The following is an extract from an ex-Royal Arch Purple man's book 'Behind closed doors' as published in the Belfast Telegraph on June 17th 1999.

“The oath-bound Royal Arch Purple aspirant is prepared for initiation in typically Masonic manner, by being stripped of much of his clothes. He is divested of his coat and vest, collar and tie, shoes and socks. One shoe is then placed on the candidate’s left barefoot,  and the legs of his trousers rolled a up above the knee, his left breast being bare

The candidate is then blindfolded and a piece of purple ribbon is fastened to the
front of the candidate’s shirt or other garment

The Royal arch Purple candidate is taken round the Chapter Room three times, the floor of which is covered in branches and brambles, so as to ensure the journey is one of obvious suffering for the barefooted candidate.

During his three journeys the candidate (without warning) is violently whipped on his legs with brambles and branches by the assembled brethren. This practice normally results in varying amounts of cuts and bruises to the initiate..

The whipping of the initiate's legs and the barefooted travel over over brambles and branches is painfully endured by the candidate, to the accompaniment of hilarious laughter from all those present, many imitating goat bleats (reminding the candidate of his impending 'ride on the goat')

After the gravity of his obligation is further impressed upon the candidate, the assembled chapter gather at the back of the steps (Jacob's Ladder) and unfold a large canvas blanket.

The blindfolded initiate, who has his back to the blanket, is then told to cross his arms whilst still kneeling upon the representation of a coffin.  He is then asked .."In whom do you put your trust?"

"The nervous candidate answers, "God", whereupon he receives a violent push backwards on to the blanket. Here he undergoes one of the most painful and humiliating experiences within the Royal Arch Chapter ceremony when he is brutally kicked and tossed upon the blanket  by the assembled chapter for a number of minutes.

This practice is known as 'riding the goat'.