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Gulf & Main Magazine

THINK PEACE. HELP IT GROW. - Zachari VanDyne shines a mystical light from CasaShanti

Mar 09, 2021 06:47PM ● By DAVID ACEVEDO

Zachari VanDyne is a spiritual, mystical and psychological being in the body of a handsome, bright-eyed 37-year-old man. The Fort Myers native has been touched by the metaphysical and spiritual world since his early teens. He lived in Southwest Florida until age 20, then studied pre-law at Kaiser University on Florida’s East Coast. After some years, he “received a message urging his return.” 

Once back, VanDyne sought and reconnected with localities focused on natural, metaphysical and holistic practices, making his path toward his natural calling: to bring the practice of meditation and intuitive awareness to the community he adores. 

Through the years, VanDyne has become a strong advocate for peace and everything that is good in our world. Using his innate talents, he has helped families find closure through predictions and even assisted local police in solving missing persons’ cases. His extraordinary abilities have been recognized and featured in several newspaper articles and other publications. Yet VanDyne has stayed true to himself and authentic in his purpose to raise awareness and help people with what he describes as “their transformational journey.” He has been called a natural mystic—someone who can empower others to heal their mind, body and soul. His experiences have led him to be exactly who he wanted to be: a student of light, truth and the way.

In 2003, VanDyne met a disciple of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who lived in south India. A welcoming invitation enticed the young mystic to make the long journey to the subcontinent. During his first six months there, VanDyne studied with Indian healer Dr. Patrick, from the city of Goa. As his visa expiration date neared, he was robbed of all his money. Dr. Patrick financed his extended visa, allowing VanDyne to continue his stay. 

The young adventurer traveled through southern and northern India for a period of four years in total. In northern India, he studied with Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa; and with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. 

Near the end of the his stay, VanDyne participated as one of 11 U.S. citizens who made the March to Tibet, held on the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Lhasa after the failed uprising against Chinese rule. Their presence was considered imperative for the protection of the Buddhist monks and nuns who faced being arrested along the protest route. 

As VanDyne recalls, the U.S. citizens who were present were carried away by Chinese police and jailed. Later, they were placed under house arrest and charged for their involvement in the protest. At the risk of a revoked visa and possibility of imprisonment as a foreign national, VanDyne left India and returned to the United States.

On his way back, somewhere above the Alps, the young visionary heard a voice exclaiming the phrase: “Think Peace. Help It Grow.” This triggered profound reflections on human rights and peace, religious freedom, and the difference between cultures. “How come human rights are easy for some cultures and so very difficult for others?” notes VanDyne, whose experiences have propelled a dedication to helping others—in the name of love.  

In 2008, VanDyne founded a local grassroots event on the Sunday closest to Sept. 21, which is International Peace Day. The first event was held in Cape Coral’s Jaycee Park and attracted hundreds of attendees. The event has grown in popularity and more than a thousand visitors participated in 2019 at the Alliance for the Arts campus in Fort Myers. 

In 2014, “feeling instructed by Spirit,” VanDyne decided to expand CasaShanti’s outreach by establishing a commercial space. The right place materialized—a historic 1911 house at 2052 Cottage St., near downtown Fort Myers. 

“CasaShanti is an oasis for the community and a place for peace and transformation. It is a living entity as it grows and changes to meet the needs of the community,” explains the visionary, who supports local artists and artisans by providing opportunities to display and sell their products. 

Supporter Shari Shifrin admires the work done at this special place. She notes, “CasaShanti is the community cornerstone for universal wholeness, as it provides a diverse yet complimentary alternative to our traditional existence.” Shifrin owns and operates Grand Illusion Screen Printing in the River District of Fort Myers.

“Our city is situated in the center of two crossing gridlines where powerful energy meets. It’s a karmic area to live in, with lots of talent, ideas and possibilities,” concludes VanDyne. For further information, visit or call 239-208-9872.

David Acevedo is an accomplished award-winning visual artist and arts writer living in Southwest Florida. He is the founder and owner of DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts and The Union Artist Studios. He has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.