The Scottish Rite Journal, Sept 91/Southern jurisdiction, has an elegantly written article entitled, Freemasonry Is A Secret Society To Many Of Its Members by Ronald C. Radatz 32'. In short, the gist of the article is a reference to some of the misconceptions harbored by today's brethren; one in particular referenced the age old cliché "Riding The Goat" and elaborated how an uninformed brother may lend an unknowing hand in perpetuating an anti-Masonic stereotype.
For those without access to the Journal, according to Brother Radatz: "Originally goats were used in the wildly misplaced belief that some sort of ‘satanism' existed in the Craft. In the Burlesque parades someone parodying as a Brother would attempt to ride a goat which represented the devil." Bro Radatz further stated: "Using this phrase to describe our Ritual is more than unfortunate and derogatory. It trivializes our impressive Initiation ceremony and mocks the very institution we love."
After reflecting, there are numerous instances in which I can recall the use of this cant, most were from aged and well respected brethren, whom I feel after reading the article would cease this perpetuation.
Being thankful for the knowledge gained from this reading, I erased this phrase from my mind and vowed to do my best to enlighten the uninformed. That was until I happened across a copy of the August 1991 Knight Templar magazine page-18 and, to my surprise, discovered an ad offering "Riding The Goat" prints for sale. What a minds dilemma this posed, I suppose I could take the serious path as Bro. Radatz did and follow my vow of erasure and enlightenment, or I could order one of the prints and hang it as a reminder of that human quest for levity with little regard to its true origin or moral meaning. Regardless, Bro. Radatz is totally correct, we must never trivialize or mock this Great Institution we have so Sacredly Sworn to uphold and Support.
Moses Cook111 Picayune, MS