ADF Dedicant Path: Nine Virtues (Piety)
Our Own Druidry defines piety as,
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.
Merriam-Webster defines piety as,
1. the quality or state of being pious as:
a. fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)
b. dutifulness in religion
2. an act inspired by piety
3. a conventional belief or standard
Both of the sources above focus on piety as a duty. Although the dictionary includes belief as part of the definition, it is given as the least-common use of the word. I would further clarify it a misuse of the word. It is possible to hold an orthodoxic belief in the gods and their nature, for example, but take no pious action to honor this belief. It is also possible to perform according to a church’s orthopraxy, but to feel no spiritual connection to the actions performed. The latter is known as false piety. Piety, per my own definition, is the fulfillment of devotionally-motivated duty, where devotion is what transforms action into a spiritually fulfilling experience and may be to the gods, the Earth, the ancestors, or the self.
Piety transforms a belief system or worldview into a living tradition. It unites members of a particular spiritual path into a distinct community. The motivation to be pious should not stem from an isolated desire to be part of a community, nor must one necessarily belong (somatically or otherwise) to a community in order to be pious. One might create their own unique pious traditions for which there does not yet, or may never, exist a community. What matters is that there exists a defined orthopraxy (shared or not) by which one fulfills their pious duty.
n.b. I have modified this essay from the original in order to reflect my current understanding of the virtue.