection of these Holy testimonies are part of our duty. Restoration and preservation.
Fourth, Rastafari adherents should have a historical understanding of Ethiopia. This cannot be stressed enough, this movement is based on the Crowning of the King of Kings of Ethiopia in Addis Abba, and knowledge of what lead to and followed the Sacred Emperor is relevant and crucial to knowing what and when Haile Selassie I did, who He is and why He is worthy to be praised. A constant desire to return to Ethiopia, both physically and spiritually is more than a point for pilgrimage, it is the Home of God.
Fifth, That at the Heart of this movement is Black Liberation. That importance of African Redemption and Liberation is the approach we look at everything. How does cultural perseverance build identity with African Spiritual present and future leaders? Within Black Liberation Theology is the study and deep connection to the legacy and impacts of slavery and the paths to attain Freedom for Africa and African People. In perfect accordance, Emperor Haile Selassie I message proclaims Global Liberation from colonial forces and International Citizenship. He made the bridge for ones that are from all cultures to the call of Human Rights and that is the brother of any Liberation theology. Within this pretext, African Sovereignty and Self Determination should be the model set by Africans to inspire the World in cooperation. When we see the Red Gold and Green across the Earth stand for Justice, we as Africans should be proud that the Banner can be waved for both national and international progress. It is a duty for those who wear the red gold and green to know the reason Ethiopia is a beacon to the World, and why that is a spiritual sign from the Most High about allegiance to our collective origins as well to Judah, Head of the House of Israel. Do not be confused with present occupied territories with the Conquering Lion of Judah’s Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia.
Sixth is Nyabinghi Order. Though this is an International Free Salvation Mission, there are precepts set by elders of the Faith. Many Elders and leaders of the movement have been Jamaican and the importance of Jamaica in this collective awakening is divine and chosen. Elders have laid foundations and houses that should be respected and familiar to Rastafari tenants. The most crucial of which are Groundations ( Gatherings) in which we recite Psalms and Chants that have been handed down through decades and fire side reasonings. Knowledge/ experience of how to play the drum in a heart beat method is mediation time needed to grow in the movement. The Heart Beat being the Song of Life, of Collective Unity, Memorization of songs and hours of chanting renews the heart and allows the collective to humbly learn and pray to the Most High. It is a central place for Us as Rastafari to remember and pray for Right over wrong and Life over death, Good over evil. Rooted in the celebration and remembrance of the Uganda Queen Nyabinghi, the heart beat itself makes it so WHO she is passed through to Who We Are, Living Nyabinghi is to be the Living Drum. The different pace of the heart beat is accompanied by thunder drums known as pope smashers, and it is universally understood to be a ritual to Kill all Black and White downpression, thru Word Sound and Power in Prayer. It is more important to know Nyabinghi Order than to know reggae songs and artists. It has held the movement together and reveals work needed to be done in the spiritual cleansing. They are passed down, and taught word to mouth, rich in old African-Carribean- American connections.
Seventh Is Food and Basic Conduct. This is a sensitive subject, though the universally agreed food “Livity” suggests eating as healthy as possible. Not eating chemicals and processed foods, nor bleached foods. Most will not eat pork or bottom feeders, though Vegetarian “diet” has been more encouraged over the decades. Many are militant vegetarians and vegans, while others eat fish and so on. It really isn’t a line in the sand, those most will not accept a man calling himself Ras if he is a drunk or pork eater. If ones take up the Nazarite Vow of Numbers 6 then alcohol, grapes, vinegar, and meat eating is forbidden for as long as the vow is adhered to. The conduct of a Ras is based in humility, therefore gluttony, and sloth are not qualities of a spiritual being a vessel of liberation. In humility in honor of Our Creator and Ancient Heritage, many of us cover our heads. Though it is not mandated, like most faiths of the world, those who are devout or women will often have a turban of some sort. Women are encouraged to wear dresses because it is our culture as well as Biblical Law, while pants is a western wear on women. Pants on women is seen as a European Governmental disrespect pushed on all women during the industrial revolution due to men being in World War 2, forcing them to wear pants in factories. Both men and women are encouraged to dress in clothes from Africa, Robes, and if anything have a neat appearance. Many Prophets in the scriptures were not “neat” and lived in rags, this is not forgotten, and poverty should never be a reason to discriminate. With that said, personnel hygiene and awareness of creating a good impression on behalf of Rastafari, is important. We are not hippies, and discipline is character. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
InI hope that these Seven Kingsiples will help others understand more about Rastafari, and will encourage those who love Rastafari to absorb the culture and Itinue its legacy in Righteousness sake. InI did not mention Ganja because so many understand that plants are a gift from Jah. That suppression of medicine is criminal, not matter what kind it is. It is in no way necessary to use Ganja to adhere to Rastafari as a trod, though its history and the movement are interlinked. Defense of herbs as medicine is universal, and as a human, obvious. Our collective sacrifice can not be overstated in the fight for Cannabis legalization and has also brought us together with many. InI look forward to building with the community and hearing thoughts and questions. With Love in the Heart we walk together, May the Most High Guide Us.
In The Name of Jah the Father, Jah the Son, Jah the Holy Spirit, ONE JAH. Rastafari Haile Selassie I.
Royal Son of Africa.
Ras Elijah Tafari.