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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0887289853

From: Pete Finlay <>
Subject: Re: Riding The Goat
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 13:24:13 +0000

In message <>, you write:
>Thursday, 12 February 1998
>I've been a Master Mason since 1959 & have heard the time-worn expression
>of "riding the goat," within Masonic circles as well as elsewhere. Despite
>visiting various Lodges in over 30 countries during the past 30 years, I've
>encountered no literal application of the phrase within Freemasonry. In
>the main, modern Freemasonry, amongst its bona-fide jurisdictions, is no
>secret, but has its secrets. I know of no goat roaming openly or
>clandestinely within the Craft. Perhaps, someone more qualified can
>correct my perception. I do not know the origin of the expression.
>The phrase does surface in non-Masonic fraternal circles. In one instance
>I know of, "riding the goat" did have a literal ritualistic application
>(albeit in a purely positive & symbolic vein) with the American national
>secondary fraternity, Phi Lambda Epsilon. The fraternity was founded at
>the Clinton Academy (Missouri) on 04 February 1892. Whether Phi Lambda
>Epsilon still exists, or not, is unknown. The proliferation of the
>secondary fraternity in the United States reached its peak in the 1930s &
>1940s, & was in a steady decline by the early 1960s.

When I became a Mason, I remember sitting in the cloak room of the
lodge, whilst all the members of the lodge went inside. I also remember
that many of them asked me 'You *can* ride a goat, can't you?', and
other such remarks, obviously designed to get me wondering what I'd let
myself in for. The comment that had me most worried though was 'You have
got your Union Jack underwear on, haven't you?

Pete Finlay researching:
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