“Gong” Day – Leonard P. Howell

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellassie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,

I welcome you all to yet another post here on Ras Tafari Renaissance! Today, we acknowledge the birth as a memorial to whom is known as the “First Rasta.”  Leonard Percival Howell, known to the world or those who knew him personally one of the first proclaimers of Ras Tafari or Christ in His Kingly Character.

Born June 16, 1898, in May Crawle River village, Jamaica; the oldest of ten, to Clarence Theophilus & Clementina; a cultivator and a agricultural laborer, respectively.  Howell’s story can seriously help many people from around understand the movement of Ras Tafari, more precisely.  This instance being one that is very much overlooked more times than not.  Howell reportedly left Jamaica early in his youth, traveling to many places gaining an understanding that few of his birthplace and few ever, gain in a lifetime.  Like many in Jamaica at that time, the people found themselves because of historical disposition, in adherence to many Anglican principles.  Howell and his family being in that number, but unawares of the desires and destiny to be set in motion.

Howell’s exposure became more grandeur when he began to work as a seaman as part of a Jamaican contingent sent to Panama, during World War I (WWI).  Howell then found himself traveling from time-to-time between Jamaica, Panama, the United States (New York City, specifically) utilizing his knowledge and skillset to further his endeavors in agricultural cultivation and distribution.  Howell also made subtle trips to Europe and among other places, as well.


These experiences then began to expose him other schools of thought while congregating with other people from other walks of life.  Howell is suspected to have been exposed to the philosophies and opinions of Marcus Mosiah Garvey while traveling to and fro, in between the Americas.  Communism, Marxism, Pan-Africanism, these are just some of the schools of thought that Howell was expected to have been exposed to while on his travels, according documenter Helene Lee and others.  Howell also married a woman named Tyneth.  Upon his return to Jamaica in whelms of the rising of a young king to the status Emperor of an empire in Africa, Howell had been inspired to take action on the influences he’d been experiencing for some time.  When Howell returned to Jamaica in 1932, two years after Haile Selassie I was crowned emperor of Ethiopia, he began holding public meetings, fusing all that he’d learned abroad with local ideas. His worldliness and gifts as a speaker not only attracted Jamaica’s underclass, they gained him the attention of local authorities.

Leonard with wife Tyneth, circa 1930

During his time in New York, he joined fellow Jamaican, Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded in 1914.  But, while Howell was clearly influenced by Garvey’s thinking, so much so that Garvey is often mistakenly identified as the founder of Ras Tafari; it is fairly unknown that Howell had a mixed relationship with Garvey, a Roman Catholic Christian, who later criticized Emperor Haile Sellassie I & the Ras Tafari movement in a negative light.  A criticism which earned him a stern rebuttal by the Dr. Melaku E. Bayen, who lead the movement also in Harlem and other parts of the US, which would become the Ethiopian World Federation, Inc., founded in NYC in 1937.Howell’s first public articulation of the divinity of Haile Selassie occurred in January 1933. This first open deification, which proclaimed the Emperor of Ethiopia to be the incarnation of God, took place at “Redemption Ground” in Kingston but was not successful in gaining converts.

Leonard P. Howell (Ras Tafari’s first proclaimer)

Among his followers, Howell preferred being called Gangunguru Maragh or G.G. Maragh to distinguish his ritual, mystical personality from his secular identity. Howell’s ritual name is thought to be a combination of three Hindi words – gyan (wisdom), gun (virtue or talent), and guru (teacher). In Hindi, Maragh means “great kings” or “king of kings.”[6] Howell used this name as a pseudonym when he published The Promised Key.


Even amidst many struggles with the Jamaican government Howell started and establishment which was dubbed “Pinnacle.” But, for his teachings of black power and denunciation of colonial rule, for created the first Rastafarian village in Jamaica at Sligoville, St. Catherine in 1940. The settlement called “Pinnacle” due to its high hilltop elevation and was symbolically located in the first free village established to house former slaves in Jamaica. Pinnacle was one of the country’s first self-sustaining communities, which was intended outcome all the while.  Its community members were able to meet their needs without dependence on outside resources.  Some refer to Pinnacle as a commune, in which Howell’s form of socialism was practiced.  After Pinnacle’s foundation, other similar Rastafarian communities were established across the country. Pinnacle was especially known for the cultivation of cannabis (marijuana) that has religious significance for Rastafarians.

In efforts to shut down Howell and his followers, police raided Howell’s community of Pinnacle multiple times and labeled the community a “communist experiment” in 1941. Just one year after the creation of the settlement, government forces infiltrated and arrested many of Howell’s followers. After escaping immediate arrest, Howell was eventually arrested and tried once again for sedition and consequently was faced with two more years behind bars. Upon his release in 1943, he returned to Pinnacle once again.[20] Howell hired guards and brought in watch dogs to protect Pinnacle from future attacks.

The police raided Pinnacle several more times in the 1950s. In 1954, militia invaded the community and almost completely destroyed the village. Even after this mass destruction, settlers returned, though the settlement was never restored to its previous thriving state. During a final raid in 1958, the police cleared out the remaining residents completely. Despite its ultimate destruction, the impact of the settlement made it legendary among other settlements around the country, who were observed to have been “miniature Pinnacles.”

Howell still to this day doesn’t receive the just do of recognition he earned as one of the most prolific peoples of African descent in the Western Hemisphere & that must change.

✡ Groundation Day ☩ April 21, 1966 ✡

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellassie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,

Ras Tafari Renaissance writes to give perspective to the memorial day of Ras Tafari specifically known as “Groundation Day.”

RRR commemorates the visit of His Imperial Majesty (Girmawi Negus Nägäst – ግርማዊ ንጉሥ ነገስት) to the descendants of the Exiles, in the Western Hemisphere.  Ras Tafari clearly made their claim to the devotion, and sanctity of the Throne of David within their midst.  Though, the King of Kings of Ethiopia, made his initial visit to the country of Jamaica, when the Ras Tafari movement had its inception and thrival, there where also visits to the surrounding Islands(ex. Trinidad & Tobago, etc. – video link @ conclusion)  and eventually the North country; the United States of America.

We know that Haile Sellassie I, visited places in the West before, especially the USA, but we make a significant notation here because of the mission assumably over-stood for the visitation.  His Imperial Majesty was making the connection with the Exiles of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, removed from their origin and now living in the lands of their desolation.  Ras Tafari, valiantly awaited the King of Kings to greet him with warm welcomes and adoration at the hands of the very prominent Ras Tafari teacher and supposedly a very strong influence in the life the Reggae Legend, Bob Marley (aka Birhane Selassieብርሃነ ሰላሴ)፡ … Mortmier Planno.

Ras Mortimer Planno
Ras Mortimer Planno

Haile Sellassie I, spoke with many Ras Tafarians in Jamiaca, like the Honorable Prince Emmanuel I, founder of the Bobo Shanti order(mansion) of Ras Tafari, and many others witnessed the visitation of the King of Kings to the Exiles;

HIM & Hon. Prince Emmanuel I
HIM & Hon. Prince Emmanuel I

Rita Marley being in the number, while Bob Marley was yet pursuing his musical career in the US (Delaware to be exact).

here are some her own words from the experience:

“Rita Marley says, she converted to the Ras Tafari faith after seeing Haile Selassie in his motorcade en route to the King’s House. She claimed, in interviews and in her book No Woman No Cry, that she had seen a stigmata on Haile Selassie’s hand as he waved to the crowd, and was instantly convinced of his divinity.”

[No Woman, No Cry; Rita Marley]


H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, 1966, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago

(shouts out to ReggiMusic on YoutTube for the visuals)


artist unknown (RRR would like to recognize, so please assist)
artist unknown (RRR would like to recognize, so please assist??)

Projects of Involvement

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellasie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,


Selam/Shalom(peace) to you all,

I, Yohannes, am’ writing all of you because I have admired the talents, skills, & development of the “self” that you all have displayed from time-to-time here on this platform as well as, other outlets.  I also write to present an opportunity not for instant gratification as many info-mercials or prosperity preachers would present to you; but, in hopes to enhance the desire of collective organization, assistance, & heritage appreciation.  I think its safe to say that we all have an affinity to Ethiopia (& or Africa; as a whole) & if I’am mistaken please, feel free to disregard this message or excuse yourself from the group message.  But, if you do find what I have said so far to be interesting,….read on?! It has been brought to my attention the importance of a collective effort; when communication is unclear the goals of any project are destined to fall short of its target; which is success.

Well, this is the point I’am trying to make here:….its understood that in our own ventures we find things to be very difficult to accomplish when the resources, help and other important things are missing from our planning stages. So with that said, the desire to uplift, develop and assist the country(s) of our choice, origin etc., is something we can agree that has a need for serious attention. The things more directly, I’am speaking of, is what Ras Tafarians know as Repatriation(by definition in the world is called “Expatriation“).

In our respective countries, some of us may have found things to be on a scale that wavers back-and-forth, but not to a substantial advantage to us for a number reasons, taking in our specific geographical locations. Seeing as how we have shown, at certain times loyalty, expressed our concern, and celebrated in some, if not all of the victories of the place(s) in which we hold dear: I’m writing to ask that if any of you are willing to begin to working with others, with like minds on a committee to ensure the well-being of those within this prospective group & others who are also willing to collaborate and work with each other then we can commit to thriving and making success out of each other. As of now, this is just a networking experiment with high potential seeing as how all of you have different talents in different areas of expertise.  I’am just one person seeking to create a group with the goal of making sure that the group, which can come together to reason, plan and organize for the success of their own present & future.

 Ras Tafari Dig Your Heels In….!!!

No matter where I look, I see that Ras Tafarians in different parts of the world are talented and skilled in various fields.  But, because of the scattering by JAH‘s mighty hand, it easily can be seen as an obstacle to seriously bring together so many like minded people to work for a common goal.

In the growing Ras Tafari international community, we here at RRR are seeking to begin the process bringing together these people who “seek to find” and embrace the trod(walk) of Ras Tafari.

whom JAH bless no man curse (ras tafari proverb)

We have initiated a call conference/radio/video log, for the gathering and reinstating of our heritage preservation as a program of involvement that is open to the public.  We are also planning, and rejuvenating the strength of the Ras Tafari commonwealth.  We invite anyone of the Ras Tafari faithful to join us in this endeavor, because we are truly in the moment of bringing Ras Tafari into the next millennium and beyond.


I&I AM’ GRATEFUL TO ABBA (the father) FOR ALL OF YOU!!! Temesgin(Thank you)

LOJS-RTG Discipleship Radio (Sabbath Study shows) every Sat. at 10pm EST

& please don’t forget to tune-in for “TESITIFY TUESDAY’s” we look forward to hearing from ALL of you!?


We also would like to put all of the everyone on notice for the project that is still in continuance with Sister Fana’ye and all of those lending her assistance at rastafari.tv;  also, give thanks to Ihite’ Fana’ye for all of her assistance with that projects coming out and from rastafari.tv



Ongoing sessions are sure to continue in these projects, so be sure to contact those involved and find ways to become a contributor.


We also, ask that ones-n-ones become apart of our social media site, http://www.rastafarigroundation.org, & please feel free to present progressive ideas, for a committee determined to uplift, build for the for the future of Ras Tafari and the world around it?…..

…..please stay tuned, so much more to come


Let the works continue family, but seek the Kingdom of Yah, first.

- PLEASE continue to support bro. Tz'adiq in preserving St. Mary of Zion in Axum.
– PLEASE continue to support bro. Tz’adiq in preserving St. Mary of Zion in Axum.

Will pick up on more projects to come and that are already under way…..

Thanks again for the all the support!


So Rasta, Tell Me; “Are You A Mason(Freemason)” part 4

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellasie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,


So, we continue with this series of lines drawn between Ras Tafari and Freemasonry.

Now, we have come to the fourth installment of this sure to be controversial series.

In the third installment of this series we traced the theories of the origins of Freemasonry through the Knights Templar, along with influence of the Crusades.  The so-called “discovery of the New World,” and the happenings in Europe and also the rest of the world  Now, we will continue on in drawing the lines between Freemasonry & Ras Tafari.


So, if you haven’t heard,…there has lately been comparisons, and speculations of Ras Tafari having a “Freemasonic influence.”  These inquiries have even brought about the questioning and accusations of Ras Tafari, “H.I.M.self” being a member of the Freemasons, along with those who have involved themselves in the movement which sprung out to become the most dynamic of this time.( Ras Tafari movement)

Now, the controversy on this issue runs deep,….mainly because at Ras Tafari’s roots, its initiators were at one time apart of masonic lodges, but not in the sense of today’s mainstream Freemasonry.(we’ll touch on this later in the presentation.)  Accreditation due to what Ras Tafari knows, as the “GONG,” or Leonard Percival Howell is known as “the first Rasta.” 

Leonard P. Howell (Ras Tafari's first proclaimer)
Leonard P. Howell (Ras Tafari’s first proclaimer)

Howell made clean & clear statements of the salvation of the descendants of African slaves in the Western Hemisphere was a life of their redemption only if they returned to the roots spiritually, mentally and ultimately physically to their origin.  Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley, and Robert Hinds, were three individuals who had ties into Freemasonic Lodges, that were “Prince Hall” affiliated but, in lieu of, their individual epiphanies they seem to even find themselves in search of a new truth, or so to speak even from the confines of Freemasonic thought.

(pictured above-top) Ethiopian painting of the Trinity & (on bottom) Ras Tafari painting that could clearly represent the initiative movement of Ras Tafari's founding.
(pictured above-top) Ethiopian painting of the Trinity & (on bottom) Ras Tafari painting that could clearly represent the initiative movement of Ras Tafari’s founding.

Quite an interesting, piece of evidence to this very intricate story, huh?…I know, but let’s not get caught up on what we’re hearing because, they’re pieces of the story that we’ve yet to uncover & we’re not near our conclusion of this controversial plot.  So, let us go on…shall we? ok

Now, there were more very prominent members of the Ras Tafari community in its beginning steps that were affiliated with what is known as Freemasonry, but like I said, earlier let’s really look at all the evidence of this situation before we pass judgement.

The first thing we will take a look at is another form of masonry. (which I’am almost certain that you’ve probably never heard of…) We came to the conclusion in earlier installments of this subject matter that Operative Masonry(Occupational Masonry) and Speculative Masonry(Freemasonry) were NOT, one is the same.  Now, we will compare what is known as “mainstream” Freemasonry and Prince Hall Masonry.  I know these are terms you may or may not have heard about but, doing some research on these will open your eyes to what we are presenting here at Ras Tafari Renaissance in this series comparing Ras Tafari and Freemasonry.


Prince Hall, (ca. 1735 – 1807), a mason who started Freemasonry's AFRICAN LODGE #1 in the United States of America.  Has been dubbed the "father African Freemasonry"
Prince Hall, (ca. 1735 – 1807), a mason who started Freemasonry’s AFRICAN LODGE #1 in the United States of America. Has been dubbed the “father of African Freemasonry

Who was Prince Hall?…. Prince Hall, was known for his abolitionism in the 1700s.  Supposedly a free black man in North America that lived in the New England area, and later became the founder of a Freemasonic sect that hails his namesake.  Hall’s birthplace is attributed to a place in the Caribbean; either Barbados, or one of the surrounding islands.  But, Hall is suspected to have at one point been a slave to a William Hall but gained his freedom, somewhere around the time of the Boston Massacre.  For others reasons than the obvious, he clearly also gained the knowledge of reading and writing English, whether being self-taught or assisted.  Hall supported and tried to push the envelope of the free black and enslaved, to have a place in education, military, and also later Freemasonry in the U.S.

another depiction of Prince Hall
another depiction of Prince Hall

Now, I won’t give you anymore information on Prince Hall as of now…I’ll leave the rest of his work up to your own individual research and understanding.

For now, I would like to continue with the series and show, why he helped to establish his sect Freemasonry in the United States & how “mainstream” Freemasonry differs. (even from there own testimony)

Many Freemasonic writers met Prince Hall and his establishment of African Lodge #1 (ie. Prince Hall Freemasonry) with resistance from within Freemasonic ranks.

Now, in the earlier posts of this series, I mentioned how Freemasonic texts can be very discreet in their language; mainly because of their affinity for keeping the inner workings of the organizations at bey from those who are not affiliated in their circles.  But, I noticed something that continued to keep coming up in regards to Prince Hall Freemasonry when compared to “mainstream” Freemasonry by Freemasonic writers, themselves….? What was so noticeable was this word CLANDESTINE….this word Clandestine comes up so much when in regard to Prince Hall Freemasonry it compelled me to go in further on what was such the commotion.

-clandestine= kept or done in secret, often in order to conceal an improper purpose; surreptitious; irregular; stealth. (from clandestin Latin 1560s) “to hide” or “secret.”

It turns out that Prince Hall Freemasonry or otherwise known as Negro Masonry, has been dubbed CLANDESTINE, since the inception of Prince Hall and his affiliates organizing and forming the AFRICAN LODGE; and this notion hasn’t been overturned since.  The questioning of Masonic “legitimacy” is and has been under scrutiny for the Prince Hall Masons.  Until this day in 2013, the stamp of CLANDESTINE-NEGRO/PRINCE HALL MASONRY has not been uplifted or challenged by any other Lodge of Masonry, save the works of Prince Hall, himself, and other Prince Hall Freemasons. hmmm?? peculiar




[sources: Mackey, Albert G.; 33°; Masonry Defined/ Blight, Reynold; 33°; Freemasonry At A Glance  ]

Peculiar, I say, because in the beginning stages of the Ras Tafarian movement in the 1930s there were many who were affiliated with Prince Hall Freemasonry.

Take the Ras Tafarian movement’s founders; Leonard P. Howell, Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert &, H. Archibald Dunkley , who are accredited for the formation of the grassroots organizing of the Ras Tafarian movement.

In the literary work of Dread Jesus: A New View of the Ras Tafarian Movement by William David Spencer, I(Lidj Yefdi), along with probably a number of other Ras Tafarians have our own grounds to stand on in disagreements with some of the information presented in this work, but in its essence of giving the initial recognition of Ras Tafari’s start-up in the shantytowns of the Caribbean island of Jamaica, it is a pretty good work.

here is a selection from the piece by Spencer, which I only have one gripe with but in displaying the connection of the founders Ras Tafari in Jamaica to their Freemasonic affiliation; it is right on cue! (Ras Tafari Renaissance will add our own evidence on disputable matters)

“Spencer insists on the role played on the foundation of Ras Tafari religion by three preachers: Leonard Howell, H. Archibald Dunkley, and Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert. As far as, Dunkley and Hibbert are concerned, he insists on their membership in the Great Ancient Brotherhood of Silence, or Ancient Mystic Order of Ethiopia, one of the “black” (or “Prince Hall“) Masonic organizations. Spencer claims that a number of features of Ras Tafari religion derive from this branch of Freemasonry (including the name “Jah” for “God”, coming from the Masonic form “Jah-Bul-On”)

Now, Spencer presents a very credible case for the affiliation of three of the known founding fathers of Ras Tafari to Prince Hall Freemasonry in the Ancient Mystic Order of Ethiopia.  But, as far as, the word “JAH” coming from out of the midst of “Jah-bul-On”, I will have to bring about a objection to that statement.  Why? Mainly because, it is known that the Ras Tafarians are Biblical & scriptural influenced people & no where in any Bible can you find “Jah-bul-On” in scripture.  Maybe, in the Freemasonic Lodges of the “mainstream” but, clean & cut, the word “JAH” can be found in the King James Version of the Bible in English, right there in Psalms 68:4 .

Ps. 68:4 =

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

Also, to make another note, that Ras Tafari is not a religion, it is a faith and culture of a people. 

For Ras Tafari, sighting JAH, in the Bible in the language they were coerced to learn in subject to their oppression away from their origins(English); it was a subtle step in returning to their linguistic past in calling upon their God whose name also, in contraction inanglicized, could be known as Yah (יהּ‎) in the Hebrew.  From the Tetragrammaton= YHWH.



Now, to the “Jah-bul-On” its for certain if you asks most Ras Tafarians, what does Jah-Bul-On mean, they won’t be able to even give you the slightest explanation.  But, JAH is something they could elaborate on days at a time!  Only in the the Freemasonic circles, texts, and ideologies will Jah-Bul-On, have ground to stand on, surely; & even there it may only be known to the high ranking of Freemasons. (ie. Royal Arch Degree)


[sources: Duncan, Malcolm C.; Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor/ X, Francis; The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O.]

So, with all this said and cleared we now move on to the Ancient Mystic Order of Ethiopia.  Research from Ras Tafari Renaissance is still in the works on this order of supposed Prince Hall Freemasonry, but it is certain and we can confirm that this order has no holdings in “mainstream” Freemasonry.  So, by process of elimination we have come to a conclusion that is pending on the origin of this mystical order.  But, what we can assure of is that solid evidence in the world and of the testimony of those who make claims of it, state a hard case to debate, falsehood.

H.I.M. in regalia
H.I.M. in regalia

We’ll now introduce you all to a treat by one Ras Tafari’s own, whom we have looked to in our initial education and growth in Ras Tafari.  Presenting a well written article, along with others here you will be able to check out is our bredrin in spirit and truth, Negus Amlak.  This bredrin produced works with a showcase that was named in times past Ras Tafari Rising, which touched on many aspects of the movement of Ras Tafari, and other subjects the like.  But, here brother, Negus Amlak, has produced a writ that goes into the very essence of Freemasonry & gives the groundbreaking truth on its origin, its original teachers, and originial schools (Operative, meaningly!…)

[the article follows the editorial pattern of the title Masonry From Whence We Came] link below:


hope you enjoy & we will catch you in part 5…..JAH RAS TAFARI!!!

Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert (one of three of the initiators of the formation of Ras Tafari in Jamaica, in regalia resembling that of a priest)
Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert (one of three of the initiators of the formation of Ras Tafari in Jamaica, in articles of clothing resembling that of a priest)