In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that may include religious devotion, spirituality, or a mixture of both. A common element in both conceptions of piety is humility.
Humility – Wikipedia
Is variously seen as an act or posture of lowering oneself in relation to others, or conversely, having a clear perspective and respect for one’s place in context.
In a religious context this can mean a recognition of self in relation to god or gods, acceptance of one’s defects, and submission to divine grace as a member of a religion.
Outside of a religious context, humility is defined as the self-restraint from excessive canity, and can possess moral and/or ethical dimensions.
Piety – Oxford
The quality of being religious or reverent.
A belief of point of view that is accepted with unthinking conventional reverence.
Reverence – Wikipedia
A feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe, veneration.
Reverence – LDS Website
Reverence is profound respect and love. A reverent attitude toward God includes honoring him, expressing gratitude to him, and obeying his commandments.
Additionally, People show reverence for God through their behavior, including;
-payment of tithes and offerings
-making righteous choices even when no one is looking.
I found piety difficult to define. When I looked definitions up online it appeared to me that piety was difficult to define all around and that rather than meaning any one thing, piety is a single word that describes a collection of things, including humility, and reverence. I decided to include the definitions of both humility and reverence that I had found, although I found that they too, generally included a collection of various attitudes and ways of being.
If I could boil down what the many facets of piety look like in my own life, it would be, that piety shows up as a way of being always connected to the gods and my spiritual life.
I have shared my life with people of many religions and have watched them as they connect with their god/s. One way they do that is by kneeling beside the bed first thing in the morning and last thing at night. In doing so, they feel they are reinforcing their connection to god. Some people go to church on a weekly basis. Some light candles for lost loved ones, and some adhere to dietary restrictions.
I remember having a conversation with someone about prayer, and they couldn’t believe that I did not kneel by my bedside to do it. I had said that my relationship to the gods didn’t always require me to do that to feel connected to them. For while I am humble before them, being that I always have them in my heart, I don’t need to take any particular physical posture in order to connect with them. As I sit here writing this, sitting on my couch, feet up on a stool, and computer in my lap, I am connected to the gods. Not to say that I DON’T ever kneel while in prayer…I just mean to say, I generally feel that I am in constant prayer with the gods, and that if I should choose to kneel, it is because I am praying for a specific reason. I don’t feel that I need to kneel before speaking to them, they’re always there.
The study of scripture (or religious/historical text of any kind) is important to me as I go along my DP. It’s not something I have often included in the past, as I have been almost entirely solitary, and therefore have led myself mainly by feel. However, when I began the DP sometime last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the feeling of organized and focused energy I got when learning about specific Druid belief systems. I felt as though I was finally giving names to unspoken feelings I have had all of my life. This is particularly important to me as I begin to pass on the study of Druidism to my children.
I was happy to find “making righteous choices even when no one is watching” mentioned in regards to reverence, as I feel that if you have a “belief or point of view that is accepted with unthinking conventional reverence” then you must have the gods around you at all times. To be “pious” only when someone is watching is false way of being. I will not only be humble or reverent during ritual or in conversation with another because someone is bearing witness to my actions. I am humble and reverent at all times, because I have a pious heart. That never wavers.
Most importantly, when I think on the word “pious” it is humility that comes to mind. While I agree that humility is akin to “lowering oneself in relation to others” more clearly, is that is to have “a clear perspective and respect for one’s place in context.” That is to say, I can lead and I can follow. While I am humble before the gods, I can also stand and lead, shouldering the responsibility of the intentions of the gods, during ritual, because I understand where I am in the larger scheme of things.
To be honest, on a world scale, I am just one person. As just one of many, I am not that important. Not really. However, in my family of four, I am desperately important. I am solely responsible for the upbringing of two humans and in guiding their spiritual growth. How well I do that job then impacts the world as a whole. So you see, my existence is both meaningless, and indispensable. I am humbled by the blessings I have received from the gods and show my honor of them by remaining in constant prayer and by representing them in the world to the very best of my ability.
True piousness, is not any one thing you do. It is an honest and humble way of being.