The Fool's Leap


Fool on Tree of Life

What are the "great heights" on which the Fool stands? If you take most of what Waite says in his description with a grain of salt and look only at the imagery, I believe an answer is there.

First, there is a "sun" behind him, but it's white. Every other instance where the sun is symbolized or implied it's yellow. So what is it? I believe it's Kether as the Kabbalistic "Great White Head." Waite writes about it quite a bit; here's one example from his article "Kabalistic Alchemy," first printed in 1914:

"We have seen that the three alchemical Principles are in the place of the supernal Sephiroth, which is the world of Deity. Philosophical Mercury is in analogy with the Metallic Root of the alternative list and belongs to Kether, wherein is the Great White Head of the Zoharic Holy Assemblies, being That which resulted from the first movement of the Unknowable God towards the state of being declared and manifest."​

And there's the frontispiece from Waite's The Holy Kabbalah showing Kether as the White Head.

The Holy Kabbalah Frontispiece

Something else Waite writes about a lot is Binah as "Mother of souls." Here's an example from his Fellowship of the Rosy Cross Zelator Initiation:

"In the mystical name Adam, the letter Aleph looketh toward the Supreme Crown; the letter Mem looketh toward the Great Mother in Binah, who is the Divine Mother of souls; but the letter Daleth looketh toward the sephira Malkuth and the Bride in manifestation."​

Binah is the "great heights," from which the Fool is about to leap; his destination is Hod. For Waite, Binah is the Mother of souls as well as the Higher Eden, and Hod is the Lower Eden. Waite takes his concept of the Lower Eden from Kabbalistic doctrine which portrays it as a place where souls acquire their ethereal bodies and await incarnation. The Fool is about to leap from the Higher Eden to the Lower Eden to acquire his etheric and await incarnation. In his left hand he hold the rose of Shekinah, another symbol of the Great Mother. :)


What are those in the background? Tidal waves, or snow-covered mountains?

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I think your take on the "white Sun" is correct. Somehwere - a very long time ago now - I read something about Kether being the "Sun behind the Sun" of Tiphareth, so a more exalted expression of the same concept that communicates its influence directly to the "lower" Sun.


I like that explanation Barleywine, I can see that.


I theorized about this in this thread, that what the deck shows is the inner workings of the Adam Kadmon. There's a good quote about the direction of the sun somewhere in there, too.