For some a movement and for others a way of life, in its core Rasta is about the universe and man’s place in it. This culture was born in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica in 1930’s among people who saw the iniquity in the corrupt western ideals (Babylon) and were in search for a salvation through a righteous and more spiritual way of life. Among the main values are love, peace and unity that will promote the desire of growth and awareness within the individual.
Rastas believe in Jah Rastafar I, who is seen as the universal spirit and our Creator. The roots of the culture take us to the teaching of Marcus Garvey. He founded the “Back to Africa” movement which aimed to repatriate all black slaves to their homeland. The prophecy of Garvey said: “Look to Africa, for there a king will be crowned and the revelation is near”. Africa is seen as the Promised Land (especially Ethiopia) and the cradle of mankind. On the 2nd of November 1930 Ras Tafari Makonnen (where the origin of the Movement comes from) is crowned Emperor of Ethiopia. During the ceremony he is given the name Haile Selasie I (meaning Power of the Holy Trinity in Amharic). Many rastamen see this as the Gleek Calend and a fulfillment of Garvey’s prophecy.
Leonard Howell, Joseph Hibbert, Mortimer Planno are considered to be among the first rasta people and followers, who blessed the world with the new teachings. Despite some Christian, Jewish and tribal borrowings, and the whole Biblical reliance, there aren’t many dogmas or religious intolerance and also the teaching is more or less freely interpreted by different individuals and branches of the Movement. Rasta speaks about oneness between all people, gives wisdom and shows an example of a beautiful way of life with spiritual practices, Ital food and positive thinking. The human body is considered a sacred temple. Growing dreadlocks is also very common for Rasta people. The three main orders are the Bobo Ashanti, the Nyahbinghi Order, and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. One of the main symbols of Rastafar I are the Red, Gold and Green flag of Ethiopia (also known as Old Christian symbols of faith, hope and love), the lion (also and not only the main symbolic figure in Bulgaria), the Star of David and others. Reggae music plays a big role in the development of the culture. A large part of the teaching is spread around the world through the positive reggae vibes and their devoted performing artists.
Rastas call the Heaven on Earth ‘Zion’ or the state of which all people will get to when they conquer evil and the Babylonian within and around. They talk about the power of Man and his connection with the Creator and Mother Nature. Like any other culture, Rastafar I has changed in time and from the initial idea for freedom of all black people, nowadays it has embraced a much larger goal and perspective – oneness and harmony between all living creatures on this planet. Today it is hard to comprise all sides of Rasta ideology because it is not a religion but rather a guide towards inner vision and knowledge. One thing is for sure though – Rastaman is not the man who is searching for the most profitable choice, but the most I one. The most I meaning the quest for righteousness, humbleness…life Here and Now!