Rastafarian vocabulary

I: replaces "me", which is much more commonly used in Jamaican English than in the more conventional forms. Me is felt to turn the person into an object whereas I emphasises the subjectivity of an individual.

I and I: is a complex term, referring to the oneness of Jah (God) and every human. Rastafarian scholar E. E. Cashmore: "I and I is an expression to totalize the concept of oneness, the oneness of two persons. So God is within all of us and we're one people in fact. I and I means that God is in all men. The bond of Ras Tafari is the bond of God, of man. But man itself needs a head and the head of man is His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I (always pronounced as the letter "I," never as the number one or "the first") of Ethiopia." The term is often used in place of "you and I" or "we" among Rastafarians, implying that both persons are united under the love of Jah.

I-tal: is spiritually blessed food that has not touched modern chemicals and is served without preservatives, condiments or salts. Alcohol, coffee, milk, and flavoured beverages are generally viewed as not I-tal. Most Rastas follow the I-tal proscriptions generally, and some are vegetarians. Even meat-eating Rastas abstain from eating pork, as pigs are scavengers of the dead, as are crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, though other kinds of seafood are a Rastafarian staple.

I man: is the inner man within each Rastafari believer.

Irie: refers to positive emotions or feelings, or anything that is good. Specifically it refers to high emotions and peaceful vibrations.

Ites: derived from English "heights", means "joy" and also the colour "red". It can also be short for "Israelites".

Irator: replaces "creator", and Iration replaces "creation".

Idren or Bredren and Sistren refer to the oneness of Rastafarians and are used to describe one's peers (male - "bredren", female - "sistren").

Itinually replaces continually. It has the everlasting/everliving sense of I existing continuously.

Inity replaces "unity", demonstrating a general pattern of replacing "you" and similar sounds with "I".

Iya (higher): Rastafari vocabulary is full of references to the "iya man", "stepping higher and higher", etc., meaning either a reference to using cannabis, or the high aspirations, path etc. followed by the Rastafari. Iya is also used to refer to a friend. As in "Yes Iya", or "Cool Iya". Iyaric is the self-applied term for Rastafarian language. It is formed by a combination of Iya (higher) and Amharic, the language spoken by Haile Selassie I.

Other words

Dreadlocks describes the locks they wear, now universally called dreadlocks in English. The word is related to the fear of the Lord, as well as the fear locksmen inspired in the early stages of the movement.

Babylon is an important Rastafarian term, referring to human government and institutions that are seen as in rebellion against the rule of JAH (Zion), beginning with the Tower of Babel. It is further used by some to mean specifically the 'polytricksters' who have been oppressing the black race for centuries through economic and physical slavery. Rastafari is defiance of Babylon, sometimes also called Rome in part because of the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia, then ruled by Rastafari's 'Living God,' Haile Selassie I, and partly because as the head of the Roman Catholic church the Pope is considered an opponent of Selassie I and Rastafari. Babylon the Great and Whore of Babylon are apocalyptic terms from the book of Revelation that may have been used to describe the pagan Roman Empire, which often persecuted Christianity. Babylon is also sometimes used by some Rastas with the more specific meaning of "police", insofar as they are seen as executive agents of Babylon's will. Politricks is a Rasta term replacing English "politics", because so many politicians, etc. turn out, they say, to be more like tricksters.

Everliving replaces "everlasting", particularly in the context of Life Everliving. The "last" in "everlasting" implies an end (as in the term "at last"), while the life the Rastas have will never end according to them, they being immortalists.

H.I.M. (His Imperial Majesty), pronounced him, and referring to Haile Selassie I.

Downpression replaces "oppression", because oppression holds man down instead of keeping him up (pronounced op in Jamaican patois.) Similarly "downgression" = "violence" (from aggression).

Livication replaces "dedication", to rid itself of a connotation of death.

Outvention replaces "invention", because mechanical devices are seen as outdated, and because it is the inner experience of being a Rastafarian that is invention.

Overstanding (also "innerstanding") replaces "understanding", referring to enlightenment that raises one's consciousness.

Aprecilove replaces "appreciate" because of the similarity to hate.

Amagideon is a Rasta theological concept meaning the general state the entire world is in now, and has been getting progressively deeper in since 1930, and especially since 1974. This is a slight mutation of "Armageddon", a name appearing in Revelation.

Zion refers to either Ethiopia or the whole continent of Africa, after the Day of Judgement, as well as a state of mind one can enter through Rastafari.

Know replaces "believe", as Bob Marley sang. Rastafarians do not believe Haile Selassie is God and that they the Rastas are the chosen people. They claim to know these things, and would never admit to believing them.

Whore of Babylon is the Revelation character sometimes considered to be Queen Elizabeth II, who is still the Head of State of Jamaica; and/or the papacy. Wikipedia (See also [ 2, 3 ]