The main image in this card is taken from a wonderful painting entitled "The Dominos" by Horace Pippin (1888-1946), a self-taught African-American painter, who was born (and rose to recognition) in West Chester, PA.

The painting, done in a na´ve, folk-art style, is a wonderful depiction of Pippin's own family in the home of his childhood. It is a fascinating depiction of African-American family life in the era before the Second World War.

The scene is thus: It is Sunday evening, the one and only day of the week where the family can cease its hard labor and draw together for fellowship, as well as physical and mental rest. The family gathers in the kitchen, the "hearth" of the home. The family matriarchs (mother and grandmother) face each other, engaged in a game of dominos (a game of strategy very much in keeping with the suit of Swords) with the young Pippin looking on. Another family member watches the game, quietly working at her quilt.

"The Dominos" indicates the importance of the day of rest in the lives of people whose existence was dominated by hard work. These long quiet hours, when the family comes together in contentment -- and the emotional and intellectual mending that takes place - provides a temporary haven, a respite, before the next week (and all of its mental and physical hardship) begins.

This is the essence of the Four of Swords. Above this scene, a serene and lovingly vigilant angel watches over the family, one wing and arm curved protectively around the small family table. She symbolizes the healing energy gained from this temporary withdrawal from the turmoil of the outer world; a withdrawal that gives each family member the vitally necessary time to recoup their strength. The fact that there is a "time" associated with the central scene of this card (i.e., Sunday evening) symbolizes that this respite is temporary (as are all truces) and the time will soon come again to go out into the world. However, each family member will carry within them a sense of rejuvenation that their Sunday "retreat" has wrought.





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