“Correct observance of ritual and social traditions; the maintenance of the agreements, both personal and societal, that we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.” – Our Own Druidry
“Reverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations: a prayer full of piety.” – Dictionary.com
I have to admit this one gives me trouble. From former experience, I remember the negative side of piety wherein the “pious” took an air of superiority and entitlement and looked upon others as less than and worthless. Their acts, though correct, were empty at best and used for gaining social status rather than honor or worship at worst. I do not want to be one of those people and I firmly believe that no one else should aim to be either. Having said that, I think correct observance has a place and is important. It gives a sense of familiarity and community to those that hold the same beliefs and follow the same rituals. It can also give beginners a framework to learn the greater cosmos and theology behind the acts. This also assists in the passing of information and tradition from person to person across generations. Repetition makes things easier to remember. Piety as the maintenance of agreements can also bring life and energy to a religious practice. It can foster a more personal relationship with the Deities by interacting with them on this level. The more personal the interaction, the less likely ritual will feel like something you HAVE to do and more something you WANT to do. I firmly believe that there has to be desire and belief behind the acts. If there isn’t, eventually this can do more harm than good. Feeling that required rituals and customs that are done without meaning and/or the heartfelt desire to do them can devolve into a chore that must be done, like cleaning the bathroom and worse still, may create feelings of resentment at having to do something the individual doesn’t believe in or want to do. As in most things in life a person needs to find their own balance point.