Monday, February 25, 2013


Today, as I always do on February 25th, I’m posting a little something in celebration of the birthday of my spiritual master, Avatar Meher Baba.  Many, if not most, people who’ve followed my work—and certainly this blog—know of my long-time involvement with Meher Baba and his impact not just on my life, but on my writing:  most notably, perhaps, my run on Doctor Fate and Seekers Into The Mystery.  Because of this I will, from time to time, get inquiries from people asking me about Meher Baba, who He (and, yes, I use the upper case H) is, what His path is and how one goes about stepping onto that path.  Today seems like an ideal day to address those questions—in a short, but, I hope, heartfelt and lucid way.  
Keep in mind that I can only speak for myself—you can line up a dozen followers of Meher Baba and get a dozen different answers to those questions—but it’s been my experience that there is no one particular way where Avatar Meher Baba is concerned. No prescribed rules or rituals. No uniform to wear, mantras to chant, or compulsory meetings to attend.  For me, it's all been about an inner connection.  Despite the fact that He died in 1969—you can get the broad outline of His life here—I've found Baba to be a vital living presence, a Friend I can always turn to and—via my intuition, the inner voice—get answers from. 
There are many books—some of them wonderful—written by and about Meher Baba and my shelves are stuffed with them.  They’re excellent doorways—and Meher Baba’s words, I believe, hold a unique spiritual charge—but, again, for me this is about inner communication and the words spoken in the heart ultimately transcend the words on the page.  Often the Meher Baba I encounter in books (or in other people’s perception of Him) has very little to do with the Baba I encounter inwardly.  Not that I haven’t found great value in many of those books; just that, the more time goes by, the more important that heart connection becomes.  
If Meher Baba is what He said he was—Avatar of the Age, the very embodiment of Divine Love, accessible to all—then we shouldn’t be limited to the words He spoke in the past or the accounts of those who knew Him.  He should speak to us clearly and loudly here and now.  So if you're interested in Meher Baba, my advice is don't listen to me (or anyone else), talk to Him about it.  That’s what it all comes down to:  just you and Meher Baba, conversing in your heart.  If you get an answer, that's wonderful.  And if you don't...well, that's an answer in itself, isn't it? 
If you live in the U.S., I'd also suggest a trip to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: a magical 500 acre retreat that is radiant with Meher Baba's presence. And, if you're a world traveler, there’s AMB's extraordinarily powerful Tomb-Shrine in Meherabad, India.  These are places where, for many, the Veil between inner and outer, God and man, has been known to  dissolve.
For those of you with questions about my connection to Avatar Meher Baba, there’s the short answer; and for those of you with absolutely no interest in the subject, I hope you didn't mind the detour.
Happy birthday, Baba!

©copyright 2013 J.M. DeMatteis

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


After months asleep in the deeps of the unconscious, the beast that is my IMAGINATION 101 writing workshop is rising once again, spreading its wings and flying, straight and sure, for the realms of art, craft and cosmic creativity.  The next workshop will be at Modern Myths in Northampton, Massachusetts the weekend of May 17—19.  You can find all the info here.  Come join us!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I recently read And So It Goes, Charles J. Shields' thorough, fair and engrossing biography of Kurt Vonnegut.  If you’ve followed this blog more than casually, you know that Vonnegut’s work has had a huge impact on me.  After journeying with KV (or perhaps I should say Shields’ vision of KV) from cradle to grave, from literary obscurity to unexpected global fame, I was moved to write something about that impact.  Then I remembered that I already did that, six years ago, when Vonnegut passed away.  Nothing I write now could say it better, so I yield the floor to my 2007 self.


Kurt Vonnegut died last night.  He was a writer whose work imprinted very deeply on my mind, heart and soul.  (He, of course, wasn’t much of a believer in souls.  In fact, he was a proud, defiant un-believer.)  Vonnegut’s influence resonates through my work, especially Moonshadow:  my alien tricksters, the G’l-Doses, are clearly distant cousins of Vonnegut’s Tralfamadorians and Moon himself may be a distant cousin of Billy Pilgrim (if you don’t understand the references, immediately one-click yourself a copy of Slaughterhouse Five, one of the great American novels of the past century).  It was Vonnegut’s heart that resonated the deepest:  for a man who claimed to be an atheist, he was a profoundly spiritual writer, because he was a profoundly compassionate one.  Vonnegut may have cursed homo sapiens as a race of brainless, destructive buffoons, but he understood that, with rare exceptions, most of us are doing our best in a strange and sometimes difficult world.  He loved humanity dearly and that love oozed out of the pages of his best books.

It would be easy to send such Vonnegut off on his own journey to Tralfamadore with the words most readers associate with him:  “So it goes.”  I’d prefer to end with words I've quoted often over the years.  Words spoken by the lead character in my favorite Vonnegut novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.  When Eliot Rosewater is asked to baptize newborn twins, he improvises a memorable welcome to Planet Earth.  It ends like this:  

“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—:  ’God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’” 

Others may remember him for his brilliant humor, his social commentary, his anger and outrage, but I’ll remember Kurt Vonnegut for his extraordinary heart.

Be kind.

©copyright 2013 J.M. DeMatteis