Today is Grounation Day. It is a Rastafari holy day. And it commemorates the day when Haile Selassie visited Jamaica. Now why is this a big deal? Well, he was yet another son of God — or so the Rastafari believe. He was also the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 when he was overthrown in a coup d’état. This all came as a surprise to me. I did not realize that the Rastafari religion was an Abrahamic religion.
Most people know the religion as being all about smoking cannabis, and the religion does indeed use it in a sacramental way. Most religions do use mind altering substances. There are people who naturally have mystical experiences. Others need help. I see nothing wrong with that. And certainly cannabis has been used in this way since before history. The only reason the Rastafari stick out is because the west decided a century ago that cannabis is an evil drug. It’s us and not the Rastafari who are messed up — at least on this issue.
Other than cannabis, the Rastafari are very much Abrahamic in the sense of “no fun.” According to Wikipedia, the religion rejects what it calls, “Babylon” — by which it means materialism and sensual pleasures. I always have a problem with powerful groups and people telling the rest of us that we really ought to knock off all those things that make life worth living.
Apparently, Bob Marley’s wife became a Rastafari when Haile Selassie visited, believing that she saw a stigma on his hand. These are wounds and deformities that correspond to Jesus’ wounds from the crucifiction and getting stabbed with the Spear of Destiny. It always makes me think of the REM song “Losing My Religion” because the video features this. So why not?
An old physics professor of mine got to meet Selassie when he worked in the Peace Corps. He thought very highly of him and as far as I can tell, Haile Selassie was a good leader of the country. The Rastafari could have chosen much worse.