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The Nyahbinghi entered the movement in the late 1935 during the Italian Invasion of Ethiopia and is actually derived from an African secret society, which operated in the Congo and Rwanda during the last quarter of the 19th century. Early missionaries and anthropologists named the Uganda/ Rwanda clans, the Nyahbinghi Cult, because their culture was based on the veneration of the goddess spirit, Niyabinghi.  The Nyahbinghi is said to have thrived due to the possession of the goddess Nyahbinghi through dance and religious séances.

Various oral traditions exist that explain how Nyahbinghi became a revered goddess.  One tradition states that Queen Nyahbinghi ruled the northwestern Tanzania Kingdom of Karagwe and married the chief of Mpororo from the southwestern Kingdom of Uganda.  Envious of the Queen’s power, the ruler ordered her death, which is said to have brought “untold horrors to his kingdom.”  After her death, her spirit continued to be praised and to possess her followers for the next two centuries.  

During the earlier years of European occupation of Africa, Nyahbinghi was a revolutionary order devoted to banishing the Europeans from Africa and preserving the spiritual and cultural integrity of the ancient African way of life. Although very little was publicly known about the order, Nyahbinghi brothers and sisters were noted for their royal appearance, proud demeanour and uncompromising stance against white supremacy in any form. It is important to note that from its inception Nyahbinghi has been Pan-African in scope, with known branches having existed in Uganda, Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, Kenya, etc. In 1928 British colonial forces banned Nyahbinghi, charging the order with treason against the English crown Many Nyahbinghi brothers and sisters were imprisoned and/or executed in captivity At that time Emperor HAILE Selassie I RasTaFarI,gave Nyahbinghi a permanent home in Ethiopia while in the rest of colonial Africa the order was driven underground. In 1930 a little before His Imperial coronation, RAS TAFARI became the Supreme Commander of the Nyahbinghi and gave the order the slogan, Death To The Enemies Of The African Race, too ALL Opressors! .

Nyahbinghi Order is considered to be the primary mansion of the Rastafarian Movement. Since the inception of the movement in Jamaica in the 1930’s, the Nyahbinghi Order was adopted so as to maintain close attachments between the followers of the Rastafari faith and InI African heritage, whether black or white. The Order is internationally recognized and is practiced in several African states, the West Indies and the Americas by African descendants. Here in Jamaica, the Nyahbinghi Order features many African customs and traditions in support of repatriation to Africa. Several Nyahbinghi meeting grounds can be found around the island. This includes the centre in Scotts Pass, Manchester that was purchased by the Honourable Robert Nesta Marley and given to the members of the Order there. 

In its spiritual form, the Nyahbinghi is described as being a cleansing Order. Rastafari of this order take an oath pledging "death to black and white downpressors". However, it should be duly noted that Nyahbinghi do not carry weapons and are non violent. We believe that it is only YAH who has the right and insight to judge another man or woman. 

His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I is the focal point of the Nyahbinghi Order. He is acknowledged as the returned Messiah and the only true and living YAH. The Nyahbinghi also believe in a global theocracy to be headed by Emperor Haile Selassie I, whom we proclaim to be the incarnation of the Supreme Deity. 
The "Foundation" House of Rastafari is the Nyahbinghi Theocracy Government, there are other offspring groups of this house like, the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, and many other smaller groups which have no centralized leader, but are and were guided by elders like Mortimmer Planno, Sam Brown , Ras Boanerges, Ras Pidow, Ras Derminite, Congo Rocky, Jah Stone, Jah Bones, Ras Ivi, and many others. 

Origins of the name nyahbinghi

The Nyahbinghi Order (also known as Haile Selassie I Theocratic Order of the Niyahbinghi Reign) is the oldest of all of the Rastafari mansions. The term Niyabinghi means, “black victory” (niya= black, binghi= victory.)  It may also be spelled in a variety of other ways, such as “Nyabinghi,” “Nyahbinghi,” Niyahbinghi” and so on.  
It is early stages it was widely known to mean ‘Death to white Oppressors’ and later 'Death to ALL Oppressors'."death to the black and white downpressors".
To some this may sound a bit aggressive for such a peaceful and loving movement, but it should be overstood well before there are any misconceptions.

Nyahbinghi know there is a war going on between Good and bad and that there are always casualties in a war, this is unfortunate but also inevitable. Being a part of YAH army we are involved in this struggle, when we say death to the oppressors, we don’t mean that we will kill anyone or wish anyone specific dead, because judgement is for YAH only. It is just by knowing that YAH will judge right and accordingly if someone does evil and know that death physically and/or spiritually shall be his or her punishment. It is just the truth as we know it that we are emphasizing. 

The Nyahbingi first started out as the dread lock congregation of the Youth Black Faith (YBF) and later took on the name Nyahbinghi.

Nyahbinghi Drum

The Nyahbinghi Order stresses the importance of the Nyahbinghi Drums or the Trinity of Drums in praising the Most High YAH RASTAFARI and grounding I&I with the Heartbeat of Creation.

The Nyahbinghi drums are played only by capable Rastafari brethren during the hour of chanting. A 'bald head' or non-Rastafarian is not permitted to play the drums. Rings must be removed from the fingers of any such player of drums, namely the Fundeh and Repeater so as to protect the skins of the drums. Players of instruments must be in one accord at all times ensuring perfect harmony. The three types of drums are: 1, Bass 2, Fundeh 3, Repeater (Akete). The Bass also known as the “pope Smasher” or “vatican Basher.”carries the two beat or heart beat 1, 2 in accord with the Fundeh that says 'Do Good' or 1, 2. the bass drum strikes loudly on the first beat, and softly on the third beat (of four.) The Repeater repeats the beats in accordance with the Bass and Fundeh and can also play an improvised syncopation.

Nyahbinghi drumming is not exclusive to the Nyahbinghi order. Boboshanti, Twelve Tribe Members as well as most other smaller mansions use the one-two heartbeat riddim in InI livity. It is also the root of Reggae music and other Jamaican music styles.


Nyahbinghi Chanting

Binghi chanting typically includes recitation of the Psalms, but may also include variations of well-known Christian hymns. Though sometimes said to be a direct continuation of an African cultural form.

Earth Elements

The Nyahbinghi regard water, air and fire as representations of the elements of life. Fire is believed to represent the wrath of YAH pouring down on babylon.
An area outside the tabernacle is reserved for the Judgement fire which is lit at the start of all Nyahbinghi Celebrations. There is also a Fire altar inside the tabernacle that should always be kept lit. 

The Fire Key is lighted with the reciting of seven Psalms: 1) Psalm 68; 2) Psalm 2; 3) Psalm 83; 4) Psalm 94; 5) Psalm 20; 6) Psalm 11; 7) Psalm 9. It is the duty of every brethren to prepare wood for this fire, which is consuming fire for all evildoers irrespective of race, colour or creed. No garbage, waste or refuse should be thrown in the Nyahbinghi fire. The fire should bum unceasingly during the days of the Nyahbinghi grounding. The Fire must not be disturbed; no food should be cooked or roasted on this Fire at no time. Both sons and daughters can gather around this fire for warmth or to pour out the judgment on mystery Babylon.

Nyahbinghi Flag

The Nyahbinghi place great emphasis on Ethiopia and the chief desire is to return there, as we believe this is where all Black people originated. Ethiopia to Rastafari is like heaven or paradise to the Christian. The significance of Ethiopia to the Order is also evident in InI flag. Whereas Rastafari from other groups have the red as the first colour on the flag (as in the Ghanaian flag), the arrangement of the colours on the Nyahbinghi flag are indicative of the colours of the flag of Ethiopia where the green is the first colour on the flag. The colours are as follows:
Green (top) – symbolic of the vegetation in Ethiopia
Gold (middle) – symbolic of the mineral wealth of Ethiopia
Red (bottom) – symbolic of the blood of the Ethiopians that was shed while defending their country against the Italians. 
The only difference between the Ethiopian flag and that of the Nyahbinghi is the symbols that appear on the flag. The Nyahbinghi flag carries a lion in the centre of the flag, representative of the Lion of Judah, the lineage of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I. The Ethiopian flag did not carry a symbol originally, however, since 1996, the flag has an interlaced star in the centre. Some places, however, still use the original flag.
The flag should be held high at all times and should not be torn or abused. It must be present at all gatherings and homes and be borne whenever representing I&I Ivine Majesty Emperor HAILE SELASSIE I.

Iknowlegdement of Ysraylite ROOTS

If one really looks at the customs of the Nyahbinghi Order, we can see it has strong roots in Ysraylite heritage. From reading the Bible and prostrating themselves before the altar with the priests and elders around it, the seven day purification of the woman, raising the Rainbow Covenant Flag,  beating drums, and by identifying themselves as the Lost Tribes of Ysrayl, there is no doubt at all that the Nyahbinghi practices are based on biblical principles, as well as African. The Nyahbinghi see themselves as the House of Yahuda, while other Rastafari to them, are the rest of the Twelve Tribes. They infact call themselves the House of Israel, consisting of all the twelve tribes.

Nyahbinghi Creed

The Nyahbinghi creed is opened with the reciting of the following Psalms, while all must stand with due respect to H.LM. 1) Psalm 1, 2) Psalm 121, 3) Psalm 122, 4) Psalm 133, 5) Psalm 24 followed by the Creed.


The Nyahbinghi ground consists of a Tabernacle, Lion quarters, lioness quarters, a store room, where food is provided for all at no cost, and sanitary conveniences for both male and female. No flesh should be cooked or consumed on a Nyahbinghi ground. The use of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and sexual intercourse is strictly forbidden; self discipline must be maintained. Strangers are not permitted the use of cameras and/or recording equipment unless authorized by the House. All man must uncover their heads at a Nyahbinghi. All heads of females must be covered, and the wearing of pants and exposive garments are forbidden. Everyone must be properly attired. If a person is afflicted with any form of contagious disease or open wounds, he or she is not permitted to be among the congregation. Workshop for art and crafts, and school for the youths are vital structures of the Nyahbinghi Centre.

The Tabernacle (place of worship)

The Tabernacle consists of twelve outer posts which represent 1) the twelve patriarchs 2) the twelve gates of New Jerusalem 3) the twelve Tribes of Israel 4) the twelve Apostles. The centre post, the largest of all, represents I n I Ivine Majesty Emperor HAILE SELASSIE I who is the head of the Nyahbinghi Order. Roof of the Tabernacle should take the shape of an umbrella. Portraits of H.I.M. decorate the Tabernacle. No weapons, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or outrageous behaviour are allowed inside. It must be viewed by all as being assembled around the Throne of YAH RAS TAFARI HAILE SELASSIE I.

The altar which stands in the centre of the Tabernacle consists of six outer posts surrounding the centre post of the Tabernacle representing the book of the Seven Seals / Seven Golden Candlesticks. The priests administrate around this altar which is laid with an altar covering of Red, Gold and Green. Herbs, Prophecy, Portraits of H.LM. and fruits are placed upon the altar. The Nyahbinghi daughters are not permitted to administrate around this altar. The inner section of the altar should not be used for a sleeping room and can be used for a library or, storing things pertaining to the Tabernacle.

Nyahbinghi Grounation

The Nyahbinghi Order is characterized by celebrations called Nyahbinghi Celebrations or Nyahbinghi Grounations. The term "grounation" means the affirmation of life through earth and is the main type of gathering of the Nyahbinghi. ‘Binghis’ are spiritual ceremonies held on special days in observance of various events. The celebrations are deemed to be very powerful and prove to be very critical to those whom the chants are focused on. It is said that in the early stages of the Nyahbinghi Order, to dance ‘Nyahbinghi’ against an identified oppressor was to invoke the power of YAH to destroy him/her. However, more recently, the dances are done mainly for ceremonial purposes. 

Celebrations are held on:
September 11, Ethiopian New Year 
November 2, Anniversary of coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen 
January 7, Ethiopian Nativity of Christ
April 21, Anniversary of H.I.M’s visit to Jamaica 1966
May 25, Black Liberation Day 
July 23, Anniversary of the birth of H.I.M. 
August 17, Anniversary of the birth of the Right Honourable Marcus Garvey 

These days are revered as holy days and are free from commercial activities.
A typical celebration would involve Nyahbinghi followers from all over the island gathering at one of their sacred grounds. They would be properly attired, the women wearing dresses or skirts that cover the knee. The heads of the females also have to be covered whereas the men are expected to be bareheaded.
At this time no weapons were allowed on the grounds. There should also be no drinking of alcoholic beverages, lying, cursing or fighting on the grounds as it is considered to be sacred.

During Nyahbinghi ceremonies we chant, sing, say poems, dance, and play drums around a huge fire. The ceremony is a moment of praise in the calendar of Rastafari. We walk and dance around the fire seven times in a clockwise circle direction,  then throw into the fire any negative feelings or thoughts before entering the temple. 

Inside the temple we chant to H.I.M. Haille Selassie I, sing, dance, smoke herb, and beat the drums. We also listen to sermons extolling the virtues of Rastafari, and calls by the priests for Inity in the community on current political matters. Seven priests or selected persons form a circle around the intended site of the Judgement fire. Here, wood that was gathered by the brethren, is placed in a heap. Each priest recites one of seven specially selected Psalms while their hands are made to form the sign of the Trinity. Then the fire is lit. This fire continually burns for the duration of the ‘binghi’. The significance of the seven to the Nyahbinghi is in fulfillment of the prophecy in the Bible of seven candlesticks around the throne of the Creator. The drums (harps) feature prominently in the celebrations.
Around the site and especially in the tabernacle, brethren and sistren are usually seen dancing and heard chanting while the harps are being played, all in a reverent mood. Tents are erected for temporary shelter during ‘binghis’ and brethren and sistren would spend their time praising YAH, cooking, smoking ganjah, reasoning and resting. 
This will go on all night into the next days, the main objective is to gather Rastafari brethren and chant down babylon.

‘Binghis’ usually last for seven to nine days, sometimes up to two weeks depending on the nature of the celebration. If the final day falls on a weekend day, then the ‘binghi’ would continue until the Monday following the weekend. This is so as it is believed that cosmic energies flow most strongly on a weekend and thus a more spiritual atmosphere would be present. 

Normally an American would not be permitted to attend any of this, nor would Europeans or Asians (although there are exceptions). It is usually strictly an African gathering. In some inner circles of the Nyahbinghi, only dreadlocks are permitted into the sacred circle, or tabernacle. 


Ras Boanerges

I&I most Ancient, Main founder of the Youth Black Faith in Jamaica that later become the Nyahbinghi Order. High Priest of the Nyahbinghi Order, Born George Watson, in the parish of St. Mary, later called Ras Boanerges or Elder Bongo Wattu, his ancestors came from the Scott's Hall Maroons of that parish. His mother was an ardent Garveyite. It was from her that he learned to know himself to be an African. The lessons that his Maroon ancestry and his mother taught him helped to sustain his vision of a Redeemed Africa and his militant fight against "Babylon." 

The Nyahbinghi tradition of Melcizedek and Moses experienced new-birth in Jamaica by Rastafari movement and particularly through the dread lock congregation of the Youth Black Faith (YBF), which is the birth camp of the theocratic house of the Nyahbinghi Order today. The prophet and seer name Ras Boanerges ( a.k.a. Bongo Watu), along bredrins like Phillip Panhandle and Bredda Arthur, took to their hand the rod of the Nyahbinghi Ingeles which Moses had put forward, and begun establish the priestceptical administration of Rastafari tradition, based to the collective brotherhood, not to the undivided leadership of one prophet. While still in his teens, he sighted the light of Rastafari. As a young man, he founded the Youth Black Faith.
By 1947, his yard at 9th Street, Trench Town was a hub for members and sympathizers of the Rastafari Faith. It was at 9th Street that he assisted developing some of the tenets that came to be regarded as fundamental to the Nyahbinghi Order. He became one of the Nyahbinghi Order's foremost pioneers. Many contemporary elders grew in the faith in his yard. He regarded himself as the founder of the Nyahbinghi Order and conducted Nyahbinhgi services in the tradition of the shepherd with the congregation as his flock. 
Trench Town in Kingston, where - as Jah Bones have said - "he ( Bongo Watu) had a big yard with about four houses and tabernacle in the middle of the yard with the drums hung in the middle of the ceiling. Discipline and order with Rasta livity is strictly observed and adhered to. Man, woman and children lived in the yard and naturally, Ital dredness carry the swing." 
sacrifice his freedom and to face death on more than one occasion during the fifties and sixties. He was sent to jail for possession of his Sacred Herb, the marijuana or the ganjah plant, four times. He was poisoned twice; once by a warder and the other time by a jealous enemy within the congregation. The experience made him peculiar in his eating habits. He became a very strict "italist," who preferred to cook his food himself and and ate mostly raw vegetables, fruits and juices. 


prophet Moses, the Science, Laws and Priesthood Order of the Nyahbihgi , the Drummer Master & Mystical Jah Dancer were opened to great bloom inna congregation of Israel-Ithiopia. " Bongo I-MOSES proformed the highest orders of the natural science of creation in the visible fullness of the day, so that all who saw and bear-witness knew that he was a Science Man of the Most I, RASTAFARI... Bongo I-Moses started and he himself had to serve as an example, so that the people could see and follow his movements, which was to take him up to some of the highest heights ever reached by a man on earth" ( Ras Mweya F. Masimba in I Forward The Sword). 
Elder Bongo Wattu ( Ras Boanerges ) 


Nyah Binghi Priest, States man, Ambassador Pioneer and Councilor, Elder Bongo Rocky, 2010 .Once again, death has stretched out its hand to snatched from our midst a corner stone of the Nyah Binghi Order. 

Elder Bongo Rocky had repatriated to Ethiopia a decade ago with his Iloved Queen Baby I, since then he has served with distinction as Elder Statesman and Ambassador of the Rastafari Nation. He has headed delegations and meetings with Heads of State, politicians, AU representatives, as well as local and regional dignitaries on behalf of the Shashamanie community and the Nation of Rastafari. 

RAS Pidow, recongnized Elder of the Rainbow Throne of the Niahbingi Theocratic Order, was born in 1939 in Kingston, Jamaika. Story teller, teacher, priest, RAS Pidow represents a life-long i-dication of principleWho Passed Away March , 2001. 

There are many more , to many to mention but still some of InI are; Ras Gussy, Ras BongoTawny, Sister Bubbles, Ras Iris, Ras Crusy, Ras Istan, Sister Ina, Ras Slim, Ras John, Ras Cripple ,Sister Nelly, Bongo Johnny, Ras Peter, Ras Busta, Ras Jeffta, Bongo Granville, Ras little head, Ras Titus, Ras Foodiy, Ras Ruddy, Bongo Jack, Sister Evelyn, Ras Suckle, Ras Rupert, Ras Dizzy Johnny, Ras Headful, Iyaata Iyubi, Iyaata Babyloo.


Followers of the Nyahbinghi Order, as a rule, live by some temporary guidelines and the teachings ordained by His Imperial Majesty. There are also Elders or Priests who assume the responsibility of guiding their followers in the way of the Nyahbinghi. These Priests are selected by virtue of the initiative they show. Members of the Order are referred to as brethren and sistren. 
Nyahbinghi members consider themselves to be Ethiopians and as such they observe the Ethiopian Sabbath on Tuesdays as well as seek to learn the Ethiopian language, Amharic   


The Nyahbinghi Man must abide by the laws of His Imperial Majesty. He should abide with one Queen as a perfect example set by His Imperial Majesty HAILE SELASSIE I. The use of flesh, drugs, alcohol and all harmful articles of food must be forbidden by all. The Nyahbinghi Man is nonviolent, non-abusive and non-partisan. He must be free from all criminal activities as a true son of YAH RAS TAFARI. Whoredom, adultery, fornication and all sinful acts are an abomination to the Most High. It is the duty -of every Nyahbinghi to see to it that love and harmony be maintained on every gathering. Intimate relations with whites is strictly' forbidden. A Nyahbinghi Man should not abide with a woman who is not of Rastafari livity. It is the duty of every Nyahbinghi Man to properly maintain his children and raise them in the order of righteousness. It is wrong for a Nyahbinghi Man to trim and comb his children, this is an abomination.


The Nyahbinghi daughters, like the sons must abide by JAH Ivine laws. As H.I.M. is the Head of the Nyahbinghi Order the Nyahbinghi Queen must recognize her King as her Head. During her monthly issue (a period of seven days) the Nyahbinghi Queen does not attend Issemble or congregate among the brethren. She must be loyal to her King Head in all things concerning righteousness. She must abide within her home and not be a "busybody". If there is a misunderstanding between her and her King Man, the matter should be brought before the Priest or Council of Elders who will deal with the matter privately and constructively. A Nyahbinghi Queen is not permitted to play the drums at an Issemble but is permitted to use the Shaka or Timbrel. She is not permitted to administrate around the altar or to prophecy before the congregation. During reasoning she can make suggestions and participate in governmental administration as in the taking of minutes, writing of letters or any other works she is capable of doing, as seen by the brethren. She must be attired in modest apparel at all times and must not wear pants or explosive garments. Her head must be covered during an Issemble or when congregating with brethren or outside her gates. During Issemble the daughters are responsible for the teaching of the children with special emphasis on H.LM. HAILE SELASSIE I, the Amharic language, Black History and other aspects of Rastafari Ivine livity. When the Nyahbinghi Queen brings forth a Prince, she should stay away from Issemble for a period of 3 months. When she brings forth a Princess, she should stay away for a period of 4 months. Eating of abominable flesh must be strictly forbidden by all. The wearing of jewellery is not forbidden but the piercing of the flesh (e.g. ears, nose, etc.) is against the will of JAH. The plaiting of locks is forbidden as it is written in the book of I Peter 3:3, whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of(e.g. braids, weaves, etc.) the hair.

Principles for The Priesthood

A Priest of the Nyahbinghi Order is ordained by YAH RAS TAFARI. This is thus revealed by the individual's works and Ivine livity over a number of years. He must be a man of -Ivine livity with the prophecy as a guideline. The Priests administrate around the altar of the Tabernacle and leads the congregation in prayer as well as-the sanctification of the new born sons and daughters of the lyahbinghi Order. The Nyahbinghi Priest can have his Queen as did Aaron, Zadok, etc., but must be one of Ivine qualities, abiding by JAH laws. The Nyahbinghi Priest must be one of justice who carries out his works without partiality. He must maintain an 'Ital, Livity' making sure he does not defile the temple of the living YAH with abominable flesh. The signature of the Nyahbinghi Priest must be affixed to all official documents of the Order of the Nyahbinghi.

The Nyahbinghi Order is the most ancient order of Rastafari, as from the earliest times, when cherubim and seraphim chanted songs of praise around the Rainbow Circle Throne of the Almighty Omnipotent Majesty Emperor HAILE SELASSIE I unto this present day, I n I brethren and sistren of JAH RAS TAFARI Emperor HAILE SELASSIE I Theocracy Reign Order of the Nyahbinghi do uphold this Ivine Order and trust that this message of truth transcend all boundaries as waters cover the seas. With these aspirations I n I the Patriarchs of Nyahbinghi in Jamaica do see it necessary to document the following guidelines so that I n I brothers and sisters be aware of some of the commitments one has to abide by to be in the true covenant of Nyahbinghi. Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to all people.

Nyahbinghi Chanting