The Power of Peat

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By: Jonatha Hasse

Following indications given by Rudolf Steiner in 1920 that clothing made from peat fibers would protect us from a form of pollution not yet known, the weavery in Camphill Village Co­pake has taken up the challenge and, to our knowledge, is the only weavery in North America creating peat fabric.

For the past four years we at Camphill Village Weavery have been experimenting and building up our offerings of peat. At the moment we are making vests for children and adults, tabbards for computer users and air travelers (no more jet lag!), baby blankets, shawls and throws.

So why peat? We cannot escape the contamination of our environment by exhaust gases, pesticides, radio waves, and electromagnetic fields from high tension lines, from auto and air travel, from cell phones and radiation from nuclear power plants and other sources. Even if we are not personally using these devices, the fields and waves are all around us and running through us.

What to do? Wear peat. Peat fibers come from the leaf blade of cotton grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) which grows in the raised bogs of the north. They are several centuries old, preserving life forces from a time when the earth was cleaner and more healthy. The accompanying elemental beings are freed to come to our aid when we raise them again to the light, by working with the peat fibers in a loving, respectful, and grateful way, as we do in Camphill workshops.

Our human skin is where our organism meets the world. Tanning produces melanin to protect us from short wave and radioactive radiation. Likewise the brown humus substances in peat transform short wave UV energy into long wave warmth energy. Also, like our skin, cotton grass contains silica. Peat itself does not cure us. But coming as it does from a centuries-long, slow ripening process, it forms a protective layer around us, allowing our own life forces to sustain, strengthen and heal us. Doctors have prescribed peat products for the natural responses to "life in the fast lane": nervousness, restlessness, insomnia, headaches, hardening, joint pain, rheumatism, cancer and for general convalescence. Many people feel a new sense of well-being when they wear peat.

Our peat comes to us from Sweden, where Johannes Moss starts the process of extracting it from the raised bogs and preparing it for spinning. As peat grass itself is quite brittle, it is spun together with pure undyed wool in Germany. We weave it into fabric either plain brown 50/50 peat/wool or together with mohair or silk in beautiful colors.

There is something very special about working with peat and contributing something of such value to the world. To this we are dedicating the main part of our work in the Weavery.

—Jonatha Hasse. Contact the Weavery at

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