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7     Melancholy     T

"Affliction comes to us, not to make us sad but sober; not to make us sorry but wise."  H. G. Wells







When things don't turn out how we expected, we can feel lost or incomplete. When we choose to depend only upon external sources of happiness, we have lost control of our emotional wellbeing. We should be seeking inward validation before the validation of others. Money can't buy happiness. What is missing from this image? What is this person overlooking? What steps could be taken towards a more free and sustainable life?

It would be better to make decisions based upon what we do have, than what we think we would like. Begin within, and begin with the people and riches nearest to our heart. Then we will discover that any distance is an illusion. The whole universe is on our doorstep. Disconnection is an illusion. We are all one, therefore, none of us is ever truly broken or alone. Open your eyes to the connections we already share.


Bat (Dark) Appearances deceive - there is always more than meets the eye.. 

Cloud (Water) Do not fear the dreamlike, ethereal, intangible, or unknowable. Accept some uncertainty.

Mask (Dark) Discovering the truth has two sides - it can be liberating and at the same time disillusioning.

Flower (Earth) The beauty of the universe is a constant invitation to reconnect with nature.

Book (Light) Every day brings new opportunities for learning. Do not turn your back on them.

Fan (Air) Time for a change of air. Take a walk, smell the roses, don't stagnate.





Melancholy is a very special card, you can put it before or after Happiness to compose a meaningful scene. Melancholy shows an amazing house, almost a quote from The Addams Family, in a lush park dominated by a magnificent red tree. 


The animation contrasts with what we see in the card to match the main character's melancholy. The park becomes a graveyard, where Victorian tombstones and funerary monuments are visited by gruesome ghosts. When I created this animation I had in mind Highgate Cemetery, in London, a very dark and interesting place with grotesque monumental tombs, sad statues, and creepy tombstones with fading engraved sentences... Like Père La Chaise in Paris (the monumental cemetery) it is a place full of sadness, and melancholy, the perfect place for a horror film or for  representing the meaning of this card.

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Pi The Mime is dressed in riches, has a beautiful home, is surrounded by nature in full bloom, and symbols of art, academia and culture. And yet there is a deep Melancholy in this scene.


Pi The Mime is an expert in communicating emotions through physicality and movement. What differences can you see in the character's energy in this card when compared with the Happiness card? What can we learn from the stance, the eye-line, the shoulders, the hands, the character's relationship with their clothes, and even their shadow?

Place Melancholy and Happiness beside each other, and notice that Pi is never more than two steps away from an entirely different emotion. We are so honoured to work with Pi The Mime to bring these cards to life. Collaborating with such an experienced and creative theatre-maker, performer, and director, gives such a rich and nuanced experience every time these cards appear.


Discover the incredible world of Pi The Mime at 


Melancholy is an interesting concept to explore through sound. It can mean feeling lonely in a crowd, or impoverished despite being affluent. A pensive steady tempo as gentle, almost soothing, minor harmonies set the scene whilst a solo cello meanders thoughtfully through. There is a quiet sadness to the piece but it's not without hope. The music has accepted that it this melancholic moment has arrived, but also knows that it will pass. This too shall pass.


Check out this article "What is melancholy in the 21st Century?" by Kelly Grovier which explores Melancholy in Art through the ages.

Listen to Tiziano Terzani talk about The Secrets to Happiness on YouTube (click to add English Subtitles if you wish).


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