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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0887264574

From: John Giacoletti <>
Subject: Re: Riding the Goat
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 01:22:54 -0500


You wrote:

This was lovely, John, but are you referring to Masonry, the lodge? or to
masonry the occupation? Ride a goat? Wouldn't walking be preferable?

Janeice Crosson

Freemasons use the tools of craft masons for teaching and instructional
purposes. What I described is in my mind a very accurate and precise
description of a part of the Master Mason initiation. This is not the
initial instruction, not the Entered Apprentice work, not the Fellow Craft
work, this is Master Mason work, when you are made a Master Mason.

There is no goat or any other animal in any lodge I am aware of. Getting
KO'd [in my case] or gently lowered while blindfolded into a burlap blanket
and dragged off is what is called "riding the goat."

You are hauled off to another part of the lodge floor and find you are
participating in a play and have been symbolically buried. Then you are
"raised" and brought to new life from this symbolic death, new life because
it is hoped that through the precepts of Freemasonary, basically the
tenants of the Bible, fellow-ship and brotherly love, that having been made
a Mason, you will lead a better life.

The rough ashlar, the candidate, is totally unaware of what is going to
happen and while listening to this lecture on a mason's setting maul, he
gets "tapped." Remember, the Master Mason candidate has been working
months and maybe a year or two very closely with the lodge brothers, weekly
or several times weekly learning the Masonic teachings via memorizing the
"work" or catechism. The brothers know the candidate intimately, so if you
are older or ill in some way, you get lowered into the blanket. If you
were a rough and ready type you got slugged, like I did. Although the
ceremony is solemn and memorable and awe inspiring, it can raise a chuckle
or two on the part of the brothers, to see the candidate swoon and stagger
a bit just as it's humerous to see a friend a bit drunk. This is "riding
the goat."

It's a part of the male bonding of the lodge, the bonding that many of our
Scots-Irish ancestors who were Masons went through. It's a part of the
long process of holding like minded men together in a closer relationship
inside the lodge and out.


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