ABBA KEDDUS Rastafari and the Return of Our Sacred Origins
There is a growing collection of literature on the movement of Rastafari. Over the
last few decades, many writers have made valuable contributions towards an understanding of its history, origins and core philosophies. Their work has been important because as the movement continues to grow and its members continue to be drawn from diverse backgrounds, there is a pressing need to develop a body of resource material on Rastafari.
All over Ethiopia and Eritrea can be found numerous monasteries with men and woman living the monastic life. On the tops of mountains, insides caves and deep in the jungle, these ascetics have withdrawal from society in their pursuit of the divine. Just like the monks of Tibet, the Sadhus of India or the Orthodox monks of Greece, they are following an ancient, wide spread and well-established pathway towards self-transformation. In Ethiopia and Ertirea, this tradition is extremely old and a defining characteristic of the Tewado Church. To fully understand the history, culture and politics of this region, it is essential to examine this monastic heritage.
Haile Selassie I was a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewado Church and his revelation as the King of Kings is linked to monasteries and the ascetic life. His language, education, culture and the way he viewed the world was shaped by the teachings of this faith. The monarchy of Ethiopia is an extension of the Tewado Church, it is a center of political power designed to reflect its theological foundations and a relationship with the divine as it is understood by this ancient institution.
ABBA KEDDUS ‘Rastafari and the Return of our Sacred Origins’ is 260 pages in length, divided into thirteen chapters, each named after a month in the Ethiopian Calendar. Here is a brief description.
MESKEREM ‘The Ancient Future’ (Chapter 1) The book begins by examining the spread of Rastafari across different cultures, languages and geographical places. There are signature trademarks to the movement that include reggae, dreadlocks, cannabis and the red, gold and green, but what are the deeper, psychological and spiritual dimensions of Rastafari. Clearly, those who embrace the faith go through a transformative process whereby like Bob Marley, they discover the revelation of Rastafari and evolve into a new being. What is the source of this mystical experience?
TEKEMT ‘Citizenship in Heaven’ (Chapter 2) Here we explore in depth, the science behind asceticism. Monastic life has been around since the dawn of civilization and can be found at the root of of many religions. The ascetic is an athlete who goes through decades of training in order to transform their minds and bodies. Isolation, silence, darkness, fasting, prayer and meditation has been proven to alter the cognitive state and physiology of human beings as it propels the ascetic into the divine. For thousands of years, the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea have been the home of numerous monastic communities, with ascetics practicing the ancient discipline all over the landscape. In order to understand the deep history and global influence of this region, one must become familiar the path of the ascetic.
HEDAR ‘Inner Heights’ (Chapter 3) Using the maps of the soul, in this chapter we explore the sacred spaces of the sub-conscious and how these dimensions relate to the revelation of Rastafari. Since a fundamental trait of spiritual development is the re-collection of ancient memories through acts of remembrance, where does the heritage of the African continent come into play? Furthermore, many indigenous cultures speak of a ‘lost paradise’ that once existed in the past and we shall connect this ‘primordial perfection’ to Ethiopia, monasticism, themes of transcendence and the higher Self. By combining ancient Africa, global mythology and the magical landscapes of the human mind, we find hidden treasures of Rastafari.
TAHESAS ‘Old Man in the Mountains’ (Chapter 4) Shamanism is a worldwide phenomenon that has been around since the dawn of civilization and greatly influenced human culture. Shamanic practices are designed to induce spiritual transformation by forming a bond between heaven and earth. It is a methodology for the pursuit of the higher Self and the acquisition of divine wisdom. Many great legends exist about ancient sages who were responsible for pivotal changes to humanity, here we shall explore this history and its relationship to the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewado Church. Are the events of a primordial revelation repeating themselves through Rastafari?
TIR ‘The Hidden One’ (Chapter 5) An examination of humanities ancient roots involves a thorough study of African history. Despite centuries of distortion, a new vision of the continents long experience with civilization and contributions to the world is coming to light. Thanks to the works of Cheik Anta Diop, Josehp Ben-Yoachin, Ivan Van Sertima, John Henry Clarke and others, Africa is returning to its rightful place as the foundation of human culture. In this chapter, we place the monastic and monarchial traditions of Ethiopia and the Nile Valley, in context with a primordial revelation and the powerful influence of shamanic mysticism.
YIKATET ‘Closest to the Sun’ (Chapter 6) Part of creating a new vision of the past involves reclaiming indigenous knowledge systems. Here we will find a deep source of information, from cosmology to meta-physics that can help us understand ancient views of reality. In this book, we explore the indigenous wisdom of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewado Church which is a missing link in the study of early human history. We connect concepts like the original paradise, the founding of civilization, primordial deities and shamanic rites, to the royal throne of this Church and the revelation of Rastafari.
MEGABIT ‘Top of the World’ (Chapter 7) A fundamental feature of ancient civilizations are monarchies and the Nile River Valley was the center of many great empires ruled by kings and queens. One of them is the monarchial dynasty of Ethiopia which has been around for thousands of years and serves as an extension of the Tewado Church and monastic spirituality. In this chapter we examine this royal throne as a center of prophetic political and religious power, as well as its relationship to the primordial mysteries.
MIYAZIYA ‘Cornerstone’ (Chapter 8) We have heard about ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and Mesopotamia, but how many of us are familiar with the Axumite civilization of Ethiopia and Eritrea. This kingdom was highly influential and it shall be returned to its proper place in the chronology of Nile Valley nation-states. We shall explore the process of building civilizations, the birth of religious movements, how monarchs emerge and the role of monasteries in this process. Since the ascetic/shamanic traditions of the Tewado Church are intricately linked to the origins of other faiths, we will uncover the hidden legacy of Axum.
SENAY ‘Head to the Hills’ (Chapter 9) After covering the importance of the Axumite kingdom, we re-reexamine the history of the Nile River Valley and the Red Sea. From an African-centered perspective, this chapter will focus on great heritage of the region, it’s great empires, monuments, monarchs, sages and culture, and how they relate to monasticism and asceticism. Is the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewado the true source of Christianity? What is the relationship between Axum and Mecca? In this revision of the past, we explore these questions.
GENBOT ‘It is Written’ (Chapter 10) Language is fundamentally linked to how we construct our ‘reality’ and plays an important role in our relationship to the spiritual world. One of the most sacred traditions of the Tewado Church is its Geez language, which serves as a knowledge system and a source of ancient wisdom. The long history of writing and literature in the highlands is essential in the quest to unlock the primordial mysteries. The monastic communities of Ethiopia and Eritrea, as guardians of these holy books and keepers of a faith that is expressed through Geez, are a unique group. They have had a great influence on world events and in this chapter we shall explore this relatively unknown, indigenous African language.
HAMLAY ‘Throne of Light’ Chapter 11) Not only is a re-examination of Ethiopian history necessary, but a new perspective on other civilizations is also needed. In this chapter, we look at Greece, Rome, the Knights Templar, the Moors, Freemasonry, Mystery Schools and Initiation Rites, connecting them to the heritage of the Nile Valley and its ancient knowledge systems. Starting from the decline of Axum in the 7th century, up until the ascension of Tafari Makonnen to the royal throne, we shall cover the events that shaped the formation of a new kingdom and how they were influenced by the legend of Prester John and the primordial mythologies.
NAHESAS ‘The King is Coming’ (Chapter 12) To better understand the revelation of Rastafari, here we shall explore in detail, the inner workings of the House of Solomon and its relationship to monastic spirituality. We will also examine the effect that the coronation of Haile Sellasie I in 1930 had on the rest of the world as the fulfillment of ancient prophecies. How does the higher Self relate to the Emperor of Ethiopia? How and why did this Ethiopian prince of the Tewado Church became a messiah figure? Why did nations fight against the King of Kings? Putting together a variety of topics we have covered in this book, this chapter attempts to answer these questions and explain the coming re-newal of First TIme.
PAGUME ‘First Time’ Chapter 13) As the movement of Rastafari continues to grow and draw members from all walks of life, we conclude this work by summarizing the mystical source of the faith. This chapter highlights the hidden traditions within the Tewado Church, placing its language, philosophy, monarchial dynasty and monastic heritage in correspondence to early human history, paradigms shifts past the past, the origins of civilizations and the universal path of spiritual transformation. As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end, and we finish this story by putting Rastafari and the primordial revelation together as one expression of the divine order of Jah.
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