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The Summer


My Enlightenment

Kristy Dark

Sun And Shadow Books

Ojai, California


The Summer of My Enlightenment


Copyright © 2018 Kristy Dark. All rights reserved.


Kristy Dark asserts her moral right to be identified as the author of this book.


Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without prior permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Author Photo: Beverly Pavone


Cover Design: Kristy Dark and


ISBN-13: 978-1984127716 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 1984127713 (Paperback)



Sun and Shadow Books

Ojai, California


June 22

I AWOKE TO FIND THE SUN streaming in full upon my pillow. I threw back the silk sheets and climbed out of bed.

Dressed in a simple white sundress and white sandals that laced around my calves, I descended the main staircase. I recognized Kether from behind as he stood in the main entranceway, the mahogany door thrown wide open.

“Good morning, Kether!” I called out cheerily.

Kether turned to me with a ready smile, his green eyes filled with obvious pleasure. “Good morning, Angie! How did you sleep?”

“Great. How about you?”

“Just fine. Although I did have a few strange dreams.” Kether laughed. “But then that’s to be expected when Luke’s around.”

I wondered what he meant by that and was just about to ask, when the musical sound of a crystal bell rang out quite clearly in the early morning stillness.

“Time for breakfast,” Kether said. “Come on.”

He turned to head toward the piazza at the back of the house, then impulsively grabbed my hand and led me outside with a sort of triumph.

Luke was already seated at the head of the table. Kether led me to a seat at the opposite end and sat down next to me. Delores, the redhead with the unfortunate teeth, sat on my left; Bob, the bean counter, sat across from me; and a young man with lanky, blond hair who looked like a surfer, sat next to him.

“I don’t think we’ve met yet,” Surfer Boy said, reaching a tanned hand across the table to me. “I’m Gavin.”


As coffee and croissants were served, we all chatted about our impressions of the seminar so far. I was surprised to find that Gavin had been studying with Luke for the past 7 years. He looked so young, about 21.

“You must have been pretty young when you started,” I remarked out loud.

“Yeah, I was only 14. My parents had known Luke for years and thought I should be apprenticed to him.” He brushed a lock of hair out of his eyes and laughed. “Sort of like a sorcerer’s apprentice.”

Kether sighed. “God, you were so lucky, Gavin. I’d give anything to have started studying with Luke when I was that age. To be that much farther along the path already.”

“It’s not a race,” Luke said from the other end of the table.

“How could he have heard you from so far away?” I whispered.

Gavin shrugged. “Luke has lots of special powers. Maybe he was reading our minds.”

As I glanced down the table toward Luke, I heard him say, “And maybe none of you are really here. Truth and illusion.”

I was amazed. Although I had heard Luke’s voice quite clearly, I knew he hadn’t really spoken out loud. I had been looking directly at him, and his lips hadn’t so much as twitched. Perhaps he could not only read minds, but project thoughts telepathically as well?

A waiter set steaming plates of pancakes down in front of us. To our delight, we found that there were several varieties of fillings and toppings—pineapple, banana, coconut, blueberry, raspberry, and macadamia nut—and we dug in with gusto.

As the meal neared an end, Luke stood and made a brief announcement.

“As you all know, the Summer Solstice, which marks the first day of summer, is today.” He consulted the gold Girard Perregaux watch on his wrist. “In fact, in precisely three hours from now. Please meet on the back lawn in one hour and a half, wearing white, for Yoga and a special ceremony in honor of the Summer Solstice. In the meantime, if anyone has any questions, I will be available in the Library.”

He turned and left the piazza.

* * *

The Library was an immense room with a high, vaulted ceiling. As I closed the heavy carved door behind me, I saw that three walls were lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves completely filled with books. The fourth wall was covered by a magnificent tapestry depicting a battle scene. I had spent enough time in Italian museums to recognize the tapestry as an authentic work of art from the medieval period, probably Italian Quattordici Secolo.

The floor of the room was of Italian marble, and the red veins whispering through the milky whiteness of the stones glowed like fire as they caught the light cast by the crystal chandelier above. Scattered about the room in comfortable elegance were tapestried armchairs and sofas with clawed feet and dark mahogany backrests carved into wings.

Luke was seated on a red tapestried loveseat on the other side of the room. And seated next to him, so close that their thighs were touching, was Delores. I noticed with dismay that Luke held her hand in his own.

Unnerved by the scene, as if I had caught them in a lover’s pose, I retreated toward the door. But Luke’s strong voice stopped me. “Angie, please come in,” he said warmly, “and have a seat over there.” He pointed toward a couch to the right of the doorway. “I will be with you in just a few moments.”

“But ... I don’t want to interrupt,” I protested.

Luke shook his head, and as he did so, the light streaming down from the chandelier caught his blond hair for a moment, turning it into a shining golden halo.

Mio amore, you do not interrupt,” he said gently. “Please sit down and we will be together soon.”

I walked over to the couch and sat down, a cauldron of emotions brewing inside of me. Excitement, hope, jealousy, and bittersweet stirrings of love.

Luke returned to his conversation with Delores, speaking in low tones I could not overhear, and I scanned the book titles within view. I quickly discovered that the books were in all different languages—Italian, French, Spanish, German, and what appeared to be Latin and Russian. I remembered then that in addition to his other talents, Luke was an accomplished linguist who spoke 10 languages fluently.

Most of the titles were indecipherable to me, but I recognized enough words here and there—“fisica,” “filosofia,” “magique,” “occultisme,” “hypnotisme,” “kundalini”—to determine that the works ranged across a wide variety of disciplines. Many of the sciences were represented, including astronomy, physics, botany, and psychology. There were also countless books on Yoga, Zen, martial arts, philosophy, and metaphysics.

I was relieved when Delores finally stood up to go. As I watched surreptitiously, Luke rose and clasped Delores to him in a strong embrace. I fervently hoped he was motivated by teacherly affection and not by passion.

As Delores passed me on her way out, she shot me a friendly smile which appeared genuine. I began to breathe a little easier.

Luke beckoned me toward him, and I crossed the room to where he sat on the scarlet loveseat. My heart throbbing wildly.

As I drew near, Luke half rose and, grasping my hand, drew it gently to his lips. He pulled me down close beside him. “Amore mio. What can I do for you? You have come to me with questions, yes?”

I nodded, unable to speak for a moment. Then, “What is the meaning of Life?” I blurted out.

Luke stared deeply into my eyes, and again I saw the golden halo of light flickering around his head. “I could tell you,” he said softly, “but my words will mean nothing. You must discover the secret for yourself.”

I felt my heart fluttering like a caged bird within my chest, and the fluttering organ became my father’s failing heart. I saw him struggling for breath as the life force drained away.

I saw the dark mist rising up in Papa’s eyes, even while he reached for my hand. I felt his terrible fear.

Luke took my hand again. But it was my father’s hand that I held.

“Please,” I said. “Just tell me.”

Perhaps it was the pain in my voice. Perhaps it was the single shining tear which squeezed itself out of my eye before I could stop it. But I saw something dissolve in Luke’s face, some ironclad resolution not to tell, and he sighed.

“Life is a pathway to God,” he said. “But when you reach the end of the path, you will find that you are right back at the beginning. For you are God.”

I felt as if I stood alone on an immense lighted stage, a dark curtain about to descend and cut me off forever from the audience glimpsed beyond the footlights.

“That makes me feel so lonely,” I said in a small voice, the voice of a lost child.

“Oh, my sweet angel,” Luke said, and I heard enough heartbreak in his voice to match my own.

He enfolded me in his powerful arms while I wept unashamedly against his broad chest.

* * *

We all assembled on the back lawn at the appointed time, and Luke led us through a beautiful Yoga session which was physically demanding and yet relaxing to the mind and spirit. We ended with the Salutation to the Sun, repeating the cycle over and over until it felt as natural as breathing. Finally, Luke asked us to stop and stand quietly, hands clasped together, eyes closed.

“Let your mind be still,” Luke said softly. “Feel the Sun. Feel its gentleness, soft as a lover’s kisses on your bare skin.”

As I stood silently in meditation, I felt the Sun envelop me in its embrace, both soul-stirring and peaceful.

“Feel the Sun’s power. A circle of magnificent golden fire, over five billion years old, infinitely older than mankind.” He paused to let his words sink in.

“And now you will go to a special place for a brief visit,” he continued. “You are travelling faster than the speed of light, through space and time, to the very surface of the Sun. You are surrounded by pulsating energy, by golden light. You are calm and peaceful. You are protected. The golden light surrounds you and fills your entire being. You go inside the Sun to the very core, where thermonuclear reactions provide a constant explosion of light. You feel the sunlight being created at a temperature of 40 million degrees. Nothing can harm you. You are safe and secure. Just let go and be one with the light. And now I am going to remain silent while you open yourself to receive any messages the Sun may have for you. I will call you when it is time for you to return.”

I felt peaceful and relaxed. Various thoughts came into my mind, such as: “Love yourself.” “Bathe in Love.” “Love me.” “Love God.” “You need love and physical affection.” “Love me.” It was impossible for me to tell whether the thoughts were my own, or whether they came from a deeper source.

I heard Luke whisper in my ear, “Go deeper, my love,” and he pressed one of his fingers hard against the center of my forehead. His finger seemed to sear my flesh with its heat, and I saw a blinding flash of light within my head. For a fraction of a second I was total power, total light. I was the Sun.

And then I was Angela Vitelli, standing with hands pressed tightly together, aware of the thin sheen of sweat that coated my skin and a maddening itching as a black ant wended its way up my bare calf from the grass below.

* * *

Lunch was a lively affair, everyone chattering excitedly about their experiences during the Sun meditation. Several said that they felt filled with light. Others described vivid colors they had seen or powerful messages received.

As we licked the last raspberries and cream from our dessert plates, Luke waved a hand for silence. “Please relax and enjoy yourselves for the next two hours. Take a nap, stroll through the grounds, go for a swim in the pool. Whatever you like. And then we meet again at two o’clock beside the rose garden. Please wear the yellow artist’s smock you will find among your clothing.”

He rose gracefully and left the piazza.

* * *

I met Kether on the way to the rose garden.

“Hey, Angie, you look like a real artist,” he said with a grin. There was something endearing about the way he had left his own smock unbuttoned to the waist, revealing powerful muscles and black, curly chest hair.

I smiled back. “So do you.”

In the garden, the others were milling around, chatting with the ease created by two days of intense shared experiences. Luke arrived a few minutes later with a number of sketch pads under one arm and a large box filled with watercolor sets and brushes.

He clapped his hands for attention. “Please select a watercolor kit, a brush, and a sketch pad. Then I want you to go over there,” he said, pointing in the direction of a flat, grassy area, “and lie down. Place your art materials on the ground directly behind you. Please form a circle, with your feet pointing toward the center. And you should be close enough to hold hands with the people on both sides.”

We followed Luke’s instructions. Kether lay down on my right side, and Delores on my left. Luke asked me to slide a little closer to Kether, and he squeezed in between me and Delores.

“Everyone hold hands, please,” he said in his deep, melodious voice, grasping my left hand tightly. Kether took my right hand.

“Close your eyes and take a deep breath, in through your nose, and hold ... and release it slowly through your mouth. Again ... in through your nose, and hold ... and release slowly. And once more.... Now, starting at the top of the head, relax your scalp, your face, your jaw, lips lightly open...” He traced a path down the entire body, relaxing each part in turn, and ending with the toes.

I heard Luke start breathing deeply beside me, but it was unlike any breathing I had ever heard before. A sound filled with great power, as if he breathed not just with his body, but with his soul as well. My left hand began to tingle, and then my arm, and I felt a powerful force like an electric current surging through my entire body.

“Today we will all be great artists,” Luke said. “We will look as if through the eyes of Rembrandt, seeing the golden light that surrounds us always. We will look as if through the eyes of Monet, seeing colors as magical as the colors of the waterlilies in his garden. Let the power of the Universe flow through you and guide your brush.”

He let the stillness envelop us for a few minutes, and I lay quietly, listening to Luke’s powerful breathing and the sweet warbling of the birds.

“You may open your eyes,” Luke said finally, “and stretch. Do not all stay here together. You may go anywhere you wish on the grounds. Be open to the spirit. Find your own place. Be one with the Universe and the colors and the brush. Become your own painting.”

Wordlessly, we all picked up our art supplies and headed off in different directions.

I walked slowly through the woods, noticing the deep shadows and the way the leaves glowed golden with backlighting from the sun. Without having any idea of the direction or distance I had traveled, I turned a bend in the pathway and found myself in Luke’s private Meditation Garden. The water in the fountain splashed musically, and a hummingbird with iridescent wings darted among the red ranunculus at the edge of the clearing.

I moved forward in slow motion, my gaze fixed hypnotically on the white marble cherub perched on the edge of the fountain. Sinking down onto the warm stone beside the cherub, I took a deep breath, pulled out my paint box and began to paint.

I will never know how I did it, for I have no artistic skill, and I have never painted anything so wonderful either before or since, but somehow the cherub came alive in my painting. The lips appeared ready to twist into a playful smile at any moment, and the eyes held mischief and, yes, a touch of pathos, as if the perfect beauty of the surrounding flowers, the butterflies, the splashing fountain only reminded him of the one imperfection, an utter and inescapable loneliness. For the cherub seemed destined to be alone throughout all time.

One of Luke’s poems came to mind:

if only it were summer

with its soft promises

and i were seated

by a garden fountain,

my dreams drifting

like the wind

and then stilled,

blissful, not knowing

they would never be fulfilled.


And then my fingers found a strange roughness on the smooth marble rim of the fountain, and I suddenly knew beyond any doubt that at one time another cherub had sat here, gracing the fountain with her feminine presence. So the remaining cherub grieved not from a lack of something never experienced, but from the wrenching loss of the deepest love he had ever known.

With tears coursing down my cheeks, threatening to splash onto the painting I held fiercely in my lap, I painted in a faint outline of the beautiful lost cherub.

Just as I finished, I heard Luke’s voice say quite clearly, “Bellisima!

I looked around the clearing, but he was nowhere in sight.

* * *

How can I describe the heartbreak of knowing it was time to leave? The people I had trained with, meditated with, eaten with, had become my friends. And Luke ... how can I express the depth of love and gratitude that I felt? As I packed my belongings, I had to stop several times and draw a deep breath to calm myself. I noticed that my hands were trembling.

When a knock sounded at my bedroom door, I took another deep breath, then went to open it.

I was amazed and delighted to see that Luke stood there.

“May I come in?” he asked, almost shyly.

I nodded and stepped aside wordlessly, unable to speak, my throat knotted with unshed tears.

Luke took my hand and led me gently to the bed. He sat on the edge and pulled me down close beside him, our legs touching intimately. In his deep amber eyes so confident, even arrogant, before, I now saw vulnerability. It reminded me of the look I had seen in the cherub’s eyes.

“I have been thinking, mio amore,” he said. He cleared his throat as if this were awkward for him, he who was never at a loss for words. “There is something so special about you. Something rare, that I have seldom seen in any lifetime. You are so very innocent, yet you carry tremendous power within you, ready to burst forth like an explosion of light. And I...” Again he paused. “I have been searching a long time for someone to teach. Someone with whom I can share my special gifts, all the great metaphysical knowledge I have acquired throughout many lifetimes. For me, the path has been filled with hardship and pain.” Here his eyes darkened like night falling suddenly upon a sunlit forest, and I saw the shadows of deep sorrow there.

“I have made many mistakes, my love. But I could keep you from making the same ones. With what I know now, I could teach you how to find the Light without any danger of becoming possessed by the Darkness. Such incredible beauty! Such magic! And such power! You have no idea....”

I didn’t know what to say. The closeness of his powerful body pressed against mine and the passion of his words seduced me. My body felt enflamed with desire, and I knew that I wanted him more than I had ever wanted any man in my life.

He laid a hand on my knee, and it was all I could do to keep from turning and throwing myself into those strong, muscular arms that could keep me safe forever.

“Angie, please consider carefully. I am asking you to stay with me. To become my disciple. It will change your life forever. Bring you everything you have ever dreamed of.”

But I did not need to consider carefully, for my heart and soul cried out instantaneously, “Yes! Oh, yes!”

“There are a few conditions, however. One, you must not tell anyone, not even your family or your closest friends, where you are.” He thought for a moment. “I think it is best perhaps if you tell them that you are travelling in Europe and cannot be reached.”

I nodded agreement.

“Two. You must agree to trust me and do absolutely everything I ask you to do, without question. This is the time-honored tradition of the Master and the Disciple. The Master’s word is law.”

I considered for a moment but found no doubts in my heart. “I agree,” I said. “I trust you absolutely, one hundred and fifty percent!”

Luke smiled. “That is more than enough, I think. And three. The last condition. You must agree to stay with me for the entire summer. No matter what you may hear or see.”

I stared deeply into his dark amber eyes, alight with so many strange fires. How could I resist? I felt proud and humble at the same time. I had been chosen by one of the greatest Masters who ever existed. He was offering to unveil all the timeless mysteries of the Universe, to hold my hand and guide me step by step down the pathway to Enlightenment. And I was so deeply in love with him.

I sighed. The summer was a wonderful beginning. Perhaps I could win his heart forever.

“I accept all of your conditions,” I said softly.

Bellisima! I am delighted!” Luke hugged me close. “We will work out the arrangements about my teaching fee later.”

His words jolted me back to reality. The teaching fee. Of course there would be an expensive fee for the entire summer.

But what did it matter? Papa had left me a generous nest egg that was bound to be more than adequate. And no price was too great to pay for an experience that would bring me everything I’d ever dreamed of.

* * *

“Well, I guess this is goodbye,” Kether said. We were standing by the long circular driveway out in front, and the valet had just brought Kether’s car around.

“I hate to say goodbye,” I said sadly. Although we had only known each other for two days, I felt as if I had known him my entire life.

“Me too.”

Suddenly, without knowing how I got there, I found myself in Kether’s arms. He crushed me against his chest in a powerful embrace, then kissed me lightly on the lips. There was a lingering sweetness in his kiss that made me ache to be held in his arms again. I was surprised by my feelings. After all, I was in love with Luke, wasn’t I?

“I’ll call you sometime. Write down your phone number for me.” A command, not a question, but I didn’t mind.

I gave Kether both my home and work numbers, and he wrote his cell number down for me.

“I always answer, 24/7,” he said.

“Really? Even at two in the morning?”

Kether grinned. “I’m an actor. I’ve got to be available at an instant’s notice. Just never know when that big break might come.”

He brushed my hair lightly with his fingertips, and then he was gone.

* * *


Thank you for reading this sample of The Summer of My Enlightenment. I deeply appreciate your interest.

Did you enjoy this sample? Please let other people know what you think and leave a review! If you would like to read the complete book, please go to Amazon to purchase a copy. Available in print, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited (free).




KRISTY DARK HAS WRITTEN SIX NOVELS, nine screenplays, a variety of short fiction and non-fiction, and is currently working on a new thriller novel. She has served as a Judge for the ITW Thriller Awards in the novel category, and is a member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. Her stories and screenplays have won numerous awards, and her work has been published in the Extremes 5 anthology, Writer’s Digest’s The Year’s Best Writing, and other venues. An avid reader, she loves to hear from fellow readers and writers at, and hopes you’ll visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter:

Submitted: April 16, 2020

© Copyright 2023 Kristy Dark. All rights reserved.

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The Summer of My Enlightenment

Angie Vitelli, a vulnerable young woman, agrees to become the student of spiritual master Luke Donatti for the entire summer - no matter what she hears or sees. But as time goes on, she questions his endgame... Is he leading her to Enlightenment, or


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