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Posts Tagged ‘virtue’

From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

1 : the quality or state of being pious: as
a : fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)
b : dutifulness in religion : devoutness

2: an act inspired by piety
3: a conventional belief or standard : orthodoxy

From Our Own Druidry (82)

Piety: Correct observance of ritual and societal traditions; the maintenance of the agreements, (both personal and social), we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.

I see piety as being about more than just observance of rituals and obligations or duties. While I like Our Own Druidry‘s addition of maintaining agreements, I think it’s as much about maintaining agreements with ourselves as it is with the Gods and Spirits. Obviously there are different kinds of piety – ritual piety versus felial piety, and really even the *ghosti relationship is a form of piety.

These all combine together to mean something like ‘responsibility toward those with whom we have agreements and relationships’.

Obviously keeping the high days is important to piety, but so is keeping a mentality of Druidry in day to day life. Not every day will have the obligations of a high day, but we are still in relationship with the Gods and Spirits, even when we’re going about our daily businesses. To me, true piety comes from finding ways to be true to those agreements in the course of maintaining and living life. Keeping up a daily (or just “frequent”) devotional practice is a good step, as is making regular offerings to the local land spirits at my home. When I forget to do those things, I’m letting myself down as well as those with whom I’m maintaining relationships. Those relationships nourish me as much as they provide nourishment to the Gods and Spirits, thus piety encompasses multiple levels of responsibility – to self, to others, and to Gods and Spirits.

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From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Wisdom:

1:
a : accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge
b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
c : good sense : judgment
d : generally accepted belief <challenges what has become accepted wisdom among many historians — Robert Darnton>

2: a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
3: the teachings of the ancient wise men

From Our Own Druidry (82):

Wisdom: Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about, and decide on the correct response

I directly disagree with the first definition of Wisdom from the dictionary, at least as it functions as a virtue. Perhaps it is presumptuous of me, but I see wisdom as distinct from knowledge – though knowledge is certainly necessary to make wise choices, it’s not knowledge itself. The two have very different functions. Knowledge functions to inform, where wisdom functions to discern; knowledge is knowing what to say, and wisdom is knowing how to say it, and whether or not to say it at all.

Perhaps this comes from my experience with roleplaying games, where Wisdom and Intelligence are counted as two separate abilities, and you can be very strong in one without necessarily being strong in the other. I agree with that division, and believe that the ability to understand the truth of a situation can be enhanced by knowledge about it (or knowledge about similar situations), but that ultimately the virtue of wisdom lies in perceiving the immediate truth. As a result, I rather like the definition from Our Own Druidry – particularly the bit about perceiving people and situations correctly. It takes a great deal of wisdom to see the truth in a situation, and to discern what is real and what is not. Many times wisdom is seen in the final outcome of a situation – it looks farther ahead than the immediate part or challenge and strives to see the whole in its entirety.

Practicing wisdom is something I see as crucial to any religious undertaking, especially one as complex as Our Druidry. When working with complex systems and a variety of myths and Gods, it’s important to step back and remember the whole. Also, as a Druid, I seek to embody wisdom in my relationships with others, helping them make wise choices whenever I can (though it is often easier to be wise about someone else’s problems than your own). Applying a discerning, wise eye to my own life is more difficult, and why I strongly agree with practicing wisdom as part of my Druidry.

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