Rastafarianism Religious Beliefs Spiritual Practices Sociology Essay

Over the old ages, there have been assorted accounts to the causes of mental unwellness ; while some have indicated familial causes, others have identified socio-economic causes and others have explained it utilizing a stress-vulnerability theoretical account. Sometimes it has been explained as a combination of these factors but irrespective of these accounts which could be argued, it has been substantiated by assorted surveies. One can non disregard the strong association of cultural and spiritual beliefs and patterns in the account of mental unwellness and how these account and beliefs can act upon intervention options sought by the person and clinicians ‘ attitudes and responses. In some cases, people sing mental unwellness may hold psychotic beliefs of spiritual content as this can befog valuable diagnosing and required intervention to be given ( Cinnirella and Loewenthal, 1999 ) . Although, faith in certain cases does non hold association with mental wellness upsets, when it does, some close associates of the individual sing mental wellness troubles see them as person who requires intervention, while others think they have a good philosophy or cardinal thoughts and will seldom seek medical or psychological intercession ( Johnson-Hill, 1995 ) .

Rastafarianism is a manner of life predominately allied with people of the Afro-Caribbean background. The motion turned faith, began in Jamaica in the 1930s, came into position as a placeholder to the administration of western colonial authorization and values. Teachings of Marcus Garvey, who advocated and championed the involvements of people of African descent in the Diaspora, inspired the motion ( Chevannes, 1998 ) . There are over a million worldwide followings of Rastafarian faith. It has been estimated that about 5,000 Rastafarians are populating in England and Wales in the 2001 nose count and there are considerable followings of the religion in communities predominately in London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Nottingham ( BBC, 2009 ) .

The primary purpose of the faith is to convey about the simple transmutation of an unfair society. Ethiopianism is an thought that merges Ethiopia and the whole of the African continent which occupies followings of the Rastafarian religion with dreams of a return to their ‘heaven on Earth ‘ ( Chevannes, 1994 ) . Johnson-Hill ( 1995 ) stated that everything about this faith, the usage of the ‘holy herb ‘ ( hemp ) , the usage of the term I, intending ‘We ‘ , and vocals are all intended for the Oneness ( divine ego ) within inner ego find which acts to beef up the person. All these aid the Rastafarian to prosecute in pureness of the head and be regarded as individual of ego worth ( Murrell, Spencer and McFarlene, 1998 ) .

The rise of Bob Marley, who was a practicing Rastafarian made the movement/ faith really popular non merely in the Caribbean but the whole universe and has attracted a considerable figure of followings chiefly inkinesss, and some white people who claim to hold association with Africa, to the moralss and patterns of the Rasta religion. The inclusion of white people to the faith has led to a alteration in their doctrine of skin coloring material to an orientation of the head and self- determinism ( Johnson-Hill, 1995 ) .

Their rigorous instructions and patterns, like any other faith may hold protective factors against mental unwellness nevertheless it does non relieve an person from sing mental wellness troubles. This article will try to foreground the beginning of Rastafarianism, religious patterns and its impact on mental wellness and mental wellness pattern.

Beginning of the Rastafari Religion

Marcus Garvey was one of the laminitiss of the faith. His in-between name ‘Mosiah ‘ which was interpreted by people as a nexus between Biblical Moses and the Messiah was really important to his followings and turned the United Negro Improvement Association to a world-wide motion. Garvey used Biblical suggestion of Ethiopia as a topographic point of return to Africa and besides predicted to his followings to “ Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black King ; he shall be the Redeemer ” ( Murrell, Spencer and McFarlene, 1998 ) . As Barrett ( 1988 ) pointed out, this prognostication to all of Garvey ‘s followings existed in their heads until in 1930, when Ras Tafari the great grandson of King Saheka Selassie was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia. He took up the name Haile Selassie ( Might of the Trinity ) and other rubrics as “ King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Light of the World and placed himself in the dynasty of King Solomon ( Murrell, Spencer and McFarlene, 1998 ) .

Many Jamaicans and followings of the United Negro Improvement Association saw the enthronement as a disclosure from God and the fulfillment of the prognostication predicted earlier by Marcus Garvey. The cardinal thought of Ethiopianism and Messianism were put together by the Garvey motion whose undertaking was to reconstruct Africa shattered by the invasion of the colonialists ( Chevannes, 1998 ) .

Rastafarians shortly accredited themselves as portion of the 12 folk of the scriptural Israel and identified with Haile Selassie as the Jesus or christ who would take them off from the white subjugation ( Babylon ) with a promise of a return to Africa ( Barrett, 1988 ) .

Johnson-Hill ( 1995 ) pointed out that although some followings of the religion returned to Ethiopia, others now see this mission as a psychological ego find and personal property to Africa ; its civilization and manner of life.

Rastafarian beliefs, rites and patterns

The Bible is of great importance to the pattern of Rastafarianism but merely some of its content is curious to the faith. However the Rasta believes in the Bible as holding higher power to expose immoralities. They have nurtured for themselves a broad scope of beliefs and religious patterns with support from their reading of assorted texts in the Bible ( Murrell, Spencer and McFarlene, 1998 ) .

The Rastafarians are persuaded that God is black and back up their philosophy with Biblical text in Jeremiah 8:21. A fear of Haile Selassie is really critical to the Rasta as he is perceived as a life God and returned christs associating him to the line of descent of King Solomon. The distinguishable features of Haile Selassie is godly to the followings of Rastafarianism but to some he is an embodiment of God who is called Jah or combined as Jah-Rastafari which they support with Biblical poetries in Revelations 5:2-5, Psalms 68:4 and Psalm 87:3-4. ( Barrett, 1988 ) .

Chevannes ( 1994 ) points out that twice every hebdomad, the Bobo Shantis ‘ who are the rigorous followings of the faith usage supplication and fasting and drumming as an indispensable portion of the Rastafarian religion. On these occasions, nil whatsoever passes their lips from midday to sunset amid worship in their temple. Prayer is predominately done three times every twenty-four hours, where the truster prostrates confronting east at dawn, midday and sundown. These spiritual beliefs and patterns clearly have deductions for mental wellness pattern.

The general believe in the Rastafarian faith is peace and their denunciation of force. Sometimes this non-violent manner of life is extremely unattainable due to their socioeconomic strata and the hawkish association of one subdivision of the faith, the Nyahbingi order that might back up force. The Rastafarians lifestyle and twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours activities began as a divergence from society ‘s norms and the formation of a cohesive unit. Protest against authorization brought about force in the early yearss of the initiation of the faith ( Johnson-Hill, 1995 ) .

The Bobo Shantis ( a religious order of Rastafarianism ) , are self aware non violent people who wear their dreadlock hair under turbans. They desist from accumulating wealth and belongings with a impression of populating a really simple life similar to the life style and patterns of the ancient Israelites while detecting the Sabbath weekly from Friday flushing through Saturday eventide ( Murrell, Spencer and McFarlene, 1998 ) . Another division of the Rastafarian faith is the 12 folks of Israel which have larger and diverse followings. Each folk is associated with a month of the twelvemonth harmonizing to the names of the 12 folk of Israel and members are deemed equal in position although they may work otherwise ( Barrett, 1988 ) .

In the Rastafarian faith, adult females are seen as less superior existences and obtain the religion ‘s thorough Godhead wisdom through their hubby, or spouse ( Barrett, 1988 ) . This indicates the possibility of Rastafarian work forces handling adult females inhumanely and perchance forestalling them from accessing mental wellness services and intervention. There are some traditional patterns which bear similarities in the patterns of Rastafarians where in the public topographic point, adult females must have on ankle length frocks, and hair must be covered during ritual proceedings. Rasta adult females are exempt from cooking when flowing and in certain state of affairs they are placed in privacy ( Chevannes, 1998 ) . Although these are beliefs and usage held by the Rastafarians, it is apparent that it can do subjugation to the adult female, and can be a conducive factor of mental unwellness.

Another belief or pattern that can hold deductions for the intervention of mental unwellness is the Rastafarians puting a valuable importance on nature. It is seen as an gift of Jah for mending and sanctification of world ( Murrell, Spencer and McFarlene, 1998 ) . As a consequence of this position, they reject unnatural things relevant to life including medical intervention, instead preferring the natural herb tea usage. The usage of hemp referred to by the Rastafarians as the herb, weed or marijuana is believed to hold been found on the grave of King Solomon and it is to assistance in deriving penetration into life, have a clear scruples and meditating in worship ( Barrett, 1988 ) .


Cannabis and mental wellness

A characteristic that people attribute to Rastafarianism is the usage of hemp. To the Rastafarian smoke hemp is a particular religious experience and aid in their speculation every bit good as enlightens their head. A process referred to as logical thinking. The ritualistic manner affecting cleaning and supplication before utilizing hemp is sacred to them. Smoking hemp without intent is regarded every bit disrespectful to a Rasta ( Barrett, 1988 ) . To the Rastafarian, it is their right to utilize hemp but its cultivation and ownership harmonizing to the jurisprudence is illegal and warrants a constabulary cautiousness or apprehension ( Home Office, 2009 ) .

In a medical context, the association between hemp sativa normally known as hemp, marihuana, weed, or herb and psychosis has been raised. Cannabis sativa is exceeding for bring forthing different types of cannabinoids but the most powerful type associated with psychosis is the Tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) which besides contains C monoxide and carcinogens found in baccy ( Ashton, 1999 ) . The THC content in hemp has dramatically augmented over the old ages due to the advanced ways by which the works is cultivated. The increased authority of hemp presents may expose users to high doses of THC.

In a survey conducted by Reilly et al. , ( 1998 ) utilizing 268 long term users of hemp with regular use of at least three times per hebdomad, the topics gave grounds for their hemp usage as chiefly for relaxation, holding a feel good consequence and to relieve stressors in their twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours lives. They nevertheless reported feelings of anxiousness or depression, deficiency of motive, exhibition of paranoid ideation and some besides reported respiratory symptoms. Beer ( 2007 ) explained that certain persons with a Valine alteration in the dopamine-regulating COMT ( catechol-O-methyl transferase ) cistron are vulnerable to developing psychosis and hemp can worsen psychosis in persons with this defect in their genome. Experiments conducted by D’Souza et Al ( 2004 ) described the being of positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenic disorder in the healthy people in their survey who were given hemps intravenously and besides a transeunt ague psychotic episode in others. Early beginning of hemp usage on a frequent footing was noted as a strong forecaster in the person ‘s future dependence to cannabis and an of import relation to depression ( Kalant, 2004 ) . He farther showed that there is grounds that memory and information processing in the kids of adult females who are chronic users of hemp were for good affected and a susceptibleness to other illicit drugs dependance in ulterior life owing to early exposure.

Still researching the impact of hemp usage on mental wellness, Ashton ( 1999 ) has indicated the pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids as it enters the lungs into the blood watercourse and the consequence it precipitates. As the hemp fume is inhaled or taken orally, its consequence is noticed within proceedingss and arousing a physiological and physical effects in users. In the blood stream, the cannabinoids are circulated rapidly to parts of the organic structure necessitating high blood demand like the encephalon, liver and lungs. In the encephalon, cannabinoids like THC act as agonist at the CB1 receceptors which is merely found in the encephalon and a 2nd 1 is besides located in peripheral tissues particularly in the immune system ( Iversen, 2003 ) .

Surveies have shown that these CB1 receptors are predominately confined to axons and nervus terminuss but non in the dendrites or organic structure of the nerve cells. These receptors have a presynatic mechanism in beginning and modify the release of neurotransmitters which are chiefly found in the basal ganglia, cerebellum, hypothalamus, anterior cingulated cerebral mantle, hippocampus and intellectual cerebral mantle ( Levenes et al. , 1998 ) . Chronic hemp usage is linked to memory, larning damage and cognitive map which are allied with the cerebral mantle and the hippocampus with subsequent mental wellness shortage ( Iversen, 2003 ) . Impaired opinion by these users relates to disruption in their determination devising. This consequence of hemp on the encephalon explains the consequence of the sum of Dopastat released corresponds to the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenic disorder whereby inordinate production of Dopastat is associated with symptoms of schizophrenic disorder ( Johns, 2001 ) .

There is an extended research foregrounding the inauspicious consequence hemp has on one ‘s mental province most particularly in chronic or regular users. The capacity of hemp is to bring forth a ‘high ‘ , a impression widely associated with its usage. Its maltreatment or dependence is related to significant pre-morbid abnormal psychology ( affectional and personality upsets every bit good as psychotic upsets ) . The intense reaction it gives is enraptured otherwise a euphoric, detached and relaxed experiencing which may persist with ageless usage of hemp ( Johns, 2001 ) .

Patriarchal construction and mental wellness deduction

While the adult female signifies an bewitching pleasance to work forces and besides fulfilling their spouse ‘s desires by non demoing dissatisfaction or allowed to kick about anything in the Rastafarian religion, she is thought to denote a specific jeopardy to their work forces. “ Rastafarians believe that a adult female is of such contrary nature that merely through her male partner, her ‘king-man ‘ , may she achieve the enlightenment of Jah ” ( Chevannes, 1998 ) .

Using Biblical context of Adam and Eve and Samson and Delilah ‘s experiences, Rastafarian work forces do non swear their adult females folk. This characteristic of the Rasta religion which has society ‘s disapprobation is the issue of unsimilarity in gender and a patriarchate pattern. In certain Rastafarian communities, some of these sexist thoughts consequences in adult females being marginalised, seen as inferior and a beginning of wickedness. There is a construct about adult females being submissive to their work forces common people and ever demo regard every bit good as do what they ask which is really contradictory or antithesis to their belief about human equality ( Johnson-Hill, 1995 ) . This subjugation and control can take to emotional and physical maltreatment in the adult females. Domestic force arises when a spouse considers ordering and deriving control of the other spouse. Most frequently maltreaters are of the male gender and the demand to rule may originate from low ego regard, utmost lower status issues in socioeconomic and educational position, inordinate choler and green-eyed monster. Intense traditional beliefs or cultural patterns may act upon people ‘s behaviors as they grow either witnessing these patterns of maltreatment from childhood or being victims of maltreatment themselves and the subsequent development to believe it is right to command and mistreat adult females ( Briere, 1996 ) .

This happening of green-eyed monster, insecurity and all signifiers of maltreatment with the state of affairs of confidant relationship are common ( Spiegel, 2003 ) . Abuse is frequently thought as a physical maltreatment but emotional and verbal facets can be every bit detrimental as that of the physical. In many state of affairss of maltreatment, these adult females will seldom study such incidences and merely in serious proportions ensuing in hurts and decease reaches the attending of the governments. Women sing this ordeal of hurting and injury in their relationships are referred to seek mental wellness and psychological intercessions ( Salter, 1995 ) . In a cross-sectional study comprising of 432 adult females who attended walk-in clinics, Maharaj et Al ( 2010 ) used the Woman Abuse Screening Test ( WAST ) and showed a major association between maltreatment in mental wellness upsets in the patients particularly depression, anxiousness and posttraumatic emphasis upset.

A longitudinal survey conducted by Roberts et Al ( 1999 ) with adult females aged between 16 to 74 old ages, who were treated at the accident and exigency section investigated the characteristics of symptoms and case in points of mental unwellness associated with domestic force and maltreatment. Their findings showed similarities with other consequences highlighted in other research which identified that adult females who suffer maltreatment in their grownup lives suffered an impact on their mental wellness and other adult females who experienced similar maltreatment in their childhood every bit good as grownup life besides had a important trouble in their mental wellness than adult females in the control group who were adult females non abused in any signifier. These surveies clearly indicate an association between maltreatment and mental wellness jobs. It besides indicates that turn toing the issues of maltreatment is paramount to religious beliefs and patterns in mental wellness pattern. The other deduction it has on mental wellness pattern is ; professionals ‘ ability to transport out accurate hazard appraisal and later manage hazard in the visible radiation of these complex beliefs and patterns.

Rastafarianism and the vegan ‘s syndrome

The Rasta believes that it is incorrect to eat the carcase of animate beings because so the organic structure is being converted into a burial land ( Chevannes, 1994 ) . Most Rastafarians will non eat carnal meat, some will eat fish but non eat shellfish and the ingestion of milk by some is viewed as non coming from dead animals.A They will non eat fruit that has been altered from its natural signifier nor any nutrient that has been processed. In vegan diet, there is a low concentration of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 ( vitamin B12 ) is a critical constituent of the synthesis of Deoxyribonucleic acid and has been implicated in assorted neurological and psychiatric upsets ( Lerner and Kanevsky, 2002 ) . Vitamin B12 contributes an of import portion in the care of homeostasis in the nervous and the conveyance systems ( hematology ) . The day-to-day dietetic recommendation is 2.5 Aµg and merely produced of course by some micro-organisms unlike worlds who have to obtain it from their diet particularly in dairy merchandises, eggs, fish and meat ( Catalano et al. , 1998 ) . A diminution in the degree of vitamin B12 causes anemia, a rise in average corpuscular volume ( MCV ) , hematocrit and hemoglobin and some patients are found to hold normal blood degrees but deficient in this vitamin which can turn out hard to name. Its function in the upsets of a neuropsychiatric is understudied, nevertheless several research cited by Catalano et Al ( 1998 ) in their article has postulated toxic degrees in homocysteine, axonal demylenition of nerve cells are a cause of lack in vitamin B12 and an association with mental wellness troubles. It has proven a challenge to name, as the psychiatric symptoms sometimes can show with or without haematological or neurological visual aspect ( Sabeen and Holroyd, 2009 ) . There is a correlativity between vitamin B12 lack and different types of psychiatric and neurological shortages. Vitamin B12 ( vitamin B12 ) plays an of import function as a coenzyme in human metamorphosis which contributes to the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as Dopastat, 5-hydroxytryptamine and noradrenalin. Defects in these neurotransmitters can take to a diminution in mental province and later germinate into a psychiatric upset ( Hutto, 1997 ) .

Symptoms of a psychiatric nature that is accredited to a lack to vitamin B12 are a diminution in cognitive map, confusion, craze, depression, acute psychosis ( agitation, paranoia, hallucination ) and a rare schizophrenic disorder presentation. In the older grownup patients, there are reported instances of dementedness and catatonic presentation and other patients presented with neurological shortage like paraesthesia, ataxy and other centripetal damages ( N. Berry, Sagar and Tripathi, 2003 ) .


It is really apparent that the spiritual beliefs and patterns of Rastafarians have deductions for mental wellness and mental wellness pattern. It will be recommended that ;


Rastafarians have nurtured a phonological strategy of words into a new model of the English linguistic communication which is to a great extent accented. This sole manner of pass oning might blockade the clinician ‘s undertaking in mental wellness appraisal of a Rastafarian. Health professionals ought to be cognizant of the fluctuations in doing accurate appraisals. This will include sometimes confer withing people with in-depth cognition.

Second, a thorough religious appraisal demands to be considered particularly if the patient is a rehearsing Rastafarian as religious patterns like intoning, fasting and their dietetic demands to be adhered to and some of the beliefs and patterns can be construed as symptoms.

Raising consciousness of vitamin B12 lack and its relation to psychiatric symptoms among healthcare professionals is indispensable to supply understanding to the vegan syndrome in these people who presents as anemic or neuro-psychiatric upset or both. Training sing this causality of lack in vitamin B12 and psychosis should be ruled out when these group of people present with symptoms of a psychiatric nature.

During any psychological or psychiatric appraisal of the Rastafarian adult females, clinicians should be cognizant of the possibility of maltreatment and in- deepness geographic expedition into the likeliness of maltreatment in order to safeguard the person. Psychological intercession could besides play an of import portion in guaranting their well being if identified of enduring maltreatment.

Cannabis usage and its association with psychotic unwellness should non be undermined. Patients and their carers need to be educated about the hazards of hemp usage. Staff should put up groups to educate and assist patients to be abstentious.

Training and Education

In pre making preparation, wellness professionals need to be educated on the being of such beliefs and patterns and its impact on mental wellness appraisal and direction despite this group being small. Subsequently, station making preparation in spiritual, cultural and religious demands has to get down researching the demands of this minority group. Furthermore, preparation in techniques such as motivational interviewing will be priceless.

Education of the general populace as a whole is besides of import, and followings of the Rastafarian religion should be encouraged to include merchandises like milk or take vitamin B12 addendums in their diets.


Further research into the Rastafarian beliefs and patterns and its deductions for mental wellness demand to be carried out as this is limited and about non-existent


It has been established that the beliefs and patterns of Rastafarians has deductions for mental wellness and mental wellness pattern. The differences between Rastafarianism and other “ typical ” faith are countless, including: no set rank, no ordained or commanding leader, and as a whole there is association with the outside universe.

In certain societies, Rastafarians have been described as a spiritual group exhibiting psychotic beliefs. The negative analysis demands to be questioned because it suggests a misunderstanding of the ideals of the faith and encourages the incorrect construct that their beliefs are untypical to impressions of other spiritual motions. Despite these diverse thoughts, it should be highlighted that Rastafarians, like other faiths ; Christians, Muslims, Buddhist etc are susceptible of holding mental wellness troubles. Diagnosis and direction should be based on clinical scrutiny and a holistic apprehension of the individual, in order to supply an appropriate medical, spiritual and cultural sensitive attention.



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