Various: THE HORSEMAN'S WORD Deluxe Edition
Deluxe Edition 2009 184pp Society for Esoteric Endeavour. Illustrated. Full leather limp binding using the same kind of leather that is used for horse harness. Decorated with a horse shoe design blocked in iron foil using a real horseshoe as a dye. The nail holes are picked out in genuine gold, as these have a significance to Society members, as explained in the book. The title is blocked in genuine gold. NM.
Ltd. ed. 27/100. A young horseman would be invited to join the Society by finding an envelope, of the sort in which he received his wages, on his bed. It contained the hair from a horses tail, knotted in a special way, so it would be known to be truly an invitation from the Society. This deluxe copy has such a wages envelope tipped in on the front pastedown, enclosed is the horsehair knotted in the special way (that is referred to, but not given, in the text of the book).
This clandestine esoteric society flourished amongst ploughmen in Scotland from the end of the 18th Century until the early 20th. Its members were believed to have supernatural control over horses, and also women and were also associated with witchcraft. This book takes the reader on a journey into the mysteries of the brotherhood. Forget notions of dour Victorian morality. We learn from the disapproving pen of the one Scottish ploughman who left a substantial written record that his work mates drank hard, played hard and chased women. A ranting, hostile exposure is reproduced which is actually really instructive, providing what appears to be a 17th Century version of the ritual, very different from the full version. Then follows some surprisingly informative newspaper accounts written by members, an early (ranting but useful) exposure, an eyewitness account, relevant folksongs sung by the ploughmen and then the ceremony and lore of the Society.