Rastafarians in the Hills of Saint Lucia
Historically, the mountains and hills of Saint Lucia symbolise rebellion. The slaves who ran into the hills, rightfully defying the institution of slavery were known as the neg marons (runaway negroes/maroons ). These maroons formed colonies in the hills forging for themselves a unique existence from the main culture.
The notion of the mountains and hills of Saint Lucia being a haven and escape from the mainstream society still holds true today. As Rastafarian ideals began to permeate Saint Lucian society from the 1960s onwards, many believers looked to the hills as a way to remain sincere to their religious ideals, which meant, getting away from “Babylon.”
Rastafarianism in some way belongs to a group of religions known as Abrahamic religions, as the religion shares many of the priniciples and precepts of Christianity. Babylon, in Christianity, as well as Rastafarianism, was a city which lacked moral currency, and to some Rastafarians modern society is in some way viewed as the Biblical city of Babylon.
Rastafarian communities residing in the recesses of the towering peaks that surround the island live in contrast to the main culture. This is evident in their manner of dress, speech, views on contraception etc, which is very conservative in nature, and stands in contrast to the ever developing and modernisation of the mainstream society.
Visiting a Rastafarian Community
I had an opportunity to visit a community a few years ago in the Forestierre community near where I live. It was an amazing time spent, eating organically grown food, showering in the ivah (under ground water supply which has been funnelled out the ground for daily use)all the while being technologically cut off. Mobile phones however are able to work given that there are cell towers nearby.
There are a few more communities such as this and one day I hope to visit.