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Peter Tosh: The Legacy Of A Revolutionary Artist

Reggae great and music pioneer Peter Tosh authored some of the most militant and conscious raising songs in music history such as “Get Up Stand Up”, “You Can’t Blame The Youth”, “Equal Rights”, “No Nuclear War” and “Legalize It” to name a few.

His legacy as an artist has endured 23 years after his murder on September 11, 1987. Most writers on Tosh completely miss the point when they repeat uniformed observations of his behavior and describe him as “hot-tempered”, or “some who could be very difficult”.  One writer expresses this incomplete understanding of Peter Tosh, in the following manner:

“From an early age he displayed the bad temper, brash arrogance, and aggressive attitude that he would keep throughout his life.”

All of the names associated with Tosh during his brilliant career indicate awareness of oppressive conditions and summoning attention for its eradication.

The first musical group Tosh is listed as being a part of was the “Teenagers. Teenagers are known for their rebellion to authority. Teenagers have become synonymous with the word rebellion. According to Frances Hoesin:

Rebellion is a stage of development in many teenagers lives. Some may go through their rebellion against rules as teenagers and some may rebel all of their lives.”  To “rebel all of their lives”,  would be the case if one was in an oppressive environment as Tosh and his contemporaries did living in colonial as well as neo-colonial Jamaica and desired more for themselves than following the dictates of an unjust society. It was when he was in his teens, that “Winston Hubert McIntosh” began referring to himself as Peter Tosh.The musical group “The Teenagers” would undergo several name changes before becoming the Wailers.

To wail is to give a cry as to make others aware of their painful condition. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “Wail” as:

  1. To grieve or protest loudly and bitterly; lament.
  2. To make a prolonged, high-pitched sound suggestive of a cry: The wind wailed through the trees.


To lament over; bewail.


  1. A long, loud, high-pitched cry, as of grief or pain.
  2. A long, loud, high-pitched sound: the wail of a siren.
  3. A loud, bitter protest: A wail of misery went up when new parking restrictions were announced.

Tosh observed that both his internal and external situations were not ideal and required his intense focus in order to change them. Tosh was battling for self-respect and positive self-expression on several fronts:

  • As a child born to a father who sired many children with numerous women and a mother who did not express great interest in raising him, Tosh was raised by his aunt. Tosh’s aunt died when he was 15 and in many ways he had raise himself and learn on his own to develop survival skills in order to make through Jamaican society.
  • A member of the very poor and downtrodden of Jamaican society, there were many challenges in living life everyday.
  • Tosh as conscious artist had to literally fight to have his voice heard and contribute to the upliftment of his people as well as simultaneously destroy the evil oppressive society commonly referred to in Rastafarian circles as “Babylon”.

To overcome these obstacles, Tosh had to display the fierce drive to free himself from the limiting circumstances and thus would appear to those content with his lot as “brash, arrogant and bad-tempered”.

What many writers have not discussed in great detail, is the fact that Peter Tosh as a dark-skinned Black man probably had to endure more of the harshest aspects of an oppressive society as a youth growing up as well as  an internationally renowned public figure who held very strong views that threatened the status quo “at home and abroad”.

The aforementioned circumstances forged within the observant Peter Tosh  who wanted better for himself, an urgent need to rebel in order to have a full sense of his ubuntu or personhood.

Tosh was the prototypical rebel, who never bowed to the pressure to conform to the customs and protocols of the oppressive society and sacrifice his message of African liberation. We observe this trait in Tosh before he gained notoriety as a Reggae artist as well as during the time he was a well known figure.

Though he grew up in the ghetto Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica he did not get involved in a life of crime and turned to music to escape his hardships.

When performing at the “One Love” concert on April  22, 1976, Tosh with the ordained dignitaries of Jamaican society such as Edward Sega and Michael Manley in the audience held to his revolutionary fiery tone:

“With practically the entire political establishment present at the concert–including Prime Minister Michael Manley. Tosh launched into a diatribe on Rasta political economy, castigated politicians for the poverty on the island, and taunted police by producing a marijuana cigarette and smoking it onstage. A month later, he was arrested again on marijuana possession charges and was beaten severely by the police.”

This consistent display of liberation fire earned him the title “Steppin’ Razor”.  Tosh personified the “Lion” associated with Judeo-Christian symbol “Lion of Judah” appropriated by the Rastafarian faith. A “Lion” is known for its majestic roar and Tosh as one of the “founding  Lions “of reggae roared and let it be known that he is present and aware of the oppressive conditions that exist.

When we examine Tosh’s first name, astrological sign and aspects of his numerology we will be able to identify the cosmic factors that combined with the earthly influences mentioned previously, gave impetus to his revolutionary zeal.

Peter Tosh is strongly connected to the name “Peter”, in both physical and spiritual ways. His first name appears  with the place he was born. Tosh was born in the town of Petersfield in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica.

“Peter”which means “rock”, is found in the bible and is the name of one of the disciples of Jesus also known as “Simon Peter”.  Of all his disciples, Peter was seen as the most aggressive of Jesus’ disciples. In John 18:10 the biblical character Peter upon the arrest of Jesus draws his sword and cuts off the ear of Malchus, “the servant of the high priest”.

Tosh like the Biblical  Peter had three opportunities to deny his faith. Unlike the Peter in the Bible, Tosh maintained his faith throughout his time of testing. Peter was brutalized by the Jamaican police at least three times and with each incident there is no indication that Tosh, back pedaled from his explosive and insightful revolutionary stance.

Whenever rock and its synonymous terms such as stone is mentioned we see that it indicates the presence of God and victory over one’s enemies. “Rock” is used in the Bible to symbolize the strength and enduring qualities of God. This is seen with the statement “Yahweh is my rock, and my fortress”  found in 2 Samuel 22:2; Psalms 18:2;  and 71:3. The Biblical Peter’s enduring faith, led him to serve Christ  after denying Jesus three times and establish the Church in spite of his previous faltering ways. David in 1 Samuel 17 uses 5 stones gathered from a brook to slay the giant Goliath.

Tosh as an ardent Rastafarian identified with Ethiopia. Tosh’s first name connected him to the rich religious tradition of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia there are massive religious institutions literally hewn out rock, as those in Lalibela, Ethiopia as seen in the pictures below:

Peter Tosh is also linked to the culture of Ethiopia through the date of his death on September 11, 1987, for that is the start of the Ethiopian New Year.

With the understanding of the multiple levels of meaning involved with the name “Peter” as “rock”, which is synonymous with “stone” we then see the logical cosmic sequential connection with Tosh collaborating with the Rolling Stones.

Tosh was born on October 19, 1944 making him a Libra under both the tropical and sidereal zodiac astrology systems. Libra is classified as a masculine zodiac sign and is represented by the element of air. Libras are commonly referred to as feisty and fiery individuals.

In Greek mythology, Libra is considered to depict the scales held by Astraea (identified as Virgo), the goddess of justice. The symbol of Libra is scales of a balance. The only sign not symbolized by an animal or a human is Libra. The scales signify the main personality trait of a Libran – equality and balance.

Librans appreciate beauty in all things around. Venus, the goddess of love, rules Libra, hence, Librans value and admires beauty in a person, art, music and articles. Librans  as such make great artists and musicians. Libra is the 7th sign in astrology and Tosh released 7 studio albums in all.

Another personality trait of a Libran is they love to hold intellectual conversations and they could debate on anything of their interest for hours.

Peter Tosh did not conform to all aspects of his astrological sign, especially in the area of diplomacy. People under the Libra sign are said to be very diplomatic in handling sensitive issues.  Tosh outspokenness as his performance at the One Love Concert in 1976, ran counter to this aspect of the Libra personality. This could be due to the presence of the number 1 energy in  the day of his birth on the 19th, which is “19=1+9=10=1+0=1”.

The number 1 energy suggests that there is perhaps more executive ability and leadership qualities in a person’s makeup than their life path may have indicated. A birthday on day 1 of any month gives a measure of will power and self-confidence, and very often a rather original approach. This 1 energy may diminish the ability and desire to handle details, preferring instead to paint with a broad brush. They may be sensitive, but their feelings stay rather repressed.

The 19/1  person has a compelling manner that can be dominating in many situations. They do not tend to follow convention or take advice very well. Consequently, they tend to learn through experience; sometimes hard experiences. The 19/1 is a loner number and  may experience feelings of being alone even if  they are married. They may take on a tendency to be nervous and anger more easily than their Life Path number suggests. Tosh expresses this sentiment in his song “Jah Guide Me From My Friends”:

Jah Jah guide me from my friends cause I know…
I know my enemies…
Everytime I know…
I know my enemies…
They will come and
Sit round your table
Wanting to kill you like
Cain kill Abel
Only trying to find an easy way
That they can try to eliminate you
Jah Jah guide me from my friends cause I know…
I know my enemies…
Everytime I know my enemies…
Anytime you see your friend there
The first thing you see
Is him teeth, yes
But if you could see the inner part
Then we gonna know the sucker have got a wicked heart
May Jah Jah guide me from my friends cause I know, everyday…
I know my enemies…

The Libra zodiac sign is said to govern the kidneys of the human body. Kidneys are important for they cleanse the blood of toxins. Sickness manifests in this part of the body when there is great insecurity or fear and a state of helplessness. Furthermore, the kidneys are linked to the solar plexus charka, which  is associated with the skin, face and eyesight.

On a metaphysical level, Tosh was maintaining spiritual and physical wellness through his behavior. The function of the kidney is to expel toxins and with Libra maintaining balance is of critical importance. Tosh by his behavior as well as artistry expelled the toxins of racism that was captured by his sight and assisted in the great work of restoring balance (Maat)  and securing justice for African peoples as he states emphatically in his song “Equal Rights”:

Everyone is crying out for peace yes
None is crying out for justice

I don’t want no peace
I need equal rights and justice
Got to get it
Equal rights and justice

Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to die
Everybody want to go to up to heaven
But none o them  want to die

Another instance of where Tosh, did not adhere to the tenets of the Libra zodiac astrology sign is seen with the designated lucky day for Libras.  Friday is said to be the lucky day of the week for Libras. In Tosh’s case this did not always hold true for he was murdered on Friday, September 11, 1987.

The birth date of Peter Tosh on October 19, 1944= 10+19+1+9+4+4=47=4+7=11. The number 11 is the number for mystics. Tosh proudly proclaimed that he was a “Mystic Man”.  Tosh was known to claim that he saw “duppies” and felt the presence of vampires.  Due to his number 11 life path signature he may have been more attuned to the higher level dimensions of the spiritual world. The number 11 according to writers on the subject:

The Number 11 has the potential to be a source and inspiration for people.

They possess an inordinate amount of energy and intuition.

There is so much going on in their psyche that they are often misunderstood early. Which makes them appear shy and withdrawn.

They have more potential than they realize.

They galvanize every situation they enter.

They inspire people, but without conscious effort. Energy seems to flow through them without their control.

This gives them both power, and sometimes emotional turmoil.

They are a channel for the information between the higher and the lower, between the realm of the archetype and the relative world.

Ideas, thoughts, understanding and insight comes to them without having to go through rational thought process.

There seems to be a bridge, or connection, between their conscious and unconscious realms, that makes them more attuned to a high level of intuition through which even psychic information can flow.

All of this amounts to a great capacity for invention. Many inventors, artists, religious leaders, prophets and leading figures in history have had 11 prominent in their chart.

Because they are so highly charged, they experience the consequences of a two-edged sword. They possess great abilities, but indulge in much self-reflection and self-criticism. They often feel highly self-conscious.

They’re aware on some level that they stand out. Even when they  try to blend with their environment, they often feel conspicuous, alien and out of place.

They are blessed with a message or a specific role to play in life.

The Number 11’s inner development takes precedence over their ability to materialize the great undertaking they were chosen to perform.

Consequently, 11’s seem to develop slowly, but simply have to accomplish in their evolution than an average person.

Thus, their  real success does not usually begin until maturity, between the ages of 35 and 45, when you have progressed further along the path. *Tosh died at the age of 42.

The Number 11  is motivated by strong ambition and desire to achieve something great.

They sense the enormous potential they possess, which requires equally enormous confidence in their ability to materialize their dream. Confidence is the key that unlocks  potential.

On a strictly physical level, they must protect their nervous system, which is inordinately vulnerable to stress, because of their acute sensitivity. Depression is the result of long periods of stress that have gone unrelieved.

When the Number 11 feels that they have been mistreated or jilted, they can react with devastating power, using personal criticisms vindictively.

Peter Tosh’s name is rarely mentioned when 9-11 is discussed but his birth date and the date of his death reveal connections to 9-11.

Tosh’s birthdate on October 19, 1944=10+19+1+9+4+4=47=11. The number 11 energy which was very prominent on September 11, 2001. When we take each part of the Peter Tosh’s birth date and add it to itself  we find something very interesting: 10=1+0=1    19=1+9=10=1+0=1   1944=1+9+4+4=18=1+8=9

Thus we have “119” which is “911” in reverse.

The date of Tosh’s death occurred 14 years before the 9-11 attacks in the United States. Jamaica has 14 parishes and 14 added to 1987=2001.

Peter Tosh has been described by many without having a proper and full understanding of who was as a  person. Tosh personified the positive elements of his cosmic character seen with his first name, astrological sign and the 11 life path number.

What has been described as Tosh’s brash, difficult and aggressive behavior has its roots in earthly societal conditions as well as the cosmic signatures that he possessed.

As a dark-skinned, poor and conscious Black man growing up in colonial Jamaica, Tosh had to demonstrate fierce drive and determination to improve as well as overcome limiting condition in his life.  His embrace of the Rastafarian faith added to the list of adverse reactions to Peter by the establishment.

When we examine the names Tosh was associated with indicated “resistance” and “rebellion”. We see with his first name “Peter”, which means “rock” was also the name of the most aggressive disciple of Jesus, who according to John 18:10 drew his sword and cut the ear of Malchus, servant of the high priest when Jesus was arrested.

The names of music groups he was a member of such as the Teenagers, Wailers symbolized principles of rebellion and resistance. This trend continued with Tosh’s solo career where his band was named “Wind, Sound and Power”.

Tosh born under the astrological sign Libra, provides further references to personality traits that  indicate “fiery” and “feisty” individuals. Furthermore, Libras are said to have the disposition which makes them great artists.

The other trait that Libras are said to possess, which Tosh also embodied , is one central to his legacy for those born under this particular sign have a strong sense of justice.

His birth date on October 19, 1944 equals the number 11 life path number which indicates a person who is spiritually attuned and due to this spiritual nature had a heightened sense of awareness. Which is the signature of those who are deemed to be PROPHETS.

©VisionThought 2010. All Rights Reserved.

6 Responses to “Peter Tosh: The Legacy Of A Revolutionary Artist”

  1. He was a true Revolutionary to the highest degree.

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