Our Symbols


* Themis- Our patron Goddess


    Themis, Zeta Tau Alpha's patron goddess, represents a concept that developed over a period of three thousand years of legend and history.  During this time the Greeks evolved from a savage state to a glorious civilization, approaching a standard of perfection which has sometimes been equaled, but never surpassed, according to many histories. Their ideal of perfection was harmony, a balance of body, mind, and soul. They stressed beauty and attained a high degree of perfection in the arts -sculpture, architecture, poetry, music, and the drama. 

    Themis, according to Greek mythology, was the daughter of Uranus(Heaven) and Gaea (Earth). She was one of twelve "beautiful children "who were called Titans — of great size and strength; like men only much grander. As the wife of Zeus, Themis served as his confidante and adviser.  She performed duties which Zeus himself could not accomplish. She convened and dissolved the assembly of gods, she was the very spirit of the assemble incarnate. Themis was the force
that brought men together and bound them. 

    The word "themis" refers to rules set up in the obscure origin of the world, a guarantee of the order and harmony necessary for its existence. The character of the goddess became the personification of order and harmony in the development of the universe, and the right of divine, over man-made laws. Therefore she represents order of all substances, guidance of all councils and tribunals and nourishment of justice on earth. By virtue of her powers, Themis was endowed with insight into the dependent relations of all things; she was also able to distinguish the future as conditioned by man's will and deeds. As a result of this faculty, she was a wise speaker and an oracle of truth. No other Titan has so significant name as does Themis. 

    In relation to mankind Themis has several functions. She is the protectress of oaths. She is the representative of divine right when piety and unwritten laws are considered. These laws deal with respect for parents and elders, respect for one's self, vows of the married to each other, laws of nature that affect human relations, protection of the innocent and of all in the right to life, sympathy for the needy, the forgotten, and the defenseless. Themis was also worshiped as the "Savior goddess" in many towns because she protected the rights of hospitality.

    Though many powers are attributed to Themis, the goddess will always represent Justice to the many thousands of Zeta Tau Alphas who have been taught her high precepts. The scrapbook of Plummer Jones, the brother of Maud Jones Horner, contains a 1902 clipping which tells us, "The Greek word, Themis, which appears on the pin, is, of course, a representative of the principle of the sorority - Justice, for which Themis, the Goddess of Justice, stands." 


* Turquoise and Grey - our colors *    

Many intriguing stories have been told about the selection of the colors of our fraternity. One of the most prevalent ones was the supposed combining of the gray of the Confederacy with the blue of the Union, denoting the establishment of peace and harmony. This tale is nothing more than a figment of the imagination. When choosing the fraternity's colors, the choice of the founders was dominated by emblematical significances. The turquoise, an emblem of prosperity, suggested the blue of the chosen colors and embodied the hopes of that early day for the success of the organization. Steel gray, denoting the qualities familiar to all Zetas, followed as an inevitable companion, forming a perfect harmonization of color. 


* The Strawberry * 


Before the Fraternity's official founding and long before the name Zeta Tau Alpha was selected, an admirer of Mary "Cammie" Jones sent her a gift of strawberries. The delicious treat prompted the group to host their first purely social gathering and to become officially recognized as an organization on the Virginia State Female Normal School campus. They wrote, "I don't know what there was in the occasion or the delicious berries to bolster up our courage, but then and there we decided, without a dissenting vote, to become recognized."


* The White Violet * 


The story of why Ruby Leigh Orgain selected the white violet as the official flower of Zeta Tau Alpha, as told by the founders to Shirley Kreason Strout, author of The History of Zeta Tau Alpha:  "The white violet, which grows in such luxuriant profusion in Virginia, fragile, yet buoyant with its message of spring and new hopes, is dear to all Zeta Tau Alphas. Sweetly reminiscent of the days of gentler generations, symbolic of the ideals of the founders, the violet seems doubly appropriate and meaningful today, but aside from its traditional acceptance as an emblem of purity, Ruby Leigh Orgain had a deeper reason for her choice. The Greeks, she explained, chose the modest violet for their emblem, and it bore for many years the name of Badge of Athens. Ion is the Greek name for violet and the Greek Ion was supposed to be a talisman guarding against evil. Thus a flower denoting purity was chosen for its anciently endowed protective powers, or by another interpretation, for the power of purity.


* The Crown *


The five-pointed crown denotes special significance to all ZTAs.  The significance of the five points is revealed to each member during her Initiation ceremony.  Examples of the crown are only acceptable if they have exactly five points.


* The Bunny * 

The bunny is Theta Delta's local symbol.


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