Slimbridge Dowsing


Monk's Glade Chakra Garden - Heaven on Earth - Celia Gunn*

To anyone looking for speakers for their Group, whether you are gardeners, dowsers, church-goers, U3A or the WI, may I recommend Celia Gunn? Celia was our speaker on Thursday 12th March and talked about her magnificent one-woman achievement.

It all began fifteen years ago when Celia and her husband Anthony bought a small home south of Bath that came with a half-acre of neglected, derelict, weed-infested, boulder-strewn clay soil and builders’ rubble, described by the optimistic estate agent as a garden. Well it wasn’t then, but it is now.

Celia has had an interesting life. She spoke to us last year about her experiences with the Sinixt Indian tribe in Canada, officially declared by the Canadian Government as being extinct. Conspicuous by her blond hair and blue eyes, Celia became an honorary member of the Tribe and helped them fight for their existence, their traditions and their homeland.

You’ll know from that she is a spiritual, deep-thinking soul; not surprising then that she decided to create a Chakra Garden. Knowledge of the Chakras is not obligatory as Celia will fill you in during her talk.

Briefly, the Chakra system began as a Vedic tradition in India around 1500 B.C. They comprise seven ‘wheels’ or energy centres throughout the body, from the Root Chakra at the base of the spine, to the Crown Chakra at the top of the head. And each one is associated with a particular colour of the light spectrum, otherwise known as the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (or white). Which told Celia exactly what colour flowers and plants were needed in each area.

So armed with a spade, a fork and a wheelbarrow, Celia set to work. “Nature speaks to us,” she said. “We have to learn to listen.” It told her, in no uncertain terms, the land needed clearing, and she began by shifting 60–70 tons of stone, which she later recycled and used as edging for the paths throughout the garden, and a cairn on higher ground at the end. Anthony drew up a plan and brought her cups of tea.

Progress was agonisingly slow. Some of the tall, spindly trees were dead and had to be felled and recycled as wood chips for the paths.

“As I worked, each Chakra manifested its effects upon us,” said Celia. “While working on the Sacral second Chakra (orange), which governs our sexuality, our marriage perked up no end!” Later, working on the Solar Plexus third Chakra (yellow), where you feel ‘gutted’ when something horrid happens, ancient feuds amongst their neighbours bubbled up, and Celia and Anthony were caught in the cross fire.

There were losses too. They were deeply saddened to lose a tall and beautiful 150-year-old beech tree that was dead and, as it rotted, likely to become dangerous. Fortunately their chosen tree surgeon shared some of their spiritual beliefs and skilfully carved the 15-foot tree stump into the figure of a monk. Anthony brought more tea.

The branches were recycled and used to make seats for the garden, and yet more wood chips for the paths. Too late, Celia realised wood chip paths soon rot down to a mulch and become a fertile landing for seeds. In order to avoid having to spend the rest of her life weeding, Celia spent a couple of years researching alternatives, and came up with Limecrete, the first person to use it in the UK. She re-laid the winding paths with aggregate and topped it with the Limecrete, and Anthony kept the tea coming thick and fast.

Over the years, the garden evolved. Celia came to see it as an energy funnel, a sacred avenue leading to a sacred temple. They shared it with friends who held various ceremonies there, according to their beliefs, and there were more and more special experiences and spiritual surprises.

She planted a willow tunnel to represent entering the veil. She added a statue of Ganesh, the Indian elephant god that helps us cope with obstacles in our lives, and a blackbird built her nest beside it. Celia placed crystals in the Limecrete, colour-coded for each Chakra. She added a labyrinth on a small plaque which, when you ‘walk’ it with your fingers, can bring body and spirit together in a meditation.

Today this half-acre is a peaceful haven of colour and calm. Chi – the Chinese name for energy – flows through it like a river, curving and meandering, representing our journey to self-realisation, and the knowledge that life is never straightforward.

What came across most in Celia’s talk was her honesty and openness in sharing some of her most personal experiences and thoughts from the garden, things she had learned by listening to nature. Shining through is the simplicity of her genuine love, enthusiasm and humility for what is after all a magnificent one-woman achievement. It has been built with determination, revelation and inspiration. Oh, and thousands of cups of tea.

General view of the gardenAn oasis of colour and calm

LabyrinthsTime and space to sit and stare . . .

LabyrinthA labyrinth on a plaque for finger walking

A willow tunnelA willow tunnel represents entering the veil . . .


Slimbridge Dowsing Group has been invited to visit Celia’s garden on Saturday 23rd May. If you would like to join us, please contact or phone 01453 545855.

For your own guided tour of Celia’s Chakra Garden, filmed in July 2013, see it in two parts on YouTube:

Chakra Garden Part 1 and Chakra Garden Part 2