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- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On PIETY


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Keywords: Vision, Heart, Dedication, Service, Surrender

W
e do not set out to take upon ourselves the “responsibility” to worship. 
The eye of reverence, the authentic impulse to worship, is simply that: an irresistible impulse; a compulsion coming from within, not from without.

From this perspective the responsibility to worship in each of us is not really a responsibility to the objects of that worship, i.e. to the Great Mother, the Glorious Sun or the Gods, Ancestors and Spirits... no, not to them but rather, the responsibility is to ourselves. It is not that we “should” worship, it is that we feel the call from-within as a reflex, we must worship. At least it is such in my own experience.

Piety can be seen as a “state” more than as an objective or virtue. If we culture and begin to manifest that state, the outward, virtuous expressions of piety cannot help but follow on their own. Piety then is the state of fullness of heart, clarity of vision and love for the world that renders us unable to resist the impulse to break with the ordinary and externalize our spiritual upwelling through exploration, ritual, creative expression and sharing with others.

Afraid of our own capacity for bliss
We all experience the state that prepares us to apprehend the world in a religious fashion. For many of us it is difficult to respond because our natural capacity for loving the world and all the beings and influences in it is confounded by fear. This fear is often a fear of being (or being seen as being) foolish or weak, as if the religious, aesthetic and emphatic impulses within us are somehow illogical, trivial or impractical. In fact, true piety can be experienced through a process of actively de-valuing this system of false security, seeing it for what it really is, as being itself as foolish and weak as we are afraid of appearing in the first place. This inappropriate fear calls for bravery and the faith which bravery demands. Once employed, like summoning the courage to jump into the water all at once, we find there really was no reason to be afraid in the first place. With practice we unlearn our fears and open the way to the natural motivations initially precluded by our fears. 

Finding our place in the Great Way of Things
Priests in other traditions speak of “hearing the call” and this is simply the sense of urgency of that compulsion to piety we began describing earlier breaking through into one’s mundane life. They also speak of being bound to this calling, much in the same way that a lover binds themselves to a mate. This spiritual “work” once recognized and encouraged in one’s life can easily rise to this proportion. The outward expressions become a way of managing and “living up to” the blessings pouring into us. They become a testimony, an external reference system through which we reconcile and thereby sanctify our relationship with the world.

Wed to the Work:  
NeoDruidic forms of expression of the call to Piety... a personal list.
- Regular & seasonal return to the woods (religious / spiritual / aesthetic)
- Observance of the Cycles:  Ritualization / sacralization of the cycles of the Sun, Moon and Seasons
- Geosophical Devotions: Land Shrine / Henge Building; Well Dressing; Genius Locii / Deva-working
- Shrine Maintenance
- Keeping the Rites of the Wheel: Public liturgies for the 8 High Days; keeping monthly Druid Moons
- Finding of and Devotion to a Patron (God/Goddess/Spirit)
- Vision Questing

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