M.Matteson: Holyman or threat to society?

original text

izvleček - prevod sojenja rastafarijancu iz amerike, ki skuša dopovedati sodniku da je pohanje del njegove vere, da ni popolnoma nič 'slab' ker poha.



prvič se je z vero srečal preko treh pijateljev - dilerjev, ki so šli na jamajko in prišli nazaj srečni, začeli razdajati imetje ... govorili pa so o Jezusu - Jes Us - just us - samo mi.

pač raste so se zapičili v nekaj malega stavkov v bibliji ki govorijo o tem da Bog ni na nebu (Sky God doctrine - bog je na nebu in vlada ljudem na zemlji), ampak v nas, da ne rabimo moliti v nebesa ampak da je bog v nas, ves čas, v drugih, ves čas, povsod, ves čas, da smo eno z njim, ne pa ločeni od njega in če pogledaš vase ne pa izven sebe ga boš tudi našel.

ta vera izhaja iz biblije sicer je drugače interpretirana, to pa je tudi vse. resnica je v bibliji, samo videti jo moraš.

ganja je sveta rastlina ki je blagoslovjena najbolj od vseh zelišč. Njen namen je spiritualna hrana za ljudi. To je njen namen in za to naj se uporablja. Ta rastlina naj se uporablja v povezavi z resnico in z vedenjem da je Bog v človeku. Tam naj ga človek išče, rastlina pa naj mu daje pogled iz druge perspektive, katere do tedaj ni poznal.
V genezi piše da nam je bog na zemljo dal vse rastline v uporabo, vsako s svojim namenom, in namen te rastline je znan že veliko tisoč let - spiritualna hrana.

uradno ime te vere pa je '(Ethiopian Israel)Zion Coptic Church'
imajo spoved kjer se spoveš grehov (ko jih poveš drugemu si jih namreč osvobojen) in postaneš svoboden, dotakneš se resnice. ugotoviš da če padeš (grešiš, narediš napako) nisi nazadoval, če pa se obrneš nazaj nazaduješ. Napaka ni nikoli nazadovanje.

govori tudi o 613 mojzesovih zakonih ki so to zato da nam služijo (kot navodilo za življenje), ne pa da nas obvezujejo - podjarmljajo. Uporabljali pa so se seveda zato da so si nekateri podjarmili druge.

religija tudi prepoveduje komercializacijo (prodajo) rastline, besede, in uslug človeka - spiritualnih dejanj ki jih človek izvaja, saj mu bo bog povrnil. torej rastline tudi kupovati ne smeš - gojiti jo moraš sam. zase in za svoje duhovne potrebe, ki pa (nujno) vključujejo druge ljudi. rastlina mora biti namreč vzgojena s srcem, z bogom v mislih.

sveto trojico sestavljajo rastlina, beseda in človek. to troje skupaj je manifestacija boga na zemlji. če je namreč bog v človeku in če je trava v človeku in iz človeka pridejo besede resnice je to vsakdanja resnica s katero se ubadamo. to ni nič skrivnostnega, to lahko počne vsak, samo začeti mora govoriti resnico o vsem, neglede na posledice. resnici moramo zaupati.

to je bolj spiritualni način življenja in ne toliko religija ki bi vključevala skupine ki so tu predvsem zato da izvajajo rituale in imajo svoje funkcije.

Trava se meša s tobakom, zto ker tobak prizemljuje. trava je simbol za nebo tobak pa za zemljo.

Kristusov duh se manifestira v vsakem človeku, neglede na njegove poglede.


Pa še tole zaenkrat samo paste

Excerpts from *The Rastafarians* by Leonard E. Barrett, Sr., Beacon Press 1988.

from the introduction:

The [Rastafarian] movement does not have organized
congregations, as do other religious cults; it does not have a paid
clergy; it does not even have a cohesive doctrine in written form,
yet young people from every walk of life and every race are
drawn to the movement. Its steadfast beliefs -- that Haile
Selassie is the living God, a God who is beyond death; that
marijuana is sacred; its dedication to nature and mystical
approach to the universe along with its strong opposition to
oppression of any kind -- distinguish the movement as a
revolutionary cult.

from Chapter 4: Beliefs, Rituals, and Symbols:

Prior to the emergence of the Rastafarians, ganja was used by
native herbalists as a folk medicine, particularly in teas and as
smoking mixtures with tobacco. But as the Rastafarians
emerged, ganja took on a new role as a religious sacrament. Its
use became a reactionary device to the society and an index of an
authentic form of freedom from the establishment. Although the
use of ganja was prohibited early in Jamaica, most of the
peasants were unaware of it; the Rastafarians, who were mostly
urban dwellers, knew of its illegality. It would therefore be
right to assume that as a protest against society, ganja smoking
was the first instrument of protest engaged in by the movement
to show its freedom from the laws of "Babylon." But, like
peyote among the Navaho Indians of North America, ganja has
other sides to it; its use produces psycho-spiritual effects and has
socio-religious functions especially for people under stress. It
produces visions, heightens unity and communal feelings,
dispels gloom and fear, and brings tranquillity to the mind of the
dispossessed. So, ganja gradually became a dominant symbol
among the cultists and has remained so to this day.
Among the Rastas, ganja is called by many names, such as
*callie* and *Iley* which suggests the essence of the herb.
Other names are "the herb," "the grass," "the weed," and so on.
Sometimes called "the wisdom weed," it is said that the weed
was first grown on the grave of King Solomon, the wisest man
on the earth. When used in ritual contexts, the name became
known as the "holy herb" as various scriptures are given as
proof of its sanctity. The Rastafarians will say that God who
created all things made the herb for human use and will cite
Genesis 1:12 as their proof text:
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed
after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in
itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
...thou shalt eat the herb of the field (Genesis 3:18).
...eat every herb of the land (Exodus 10:12).
Better is a dinner of herb where love is, than a stalled ox and
hatred therewith (Proverbs 15:17).
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the
service of man. ...(Psalm 104:14).
These biblical texts are only a few of the many used by the
cultists in defense of their rituals.

They are also capable of quoting the history of the herb from
antiquity to the present. In a recent interview with a leading
Rastafarian, he had this to say of the weed:

Concerning ganja and the amount of publicity it has received of
late, it becomes imperative that I should impart some knowledge
on it regarding its history and usage among the Rastafarians.
We know that in the wars of the Crusades, the Moslems were
using a form of Hashish from which they get the name
Assassin. This same Hashish was used religiously. In Jamaica,
we do not make full use of Hashish in that form; what we use is
ganja. The Rastafarian sees ganja as part of his religious
observance. He sees ganja as the smoother of mental
imbalances and as a meditatory influence. Ganja is really used
to bring forth a peaceful and complacent aspect within man. We
do not believe in the excessive use of ganja. It cannot be used to
excess. In that case it would be bad for man. But in truth, ganja
used moderately is not bad. We do not find ganja as a mental
depressor, ganja sharpens your wit, and keeps you intellectually
balanced. It is not a drug; it is not an aphrodisiac either. We
smoke it, we drink it, we even eat it sometimes. We do not find
it a poison. I have been smoking ganja since I was eighteen
years of age. I am now fifty, and I have never been to a doctor
for any ganja related ailments.
Even in Trinidad today, ganja is used by the East Indians in
their Temples as a form of worship without any government
interference or restrictions. If ganja was not available in Jamaica
as a sedative to keep poor people calm, the island would have
experienced anarchy already. [Taped interview with Ras Sam
Brown, summer, 1975.]

A Montego Bay "dread" described his experience of ganja
like this: "It gives I a good meditation; it is a door inside, when it
is open, you see everything that is good." And yet another:
"When I smoke the herb I man is able to see from Jamaica
straight to Panama." There is no end to the praise of ganja
among the brethren.
Ritual smoking follows the same pattern wherever it is
observed. A package of herb is produced, generally wrapped in
old newspaper or a brown bag. After carefully mincing it with a
knife, it is made into a cigarette known as a "spliff" or packed
into a chillum pipe. Just before lighting it, the following prayer
is said by all:

Glory be to the Father and to the maker of creation As it was in
the beginning is now and ever shall be World without end: Jah
Rastafari: Eternal God Selassie I.
[To appreciate this benediction one must hear it spoken -- the "i"
in Rastafari rhymes with the "I" in Selassie I.]

Several strong pulls of smoke are taken and deeply inhaled. The
smoker then seems to go into a deep trance-like state, exhales,
repeating the process two or three times, then the pipe is passed
to another person. If it is in individual spliffs, [a spliff is the
Jamaican name for the American "joint"] the same kind of
smoking technique is used. Smoking is done on all safe
occasions; but it is required at all called meetings and at
Nyabingi services. I saw at least three kinds of pipes: first, a
straight hollow piece of wood or iron tube called a "cutchie"
which is used by placing a piece of cloth over the mouth end --
this is called a "sappie." The second type is the regular chillum
made out of a cow's horn into which a cutchie is placed. The
smoking end is a rubber tube attached to the small end of the
horn. The horn is filled with water, while the herb is placed in
the cutchie. The third type is made of bamboo and varies in
shapes and sizes, but the parts described above are the same.
...in addition, some pipes are so large that they are used only on
rare occasions.
There are many taboos among the Rastafarians; some of the
strongest are those against consuming rum and all liquors and
the smoking of cigarettes, particularly at a Nyabingi service.
The brethren insist that drinkers of Jamaican rum have created
more serious social problems on the island than all the ganja
smokers together. Furthermore, the cultists declare that while
rum makes one violent, ganja smoking makes one calm. The
Rastafarian poet puts the whole philosophy this way:

What is ganja? We know it's a plant
Created by God to fulfill men's want
The powers that be, say man should not use
They use it in secret, yet show its abuse.

There is no comparison between ganja and rum
The former keeps you "cool" the latter makes you glum
Rum as we know is an agent of death
With the using of ganja you draw new breath.

The taking of rum has eaten out our head
They who continue to take it will wind up dead
Remember, one is created, the other manufactures
On the evils of men we have always lectured.

So cast not your verdict before making a test
True conscience in you will show you the best
For rum as we know will pronounce your doom
All hail to great ganja, the solvent of gloom.
[taken from taped interview as read by the author
Sam Brown.]

The controversy surrounding the use of ganja or marijuana
continues unabated... One personal observation may, however,
be in order. The author has observed that, after years of
studying the groups most familiar to him, there appear to be no
physical, mental, or psychic effects on the Rastafarians from the
use of ganja. Most older brethren have been smoking for twenty
years and are still as witty, hard working, and creative as any
other citizens of Jamaica. This observation was recently
collaborated by the Official Report of the National Commission
on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. On Jamaican's use of the herb
they reported:

In the Jamaican study, no significant physical or mental
abnormalities could be attributed to marijuana use, according to
an evaluation of mental history, complete physical examination,
chest X-ray, electro-cardiogram, blood cell and chemistry tests,
lung, liver or kidney function tests, selected hormone
evaluation, brain waves, psychiatric evaluation and
psychological testing. There was no evidence to indicate that the
drug as commonly used was responsible for producing birth
defects in offspring of users.
[*Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, the Official
Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug
Abuse* {New York: The New American Library, Inc., 1972}.]

from Chapter 8: Where Go the Rastafarians?

If it is agreed that the God-figure Haile Selassie may not be the
most dominant force in the movement's ideology, what then is
the real center? The real center of the movement's religiosity is
the revelatory dimensions brought about by the impact of the
"holy herb." Under this influence the person of Haile Selassie is
transformed into that supernatural reality or a cosmic
significance befitting a racial redeemer. To the Rastafarians the
average Jamaican is so brainwashed by colonialism that his
entire system is programmed in the wrong way. He is thus
unable to perceive of himself as a Black man; his response to the
world is conditioned by unseen forces due to European
acculturation. To rid his mind of these psychic forces his head
must be "loosened up," sometimes done only through the use of
the herb. The herb enables one to see one's true self. A true
revelation of Black consciousness brings about the proper love
for the Black race; it rids the mind of social and psychological
"hang ups" by altering one's state of consciousness, revealing
the true nature of the world to the inner consciousness. This
done, one's true identity can be experienced, including the
revelation that Haile Selassie is god and that Ethiopia is the home
of the Blacks.
According to the Rastafarians, the structure of the Jamaican
society is inhuman and cannot provide the psychic nutrients
demanded by the Blacks who originated in the satisfying
cultures of Africa. They see Jamaica as death oriented;
redeeming values for human life are absent; success in the
society is defined largely in terms of having money and a certain
standard of living. to them the work roles which yield this
money and standard of living are spiritually demeaning and
unsatisfying; so, rather than strive for this kind of upward
mobility, they have opted for the simple life. This poverty,
however, is voluntary, free from the pressures and dictates of a
dying culture. By withdrawing from the acquisitive society into
a counterculture, they believe that they will be able to redefine
themselves and restructure their values with new norms and
The herb is key to new understanding of the self, the
universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness; it
introduces one to levels of reality not ordinarily perceived by the
non-Rastafarians, and it develops a certain sense of fusion with
all living beings. According to a leading Rastafarian:

Man basically is God but this insight can come to man only with
the use of the herb. When you use the herb, you experience
yourself as God. With the use of the herb you can exist in this
dismal state of reality that now exists in Jamaica. You cannot
change man, but you can change yourself by the use of the herb.
When you are God you deal or relate to people like a God. In
this way you let your light shine, and when each of us lets his
light shine we are creating a God-like culture and this is the
cosmic unity that we try to achieve in the Rastafarian
community. [Interview with Ras Sam Clayton, Mystic
Revelation of Rastafari, summer, 1975.]