35. Phi Beta Delta: Gold of the Sun

In imperial China, the Emperor was the only one allowed to wear gold-colored vestments. In India, often Krishna, the lively version of Vishnui, wears golden-yellow robes. And in Chaucer, the redoubtable Sir Thopas had a beard "lyk saffroun". Saffron was an alternative to gold leaf much used by medieval artists. It generally is the most expensive spice in the market, so its color is appropriate.

The gold we have adopted as one of our society's two colors nicely compliments and complements our red. It is of course the color of the sun, which we remind initiates about. The sun touches all of us and all of us depend upon it. It is a symbol of our universality. The color is also a symbol of value, of worth. And thus it teaches us that membership in Phi Beta Delta is valuable. Perhaps of all the colors of the rainbow, Phi Beta Delta has adopted the two that are most symbolic.

Picasso wisely wrote that "There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." In Phi Beta Delta, we seek by the work of our chapters to transform dross and simple yellow into gold. As members of the society, we work as modern alchemists, making occasions much more significant by our touch of ritual and giving to students and faculty the gold of encouragement and thanks.

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