January 24, 1939|
|Died||March 23, 2011
|Genres||New Age spirituality and metaphysics|
José Argüelles, born Joseph Anthony Arguelles (//; Rochester, Minnesota January 24, 1939 – March 23, 2011), was an American New Age author and artist. He was the founder of Planet Art Network and the Foundation for the Law of Time. He held a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the University of Chicago and taught at numerous colleges, including Princeton University, the University of California, Davis, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Evergreen State College. As one of the originators of the Earth Day concept (due in part to the influence of astrologer Dane Rudhyar), Argüelles founded the first Whole Earth Festival in 1970, at Davis, California. He is best known for his leading role in organizing the 1987 Harmonic Convergence event, for inventing (with the assistance of his wife Lloydine) the perpetual Dreamspell calendar in 1992, and for the central role that he played in the emergence of the 2012 phenomenon. Towards the end of his life, Argüelles focused on issue of consciousness, elaborating the concept of a noosphere (based on the work of Teilhard de Chardin and Vladimir Vernadsky) as a global work of art. Specifically, he envisioned a "rainbow bridge" encircling the Earth.
Argüelles' parents had been European immigrants to Mexico who moved to Minnesota in the United States before his birth. His father was from Spain and his mother was from Germany. José (born Joseph) was the twin brother of poet Ivan Argüelles and the uncle of hyperpolyglot Alexander Arguelles. José Argüelles married four times and was the father of two children by his second wife, writer and artist Miriam Tarcov. His third wife was Lloydine Burris and his fourth wife was Stephanie South. After concluding his teaching career in California, Argüelles lived in Boulder, Colorado, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Ashland, Oregon. Argüelles struggled with alcoholism and his thinking and artwork were heavily influenced by his use of psychedelics, including LSD. He died of peritonitis in the Australian bush.
Argüelles' principal teacher and mentor was the unconventional Tibetan Buddhist and former monk Chögyam Trungpa, with whom he studied at Naropa University (then the Naropa Institute) in the mid-1970s. Astrologer Dane Rudhyar was also one of Argüelles' most influential mentors.
Argüelles cited several Native American and New Age influences, among them Hopi elders Dan Katchongva and Thomas Banyacya and Lakota medicine man Arvol Looking Horse as well as part-Cheyenne author Frank Waters; part-Lakota, former Mormon, Beat Generation poet Tony Shearer; Anishinaabe spiritual leader Vincent La Duke (a.k.a. Sun Bear); Chuluaqui Quodoushka founder Harley Reagan; Brooke "Medicine Eagle" Edwards; and Diane Fisher (a.k.a. Dhyani Ywahoo).
Later in his life, Argüelles adopted the "Banner of Peace" from a design created by the Russian painter, explorer, and mystic Nicholas Roerich to accompany the adoption of the Roerich Pact for protecting cultural properties during wartime.
As a painter and visual artist, he provided illustrations for numerous books, as well as mural paintings at different universities. However, his scope as an artist included his education as an Art History Professor, and his views on art as a "psychophysical aesthetic" can be found in his doctoral dissertation Charles Henry and the Formation of a Psychophysical Aesthetic (Chicago University Press, 1972). When teaching as an untenured assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, one of his final exams to his students was to create "something they believed in" - this became a living art event which eventually became the basis for the annual Whole Earth Festival, still held today at the University of California, Davis. After experimenting with LSD in the mid-1960s, Argüelles produced a series of psychedelic art paintings that Humphrey Osmond—who originally coined the word "psychedelic"—named these "The Doors of Perception" (after Aldous Huxley's 1954 book of the same name, itself a title drawn from William Blake's early 19th-century work Milton a Poem). In a 2002 interview, Argüelles says of his artwork, "as fantastic as painting was, it was a limited medium in terms of audience."
Argüelles viewed his role as a visionary, saying "My job as a visionary is to envision the best possible outcome for humanity." He dedicated much of his life to promoting an alternative calendar based on a cycle of 13 months of 28 days each, which he believed would help bring about world peace. He coined the slogan "Time is Art" for the Planetary Art Network (PAN) slogan, suggesting that time is a vehicle for our creative experience.
José Argüelles was the principal organizer of the Harmonic Convergence event on August 16–17, 1987, said to have been the first globally synchronized meditation event. It focused on dates that had been identified by Tony Shearer in his book Lord of the Dawn (1971), a collection of poems in honor of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl (associated with the planet Venus) and describing major cycles of time. Argüelles' The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology (1987), was published in conjunction with the Harmonic Convergence. In it, Argüelles described a numerological system combining elements taken from the pre-Columbian Maya calendar with the I Ching and elements of shamanism. These were interspersed with parallel concepts drawn from modern sciences such as "genetic codes" and "galactic convergences". The book popularized the concept of Hunab Ku, associating the Colonial Maya concept of "One God" with an Aztec design from a woven rug Argüelles had obtained in a marketplace in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Argüelles (who called himself Valum Votan), working together with his wife Lloydine (a.k.a. Bolon Ik), produced a calendar and divination system Dreamspell: The Journey of Timeship Earth 2013 and a game/tool Telektonon: The Talking Stone of Prophecy. The former, based on the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar with special emphasis on the 260-day tzolk'in count, was the source of Argüelles' 13 Moon/28 Day Calendar. This calendar begins on July 26 (heliacal rising of the star Sirius) and runs for 364 days. The remaining date, July 25, is celebrated in some quarters as the "Day out of Time/Peace through Culture Festival". - celebrated in over 90 countries around the world. Argüelles attributed the origins of the calendar to "Galactic Mayas," who he believed were ancient astronauts that had visited the ancient Mayas and taught them elements of civilization. One of their leaders was an individual he called Pacal Votan, known to Mayanists as K'inich Janaab' Pakal, who was buried in an elaborate tomb at the site of Palenque. (Telektonon was Argüelles' term for a stone speaking tube in the pyramid where Pakal is entombed.)
The Law of Time
In Time and the Technosphere (2002), Argüelles devises and promotes a notion that he calls the "Law of Time", in part framed by his interpretations of how Maya calendrical mathematics functioned. In this notional framework Argüelles claims to have identified a "fundamental law" involving two timing frequencies: one he calls "mechanised time" with a "12:60 frequency", and the other "natural [time] codified by the Maya [that is] understood to be the frequency 13:20". To Argüelles, "the irregular 12-month [Gregorian] calendar and artificial, mechanised 60-minute hour" is a construct that artificially regulates human affairs, and is out-of-step with the natural "synchronic order". He proposes the universal abandonment of the Gregorian calendar and its replacement with a thirteen moon, 28 day calendar, in order to "get the human race back on course" by the adoption of this calendar of perfect harmony so the human race could straighten its mind out again."
Some critics claim[who?] Argüelles co-opts an ancient tradition by recasting it in New Age terms, but he explained that his tools and calendar were not intended to be the same as the Maya calendar. Argüelles' approach is actually a form of syncretism. Many of Dreamspell's influences come from non-Maya sources, such as the 13-month/28-day calendar, a magic square devised by Benjamin Franklin, the I Ching, numerology, and assorted mystical and pseudoarchaeological works such as Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods? (1970), which emphasizes theories of ancient astronauts. Argüelles' calendar is based on a different day-count than the traditional Maya calendar. For example, in the traditional count January 1, 2005 is 5 Muluk, while in the Dreamspell it is 2 Etznab. This is attributed to a change of 52 days in the count that Argüelles made to accommodate a "Time Shift' in 1992. As mathematician Michael Finley notes:
"Since the 365 day Maya haab makes no provision for leap years, its starting date in the Gregorian Calendar advances by one day every four years. The beginning of Argüelles' year is fixed to July 26. Thus his count of days departs from the haab as it was known to Maya scribes before the Spanish conquest. Argüelles claims that the Thirteen Moon Calendar is synchronized with the calendar round. Clearly, it is not."
Argüelles' 13 Moon Calendar with a July 26 new year maintained the same symmetrical cross-referencing of year bearers the ancient Maya used. The first day of the year in both the 13 Moon Calendar and the Maya’s Haab always begins on one of only four glyphs, called year bearers. In the Mayan calendar the first day of the year on the Haab consistently corresponds with one of four glyphs derived from the tzolk'in, called "year bearers." The year-bearer glyph from the tzolk'in is used to identify the character of the 365-day year that follows. In this way the tzolk'in and haab' are continuously cross-patterned with each other in an ongoing matrix, but fully synchronize only once in 52 years.
In defense Argüelles has stated that, although certain key dates were based on events in the personal lives of himself and his wife Lloydine, his calendar is "correct and biologically accurate... for the whole planet". 
Planet Art Network
Argüelles co-founded the Planet Art Network (PAN) with Lloydine in 1983 as an autonomous, meta-political, worldwide peace organization engaging in art and spirituality. Active in over 90 countries, PAN identifies the Roerich Pact and has adopted its associated Banner of Peace as a symbol for "Peace Through Culture".
The Planet Art Network operates as a network of self-organized collectives, centralized by a shared focus of promoting the worldwide adoption of Argüelles' Dreamspell 13-Moon/28 day Calendar. The network upholds the slogan "Time is Art", suggesting that time is a vehicle for our creative experience, instead of the familiar saying "Time is Money".
The British anthropologist Will Black conducted research into Jose’s Arguelles’ Planet Art Network for several years. In his book Beyond the End of the World: 2012 and Apocalypse (2010), Black documents a general loss of interest in Dreamspell and in PAN in recent years. Black points out that, as general interest in the 2012 phenomenon increased as a result of the proximity of the supposed "end date," the significance of PAN and the value placed on Arguelles’ ideas waned. Although Argüelles and his Dreamspell system were instrumental in encouraging people to consider the meaning of 2012, further investigation by individuals tended to provoke questioning of the Dreamspell.
A broad survey of public opinion and study to determine the popularity and impact of the Dreamspell and 13 Moon Calendar (if any), and an evaluation of PAN as a new religious movement have yet to be conducted.
First Noosphere World Forum
At the time of his death, he was the director of the Noosphere II project of the Foundation's Galactic Research Institute, inclusive of the First Noosphere World Forum, a project that involves creating a dialogue that unifies a network of organizations working to promote a positive shift of consciousness by 2012 with the vision of the whole earth as a work of art.
- Argüelles, José (1972). Mandala. Shambhala Publications.
- Argüelles, José (1975). The Transformative Vision: Reflections on the Nature and History of Human Expression. Shambhala Publications.
- Argüelles, José (1987). The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. ISBN 0-939680-38-6.
- Argüelles, José (1988). Earth Ascending: An Illustrated Treatise on Law Governing Whole Systems. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. ISBN 0-939680-45-9. (note - the 1st edition of this book was published in 1984, prior to The Mayan Factor, by Shambhala Publications)
- Argüelles, José (1989). Surfers of the Zuvuya: Tales of Interdimensional Travel. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. ISBN 0-939680-55-6.
- Argüelles, José; Miriam Arguelles, Chogyam Trungpa (Foreword) (1995). Mandala. Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-120-9.
- Argüelles, José (1996). The Arcturus Probe: Tales and Reports of an Ongoing Investigation. Light Technology Publishing. ISBN 0-929385-75-6.
- Argüelles, José (1996). The Call of Pacal Votan: Time is the Fourth Dimension. Altea Publishing. ISBN 0-9524555-6-0.
- Argüelles, Jose (2002). Time and the Technosphere: The Law of Time in Human Affairs. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. ISBN 1-879181-99-1.
- Argüelles, Jose (2011). Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-303-8.
Articles and Anthologies
- Argüelles, Jose (1995). GALACTIC HUMAN HANDBOOK: Entering the New Time - Creating Planetary Groups, Part 2. Altea Publications. ISBN 0-9524555-5-2. (Part 1 was written by Sheldan Nidle, and a printing error resulted in some missing and duplicated pages in Part 1 of some early editions.)
- Fox, Margalit (April 2, 2011). "José Argüelles, New Ager Focused on Time, Dies at 72". The New York Times.
- "Valum Votan/José Arguelles Has Ascended". http://www.lawoftime.org/. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Dreamspell: The Journey of Timeship Earth 2013
- Argüelles, José (2011), Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, New York: Evolver Editions
- South, Stephanie (2009) 2012: Biography of a Time Traveler - the Journey of Jose Argüelles, Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books
- Arguelles, Jose Mandala 1972 (The psychedelic mandala-like paintings of Jose Argüelles are reproduced on color plates in the back of the book)
- Moynihan 2002
- Hess 1993: 72
- Mutch, Stella. "A Day Out of Time". Going Coastal Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
- Terminology and statements in quotation marks taken from 2002 interview with Argüelles, as transcribed in Moynihan (2002)
- Moynihan (2002)
- Feder 1990: 189; Hess 1993: 72–73
- Quotation is from Finley (2002)
- Anastas, Benjamin (2007-07-01). "The Final Days" (reproduced online). The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2008-05-18.
- Barkun, Michael (2003). A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23805-2. OCLC 51305869.
- Feder, Kenneth L. (1990). Frauds, myths, and mysteries: science and pseudoscience in archaeology. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing. ISBN 0-87484-971-3. OCLC 20692716.
- Finley, Michael (2002). "Jose Arguelles' Calendrical Dreams". The Real Maya Prophecies: Astronomy in the Inscriptions and Codices. Maya Astronomy. Archived from the original on 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- Hess, David J. (1993). Science in the New Age: the paranormal, its defenders and debunkers, and American culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-13820-8. OCLC 27811150.
- Lamy, Philip (2001). "Ufology". In Brenda E. Brasher. Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism. New York: Routledge. pp. 410–413. ISBN 0-415-92244-5. OCLC 46792684.
- Moynihan, Michael (November–December 2002). "Visionary of the New Time: Michael Moynihan Speaks With José Argüelles" (online republication). New Dawn magazine 75. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
- Sitler, Robert K. (February 2006). "The 2012 Phenomenon New Age Appropriation of an Ancient Mayan Calendar". Novo Religio (Berkeley: University of California Press) 9 (3): 24–38. doi:10.1525/nr.2006.9.3.024. OCLC 86912726.
- South, Stephanie (March 2009). 2012: Biography of a Time Traveler, The Journey of Jose Arguelles. New Jersey: New Page Books. ISBN 978-1-60163-065-0. OCLC 2008054800.
- Upton, Charles (2001). The System of Antichrist: Truth & Falsehood in Postmodernism & the New Age. Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis. ISBN 0-900588-30-6. OCLC 45799654.
- York, Michael (1995). The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-8000-2. OCLC 31604796.
- Foundation for the Law of Time
- Noosphere Forum
- 13 moon calendar
- counterresponses to Argüelles' defense of his interpretation
- Distinguishing Dreamspell from the Maya calendar
- the Key to Dreamspell, another critical analysis refuting the claims made
- Planet Art Network
- Video interview with Valum Votan by the Transcendent Nation Foundation on the question of "how to save the world"