What are duppies and uppies?
Duppies are a part of Caribbean folklore, with roots in Central Africa. They are mythical, malevolent spirits who come out only at night and run around the islands performing mischievous deeds. Hawaii has its own version of these dwarf people: the Menehune, who live in the deeply forested valleys, hidden from view. Ghosts and spirits exist in all cultural traditions, but their real home is the deep recesses of our minds. The duppies of our psyche drive unconscious, destructive patterns of thinking, emoting, and behaving. But once they are recognized and lightened up with humor and perspective, they lose their power. They become shadows of their former selves and slink away, where they belong.
The word uppy is my own invention, and refers to the inner “angels” that guide us on the path toward greater acceptance and inner peace. These helpful creatures represent our best selves. They remind us that even in great difficulty, we have the strength to keep going, with grace and love.