Earth wisdom for women
Welcome! My name is Christine and I am a mother, community herbalist, birth doula, and biologist that loves helping to educate and inspire individuals who are ready to learn the ways of Earth-centered living, including those who are preparing for an empowering birth.
I have been passionately connected with and learning from the Earth since I was a young girl. The woods were my playground and I often imagined that I was an herbalist, working and healing with the plants. In high school, I began taking my Peterson’s field guide to the woods and fields behind my home. I spent many hours wandering through natural places learning what plants were medicinal and edible.
It occurred to me during these early adventures that many of our most pressing health and wellness issues are rooted in our disconnection from the natural world. Early in my career, I thought I would explore human psychology and wellness by majoring in psychology (College of Wooster). And, in fact, I did learn a tremendous amount about the human condition while simultaneously immersing myself in the field of animal welfare research and earning my minor in Women’s Studies.
It was this latter interest in animal welfare that led me to a Master’s Degree in Biology through Case Western Reserve University. I spent 5 years studying the health and wellness of nonhuman primates, earning my PhD candidacy along the way. It was a difficult, but ultimately positive, transition when I decided that a life in academia was not the right route for me. I left with a solid understanding of research, several peer-reviewed publications, and a new level of knowledge about the ways that modern lifestyle factors (diet, stress, activity, etc.) impact the health and wellness of both our nonhuman primate cousins in the zoo and modern humans.
While earning my master’s degree, I had simultaneously been working on my certificate in herbalism through Rosemary Gladstar’s program while also taking classes with Susun Weed, Rosalee de la Foret, Aviva Romm, and earning my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) through Midwest Permaculture (2012). Living simply and sustainably was becoming more and more important to me, especially after the birth of my first daughter in 2013. It was shortly after her birth that I made the transition to managing our home, farm, and beginning Light Footsteps. Currently, my family and I live on a 23-acre permaculture homestead where we host and teach classes about herbalism, edible wild plants, and other aspects of sustainability. As of August 2018, our homestead is nestled within a larger 121-acre project we are spearheading called Resilient Acres.
While women’s health and feminist issues have always been central to my life it was when I became pregnant with my first (unborn) child that I realized how little I knew about pregnancy and birth. This led to a cascade of research that opened my eyes to the importance of the childbearing year for both women and children. I believe that the future of our Earth depends on the way that we treat women and children during this pivotal time. Not all births will be perfect. Not all births will go exactly as planned, but women and children always deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Far too often we are not so matricentric in our approach, and I hope to use my knowledge and wisdom as an educated mother of two to help other individuals achieve the births that they deserve and want, however that looks for them. To that effect, I began training to be a birth doula with Birth Arts International in 2017 and finished my certification in 2019. I also began pursuing the path of Midwifery in 2018 and am studying to become a Certified Professional Midwife. I also assist at births as a midwifery assistant.
I hope that through Light Footsteps, I can share my passion for Earth, plants, women, and children with my immediate community and larger online community. I believe that this knowledge is essential for us to reestablish a meaningful connection with the natural world and ourselves. By doing this, we can begin to create healthier people and a healthier earth. Let us together reweave ancient wisdom for modern times and create a new paradigm for living on this planet.
Short Bios for Sharing
General Short Bio
Christine Cassella, M.S. is owner of Light Footsteps, a mother, community herbalist, and holistic birth keeper. She is most passionate about helping women reclaim their inherent connection with the cycles of nature, especially in the childbearing years. She received her certificate in herbalism with Rosemary Gladstar and is currently pursuing additional studies with Dr. Aviva Romm. Christine has been practicing the arts of herbalism for over a decade, and has been passionate about women’s health throughout her life. Christine is a Birth Arts International certified birth doula and a midwife assistant and student.
Christine Cassella, M.S., is a mother of two young girls and has a broad background including training as a behavioral biologist, certified herbalist, and birth doula. Christine has been passionate about reproductive health and natural living throughout her life, but truly began to see the importance of an empowered pregnancy and childbirth when she was pregnant with her first child. It is her belief that birth is a pivotal time during a childbearing person’s life to claim their power, find their truth, and emerge as a new parent prepared to face all the challenges and joys that arise. Christine’s diverse skill set allows her to provide client care that is both evidence-based, intuitive, and parent-centered. Christine has special interests in teaching birthing people and their families how they can thrive using herbal remedies, and she is particularly interested in supporting parents desiring natural birth at home or hospital. She is a safe and inclusive doula for parents of all backgrounds and orientations.
Podcasts with Light Footsteps
Learn more about Christine and general considerations for using herbs during pregnancy during this interview with Delivering Strength: Herbal Support for Pregnancy and Postpartum.