This article is excerpted from Stephanie South's account of the life of Jose Arguelles, 2012: Biography of a Time Traveler, now available from New Page Books. Arguelles first introduced the date December 21, 2012 into mass consciousness with his book, The Mayan Factor. The initiator of the Harmonic Convergence global peace meditation of 1987, Arguelles is also the founder of the annual Whole Earth Festival (1970) in California, and one of the originators of the Earth Day concept.


The event that would shape Joe's destiny occurred in Chiapas, Mexico on June 15, 1952. Joe was thirteen when archaeologist Alberto Ruz discovered the extraordinary tomb of Pacal Votan, a ruler of ancient Palenque.

In 1949, Ruz noticed a curious stone in the floor of the pyramid at the top of the Temple of the Inscriptions in Palenque. When he lifted the stone, he saw massive amounts of rubble and one other thing: an enigmatic tube that appeared to be made out of ceramic tiles. Later, Ruz said he never would have thought to remove the rubble if not for that tube. He started digging out the stairway that ran from the floor of the temple at the top of the Pyramid, down to the tomb into the sarcophagus below.

As he dug out the rubble, Ruz noticed that the tube ran all the way down into the tomb itself. It would take him three years of digging to reach the huge door of the tomb. The door had been sealed since 692. Ruz said that when he opened that door, he thought he could feel the thoughts and breath of the last people who closed it, over a thousand years ago, escaping. If it had not been for the tube, the tomb of Pacal Votan would not have been discovered. What was that tube? Ruz referred to it as a psychoduct and said it functioned as an oracle through which Pacal Votan (whose body was buried in the tomb) could speak from the Earth to the temple above.

A year after the discovery of the tomb, in the spring of 1953, came Watson and Crick's discovery of the genetic code, as well as American scientist Van Allen's discovery of the Earth's two radiation belts.

At this time, Joe was taking catechism classes and was confirmed as a full member of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. This meant he could now officially take Holy Communion.

Although both Joe and Ivan also showed a proficiency in art, their father showed obvious favoritism toward Joe in this area, not giving Ivan much encouragement. This was disheartening to Joe; Ivan was the closest human being on Earth to him. He knew how bad his brother felt, and he didn't enjoy being favored at his expense. By the time they were in the eighth grade, Ivan made a decision to forego artistic efforts in drawing or painting and instead focused his energy on studying languages and writing poetry. As a result, he became proficient in many languages, and ended up becoming a university librarian and an award-winning poet.

In the ninth grade, Joe's artistic abilities began to flower, with the encouragement of his art teacher, Mr. Anderson. One of Joe's most memorable paintings of this time was a charcoal mural recollecting his first airplane ride, to Minneapolis with his mother and brother.

In the summer of 1953, after Joe's first two seven-year cycles were complete, his father became nostalgic for his native land and decided to take the twins to Mexico. This trip would mark the pinnacle year of Joe's life, awakening the programming and pattern of his life mission.

At fourteen, Joe embodied an amazing set of paradoxes fed by an insatiable intellectual curiosity. He devoured an enormous number of books in a wide range of topics from fiction (lots of John Steinbeck) to philosophy, as well as many types of art and history books. By the time his father took him to Mexico, he already possessed a well-formed artistic sensibility and a sound knowledge base. His father had an interesting library, but most of the books were in Spanish, which Joe didn't read well, but he liked flipping through the books on Mexican art and Mexican Folk art. He also enjoyed reading books about artistic educational experiments in Mexico.

In July of 1953, Joe, Enrique, and Ivan packed their bags into the 1949 dark blue Chevy Sedan they'd inherited from Grandfather Meyer. Exhilaration filled the air as the three of them set off on the road for the long drive from Minnesota to Mexico City. Never before had Joe and Ivan been on such an adventure with their father.

The drive south was leisurely, and Enrique was on his best behavior. Following the route of the old Pan American Highway, Enrique excitedly told the twins one tale after another regarding the ancient culture of Mexico and their ancestors. The twins listened enthusiastically and eagerly looked forward to finally seeing all of the relatives they had heard about but could scarcely remember, having left Mexico City when they were only five years old.

But for Joe, there was a special excitement. He was going to see with his own eyes the pyramids of Teotihuacán; that was all he could think about. In poring over the books in his father's library, he had some glimmering awareness of the greatness of the pyramids of ancient Mexico, especially those of Teotihuacán. Built and occupied between B.C. 300 and AD 600, this mysterious Mayan city was abandoned in A.D. 800. What had happened?

It was a wonderful drive, and Joe loved staying in obscure motels in strange little towns like Tamazunchale, which all the tourists pronounced "Thomas and Charlie."

After six days of driving, they reached Mexico. The first stop was Monterrey, where they stayed with Aunt Aurora, who had married into the wealthy De la Borde silver mining family. Then they drove to Mexico City to visit Uncle Julio, Enrique's youngest brother.

Upon arriving at Uncle Julio's, they were greeted by Aunt Lupe, cousins Maria, Eugenia, and Christina and, of course, Uncle Julio. Joe found Uncle Julio a comical, cultured character and an avid pyramid enthusiast. Like Enrique, Julio also worked as a bartender, at Club Jena, one of the more sophisticated spots in Central Mexico City. Uncle Julio's small but comfortable house in Colonia Del Valle was bursting with warm, colorful paintings. Julio and Enrique also shared a love for Russian Communist music, especially the famous Russian/Soviet composer, Dmitri Shostakovich. This was the first time Joe and Ivan were introduced to Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony; they found it electrifying.

Uncle Julio made sure that the twins were taken to all of the cultural monuments in Mexico City; still, all Joe could think about was when he was going to see the pyramids in Teotihuacán. Finally, it happened.

Not many people were visiting when they first arrived at Teotihuacán — just a few students and a few tourists. Uncle Julio was in a lively mood, talking animatedly about the wonders of ancient Mexico and how fantastic the minds of the builders must have been to conceive a city so grand and dramatic, so epic in scale. The first stop was at the Citadel of Quetzalcoatl, where both Joe and Ivan were enamored with the Tlaloc and Quetzalcoatl heads adorning the pyramid. As they walked up the "Avenue of the Dead" toward the Pyramid of the Moon, Uncle Julio was still talking excitedly.

Listening to Uncle Julio, Joe peered to his right. There it was! The magnificent Pyramid of the Sun! So grand, so monumental, the Pyramid shimmered in full sunlight like a fantastic dream. Joe suddenly bolted ahead, racing at top speed toward the pyramid, where he eagerly climbed the steps of the immense earthen structure. He wanted to be the first to reach the top. Breathless, he found himself virtually alone on the great platform atop the Pyramid of the Sun. Something shifted inside him. Everything took on a crystalline clarity, unusually sharp in focus; the fine details of faces and clothes on the people all the way down to the end of the Avenue of the Dead were suddenly clear. A deep knowing stirred within him. He fell silent.

Teotihuacán — place where the seekers of the One Creator God listen in silence to the songs of creation.

Joe looked around. Sky, brilliant and blue. Mountains everywhere, echoing the forms of the pyramids.

Teotihuacán — place where the Toltec warriors receive the light of a distant star.

He saw the great stretch of the Avenue of the Dead, with the Pyramid of the Moon up to the right. And down below were the humans of the present era.

Teotihuacán — place where the people receive their godly powers.

A few college students in white-sleeved shirts and a sprinkling of tourists all talked to each other as if oblivious to where they were.

Teotihuacán — place where the jaguars dance with the flowers of wisdom.

Peddlers — puny little beings of the modern world — were hawking ceramic whistles.

Teotihuacán — place of the teachers of the geometry of time.

Where were the great masters who had designed and built this city with such profound perfection and geometry? As Joe gazed around, this question penetrated his being.

Teotihuacán — place where the sun of knowledge burns in the heart causing the flowers to become song and the song to grow roots.

Everything fell away.

Teotihuacán — place where the earthly self disappears in the light of the morning star.

A shining white light, emanating from within, bathed everything in a soft glow.

Teotihuacán — place of the acquiring of a true face.

And then the earthly world disappeared.

All that remained inside Joe was a feeling, a presentiment, a thirst, a willingness, a vision, and a vow to find the knowledge of the masters who built and designed Teotihuacán and bring it back to this modern world where maybe, just maybe, it would make everything cosmic once again.

Little did Joe know at the time, but the central thread of what he was pursuing would lead him to decode a prophetic tradition of the ancient Maya that leads directly to the present time. His particular mission would not uncover anything, however. What needed to be uncovered was already uncovered – the tomb of Pacal Votan. His mission would be to decode what had already come to light. Also, little did he know that 49 years later, he would be honored for his mission in a powerful ceremony conducted by nine indigenous elders atop the very same pyramid.

From this point on, Joe's path was guided by the vision reawakened in him at this time. Before he could realize the vision, however, he would pass through numerous gateways — each one offering a different facet of an archetypal embodiment to be played out.

On the drive back home from Mexico City, Joe had a dream that he got back to Minnesota and went to his friend Walt McDonald's house. Walt lived two blocks up the street from Joe on Seventh Avenue. In his dream, Joe knocked on the door, and Walt's father opened it. Dressed in shorts and with shaving cream on his face, he told Joe Walt wasn't home.

When Joe returned to Minnesota he went to his friend Walt's house and knocked on the door. Walt's father opened it, dressed in shorts and with shaving cream on his face. He told Joe Walt wasn't home. This precognitive dream was the tip of the iceberg of what was to come. He felt strange, ancient, supernatural forces stirring within. The initiation had occurred. The awakening had begun, although a long road lay ahead.




Stephanie South is a former journalist and coauthor of the seven-volume Cosmic History Chronicles, of which the first four (Book of the Throne, Book of the Avatar, Book of the Mystery, and Book of the Initiation) have been published. She is currently working on the fifth volume, Book of the Time-space. She met Arguelles in 1998 after a series of dreams in which he demonstrated time travel and telepathy. She is currently working with him on the Noosphere II Project, an investigation into the nature of time and cosmic states of consciousness.