Rastafarianism: Use of Ganja as a Practice of Reasoning

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  • Topic: Rastafari movement, Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Marcus Garvey
  • Pages : 6 (2058 words )
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  • Published : October 30, 2010
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Final Paper – Rastafarianism

The phenomenology of Sacred Myths and their relation to Ritual and Symbols has been an intricate component of all religions throughout time. The human experience seeks to understand the Absolute in various stages such as, the beginning, the now and the future. Additionally, one seeks to understand human fragility, poverty, aging and transience. The use of Sacred Myths, Rituals and Symbols opt to provide one with an active pathway to seek a union with the Absolute, and provide a guide to followers to transcend the human experience and reach spiritual oneness.

This writer will discuss the Rastafarianism use of ganja as a practice of “reasoning” in an effort to attain spiritual knowing in relation to the Absolute. Additionally, this writer will provide detailed information in regards to the Rastafari Movement within a historical context, including important dates, historical figures, geographic information, the religion's development over time, and the Rastafarian religion in relation to Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. In doing this one will also explain the sacred myths contributed to ganja and the Rastafari. This writer will determine specific Rituals and Symbols involving ganja used by the Rastafarians in attempt to assume that spirituality evolves predominantly out of the human experience, that it is a psychological process, and is one of man’s strategies for the path of Absoluteness. Historical ViewFrom an archeological & scientific background, studies of Mitochondrial DNA from the oldest bones excavated from the heart of Africa, proves that all human beings are descended from a small population that emerged from Africa over 195k years ago. The earliest written religious texts as well as the first documented monotheistic religion also developed in Africa. Many ancient manuscripts were preserved in African libraries in places such as Ethiopia and Timbuktu. Rastafarian religion as with other religions share connections to African ideology, myths, religion and thought. Jamaicans enslaved ancestors tended to come from the Akan, Bantu, Igbo, Fon and other Kongo people. There were also the Yoruba, Efik and Moko" people. These African groups share a strong belief in the Absolute Spirit of “I”, which is a component of the Rastafarian belief of “I”, or meaning Yah is within (Mayell, H, 1995, pg. 1-3) and (. The Rastafarian movement, which was founded in Jamaica, is not a highly organized religion; however it is considered more of an ideology by its followers, also known as Rastafarians or Rastas. There is an estimated 1 million Rastas worldwide. Historically, the movement developed within the last century and traces its inception to Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1897–1940), who promoted the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the 1920s and spearheaded the Back to Africa movement during the 1930s. Garvey’s philosophical ideologies were the catalyst that would provide the foundation for the Rastafarian movement, as Garvey preached "Look to Africa where a black king shall be crowned, he shall be your Redeemer" (Garvey, The Black Man Paper, 1930), which aligns with Psalm 68:31, which is a sacred text amongst the Rasta’s as chronicling the African historical experience, and which states ‘Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God’. This statement became the groundwork of the Rastafari movement, as the prophecy was succeeded by the crowning of Emperor Haile Selassie I in Ethiopia (Garrick, 1999, pg. 24-27). The religion takes its name from Haile Selassie's original name, which is Ras Tafari (Lion of Judah). Additionally, Leonard Percival Howell (1898 – 1981), along with Joseph Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley, and Robert Hinds are known as the first preachers of Rasta, as they begin to spread the massages of Rastafarianism as early as 1933 in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Americas. The African Diaspora and...
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