by Alan Steinfeld
While the mania about what will happen in 2012 builds to a feverish pitch, the man who started it all is gone. Jose Argüelles, the person who first brought the prophesies of the Mayan end date passed over on March 23rd, 2011, after a short illness. He will be remembered as a visionary and person who changed the course of contemporary history with insights into the movement of human consciousness.
In 1987 he skyrocketed to popularity and helped ignited the heart of the America’s spiritual subculture with his book the Mayan Factor. It was here
he specifically stated that the Mayan said their long year will end on December 21st 2012…Arguelles promised it would be “the ending of time as we know it.”
While many are now say this is an end of the world scenario, Arguelles himself was clear in stating that it was not the end of civilization, but merely the completion of “the myth of progress”. He felt that our ego-centered materialistic based culture would give way, and a time of art, creativity and harmony would be allowed to flourish.
According to his translation of the ancient Mayan calendar the 5th world would be complete on that date at winter solstice at the exact time when the earth, the sun and the galactic center would come into direct alignment. And a new world would be birthed out of the womb of the Milky way, from the black hole that sits at the center.
Another of Argüelles contemporaries, Terrence McKenna, who also will not be here to see the change, agreed with Arguelles in his “fractal wave of time “ theory. McKenna felt in that celestial conjunction that - “History will be history”.
Humanity would indeed move into a novel direction of unity, but there was also a lot going down first.
I met Jose in 1986 at the Open Center in New York for a weekend workshop about his decoding of the Mayan Calendar. At that time Jose had prophesied a first stage of planetary awakening with what he called, and many have come to know, as The Harmonic Convergence. Jose said that the following year 1987, August 16 and 17th to be exact, was ending of a mini Mayan cycles that began when their calendar predicted that the pale-faced god named Quetzalcoatl would return to their shores.
This happened to be in exact year that the Spaniard Cortez invaded Mexico in 1519.
Thus began the first of nine 52 year cycles, Argüelles called the 9 Hells. The ending of the Hells was a time for planetary celebration, and would mark an epilogue of 25 years that would lead up to 2012. This would be the completion of the 5,125 year Great cycle of the Mayans, that began in 3113 BC. Jose implied that in the next cycle humanity would come into its cosmic awakening. We would take our rightful place among the star nations of the galaxy.
1987 was a brief shining moment of the spiritual renaissance called “the New Age”, when it still had a good name, not cheapened by pop commercialism. This was a time of rebirth; a coming together of a tribe of like-minded, soul-centered individuals around the world for ceremony and acknowledging their connection to the Earth. Anyone at the time who had an ounce of metaphysical bias knows where they were and what they were doing on August 16th and 17th of that year.
Thousands, probably tens of thousands of like-minded seekers of truth gathered across the world on Jose’s say so. From the vortexes of Sedona, to the mountain top of Haleakala, Maui, to the great kiva of the Anastazi's in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, to Shasta, California, Boulder, Colorado, to a large band of dedicated celebrants in Central park, New York and as far away as Delphi Greece and Machu Pichu, Peru; we were there to witness the passing of the old into a golden age. These gatherings were filled with the hope that the famed 144,000 of us, if there were that many, would be able to shift the mass consciousness of the planet towards peace.
I was in Magic Meadow on a mountain above Woodstock, NY, right near the Tibetan temple, with about 1,000 other spiritual enthusiasts. As we welcomed the sun on the morning of August 16th, we burned sage, danced, built fires, sung and celebrated our universal connection with full awareness that so many others around the world were doing the same thing.
Those two days of celebration, did mark a time of transformation. Many of us realized that we had entered a time that fully welcomed intuitive, psychic awareness as part of the social interactions of a new society. .It was the first collective consciousness holiday, in the true sense of the word (holy day). Personally, Jose sparked in my awareness the power that resides in the collective, when people gather with intention in peace. But peace did not come to the planet at that point. Perhaps it was a dress rehearsal for the global event that is now gathering momentum towards that end date. Already many people and organizations are planning to be synched up in happenings of epic proportions.
Now over the decades, Argüelles visions has been replaced by other Mayan scholars such as Carl Calleman http://www.calleman.com
and John Major Jenkins, both who have felt the need to improve upon Argüelles Mayan deciphering. In response Jose had said:
“If I had not called the Harmonic Convergence and written The Mayan Factor
which focused unprecedented popular attention on the Tzolkin, Haab, and all other
aspects of the Mayan Calendar, including many original mathematical analyses,
outside of the Day Keepers in Mayab, there would be no Mayan Calendar movement
anywhere in the world today.”[i]
However, Jose’s first claim to fame was authoring a breakthrough book called Transformative Vision: Reflections on the Nature and History of Human Expression. Still considered a classic by those who see art as a reflection of human consciousness. It was in that book that he started the predicated mode that would take such a worldwide platform. In 1975, he wrote: “So we are already changing, mutating, whirling around the center, at the very lest, of an apocalypse of consciousness. To pass through the center of this apocalypse is to embark on a new stage of growth. Once the test of personal and historical catharsis is met, true individuation becomes possible.”
On his website, http://www.lawoftime.org , Jose Arguelles called himself a “planetary whole systems anthropologist”. He was a son of a Mexican father and a German-American mother and was born in 1939 in Rochester, Minnesota. He grew up in both Mexico and Los Angeles, earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the Universityof Chicago in 1958 and an M.A. in Art History in 1963. In 1965 he was named a Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow. After studying art history in Paris he received his Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the University of Chicago in 1969. In a distinguished career as an educator, he taught at Princeton University, University of California, Evergreen State College, San Francisco State University, San Francisco Institute of Art, the Naropa Institute, the University of Colorado, and The Union Graduate School.
He was also a student of Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche; participated in the Dharma Art Exhibits in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the early ‘80s, and was a member of the Founding Faculty of the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
His pioneering books resulting from investigations into human whole systems included:
Mandala (1972), A Psychophysical Aesthetic (1972), The Transformative Vision:
Reflections on the Nature and History of Human Expression (1975) (1992).
His 1987 book The Mayan Factor was an international bestseller that documented his unraveling of the Mayan calendar code. Earth Ascending: An illustrated Treatise on the Law Governing Whole Systems (1984, 1988). He was also one of the founders of the 1st Earth Day, Festival, Davis, California. 1970.
The importance of Jose's work cannot be under valued. He created a shift in awareness of who we are as a global society. As the time approaches our orientation as a planet, becomes more galactic based rather than just solar. In terms of world history that is Copernican. This allows us to have a different perspective and to ask different questions, which will change the understanding of ourselves and our resources. This new perspective creates in the evolutionary minds of humanity New Realities.
An important quote of Jose's from the Mayan factor states:
"Looking through this galactic telescope of vibratory lenses (reptilian brain, neo-cortex & higher mind, pineal ) rather than an atomistic
world of space & time, distance & separateness, the Mayan Factor brings into focus a web of coherence and unity, a resonant matrix
within which information transmission is virtually instantaneous. If we were to give a modern name to this process of galactic focusing and transmission of information it would be the principle of harmonic resonance."
Although this destined date of December 21st, 2012 has become part of the social landscape of America, it will come and go without him. Nevertheless he needs to be acknowledged as a founder of a worldwide moment dedicated to a planetary transformation of consciousness, which transcends religion and gives spirituality back to the people.
Jose wrote in The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology (1987).
"As the year 2012 approaches, the planet will be humming and vibrating as never before.''
So although the date will pass him by, the time will not. As Jose said in a recent program on Coast to Coast AM that: “We have all come from some place else. Most of us have completely forgotten that. We are all trans-migratory, inter-dimensional, inter-planetary travelers.”
Alan Steinfeld considers himself a social historian. He has lectured widely on 2012 and Crop Circles. He is the host of the spiritually based program New Realities and is the founder of the body, mind, spirit website http://www.NewRealities.com
Please post comments of your memories of the Harmonic Convergence; where you were, how many gathered with you, and a story if you want.
Here is Cal Calleman's (a more recent Mayan Scholar) comments on:
The Passing of José Argüelles
José Argüelles passed away on March 23, 2011 (2 Imix) and I would like to write a few words as a recognition of the very important contributions he made to our understanding of the Mayan calendar especially through his book The Mayan Factor: Path beyond technology. This work was published by Barbara Hand Clow at Bear and Co as part of a preparation for the Harmonic Convergence event, August 16-17, 1987. It became a great source of inspiration for myself as well as for many others and for a few years I regarded it almost as a bible to Mayan cosmology.
In this book Argüelles introduced a few very radical thoughts for the first time:
1) The shifts in the Mayan calendar and especially the Long Count provides for an understanding of human history.
2) What is important in the Mayan calendar are the non-astronomical cycles of 260 and 360 days and
3) The energies of the Tzolkin provide a matrix for the evolution of the longer cycles. Although he had forerunners such as Peter Balin,
Tony Shearer, and Frank Waters, Argüelles' ideas were ground breaking and created the necessary opening that allowed for us to
realize that the Mayan calendar could be true and then also help us understand the contours of a cosmic plan. The Mayan Factor was
a seminal work that at the time was way ahead of the thinking of everyone else. His successful promotion of the Harmonic Convergence event that coincided with a broad spiritual awakening, also led many to conclude that the Mayan calendar had something to say about the spiritual destiny of mankind.
Unfortunately, Argüelles' post-Harmonic Convergence work with the Dreamspell calendar meant the reversal and abandonment of exactly those advances that had been presented in The Mayan Factor. Even if the Thirteen Moon calendar became popular in many parts of the world, it was never recognized as a contribution by any serious student of the Mayan calendar.
Moreover, the way it was initially presented brought much confusion. My own criticism and disappointment of this calendar was not so much motivated by the fact that Argüelles broke with Mayan orthodoxy, but more because the calendar he had invented was not
transparent and that its origin was kept hidden. This failure should however not cloud the fact that Argüelles was a great pioneer; everyone who today works for a better world through the Mayan calendar, and the guidance this may give us, owes something to
Argüelles. It is still possible for us to build on the above mentioned advances from The Mayan Factor and come to understand, in
much more detail than was possible then, the underlying patterns of evolution in an increasingly chaotic world. Although Argüelles is
known to have liked the idea that the Mayan calendar developed through nine waves, he however never came to live by these. The
fact that he passed away on the First Day of the Ninth wave that recently had such a dramatic start thus has significance to me and
perhaps also to others and as we go along I think this will clarify further.
Carl Johan Calleman,
Seattle, 3 Imix, the 16th day of
the first uaxaclahunkin of the
Carl Johan Calleman is the author of Solving the Greatest Mystery of
Our Time: The Mayan Calendar (Garev 2001), The Mayan Calendar
and the Transformation of Consciousness (Bear and Co, 2004)
and The Purposeful Universe, Bear and Co, 2009
His web site is
and information about the Ninth wave can be found at www.treeoflifecelebration.com.