420 Magazine Background

Rastafari and Cannabis - Spiritual use

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Rastafari use

Members of the Rastafari movement use cannabis as a part of their worshiping of God often called JAH, and Meditation. The movement was founded in the 1930s and while it is not known when Rastafarians first made cannabis into something sacred it is clear that by the late 1940s Rastafari was associated with cannabis smoking at the Pinnacle community of Leonard Howell. Rastafari see cannabis as a sacramental and deeply beneficial plant that is the Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible. Bob Marley, amongst many others, said, "the herb ganja is the healing of the nations." The use of cannabis, and particularly of large pipes called chalices, is an integral part of what Rastafari call "reasoning sessions" where members join together to discuss life according to the Rasta perspective. They see cannabis as having the capacity to allow the user to penetrate the truth of how things are much more clearly, as if the wool had been pulled from one's eyes. Thus the Rastafari come together to smoke cannabis in order to discuss the truth with each other, reasoning it all out little by little through many sessions. They see the use of this plant as bringing them closer to nature. In these ways Rastafari believe that cannabis brings the user closer to Jah, Haile Selassie I, and pipes of cannabis are always dedicated to His Imperial Majesty before being smoked. While it is not necessary to use cannabis to be a Rastafari, some feel that they must use it regularly as a part of their faith. "The herb is the key to new understanding of the self, the universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness" according to Rastafari philosophy, [13] and is considered to burn the corruption out of the human heart. Rubbing the ashes from smoked cannabis is also considered a healthy practice[14].


New Member
Is there anyone on this forum that knows a little more about the real history of Rastafari? Anyone who lives the Rasta way of life willing to answer some real stupid questions from me?


New Member
I have followed Rastafari in South Africa for over a decade now. Its alive and kicking and growing by the day. Below was a video created for a local Afro centric rastafari media company. Lots more to come. If you have any questions I am happy to try and answer so fya away.

YouTube - Rasfleks:


New Member
I highly agree with the rasta way of life and enjoy parts of it myself besides the whole "jah" thing. I like to think of the creator/energy that surrounds us to be "it". No one can understand or name what it is. But spiratually I find that people that use cannabis are a lot more grounded then people that do not.:nicethread:


New Member
i agree mostly with the Rastafarian way i just dont believe Haile Selassie I is the messiah i believe Jesus christ is but thats like the only thing i disagree with


New Member
The Rasta way of religion is the best way ive ever seen, the basis of Haile Selassie I may be questionable, but their rituals and teaching are some of the most enlightened around. Also the sessions of life talks over the ganja remind me a lot of any group of friends who talk about serious things while high, such as myself and my friends. Im simply a Coptic/Rasta kinda guy in that sense


New Member
I am not sure any religion with racism in its core belief is worth following. the first 3 tenets of Rastafari are really far fetched and silly to the point of Scientology or Mormons...it is a cult more than a religion. I always feel the need to point out Bob Marley is not a true symbol of a Rastafarian, he had a open heart and accepted all. As the most famous Jamaican he often is thought of as a symbol of the religion....not entirely true. Furthermore how can you follow a religion when you don't even believe in the dark messiah?

Rastafarian beliefs

Rastafarian beliefs

There is no formal Rastafari creed and there are slight differences in the views of different groups.

The most definitive list is found in the 1977 book The Rastafarians, The Dreadlocks of Jamaica by scholar Leonard Barrett who lists what he regards as the six basic principles of Rastafari. He developed the list by attending public meetings and through anthropological research into the movement.

1-Haile Selassie I is the Living God
2-The Black person is the reincarnation of ancient Israel, who, at the hand of the White person, has been in exile in Jamaica
3-The White person is inferior to the Black person
4-Jamaica is hell; Ethiopia is heaven
5-The Invincible Emperor of Ethiopia is now arranging for expatriated persons of African origin to return to Ethiopia
6-In the near future Blacks shall rule the world

But Leonard Barrett's list is itself about thirty years old and so many of the beliefs above may no longer have the same significance to modern Rastafarians. This is especially true since the spread of the movement to the West which has led to the emergence of White Rastafarians.

Early beliefs

The basic tenets of early Rastafari, according to preacher Leonard Howell, included some very strong statements about racial issues, as might be expected in the religion of an oppressed people living in exile:

Hatred of Whites
Superiority of Blacks
Blacks are God's chosen people
Blacks will soon rule the world
Revenge on Whites for their wickedness
Whites will become the servants of Blacks
The negation, persecution and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica
Repatriation: Haile Selassie will lead Blacks back to Africa
Acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as God, and the ruler of Black people
Modern Rastafarian beliefs

Modern Rastafarian beliefs

From the 1930s until the mid 1970s most Rastafarians accepted the traditional Rastafari beliefs.

But in 1973 Joseph Owens published a more modern approach to Rastafari beliefs. In 1991 Michael N. Jagessar revised Owens's ideas, devising his own systematic approach to Rastafari theology and providing an insight into the changes in the group's beliefs.

The key ideas in contemporary Rastafari are:

1-The humanity of God and the divinity of man
3-This refers to the importance of Haile Selassie who is perceived by Rastafarians as a living God. Likewise it emphasises the concept of God revealing himself to his followers through his humanity.
God is found within every man
3-Rastafarians believe that God makes himself known through humanity. According to Jagessar "there must be one man in whom he exists most eminently and completely, and that is the supreme man, Rastafari, Selassie I."
4-God in history
It is very important to see all historical facts in the context of God's judgement and workings.
5-Salvation on earth
Salvation for Rastafarians is an earthly idea, rather than heavenly.
6-The supremacy of life
Human nature is very important to Rastafarians and they should preserve and protect it.
7-Respect for nature
This idea refers to the importance and respect Rastafarians have for animals and the environment, as mirrored in their food laws.
8-The power of speech
Speech is very important to Rastafarians, as it enables the presence and power of God to be felt.
9-Evil is corporate
Sin is both personal and corporate. This means organisations such as the International Monetary Fund are responsible for Jamaica's fiscal situation, and that oppression is in part influenced by them.
10-Judgement is near
This corresponds to the nearness of judgement for Rastafarians when they will be given greater recognition.
11-The priesthood of Rastafarians
Rastafarians are the chosen people of God and are on earth to promote his power and peacefulness.
(Joseph Owens The Rastafarians of Jamaica, 1973 pp. 167-70 and Jagessar, JPIC and Rastafarians, 1991 pp. 15-17.)

To modern Rastafari the most important doctrine is belief in the divinity of Haile Selassie I. Although some Rastafarians still regard Haile Selassie as the black messiah, many modern adherents do not see this as central to their faith.

Haile Selassie's death in 1975 was described by his followers as his 'disappearance', since they refused to believe he has passed away. Following his death and the increased acceptance of Jamaican culture in society many Rastafarian beliefs have been modified.

According to Nathaniel Samuel Murrell:

...brethren have reinterpreted the doctrine of repatriation as voluntary migration to Africa, returning to Africa culturally and symbolically, or rejecting Western values and preserving African roots and black pride.
Nathaniel Samuel Murrell in 'Chanting Down Babylon', 1998, page 6.
The previous belief that white people are evil has diminished and is no longer central to Rastafarian belief systems.

The idea of Babylon has also developed to represent all oppressive organisations and countries in the world.


New Member
Ok first of all i respect all religions and sometimes find that even though they all seem to go by different rules the principle is the same in most, self awareness and the awareness and togetherness to a supreme being. Even though Rasta's often associated with smoking herb and having dreads thats not what its all about.


New Member
Lemme clear a few things as ive been a Rasta all my life (2nd generation) as well as my brothers.

Rasta is not a religion, its a way of life. Its how you live your life....
Not all Rastamon smoke weed. I know alot that don't smoke.....
Anyone can be a Rasta. A good friend of mine is German and he's a long time Rastamon...

A man named Lennard Powell is the founder. He founded Rastafari after hearing the prophet Marcus Garvey's speech about a black king will be crown & that man will be a descendant of King Solomon. He will be god reincarnate....which all the above came true with H.I.M. Haile Selassie. His coronation name was "Ras Tafari" which means head creator. There are different factions which we call sec's. The Nyabhingi, Bobo Shanti, 12 tribe, etc. each one have slightly different beliefs but all the core beliefs are the same. Rastafarism is a cross between Christianity & Judaism. Dreadlocks was adopted from an African tribe which only the warriors locked their hair. We eat only natural products. No meat, no dairy. Back to nature kinda thing. There are some that won't wear any leather products. The idea is animals are gods creations and they have a right to live just like us. With every "religion", not everyone adheres to the all the rules which is the product of the times.

If anyone need any questions answered, feel free to ask.


New Member
as said above, being rasta is not a religion. it is a feeling on the way of life.

to sum it up in a few statements.

Dont fall for False pleasures.
Marital monogamy is not mandatory but heavily influenced.
I&i = you and i are one with jah
jah = lord (none in specific so you can relate to any god you desire) mine is the Sun.
jah = also referred to Haile Selassie I

from what i have got out of the rasta life style is

only take what you need and give the rest to others. that no matter how much false pleasures you obtain or have you will never be happy.

Remember, the Sun dies every night. to be Resurrected the next day. If we had no light bulbs, this would be our god that we praised to. he brings us fruits and vegetables, fresh air and clean water. without the sun, life would simply not exist. I&i would not be able to breath, drink, or eat.



New Member
I've also realized about the negativity and strong racist compounds on early rastafarism. I think modern rastafarism also kinda became a pose between the new generations, people just need to feel part of a group, some only want to feel different and better than the rest.

Anyway you don't need to be rasta or religious to have such way of life, to respect others, to be a responsible consumer or human being, to have your own ethic/moral code and so on... and even to have a nice or even spiritual relationship with Cannabis. The only thing you need is education and maybe reading books lol.

I mean, rastafarism is no better than any other religion whatsoever. Anybody can write a few nice principles and found his own religion. But I actually feel quite sad for all the african people that are getting brainwashed by both rastafarism and christianism nowadays, joining an alien culture while they forget their folclore and roots. Especially since normally it's the poorest people and those with less education/culture the ones more prone to fell for religions instead of focusing on living their own lives instead, trying to fill the gap within their existence with a god or a religion that seem to provide them with relief and the power to live every day.


New Member
Rastafari, Cannabis and Spirituality seems to be 3 separate topics. But for this thread it is a combined topic.
Rastafariansm is considered a religion and smoking cannabis is a personal religious experience.
Smoking cannabis can be a personal religious experience without connection to a Rasta heritage or otherwise.
Some people were smoking cannabis religiously before they ever heard of a Rasta, or reggae.
Curiosity was the reason for many first smokers, but Spirituality was the reason many why continued.
Top Bottom