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Rastafari: Natty Dreadlocks
I will try my best to give out correct information as to the function of Rastafarian dreadlocks within the Jamaican culture. It is a very sensitive subject. Most of the Mansions of Rastafari require a display of Asceticism or devotion to the movement. Growing dreadlocks as a Rastafarian carries many sentiments and natural (natty) energy. The term Natty Dreadlocks actually means “naturally locked hair". This means that you grow your hair without grooming the locks. Letting your hair lock naturally is the preferred practice within the Rastafarian movement.
Rest assured, having Rastafarian dreadlocks is not a requirement of the movement. However, growing your dreadlocks or hair is seen as a move away from the Babylon system and towards self-independence. There are many that practice a Rastafarian Lifestyle without growing their hair. Here is a list of reasons some Rastafarians do not grow their hair;
- Biological Restrictions: Some people are naturally bald and are unable to grow hair. Natural Baldness is viewed as a negative attribute for any individual. On the other hand the ability to grow really long hair is interpreted as a blessing within the Rastafarian movement.
- Family and Cultural Restrictions: If someone has already taken a vow to be a monk, then it may not be necessary to change ones appearance. Even though the Rastafari dreadlocks represent a harsh change in lifestyle, it may not be necessary.
- Job and Economy: Formal work environments do not take kindly to the appearance of the Rastafarians natty dreadlocks. Some people do not have a choice to simply disenfranchise their work environment. There are those Rastafarians who do get away with having groomed dreadlocks with a shaven beard and sideburns. This seems to be the only acceptable form of grooming allowed in the corporate environment.
(For those Rastafarians stuck in a stressful job; save up some money and open an independent business in order to have more artistic control of self. The Rastafarian image represents the breaking of external and internal restrictions)
The Science of Hair
Please refer to the image of the hair. Understanding the structure of the hair will help most Rastafarians appreciate the significance of natty dreadlocks. It is no coincidence that the hair looks just like a plant. Even the way how it grows represents the functionality of a tree. The follicle represents the root of a plant and the hair shaft represents the trunk. The skin represents the soil of the earth. Your hair absorbs the sun radiation through melanin while plants absorb the suns radiation using chlorophyll. Your hair keeps replenishing itself like an evolving forest. As soon as a tree falls, there is another to take its place.
Natty dreadlocks hair is mystical because of its electromagnetic properties. This is why hair stands up when the body is exposed to an electric shock. Because my elementary school was in a lightening prone zone, we had to do lighting drills. The first thing you’re taught is whenever you feel the hair on your body or head stand up, to get flat on the ground. This is because only the hair shaft can sense the change in the atmospheres energy.
After you are taught this lifesaving tip, they turn around and teach you that humans only have five senses. Within the Rastafarian culture it is not just a belief that human beings have many more senses, it is an actually fact. The hair is one the many sensory organs that does not use nerve cells within its structure to communicate information to the brain.
Mystical element of hair
The hair is an electromagnetic sensor (receptor) that is inanimate (like a TV antennae). However it is able to heal itself just like the skin or any other organs. Scientist do not why your grows back when you cut it. There is no sensory nerve that tells the brain that the hair has been cut. For example, side burns grows to specific length and whenever the hair shaft is cut, it will grow back immediately to its predetermined length.
Therefore, if the hair shaft is truly an inanimate object then when it is broken it should stay broken. There is no visible or observable feedback mechanism to the brain that would trigger hair growth. It just mystically happens.
Groomed dreadlocks hair will not have the same energy as naturally grown dreadlocks. This is simply because every time someone touches your hair, the hair is electrically neutralized. There are also many hair products that alter the chemical structure and integrity of the hair. This is why Bobo Shanti Priests do not expose their hair to the environment and constantly wear turbans.
The Rastafarians dreadlock hair serves as an electromagnetic frequency antennae to the body. In other words, the dreadlocks hair changes the energy composition of the whole body. To be more precise, long hair can be attributed to extra-sensory abilities or extra strength. Most cultures also embrace similar beliefs about having long dreadlocked hair. For example, the Vikings, Mau Mau, and the ancient Babylonians all believed that long locked hair is a display of supernatural abilities.
The Nazarite Vow
Most Rastafarians grow their natty dreadlocks according to the nazarite vow agreements communicated to Moses directly from the most high. The vow is symbolic of dedicating one’s self totally to Jah Rastafari. The other stipulations of the Nazarite vow must be followed.
- You cannot cut your hair
- You cannot consume any form of fermented drink or fruit. (No Rum, wine or beer, no use of vinegar)
- You cannot eat fruits from the vine. (No Yams, grapes, pumpkins, etc)
- You must not go near a dead body. (Can’t work in a hospital or involve with the military)
- You can agree to follow the vow for a predetermined time frame. (for example 7 years)
Once any of the agreements are broken, then the devotee must cut off their hair and start over again. The full agreement can be found in the Old Testament in Numbers 6.
Once you have started to stop shaving and growing your hair, you are practicing a mild form of Asceticism. This is because we are now out of the realm of societal expectations. Therefore, growing dreads is a major attribute that needs to be practiced in order to symbolically burn Babylon. It is like saying “I am with God now”.
In the Rastafarian movement, Dreadlocks signify humility, separation, long fasting and suffering. Dreadlocks in society represent homelessness, mental illness and backwardness. It is ironic how society treats people when they decide to trod a peaceful non-commercial path.
Even people with well-groomed dreads are discriminated against along with men that have long combed hair. It is a certainty that Rastafarians with natty dreadlocks will cause great fear and trigger negative defensive reactions.
The cultural and social standards of each country or community should be taken into consideration. Rastafarians who go barefooted can walk around in the rural communities of Jamaica without much discrimination. However, this practice may be frowned upon in the larger affluent towns of Jamaica.
The Ethiopian war
Those who are exposed to constant military operations cannot find time to groom their hair. This is further compounded by constant movements by the operant. Africans, due to numerous invasions to the homeland adopted dreadlocks by virtue.
Ethiopia may be the only African country that was not successfully captured by world domination systems. Most Rastafarian members did not wear dreadlocks before the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The description of the Ethiopian warriors that had won the war became popular in Jamaica. Many attribute Ethiopia’s victory as the origin of the Jamaican Rasta dreadlocks.
Rastafarians associate their appearance with Mau Mau, Nyabhingi order , Bobo A-shante, Zulu and Ethiopian warriors. All of these systems of beliefs require devotion to the battlefield, spiritual warfare and GOOD OVER EVIL.
Dreadlocks and Slave culture
We have already established that natty dreadlocks represent rebellion. Once society is living in harmony, the way people choose to express their identity should not be a problem. Whenever one set of people try to capture another culture they destroy it.
If Rastafarians should dominate the world and then force monks to grow their hair, that would be unfair to the other cultures.
When the captured people from Africa were shipped to the Caribbean, they were shaved and oiled up for sale. This was done in order to make slaves look more marketable. What if I told you that is what is exactly happening today.
Some of the slaves escaped from the plantations and started to grow their hair again. They would continue their original appearance customs, language or cultural based rituals. Rastafari is not a hair culture. People naturally rebel by wearing natty dreadlocks.
Babylon has now figured out how to capture the minds of the people. The masses all look the same but this time they do not tie them up and put them on ships.
It is the natural (natty) order of life to be free. Dominating another culture is never the objective of Rastafari. Each person should have an equal right to express themselves PEACEFULLY. Once there is a conflict of opinion, then peaceful separation is encouraged. Rebellion is a last resort.
It is also well known that those who wear locks are more likely to rebel than a clean shaved person. This is why most corporations encourage a clean shave image. A popular method of military initiations is to shave the head of all inductees. Shaving is a representation of submission.
It is no coincidence that people also wear their dreadlocks as a display of aggression. This is observed in some popular sports and street cultures where aggression is necessary. It is a clear symbol of protest.
How different mansions of Rastafari wear their hair.
- Bobo Shanti: Grows natty dreadlocks. The dreadlocks are kept wrapped in a ceremonial turban. It is important that their locks are not revealed to the public. Bobo Shanti is the priestly order of Rastafari. They follow the nazarite vow all their lives.
- NyaBinghi: Grows natty dreadlocks. It is the fundamental order of Rastafari. The natty dreadlocks hair is grown as a symbol of the natural order of life. It is also a symbol of rebellion within the NyaBinghi order.
- Twelve Tribes of Israel: may not grow locks. It is the international arm of Rastafari and integrates other cultures. It is seen as the diplomatic arm of Rastafari. Therefore members may look like the regular public. (Twelve Tribes of Israel: Article)
- Ethiopian Orthodox Church: May grow natty dreadlocks in accordance with the nazarite vow. The females wear turbans while it is not necessary for men to wear a turban.
At the end of the day it is how you treat other people with respect that is most important.
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