We introduced some of the interesting system of beliefs surrounding the Rastafarian faith.
[Now], we get an even deeper understanding of how things are done – and should be done – as it concerns food, drink, polygamy, among other aspects. This, according to priest, Ras T.
“The diet is very important: we should refrain from strong drinks and all flesh foods. Any Rasta who eats meat and drinks alcohol knows that it is wrong, it is not a part of our tenets. We are literal persons – we take things literally. If you want to be like a tree that is planted by the rivers that bringeth forth fruit in due season, you must eat plants. How you going to eat flesh and become a tree?” he questioned.
He further mentioned the act of libation, which he says is deeply entrenched in our roots, has somehow eluded us.
“Libation is acknowledging our ancestors. When somebody pass they become our ancestors, whether male or female. You can use oil or water, and you normally pour it in a plant and call the person’s (ancestor’s) name. We pour (oil or water) in a plant because the plant grows and it is symbolic of the spirit of the ancestor growing within you.”
He continued: “All these things are very deep in our culture as Africans but, you know, because of colonialism … . But it is our custom, and as Rastafarians, we are just the little remnant of Judah that is left.”
Learning The Language
Learning Amharic is not mandatory, but Ras T said it is in his best interest to learn and to one day teach.
“You have males and females who take the time out to learn the language, but we have come to the realisation that our culture is incomplete without its indigenous language, and so we want to make it mandatory for persons, even to chant prayer to the king because that is the language he speaks.”
Ras T told Family & Religion that the only true divine one is Emperor Haile Selassie himself.
“We know that word sound is power, the Bible said, ‘In the beginning was the word’. If word sound is power, the strongest word must be the word that cometh out of the mouth of God. And let me state this categorically: for me, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is almighty.”
He continued: “In this dispensation of time that we live, no one can dispute that; no one even tried to sit with us – and we are ready, for any church, any clergy – let’s sit around a table and discuss this. Even Revelation 22 says, ‘I will send my angels to say unto the seven churches. I am the root and the off spring of David’. In this time that we live, the Emperor Haile Selassie from the lineage of David, represents that and no one can dispute that. Religion will tell you otherwise but one’s spirituality is much more important than religion.”
Ras T also stated categorically that true Rastafarians believe and practise monogamy.
“In some African culture polygamy is practised, but in Ethiopic culture, we embrace monogamy. The emperor showed us the example: he married one woman. She was crowned the same time he was crowned beside him.”
He said while their weddings do not follow entirely the western culture, there are quite a few things that are incorporated.
“We use rings. At my wedding – we got married in Miami, Florida – and they poured libation. We did Amharic prayer and we jumped the broom – and the story behind jumping the broom represents how the slaves got married. We had African dancing and there is no alcohol and no meat. Everything, including the cake, is strictly vegan,” he ended.
By: Tamara Bailey