The Origins of Rastafari

The source of Rastafari lies in a specific geographical area, the Nile Valley, a huge region that includes Egypt in the North and Ethiopia in the south. The philosophy at the heart of Rastafari is gathered from the soul of this part of Africa. For example, it acknowledges Ra, revered by the Egyptians as the god of the sun, as a life-giving force, and accepts that mankind is not separate or different from God, or Jah, an abbreviation for Jehovah.

Africa Image King Solomon
In the time of King Solomon, Queen Makeba ruled over the empire of Sheba, which consisted of Ethiopia, Egypt and parts of Persia. The Queen's visit to the wealthy and wise Solomon in Jerusalem had been planned for many years. In Jerusalem, Solomon converted her to the God of Abraham; she had until then worshipped the sun in the person of Ra the sun-god. When she returned to her land, Queen Makeba changed the religion of her empire to Judaism.

On her return, Makeba was pregnant by Solomon; she had promised him that if she bore a son she would send the boy to Jerusalem for instruction by his father. Accordingly, her son Menelik journeyed, as a young man, to meet Solomon, having sworn to his mother that as heir and successor to the kingdom he would return to Ethiopia.

When Menelik was leaving Jerusalem, King Solomon saw to it that he was accompanied by the sons of his priests: he wanted to ensure that the religion of Abraham would continue in Ethiopia. As a result, this religion existed there in an undiluted form.

The Family of Haile Selassie I Christianity/Judaism
At the heart of Rastafari lie the Egyptian mysteries, the sort that may be found in The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The elements of Judaism within Rastafari are themselves an offspring of Egyptian mysticism. This became institutionalised by Moses; when adopted by the High Priest's daughter in Egypt, he was taught the principles of Osiris, Isis and other Egyptian gods.

For his final initiation he traveled to Ethiopia. The source of Judaism was the teaching of Moses. As tradition has it, Moses was author of the first five books of the Bible (the sixth and seventh books of Moses are considered to be too complex for the common man to comprehend; there is a famous obeah textbook entitled The Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses).

During the time of Christianity, however, Paul the Apostle converted an Ethiopian eunuch to Christianity. This eunuch was a high-placed, respected rabbi of orthodox Judaism. When he returned to Ethiopia, he in turn converted the country to Christianity.

So began the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a pure form of Christianity that kept its connection with its Judaic and Egyptian pasts, all elements within Rastafari. This church had considerable influence on the 225th king (descended directly from King David, who, in turn, was descended from Moses). This member of Ethiopian royalty was Ras Tafari, Emperor Haile Selassie I. Before his visit to Jamaica on 21 April 1966, Haile Selassie had already established the Ethiopian Orthodox Church there, in answer to a request from the island's Rastafarians.