Image: Some Caribbean islands including the lesser and Greater Antilles. Martinique,
Guadeloupe and French Sint Martin were called the French Antilles, with Sint Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatia comprising the Dutch Antilles. Frantz Fanon the Martiniquan Doctor, revolutionary, author, Marxist and Antillean. Carlos Cooks was an Antillean. Maurice Bishop though a Grenadian by parentage was born in Aruba and attended school for a period of time there. Athyli Rogers author of the Rastafari bible, the Holy Piby, was an Anguillan, though Anguilla is not an Antillean island, Anguillans and Sint Maarteners are related by blood ties and share a common heritage. Edward Wilmot Blyden the man whose world-renowned protégé Marcus Garvey, is heralded by most Pan-Africanists as the father of their ideology, is a virtual unknown in so-called black studies‖ literature. Most writers writing about the Pan-Caribbean Pan-African experience tend to focus on Jamaicans and Africans conveniently omitting the fact that the actual Pan-Caribbean, Pan-Africanist movement started in the smaller islands and not in Jamaica. The movement was begun by people like Edward Blyden and others even before him. George Padmore and C.L.R James are rarely ever written about but they are in fact intrinsic to any honest analysis of the Pan-Caribbean and Pan-Africanist movement in the world today. This book though not a Pan African nor a Pan Caribbean work yet gives due credence to the greats in the aforementioned since, without their efforts, a work such as this would indeed be lacking substance in certain areas.
In her book, The First Rasta Helen Lee claims, that Marcus Garvey was agitating for integration, how a supposedly informed individual could make such a claim, can mean only one thing, Lee who is obviously enamored with Howell; was pandering to certain sentiments and sensibilities of the type of readership that she caters to.
After his release from prison on trumped-up charges Marcus Garvey was deported to Jamaica in 1928, where he resumed his activities on behalf of Africans everywhere.
He was politically active in Jamaica where he ran for a seat on the city council while he was in prison, and he won by an overwhelming margin.
Lee’s attempt at diminishing the impact and influence of Marcus Garvey on the development of African civilization in the Diaspora is exposed in this work for what it is, a specious attempt at misinformation. The historical records clearly show that Garvey was deported back to Jamaica he later left for England, where he died in 1940. Creating the false notion that Garvey never returned to Jamaica but was somehow sent to England, is a deliberate and malicious attempt, by this white journalist, claiming to identify so greatly with the Rastafari, that even within the obvious suicidal behavior of Athlyi (―Roger Athlyi‖ writer of the Holy Piby i.e. the Rastafari bible). Lee attempted to make Athlyi some sort of hero. Athlyi killed himself plain and simple; no amount of misplaced pandering to misdirected sensibilities can change that.
The likes of Athlyi were not and have never been a great influence on black people globally Athlyi‘ marginal influence is limited to the few followers he had in his heyday, likewise Leonard Howell. Marcus Mosiah Garvey on the other hand influenced black intellectuals globally and he still does so today from politicians and preachers to university students to street hustlers Garveyism has had an enduring impact on the world that no human being can diminish nor deny.
The ideology that Garvey espoused, led to many African leaders, such as Kwame Nkrumah, and Jomo Kenyatta just to mention two very famous leaders, who openly called themselves Pan-Africanists after the ideology developed by Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The ideology called Garveyism led to these men formulating the methods and means that they would later utilize to bring about the independence of their respective countries. That they failed to follow in the Pan-African tradition after having achieved independence is no reflection on Garveyism at all, but rather it is a reflection on the men as human beings.
Today both the JLP and the PNP of Jamaica are vying for the right to call themselves the ideological successors of Marcus Garvey; fortunately for Garvey history will show that he was not a socialist. Garvey believed firmly in the democratic ideal, and capitalism, in fact, was his preferred economic model.
Both the JLP and PNP are socialistic in their rhetoric, in practice, they are decidedly autocratic, and absolutist in their governing styles bordering on oligarchies. The very fact that these parties are now vying for the right to call Marcus Garvey, the father of their political ideology, points to his universal acceptance that has in fact forced the political hierarchy in his homeland, to want to adopt him as the father of their various movements.
Pan-Africanists, the Rastafari, and students of the enlightened variety both white and black have long accepted and understood the universal truths espoused by Marcus Garvey; however, his separatist rhetoric has been and rightly should be avoided by most. The applicability of his political program, as pertains to the betterment, of the condition of the Africans in the Diaspora, should be championed by any truly enlightened Caribbean leader.
Caribbean people, do not need journalists, or academicians to define their reality; they can define their own reality.
On the point of the church’s role in the Caribbean; Lee attempts to portray the role of women, as substituting for the lack of men in said institutions. The Jesus image, as created by Roman Catholicism is portrayed by Lee, as a psychological prop; upon which black Caribbean Christian women, project all of their pent-up sexual emotions.
Lee in her attempt to describe the church services of some people, who may or may not be Christian, lumped Christianity with Pocomania, and other religious sects, like Obeah and Shango. In the spiritist practices above the adherents are said to become possessed by one of their many deities, demon spirits, who cause them to manifest a wide assortment of behavior, while persons who experience the real indwelling of the Holy Ghost are experiencing what was spoken of in Acts 2:38. Moreover, the chief spirit of most of the cults mentioned corresponds to the divine androgyne, of ancient paganism, which has been identified as a symbol of Satan. For instance Obatala the chief deity of the Yoruba is a spirit manifesting both male and female characteristics, not unlike many of the other so-called gods of the ancient and modern pagans examined in this book.
The Pentecostal movement is a fact worldwide; many people around the world grew up in the Pentecostal movement.
Lee erroneously claimed that speaking in tongues is akin to the possession, of the cults.
Speaking in tongues‖ has been observed all over the globe even among Europeans and Caucasians in America and Canada, accounts of such are to be found in newspaper articles and on video footage throughout the western hemisphere.
The attempt by some white writers to portray speaking in tongues as a black phenomena‖, limited to the uneducated and the ignorant is an example of their use of the mastery of the written word to portray events in favor of the worldview that they espouse. This is the case of writers like Helen Lee and Timothy White is a decidedly pro-Rastafari worldview (of the Bob Marleyite variety).
While these writers can champion whatever worldview they want to, their attempts at lumping the very real experience of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, in true Christians‖ with demon or spirit possession akin to the possession at a Voodoo ceremony, will be challenged in this work, as it is mere fantasy and conjecture on the part of two journalist‘s attempting to explain away something that is experienced by people globally regardless of color or creed on a daily basis, as a purely black phenomenon limited to a few backward peasants and women with a limited education nothing could be farther from the truth.
Since true Christianity is diametrically opposed to occultism, those of us who truly know what the Full Body Ministry, stands for can appreciate the paradox in the matter.
For one the truly Christian woman would consider such thoughts sacrilegious, and the so-called white Jesus image, even in Jamaican society is not revered by all, not in the early 20th century nor today.
There have been and still are in the region churches that emphatically teach an anti-Eurocentric doctrine, there are many church institutions regionally that do not encourage the veneration of any imagery period taken from Roman Catholicism, even the pagan Christmas is not venerated nor celebrated by Apostolic people in the Caribbean nor around the globe.
The weak attempt of a white woman to define the experience of the African in the Diaspora failed, as all such attempts must fail, by dint of the fact that; the African in the Diaspora is far more complicated, and sophisticated than anyone from outside said group, presuming to be able to precisely analyze an entire group of people will ever be able to fathom.
Leonard Howell one of the earliest Rastafari leaders/ prophets‖ was an ardent admirer of Hinduism, and Indian culture and philosophy in general.
The original Howellites could be heard chanting to Krishna the Hindu god.
Howell began in the early thirties encouraging his followers to revere Haile Sellassie as a messiah, during this time there were many Rastafari mendicants.
Some well-known leaders were Joseph Hinds, Archibald Dunkley, and Nathaniel Hibberts, though there were many leaders, these were some of the earliest and chief leaders, of some of the better known Rastafari sects. All the other more contemporary leaders rose to prominence in the nineteen sixties.
Haile Sellassie received certain Rastafari leaders during his Jamaican visit, some of whom were honored with imperial medals by the emperor. Mention also must be made here of Prince Emmanuel the founder of the Emmanualites so-called Bobo Shanties‖.
Vernon Carrington founder of the twelve tribes of Israel is a well-known Rastafari leader; both these men rose to prominence in the sixties.
Haile Selassie himself denounced the idea that he was divine; stating that he was a Christian, and worshipped Jesus, the Rastafari saw his denial as a sign of humility.
The idea of Haile Sellassie as a god later gained global prominence through the medium of Reggae music. Robert Nesta Marley, the half-caste from Kingston is its most ardent seed planter.
The philosophical packaging and ideology of Rastafari are similar in many aspects, to Hinduism, right down to their Vegan diet, anyone can discover this for themselves by studying the original theology of Rastafari, the person wishing to know the truth must first understand who Howell was, and why his doctrine appealed to the disenfranchised, and downtrodden of society. The first
Rastafari unlike today, were largely poor, and uneducated young black men and women the eldership consisted of war veterans, some former Garveyites, and many young unwed mothers.
Although Howell was not the only black Jamaican at that time teaching about a black messiah, he was one of them who succeeded where many failed in establishing a commune where his people could live and work largely undisturbed by outsiders.
The belief in a universal black messiah was widespread amongst African descendants in the Western hemisphere, even amongst African Americans, as they had their Wallace Fard and Elijah Poole aka Elijah Muhammad, (These men also claimed to be messiahs or Mahdi=Arabic for messiah).
Based on historical accounts then we can safely say that Leonard Howell was not a novelty in the early thirties when this type of teaching was widespread amongst black people globally.
What was novel about Howell though, was his ability to galvanize his followers few before him or after him have been able to do what he did, and it is for that reason that I have chosen to focus on him, he influenced present-day Rastafari thinking and living more so than any of the other leaders.
Even after Howell’s camp (Pinnacle) was broken up, many of his followers were able to galvanize large segments of the poorer classes behind their ideology.
Poverty lack of education and financial resources conditioned the masses of young people at that time to seek a way out of their situation.
When Howell came on the scene preaching black pride and hailing Haile Selassie as a god, offering a refuge from the ghetto that they inhabited Howell’s practice of Marijuana use offered a temporary escape from the bleak landscape at that time.
Howell became an instant savior to those people at that time he became their leader a voice for the voiceless and a father to the fatherless.
Howell renounced his British citizenship claiming Ethiopia as the Promised Land for blacks and Haile Selassie as their long-awaited king who would deliver them from European colonial tyranny and oppression.
Howell lived in an Indian-styled hilltop commune, called Pinnacle he called himself Gangunguru Marajh, he even had a harem in the manner of the Hindu kings that he so admired.
Howell was well-read and had traveled extensively when he lived in the city of New York; he ran a tea shop,‖he more than likely sold Marijuana in his tea shop.
Howell himself functioned as a healer; years later in Jamaica, he would use his knowledge to heal people, he took them to a hot springs bath that relaxed their minds and bodies healing them of many ailments in their physical bodies.
Howell was not simply talking hope he was bringing about results many of the women he attracted were young uneducated single mothers looking for a way out of poverty.
The situation today has not changed much the Village Ram mentality; of some in the Caribbean, has spawned a generation of young single-parent households headed by mostly, poor, young, uneducated women.
This situation has led to an increasingly alarming number of single, young women, turning to, drug lords for their financial sustenance.
While criminal enterprise has proven to be very lucrative. The truly wealthy criminals hold a monopoly position.
The young men and women that the dons employ are largely their pawns and are usually expendable when they no longer cooperate or are either incarcerated or incapacitated.
Howell was what the poor saw as a way of escape at that time he knew what they wanted him for and he wanted power and lordship thusly both parties were served they fed his illusions of grandeur and he literally fed them. In this scenario, each party corrupted the other, yet they both got what they wanted. Howell was genuine in his beliefs he was willing to die for his beliefs and his followers this is what endears a man to anyone.
, If a man is willing to die for his word, that stance will inadvertently bring about a certain measure of respect from others even one’s enemies.
Howell was a bonafide channeler he was an adept in elemental magic; (elemental magic is rituals where various elemental spirits are conjured in order to aid the adepts, there are earthbound spirits, fire spirits, water spirits, and air spirits), his son Blade in the book The First Rasta by Helen Lee corroborated this. Howell was adept at spirit channeling people felt a definite presence when he entered a room, that was his hallmark his bearing and presence.
Bob Marley would later emulate this man calling himself Tough Gong, meaning I am tougher than Gong. The original Gong was Leonard Howell, a Gong is a hallowed cymbal-like instrument used by almost all oriental religious systems of worship, to announce the proceeding or ending of a session, this instrument was also used to honor a particular deity‘s presence.
Howell was meticulous in his choice of names and euphemism‘s Bob Marley‘s use of the name was mostly braggadocios, and also a respectful acquiescence of the preeminence of Howell.
Howell used Cannabis as a means of gaining contact with the spirit world.
Howell understood that the average youth, of a western persuasion, would never easily grasp the intricacies involved in spirit contact through meditation, and tantricism, the smoking of Cannabis was an easier simpler method so this was employed.
In the late sixties, Howell and his followers were nominally wealthy people, because of, Cannabis cultivation. Rastafari culture holds as a core tenet that, Cannabis Sativa is a sacred i.e.(Holy) plant.
Cannabis was, introduced into the Caribbean, by Indian Sadhu‘s, and smoked sacramentally by Sadhu‘s. The Sadhus were brought to Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana in the 17th century by Europeans, primarily as indentured servants, for the purpose of cane cultivation.
They brought with them their religious beliefs and myriad gods; (Some accounts claim that the Spaniards introduced Cannabis into the Caribbean as early, as the 15th century, the Cannabis originated in both historical accounts in India).
These people some of whom were called Sadhu‘s, or holy men brought Cannabis Sativa to Jamaica their worship of their gods sometimes entailed the smoking of Cannabis, at certain points an elixir would also be drunk this potion contained a mixture of honey and Cannabis,(Behang/Bhang).
Hemp was grown in the Caribbean region as early as the 15th century and was done chiefly by the British in an attempt to break the Russian monopoly on the production of Hemp as an industrial product. The Hemp plant was used chiefly as an industrial product, the plant is indigenous to West and Central Asia.
The Sadhu smoking his sacrament to kali‖, Shiva is the chief demon prince worshipped by Sadhus.
The painting above the Sadhu is of Shiva and his consort Parvati. On the right, a Shiva devotee in Nepal is covered in the white/gray ash characteristic of Shiva.
© Copyrights R.M.N.D. 2007. By Wade A Bailey.
Figure: This map indicates a portion of Western Asia Ur of the Chaldea is shown.
The Euphrates and Tigris rivers respectively are visible as two blue parallel lines flowing into the Persian Gulf.
The complexed relationships evinced between these regions cannot be handled in this work as this will take the work in an unintended direction suffice it to say that this work is a synopsis of a much broader work.
Western Asia denotes a number of geographic regions chiefly Iran, Turkey, Syria, and a number of other regions Iraq is in South Western Asia. As recently as 1979, Iran was known as Persia.
The term Central Asia denotes portions of or the entire region of Turkistan, Turkistan is the historical term for a region in Central Asia comprised of Kazakhstan, portions of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the autonomous Chinese border territory of Xinxiang Uygur in the past it was called East Turkistan or Chinese Turkistan.
Authors note, The last piece of historical data shows why there is a Chinese Muslim population in China, this occurred as a result of conquest by the Turks during the expansion of their Ottoman empire. If you are a news junky you will recall that the Xinxiang province in China is a hotbed of Uyghur Muslim ―extremist activity‖, later in this work I will examine the aforementioned in-depth.
As I have shown, taking into account the information given about the civilizations shown above. They were all highly developed cultures in the past, and had frequent contact amongst themselves. It should come as no surprise to anyone that a common religion, was shared by the people, in the regions shown above.
Hemp is also grown as an industrial product in Russia, Poland, Japan, Hungary, and China.
Hemp is refined and developed into soap, it is used in paint, and the Hemp products Marijuana and Hashish are used as drugs.
Based on the above information we have learned that Cannabis served a variety of uses, in the past as well as today.
In modern society in most countries of the world, Cannabis is used, as a recreational drug, but its usefulness as medicine has rarely been examined or taken seriously by the medical community.
Many persons clamor for its legalization as a means of furthering their own subversive agendas.
The aim here is not to promote the smoking of any substance recreationally, or for self-medication. The intent here is to honestly, deal with the multi-functional role that Hemp products have played as a natural product, that has been developed and exploited by man, it is in man‘s abuse and misuse of the plant that has created the addictive behavior, evinced today, among many people, in all sectors of society.
I will now resume my examination of the Pinnacle settlement and the lifestyle of its leader and his followers. The Pinnacle settlement was associated with Indian plantation workers with locked hair; this was before any African descendants in Jamaica ever grew locks.
Certain Rastafari elders called locks Zagavi; the etymology of the word, Zagavi is in the Hindi language.
Many Rastafari cite Bible passages in order to support their way of life, the bible does not condone the smoking of any substance as a means of spiritual upliftment, or enlightenment.
The word of God clearly condemns the use of any substance excessively, and it clearly makes a distinction between the clean and the unclean.
The Holy Ghost makes it possible for a child of God to touch God’s throne through the means of prayer praise and worship.
Sadhu‘s socialized with Jamaicans of African descent therefore, the Rastafari assertion that locks came to their movement because of seeing pictures of Ethiopian warriors with locked hair is not completely accurate.
Image:Jomo Kenyatta with a dreadlocked Mau Mau warrior.
This photo is erroneously cited by some historians as an impetus for certain Jamican Rastafari to have grown locks; such an assertion is false since Rastafari in Jamaica wore dreadlocks before the 1950‘s when this photo began making the rounds in western media publications.
Leonard Howell was impressed with Gandhi and his philosophy of nonviolence within social protest.
Howell later co-opted the nonviolent strategy, which was not always successful, some of
Howell’s followers were in constant conflict with the police some of the conflicts were because of Marijuana cultivation, Howell‘s rhetoric was anti-establishment this also brought mass exposure to his movement and its ideology.
Pinnacle; or the remnants of the settlement of Howell and his people. Pinnacle was purchased by Howell and his wife Tynneth Howell from a mister Chang a businessman of Chinese extraction, for the sum of 1200 pounds. Today the Pinnacle site is one of controversy as the Rastafari people of Jamaica and the Howell family, are taking legal action, to have the Pinnacle settlement, declared a Rastafari cultural heritage site, recognized as such under international laws. Howell died in 1981 ―peacefully‖, in a hotel room in Kingston according to the account given by Helen Lee.
Above is a faded photo of Leonard and Tyneth Howell.
Flyer and Photos of Leonard Percival Howell a.k.a The Founder and Father of the Rastafari Movement.
As I indicated previously in this book the Rastafari movement does not have one
central founder, Rastafari came about as a result of a Caribbean wide mass acceptance of Ethiopianism, Garveyism, et al, the movement had various forerunners‖ in its formative years Howell happens to be one of the more famous of them.
All Rastafari believe in the divinity of Haile Selassie the Kebra Nagast is the main source used, in proving that Haile Selassie is a direct descendant of the house of David through the union of King Solomon and the queen of Sheba.