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As one of the originators of the Earth Day concept, José Argüelles founded the first Whole Earth Festival in 1970, held at U.C. Davis, California where he was teaching at the time.

José Argüelles died in Australia on March 23, 2011. I learned of the death on March 27th when I saw the post on Rob and Trish MacGregor’s synchronicity blog. I had been in the middle of writing the last Chapter, an Afterword for my new book, I Ching Prescriptions, when I read this shocking new of José’s death. This Afterword includes a discussion of my I Ching reading with all six lines changing as it related to completing this book, as well as a dream about José just 4 days before he died.

I first met José shortly after he and his wife Miriam had published their beautiful book, Mandala. I had painted a series of Mandalas in 1968 but at that time I had no idea these circular paintings had a name. I began reading the works of Carl Jung and found his reference to Mandalas and discovered that what I was painting had a name as well as a psychological purpose. Since I was painting Mandalas I decided to write a paper about them for an art history class. I could find only one reference book on the subject of Mandalas in my library in 1968. There was no Internet or Wikipedia to make research easy. So four years later when I saw the Argüelles’ book, Mandala in the front window of a book store on West 57th street in New York City I exclaimed, “Where was this book when I needed it?” I ran into the store and bought the book. I wrote to José and Miriam about the possibility of doing a workshop on Mandalas for Magic Circle Press. That never happened but I subsequently met José in early 1973 in his mother-in-law’s apartment when he was on a trip to New York.

I have an old photocopy of an article called, Compute and Evolve by José Argüelles. The re-print states that it originated in, Main Currents in Modern Thought , Jan-Feb 1969. The subtile of the article is, Some reflections on the I-Ching as a prelude to a post-scientific system. I was just beginning my I Ching journey so finding a person who created and wrote about Mandalas, art and the I Ching was a nourishing gift for my psyche.

Five more years passed before I would encounter José again. I had moved to California where I figured the intellectual atmosphere would be more in tune with my interests. I was not disappointed. On January 24,1978 I found myself in a two week colloquium at The Union Graduate School where José would be my core faculty working towards a Ph.D. in Art and the Personal Symbolic Process. January 24th was also José’s 39th birthday.

My relationship with José began before I ever met him through his art and writing. He reflected in his creative projects the embodiment of my own interests. José’s knowledge of the I Ching would sometimes pop up in mundane situations. For example, I remember a time in a building at the Oakland air port. José was on his way home to Boulder. We were in an elevator where there was a glass box on the wall with a big tortoise shell exhibited inside. José pointed to the display and said, “Adele, hexagram twenty-seven, line one.” Only another I Ching geek would know that he was referring to the hexagram of Providing Nourishment and the line that says, “You let your magic tortoise go.” And no one other than another I Chinger would even want to know this form of “magical thinking.

I came from a family that either ignored anything that truly interested me or worse, they put me in their negative camp they referred to as “magical thinking.” No matter how I was defined, these attitudes were less than nourishing. So José, just by his existence, was a validation that I needed, enjoyed and appreciated. Long live José Argüelles!

If anyone reading this posting about José knows of any one who studied with him, please pass on this link. It would be wonderful if José Argüelles’s former learners post something about what creative project they worked on with José or anything they would like to share.

I am posting a link for a free download of that Afterword I wrote that tells about my amazing I Ching reading where I had six changing lines and issues of synchronicity, dreams, and José.

José Argüelles for obituary

This picture is one found on several of José's obituary notices.

José Argüelles, January, 1981 at Adele Aldridge's Ph.D. graduation.

Joan Halifax, Jill Caire, Jose, Adele 10.13. 85

October 13, 1985 - Joan Halifax, (?) Jill Caire, José Argüelles, Adele Aldridge at Adrian Ravarou's PhD graduation in Ojai CA

Adele Aldridge & Jose Arguelles 01.81

Adele Aldridge, Jose Arguelles, January, 1981 at Adele's PhD graduation

13 Comments on In Memory of José Argüelles: Celebrating Earth Day

  1. AdeleNo Gravatar says:

    Peter – thanks for telling me this. I recently updated my very old AdeleArt site where this was placed for downloading and the file must have gotten misplaced. It is working now. Let me know if not.

  2. petergNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Adele,
    Just to clarify, ( I devised the probability charts ),
    the 13107 is a group figure and its purpose is to compare with yarrow odds where the groups are more important.
    All the 64 individual casts for 6 moving lines ( coins ) are 1 over 262144. A rule of thumb : divide this figure by 3 to get the odds for all the individual casts for 5 moving lines, and by 3 again for 4 moving lines , and so on.

    Looks like you and Jose Arguelles belong on the same totem pole.
    Reading your tribute, I was reminded of the concept of soul mates or members of the same spirit clan.

    All the best.

  3. Terrific post. Now, my question: who HAVEN’T you known? Every time I stop by your blog, I’m blown away by something.

    • AdeleNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Trish – My mind is shot, because at this moment I don’t remember what/whom you are referring to. LOL. – not counting José of course.

  4. Yes, it was a magical time back when you moved to California and continued your work on the I Ching. You had incredible people all around you, nourishing and encouraging you to explore and create your beautiful art. I’m glad Jose was in your life and an inspiration to you. I’m sure his spirit is with you as you come to completion with some of your projects and he is smiling.

    • AdeleNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jacqueline,
      Thanks for the comment. Remembering our good times and fun together. I loved every minute of it back where our fantasies became realities.

  5. petergNo Gravatar says:

    Using the coins the odds of getting any 6 moving lines are 1 over 262144.The odds of getting 6 moving lines in a hexagram with 3 yang 3 yin lines is 1 over 13107 – since there are 20 of these.
    I really like your take on hexagram 64.I look forward to reading I Ching Prescriptions.
    All the best

    • AdeleNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Peter. Yes, I know that odd # of 1 in 13,107 to receive 3 yang and 3 yin changing lines. I write about that in the “Afterword” In “I “Ching Prescriptions.” I included a free download of that in my posting about José Argüelles.

  6. Adele AldridgeNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Ben,

    If you come across any of José’s learners pass on this spot for them to remember him.

    Adele Aldridge´s last blog post ..In Memory of José Argüelles- Celebrating Earth Day

  7. ben davisNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent tribute to Jose. It was wonderful to work with Jose in UGS and we saw what graduate education might become if individuals were treated as active learners rather than passive students. Jose’s contributions live on, reflected in his work with learners and in his own works.

  8. Edwin GlaserNo Gravatar says:

    That was a very moving tribute to Jose Arguellos. I know how important he was and is in your life.

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