Another in my continuing series of posts on my 13 virtues. For more information see the beginning of my wisdom post here.
Dictionary Definition. Fidelity to natural obligations b : dutifulness in religion
Pious: marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship b : marked by conspicuous religiosity.
Dedicant Handbook Definition: Correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.
I like both definitions given above. I especially like the phrases “marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to diving worship” and “the maintenance of the agreements…we humans have with the Gods and Spirits.” While ADF’s definition seems to focus heavily on ritual as the most important way to fulfill our duties to the Kindred, I like the dictionary’s emphasis on reverence and devotion which can happen both inside and outside of formal ritual. While ritual and sacrifice are the main ways I show reverence and devotion, I also show piety in other ways like prayer, study, meditation and action. I worship so many beings, consequently there are many ways to approach them and many ways to give to them honor, thought, energy, attention and praise.
When I began to examine piety as a virtue I conflated it with sanctimoniousness. I now understand, from personal experience, it is not necessarily related to piety. After a year of meditation, study, prayer and ritual I’ve come to know that piety is the sense of reverence I feel in the woods and the corresponding need to protect that beauty and miracle by cleaning litter I see as I wander down a trail, saying a prayer of thanks for the beauty of a vista, offering some organic fertilizer to native plants or even donating money to California State Park system. The Land gives to me in abundance, and I can only hope that my acts and gifts of piety give back even a fraction that which the Earth Mother and Land Spirits have given me.
Others in this series: