The quality or state of being pious: such as, fidelity to natural obligations, or a dutifulness in religion.
~Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
A simple explanation of piety is that it is the expression of dedication, or devotion, through actions. This explanation is largely a reflection the ADF Dedicant’s Handbook definition of piety which states that piety is, “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.” The simple explanation, however, is not a complete explanation of piety. It is doubtful, after all, that the Gods or Spirits are particularly interested in rituals carried out by bored, resentful participants who would rather be playing an escapist video game.
In reflecting more deeply on piety, it becomes apparent that more is required than simply the mindless repetition of actions without thought. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines piety as the state of being pious, which is particularly informative because being pious requires “the demonstration of reverence to deity and a devotion to worship.” There is, indeed, a great deal of action involved with being pious, but the critical word in that definition was reverence. This one word modifies all of the action words in the definition and changes the flavor significantly. To be reverent involves feeling, and/or showing, honor, respect, profound adoration, or awe. If we allow the idea of reverence to inform our understanding of piety, then it adds a significant layer to how to we express this value in our daily lives.
To put it succinctly, it is not enough to simply carry through with actions because we are obligated. To be properly pious, a person should fulfill the obligations outlined in the Dedicant’s Handbook definition with an attitude of honor and respect while allowing the adoration and awe they feel toward the Gods, Spirits, and Ancestors to be apparent in both thought and deed. To do any less, is empty action that cannot please the Kindred and certainly doesn’t help the individual with respect to their relationships to the Kindred or their overall well-being.