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Yet More on Piety
In a comment to my previous article, Anne Niven wrote:
"But anytime we start getting into defining "piety" I start to twitch. I believe that there's absolutely no "right" way to serve the gods. Why? Because I believe that only personal gnosis can impart that information. And personal gnosis is just that -- personal. Which is to say, what's pious for you is, indeed, pious -- for you. But it might not be pious for me. In fact, what's pious for you might very well be *impious* in my relationship to the very same deity."
I'm really glad that she brought this up and I wanted to tease that out because I think this is very important and absolutely true. I've seen it with spiritworkers wherein what is taboo for one is absolute obligation for another. This is why I have avoided and will always avoid dictating any particular actions as necessary for one to be pious. The expression of one's piety is between each individual devotee and his or her Gods. I'm arguing for piety as a spiritual virtue that ought to exist, and that it be viewed as something essential, worthy, and necessary of cultivation. How people express it is not the topic of my articles (though I will say this: you know it when you see it and having once seen it, it's glaringly obvious when it's absent….rather like pornography for a supreme court judge I suspect).
As i've said, ad nauseum, it's not about any particular act. It's about one's relationship to one's Gods and about attitude and mindfulness. That state of being will naturally impact one's external actions, the way one behaves, how one orders and lives one's life but all of that is between a devotee and his or her Gods and ancestors. As Sarenth Odinsson said to me in private correspondence (and yes i got his permission to quote him here): "each and every one of the responses we receive from the Gods is holy, even if it is silence. Silence is holy, and the Work is worthy. The point of it all is not the response, but that the Work needs to be done---whether that is prayer, ritual, sacrifice, career, childraising, or a million other things. "
In nothing that I've written have i disputed that. what I have said, I'll say again: piety is important. It's a matter of attitude, of being respectful and mindful before the Powers. Who defines piety? The Gods do. We learn as we go by our interactions and our devotions. The problem, as I see it in the communities in which I move, is that neither devotions or interactions are much encouraged.
Think if i say this enough times, people will actually hear it? I could do it in Latin. what about ancient Greek. Should I try for a few Romance languages? Maybe i should link to Websters? The idea of piety, the word itself has inevitably been colored and corrupted by monotheism but it didn't start out that way. It was one of the highest of polytheistic virtues for a very long time before the world ever fell prey to the filter. I think it's time we reclaimed it.
My own take on this and on how to do that can be summed up pretty easily: give the Gods more. More time. more attention. More offerings. More devotions. More of yourself. MORE.
So, i want to open this up. I'm going to ask a question and then open myself up to questions.
My question is this: what does piety mean to you? Tell me what it means and, if applicable, how you most often express it.
In return, feel free to ask any questions about my own practices or approaches to piety here as well. I only ask that you put them by themselves in the comments section. Don't add anything else to that particular post, just throw your question out there (I want to make sure that I don't miss any if folks take the time to ask, so it's easiest if questions are their own posts).
Knowing my community, I do reserve the right to refuse to answer anything that is terribly invasive or rude (it takes a lot for me to get to that point though). So….go.
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